Sports Media Weekly No. 166- Neil Best, Newsday & Don Orsillo, NESN

This week’s Sports Media Weekly  program features guests from the Northeast.

Joining Ken Fang of Fangs Bites and me for our news segment this week is Neil Best of Newsday.

We begin the show by previewing the coverage of Major League Baseball’s post season.  We all agree that even though many of the announcing assignments are unchanged this year, the one game wild card playoff aspect of the post season does bring with it an added level of excitement.

We switch to the NFL and CBS’s announcement that NFL Today analysts Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher, and Shannon Sharpe will move from the studio to the booth for one week during next Sunday’s action.  If it were another sport other than the NFL then these moves may have more significance than they do.

We next ask Neil to bring us up to date with the state of sports coverage in New York, now that the Yankees and Mets are finished for the season; the Giants and Jets don’t seem to be going in any positive direction; and the winter sports season hasn’t really gotten started in any meaningful way.

Our second guest this week is Red Sox television play-by-play voice Don Orsillo.  Ken speaks with Don about his work with the Sox on NESN, his upcoming playoff stint with TBS; and even culinary arts.

Sports Media Weekly No. 147- Ed Sherman, The Sherman Report & Dale Arnold, NESN and WEEI

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are back for another Sports Media Weekly program.

Joining us for our news segment this week is Ed Sherman of the Sherman Report.

We begin the show previewing tomorrow’s NFL Draft and the plans being put forth by NFL broadcast partners ESPN and NFL Network.  Our discussions lead to reports that the NFL insiders at the networks will be more restrained in using Twitter to give away team picks before they are announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Ed has written some great pieces on how two insiders will handle tweeting during the draft.  The topic has definitely struck a nerve with some fans.

We then look at the prospects of the job new ESPN Omdudsman Robert Lipsyte will do when he assumes his role in June.

We finish our news segment by issuing our early thoughts on ESPN and TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs.

Our second guest this week is Dale Arnold, studio host for Bruins telecasts on NESN and sports radio host at Boston’s WEEI.  Ken speaks with Dale about last week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon and how the sports media took a break from sports and provided fans with an outlet to discuss the events of the week.

SMJ Video: Blogs with Balls 4, Mike Hall, NESN

Our final interview from the Blogs with Balls 4 conference last Saturday is with Mike Hall from NESN…

If you saw our video with Richard Deitsch, you noticed the appearance of an unwelcome visitor to our shot. It wasn’t the first time that happened. Here’s what happened during our talk with Mike Hall…

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 67- Kenny Albert, Fox Sports

Even though one would think this would be a slow time in terms of sports media news, that’s not the case as we begin another edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I start the show by talking about the new agreement between NBC Sports and Major League Soccer to carry MLS games beginning next year.  We also talk about the extension of ESPN’s agreement with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to continue to air the Indianapolis 500 on ABC through 2018.

We look at the impressive ratings numbers for Fox and ESPN on its coverage of Red Sox/Yankees and the discussion of East Coast Bias.

We also talk more about the growing number of NFL analysts at ESPN and the talent departures for the New England Sports Network.

Ken and I also look at the Fox NFL announcing line-up, a good lead-in to our guest, Fox Sports NFL and MLB announcer Kenny Albert.  Albert fills us in on the recent Fox NFL broadcasting boot camp, his comfort with analysts Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa, and his busy schedule covering all four major sports in a given year.

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 55- Jack Edwards, NESN

Sports Media Weekly Still plenty to talk about on the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.

Ken Fang at Fang’s Bites and I spend the first part of the show discussing some recent changes in the broadcast booth…The NFL Network’s announcement of the addition of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock for their NFL game package…the move of Gus Johnson from CBS to Fox…and the hiring of Mary Carillo by The Tennis Channel.

We then talk about the ratings drop for NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby and the potential (although unlikely) chance of some unattractive match-ups in the NHL and NBA Finals.

Our guest this week is Jack Edwards, play-by-play voice for the Boston Bruins on the New England Sports Network (NESN).  Jack talks about growing up a Bruins fan and now broadcasting the team’s games, his time at ESPN, and his thoughts on the reaction of bloggers to his on air style and persona.

Sports Media Weekly Podcast #9- Joel Feld, NESN

Sports Media WeeklyHere we find ourselves with the latest edtition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast…

In today’s episode, Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I discuss the opening of the NFL Network slate of games beginning tomorrow night, the issue as to whether anyone can compete with ESPN in the short term, and the latest ESPN “30 for 30” documentary film on Jimmy “The Greek”.

