The GUARDIAN's Christian Sylt noted F1 global TV audiences fell last year, driven down by a 34% drop -- or 25 million viewers -- in China, "where several Asian races clashed with other local sports events." Many F1 races in Asia and the Middle East took place during the evening "so that they are broadcast in the morning in the sport's traditional heartland of Europe." But competition with local sports events "fueled the fall in viewer numbers in China." F1's largest market remains Brazil, where viewing figures "accelerated 8.9% year on year." There "were also improvements" in Spain and Italy (GUARDIAN, 2/15).
EVEN STEPHEN: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y. host Stephen A. Smith on Sunday "became very upset when a caller challenged the veracity of a recent trade rumor he reported exclusively." Instead of "treating the criticism for what it was," Smith "became irate." He said on-air, "I report stuff weeks in advance and get vilified for it. But when it comes to fruition, no one remembers they vilified me. I won’t tell you anything. I have nothing to prove. If you don’t like it, don’t watch me (on ESPN). I don’t have to do it (break stories). I have a radio show, a TV show and a column. I don’t need to do that." Raissman writes it is "never a good idea to threaten your audience, especially when you work for the No. 2 sports talk radio station in town." When you are "basically telling your bosses you are shutting down one part of your operation, well, that ain’t a good idea, either" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/19).
SKATE AMERICA: In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote NBC "did a competent job" with Sunday's "Hockey Day in America," which featured three games and nine hours of coverage across NBC and NBC Sports Network. The day began with a half-hour pregame show that "offered three features, two of which were excellent and one that was not only poorly produced but completely out of place" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/18).
CHARLESTON CHEW: TOM TAYLOR NOW writes, "Somebody on the South Carolina Board of RadioDiscussions.com sounds pretty sure that on March 4, the ESPN affiliation will transfer from Kirkman's 'Zone AM 910' WTMZ to sister WWIK, McClellanville." WTMZ will "stay all-sports and air programming from sources such as CBS Sports Radio Network, Fox Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio Network" (TOM TAYLOR NOW, 2/19 issue).