Mike Tirico

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 70- Mike Tirico, ESPN

Hurricane Irene took us away from the podcast last week but we are back, just in time for the beginning of the NFL season.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I begin the show by looking at the move of ESPN.com college football writer Bruce Feldman from the WWL to CBS Sports.com and his backlash against his former employer.  We also discuss how the Poynter Institute, serving as the ESPN ombudsman, responded to the situation.

Ken and I look at the flat ratings for the first week of the college football season, as well as looking ahead to how the networks will handle the new NFL season beginning this week.

Our guest this week is ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico.  Mike looks at his five years behind the mic for the telecast and his rapport with analysts Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden.  He also discusses how he enjoys covering golf and the World Cup for ESPN as well as his membership in the corps of successful announcers coming out of Syracuse University.


News from ESPN for U

ESPNU, the college sports channel that has been suffering from lack of wide distribution, could soon be seen by a lot more people. ESPN and Comcast today announced a deal to put the U on the digital basic tier of most of its systems in time for college football season. In addition, DirecTV is putting ESPNU in its Choice package (and moving ESPN Classic into a sports tier) on July 1.

The combined moves will put ESPNU in 46 million homes, more than 50 percent of the households that have either cable or satellite. ESPN itself is in well over 90 percent of those homes.

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ESPN Radio’s Tirico & Van Pelt Show will become just The Scott Van Pelt Show on July 6. Van Pelt will also get a  new co-host, Ryen Russillo, who apparently won’t make the program’s title because of how he spells his first name. The last hour of the Van Pelt show, which runs 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern, will be simulcast on ESPN2.

Tirico won’t be disappearing from ESPN Radio. He’ll host a weekly, in-season football show on Friday nights from 7 to 9. However, it appears the network has decided to cut back on the schedule of its major play-by-play voice (Monday Night Football, NBA).

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The busy ESPN people also announced — this flurry comes as part of its “up-front” presentation to advertisers in New York — the launch of SportsNation on July 6 on ESPN2. The one-hour show will air weekdays at 4 p.m., hosted by ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd and New York radio/TV sportscaster Michelle Beadle. The program is described as “a live sports television show born from the Internet, fueled by fan interaction and focused on fun.”

In a news release, Cowherd said: “We want to make it as if we’re just goofing off while there happens to be a camera in the room.”

Isn’t that MTV’s Real World?

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Comcast and the NFL today announced the deal — reported first by SportsBusiness Journal — to put the NFL Network on the digital basic channel lineup. The NFL Network is scheduled to go on Comcast systems by Aug. 1.

Oh, and they’ll stop suing each other.

SMJ Sports Radio Madness- Mike Tirico (4) vs. Tim Brando (13)

We have two familiar names in this match-up of the SMJ Sports Radio Madness tournament, ESPN Radio’s Mike Tirico and Tim Brando of Sporting News Radio.

Mike Tirico– Mike Tirico has handled a variety of assignments for ESPN, ESPN Radio and ABC Sports since 1991. In 2006 he assumed one of the most high-profile positions in sports television as ESPN’s Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator, for which he garnered a Sports Emmy nomination. Tirico works alongside analysts Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser and sideline reporters Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya on MNF and also serves as play-by-play commentator for NBA games on ESPN and ABC. Get more on Mike here. And here.

Tim Brando- Tim Brando attained national celebrity in front of the camera as the host of CBS Sports’ College Football Today and At the Half, CBS Sports’ college basketball halftime studio show. Brando also provides commentary for Jefferson Pilot’s coverage of SEC and ACC basketball broadcasts and has been a participant in the SEC-focused athletic radio show Conference Call, which airs throughout the Southeast. Get more on Tim here.

Voting ends March 19th.