Our guest this week is Joel Feld, Vice President of Programming and Executive Produce at the New England Sports Network.  We ask Joel about how he programs NESN, it’s news gathering and web presence in a burgeoning Boston sports media market, and his plans for the immediate future of the network…

Questioning Priorities…Again

As a journalist and editor of SMJ I respect the right media organizations have in making decisions over which content will be published or broadcast.  It doesn’t I can’t question those editorial decisions.

Case in point, what viewers of the New England Sports Network (NESN) will be facing tonight.

NESN has the television rights for both the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins.  They have been ahead of the curve in providing HD coverage of both teams (home and away) for a couple of years now.  When both teams are playing on the same night, one gets the HD coverage on NESN while the other gets telecast on a regional sports channel (not in HD) called NESNPlus.  It’s not the best of situations but one which should satisfy fans of both teams.

This scenario has come up twice over the past week as the Bruins battled the Canadiens in the NHL Playoffs and the Red Sox began its 2008 regular season. In those two instances NESN made the correct choice in deciding which game would be showcased on the HD mother-ship while the other was sent to NESNPlus.  The Bruins playoff game received the priority both times.

But for some reason NESN has changed its tune for tonight’s conflict.  NESN will be showing tonight’s Sox/Yankees game in HD on NESN while relegating the Bruins/Canadiens Game 5 (with elimination on the line for the B’s) to NESNPlus.  How can NESN justify this move? 

We all understand that New England is Red Sox Nation and this is Yankees/Red Sox.  But the Bruins are in the PLAYOFFS, in a game they must win or go home.  The Sox and Yankees will still play 13 more games this season. 

This makes no editorial sense to me.  Oh wait…I forgot it’s not about what’s the bigger story…it’s about money.  More eyes for Red Sox/Yankess than Bruins/Canadiens.  How silly of me. 

NESN has the right to make the switch.  However it doesn’t make it right.

We’re Talking About Practice!

Last week I posted the story about how the New England Sports Network (NESN) is providing live coverage of Spring Training workouts of the Boston Red Sox. Living in New England and having access to NESN, I thought I would check in with the coverage to see what it was all about.

I’m a baseball nut, as are most sports fans in Red Sox Nation. Despite the success of other pro sports franchises in the region, New England is still a baseball haven first. So it was natural for NESN to take advantage of this fanaticism by providing coverage of the team literally from the get go. It helps that NESN is the sole local television play-by-play entity of the defending World Champions. And oh yeah, they’re partially owned by the Red Sox.

NESN’s telecast consisted of two hours of LIVE coverage from the team’s Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, FL. These live feeds took place in the morning during the team’s normal workout schedule. The program was rebroadcast several times throughout the day to accommodate many audiences.

You’d think that two hours of players stretching, running, and throwing would not make for intriguing television. And you’d be right. But NESN rarely showed much of the players working out. Instead they used the time to preview this year’s club by interviewing members of the media who cover the team. The network has a partnership with the Boston Globe so much of the time was taken up by scribes of the Beantown sheet.

NESN was able to secure interviews with players as they made their way to and from the fields of play. Sox front office personnel also made their way to the NESN stage.

The network coverage was buoyed by camera placements across the five fields at the training complex. If something of interest took place in the complex, NESN had a way to show it to the fans back home.

Overall I thought the coverage was well done. I like the fact that the network decided to create original local content at a time of the day when it generally runs infomercials or replays of classic Sox or Bruins games. NESN also never missed a beat in promoting their pre-season Sox telecast schedule as well as hyping opening day, which for Boston is March 25th against Oakland in Japan. FYI, coverage on NESN begins at 5am ET…

Obviously the NESN coverage would not work well in most cities with MLB franchises. But in snowbound New England, any programming featuring the Old Towne Team is always welcome.

Coverage You’ll Only See in Beantown

With the near perfection of the Patriots and the Celtics with the best record in the NBA, fans in Boston are definitely spoiled right now. But Boston will always be, first and foremost, a baseball town. Here’s the proof.

The New England Sports Network (NESN), the exclusive local television play-by-play outlet for the World Champion Boston Red Sox, will devote two hours of LIVE coverage today to the Sox pitchers and catchers practicing. That’s right…two full hours of guys throwing baseballs!

NESN will also weave in interviews with players, coaches, and front office management during its coverage. But it’s focus will be on practice.

NESN will also telecast live workouts when the full squad reports later next week.

Being a follower of the team and knowing its fan base…be assured that NESN will get some solid ratings from this. Only in Boston.

Photo Courtesy of the Boston Globe