Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 82- Greg Wyshynski, Yahoo! Sports

We begin the last month of 2011 with a packed edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.  Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I begin the show talking about the battle between CBS Sports and NBC Sports over the possible flexing of the December 18th NFL match-up between the Patriots and Broncos.

We also touch upon a report in Sports Business Journal That CBS, NBC, and Fox may be near a deal to extend their television rights contracts with the NFL.  We also touch upon what will be a demanding 66-game NBA schedule once the season begins on Christmas Day.

Our guest this week is Greg Wyshynski, Editor of the Puck Daddy NHL hockey blog at Yahoo! Sports.  We talk with Greg about plans to realign the NHL and how those plans will impact the coverage of the sport by NBC, Versus, and the CBC.  We also look at the upcoming NHL Winter Classic and whether ESPN can ever regain favor with the league in the future.


Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 74- Dave Strader, NBC Sports/Versus

I am riding solo on this week’s edition of the podcast as Ken Fang at Fang’s Bites had a previous commitment and could not join me for the show.

There is no news segment this week, just our interview with Dave Strader, NHL play-by-play voice for NBC Sports and Versus.  Dave tells us what it’s like to just work for the network after many years of splitting his hockey duties with stints calling games for the Red Wings, Panthers, and Coyotes.

Dave and I also talk about the dynamics of having his game analyst at ice level instead of the booth, the opportunity for the NHL in light of the potential absence of an NBA season, and some of the teams he likes in this year’s NHL campaign.

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 73- Jen Royle, 105.7 FM The Fan, Baltimore

We are back with another edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.  Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I begin the show by talking about the controversy over the political remarks made by Monday Night Football crooner Hank Williams, Jr. and ESPN’s response to it.

We also touch upon the strong ratings for the League Division Series on TBS and the hiring of Terry Francona by Fox to fill in for Tim McCarver for the first two games of the American League Championship Series.

Ken and I also discuss the expectations for NBC and Versus as the NHL season gets underway…particularly if the NBA season is cut short due to the lockout.

Our guest this week is Jen Royle, Ravens beat reporter for 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore.  Jen tells us about her life growing up in Boston, working in New York, and her struggles in Baltimore.

Versus to Air Four NHL Pre-Season Games

The NBC Sports group today announced that Versus will be televising four NHL pre-season games over the next week.

The network will be re-transmitting the feeds from Comacast SportsNet Chicago and Cmocast SportsNet Philadelphia.  Versus will be providing intermission coverage in studio hosted by Liam McHugh along with NBC Sports Group NHL analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire.

The first pre-season game will be tomorrow night.   Here is the schedule:

Wednesday, September 21 Toronto at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Monday, September 26 Rangers at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Wednesday, September 28 Detroit at Chicago 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 29 New Jersey at Philadelphia 7 p.m.

NBC Sports Group Unveils NHL Announcer Slate

The NBC Sports Group today took the wraps off its 2011-2012 NHL announcer field for both NBC and Versus.

Not much has changed over the 2012-2011 season with Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire returning as the number one game announcing team.  The trio will call all lead games on NBC as well as the Wednesday night affairs on Versus.  Emrick will pair with McGuire on Versus’ Monday night package.

Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will call the action on Versus on Sundays and Tuesdays.

In terms of the NHL studio shows, Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones will handle pre- and post game shows on NHL Live on Versus.  McHugh and Milbury will be at the desk during intermissions of NBC telecasts.

Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick, joined by other network hockey analysts, will host Versus’ NHL Overtime highlights show.

“The key ingredient to the success of our broadcasts has been the people and we’re thrilled that the best in the business are returning,” said Sam Flood, executive producer for NBC Sports and VERSUS in a press release. “This talent schedule benefits hockey fans because it allows us to produce consistent broadcasts across all platforms, which is more important than ever as fans will see more national regular-season and playoff telecasts than ever before.”

The 2011 NHL season begins on Versus on Thursday, October 6th.

NBC Sports Group to Debut Daily Sports Studio Shows on Versus

The NBC Sports Group is expanding its sports news coverage to include a nightly studio show as well as a weekly studio program, both on Versus.

The nightly program will be entitled NBC SportsTalk and tap into the talent on the network’s franchises of ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, InsidetheIrish and ProGolfTalk.  The program will air weekdays at 6:00p.m ET and be hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Russ Thaler.  Programs on Monday and Friday will be devoted to the NFL with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

NBC SportsTalk will debut Thursday, September 8th, just prior to NBC’s NFL Kick-Off coverage of the New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers.

NBC SportsTalk is the type of nightly, relevant programming that viewers can expect to see as we continue the re-branding process from VERSUS to the NBC Sports Network,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and VERSUS in a press release. “The live nightly shows also give us the opportunity to tap into our stable of top talent across all of our platforms to provide a unique perspective for sports fans.”

NBC Sports Group will also produce a sports business program each Friday at 7:00p.m. called  CNBCSports Biz: Game On hosted by CNBC’s Darren Rovell.  This program will debut on September 9th

NBC Sports Group Sets College Football Schedule

The NBC Sports Group will air 28 college football games on NBC and Versus this season.

NBC will televise seven Notre Dame games this season, as well as the Bayou Classic November 26th between Grambling and Southern.  Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock will have the call of Irish football except for the opener of September 3rd when Dan Hicks will replace Hammond who will be working the World Track and Field Championships.

The Versus schedule will include match-ups from the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, and the Ivy League.  Paul Burmeister and Shaun King will be the announcers for Mountain West.  Ted Robinson and Glenn Parker will anchor the Pac-12 coverage while  Randy Moss and Ross Tucker will telecast the Ivy League.

NBC will produce a new live college football studio show which provides pre- and post-game coverage as well as halftime reports for every game on both NBC and VERSUS.  The new program will be hosted by Liam McHugh along with  Doug Flutie and Roland Williams. Additionally, during each Notre Dame game on NBC, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America and Mike Florio of ProfootballTalk will join the studio crew at halftime with NFL insider information.

Versus will be producing a a new one-hour show each Monday at 5p.m. ET titled College Football Talk.  McHugh, Tucker, and Williams will host the show, which will look at the week gone by with a strong focus on Notre Dame football.

Here is the schedule of games for NBC and Versus:


Sept. 3 Notre Dame vs. South Florida 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 Notre Dame vs. #17 Michigan State 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 Notre Dame vs. Air Force 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 Notre Dame vs. #25 USC 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 29 Notre Dame vs. Navy 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 12 Notre Dame vs. Maryland 7:30 p.m. (FedEx Field in Landover, MD)
Nov. 19 Notre Dame vs. Boston College 4:00 p.m.
Nov. 26 The State Farm Bayou Classic 2:30 p.m.
Grambling vs. Southern


Mountain West Conference

Sept. 10 #14 TCU at Air Force 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 Texas Tech at New Mexico 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 24 #10 Nebraska at Wyoming 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 Nevada at #5 Boise State 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 Air Force at #5 Boise State 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 5 Army at Air Force 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 12 #14 TCU at #5 Boise State 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 3 UNLV at #14 TCU 2:30 p.m.

Pac-12 Conference

Sept. 10 Utah at #25 USC 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 TBD 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 TBD 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 5 TBD TBD
Nov. 12 TBD 10:30 p.m.
Nov. 19 TBD 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 TBD 7:30 p.m.

Ivy League

Sept. 24 Cornell at Yale 12:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 Penn at Columbia 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 22 Yale at Penn 12:00 p.m.
Nov. 12 Penn at Harvard 12:00 p.m.
Nov. 19 Harvard at Yale 12:00 p.m.

NFL Films, NBS Sports Collaborate on NFL Turning Point

NFL Films and the NBS Sports Group will be working on the production of a new NFL program entitled NFL Turning Point, which will air weekly on Versus during the season.

The premise of the show is to use the production skills of NFL Films to get behind-the-scenes of two NFL match-ups each week.  The program will revolve around the key play or plays of the game, the turning point, if you will.  The program will be enhanced by NFL Films’ access to the players and coaches for each game.

“Showcasing the sounds and images of the game, from the smallest detail to the big picture has been our strength for nearly 50 years,” said NFL Films President Steve Sabol in a press release. “We are thrilled to get an opportunity to produce that type of show with a new partner in VERSUS.”

NFL Turning Point will debut on Versus Thursday, September 15th at 10pm ET.


Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 66- Andrew Catalon, WNYT-TV, NBC, CBS Sports

After our special on Monday we are back with our regularly scheduled edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast.

In this week’s news segment Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I discuss the re-branding of Versus into the NBC Sports Network and Sporting News Radio into Yahoo! Sports Radio and their potential impact in competing with ESPN.

We also discuss how an agreement between Westwood One and Dial Global will benefit the radio network.  We look at two new additions to ESPN’s stable of NFL analysts (one of particular interest to Ken) and the wait-and-see attitude by the Big East Conference in the future of its television packages.

Our guest this week is Andrew Catalon, sports anchor at News Channel 13, WNYT in Albany New York.  Some of you may remember Andrew as the voice of curling at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics on NBC.  Andrew talks about his curling background, his work for CBS Sports on coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and the Masters, and covering sports in New York’s state capital.

Versus To Be Renamed NBC Sports Network

The NBC Sports Group today announced that Versus will be renamed NBC Sports Network effective January 2nd.

This name change had been rumored for some time and may be seen by some as NBC’s move to launch a strong challenge to ESPN.  NBC Sports Group hopes to use the NBC Sports Network as the 24/7 platform for all of NBC Sports properties.

“This effort is a major step towards a complete strategic alignment of all our platforms and businesses,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group in a press release. “This is more than just a name change for VERSUS. It’s a complete repositioning of the brand to provide value for marketers, consumers as well as all our affiliates and distributors. We want anyone who comes into contact with any of our assets to immediately connect with the NBC Sports brand promise.”

As you can see NBC Sports Group is adapting its NBC Sports logo into the new NBC Sports Network logo.  With the change coming on January 2nd, NBC will use its coverage of Sunday Night Football on January 1st as well as the NHL Winter Classic and the NFL Wild Card Playoffs to launch a cross branding of the new network.

Here is video of Lazarus discussing the name change: