Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sports Media Fallout

It has been a busy week or so in the local sports media world, and here's where it stands right now:

BROWNS CONTRACT: The TV contract for pre-season Browns games and related local over-air programming could be announced as soon as Thursday, we've heard. But OMW hears it is not an easy decision for team officials.

It would appear that the winner will either be Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, or Scripps-Howard ABC affiliate WEWS/5.

It's a dilemma that could basically be called "Tried and True vs. Shiny and New". (Please forgive us if that sounds like the name of a "Detour" on the popular CBS reality travel show "The Amazing Race". We miss Phil Keoghan!)

In our "Tried and True" department, Browns officials apparently like the idea of returning to WKYC, which was the team's long-time pre-season home until Raycom Media picked up the three-year deal for its WOIO/19...the deal which the team exited this week.

There's a certain comfort level and familiarity for the team with WKYC due to its past history with the Browns, and the station seems serious about reinstating that relationship.

"Shiny and New" would be WEWS. OMW has reported that the ABC affiliate has gone all out on the air, from running two stories on the Browns first move to dump WOIO as local TV rights holder, to covering the end of that story in a live report yesterday.

WEWS has also given the Browns prominent placement on their website, with a Browns "Training Camp Notebook" section front and center next to their news items.

But most importantly, OMW also hears that WEWS has presented a very attractive offer to the team. We're told station staffers for both WKYC and WEWS feel good about their stations' chances of picking up the Browns' local TV rights. WJW "FOX 8" appears not to be seriously in contention.

The decision will have to happen very, very soon...if not Thursday, then no later than Friday. As we keep reminding folks, the first pre-season game is a week from Thursday...

REGHI'S FRIENDS: We didn't have any idea how many friends now-former Cavaliers TV play-by-play voice Michael Reghi had made in the local sports media...until today.

His dismissal is - despite other matters - front and center on the minds of Cleveland's sports media members today, and we're hearing that Reghi was basically "blindsided" by the move to remove him from the Cavs TV booth on FSN Ohio, and had absolutely no idea it was coming.

OMW is hearing from a number of local media folks who consider themselves friends with Reghi, and who are sympathizing with him after the move.

The concensus would appear to be that the swap was initiated by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, in an effort to put someone he's more comfortable with (that would be Pistons TV voice Fred McLeod) into the Cavs TV play-by-play role.

FSN Ohio doesn't appear to have had any role in the change. Neither did WUAB/43, which still has Cavs over-air rights at least for another couple of years or so. The move bounces Reghi off of that station's games as well, since the team is involved in making those decisions.

And Reghi continues with FSN Ohio on the network's new Browns-related programming, which comes out of the FSN pact with the cable programmer.

Sure enough, after a brief delay in the start due to technical difficulties, Reghi was up front and center on FSN Ohio's first Browns training camp show tonight at 7, with no hint that he had just been given a jolt of bad news earlier in the day...


Anonymous said...

I don't think FOX 8 really cares about the games because they really place there engery on news and entainment stories. Unless they use the FSO OHIO conection which I don't think they will no way. IF CH 3 gets the games, how will they fit it into the schedule? This is where a second duoply staion would come in very handy. I could see ch 5 getting them it makes the most sense. Too bad E.W.Scripts doesn't want to keep WOAC. There could be potiential but maybe they will have second thoughts. Could CH 3 take the games and air them on CH 23 or CH 55 so it doesnot screw up the schedule? It seems that Ganett needs a second station for all of the influx of new programming they are getting.

Anonymous said...

Why the big uproar over Michael Reghi? I think he was a terrible announcer for the TV Games. If you listen to Kenny Roda you thought that Joe Tait was fired from the Cavaliers today. Reghi was overrated and he was also an egomaniac. If anyone deserved to get the Cavs play by play job on TV it is Mike Snyder. He is awesome on play by play for any sport!

Anonymous said...

Reghi was as dedicated, not only to the Cavs, but to sports in Northeast Ohio as anyone I have ever seen. Mike was all over the MAC, with all smiles. As a college student working in broadcasting, Mike was a great person to talk to during games, and will serve as a great role model wherever he goes. I only hope he can continue covering the MAC, and I hope he can land the Pistons job.

Jeff Gravely said...

Mike Snyder would be horrendous on play by play. Paul Harvey thinks this guy lacks energy.

Johnny Morgan said...

Mike Snyder horrendous on play by play?

He's been doing it since he came here--high school, Univ. of Akron, Kent State, Cleveland State, Cleveland Force, Canton-Akron Indians, and for some reason I have in my mind the idea that he did fill-in for Joe Tait on Cavs regular season games for a short time a few/many years back. Mike's also done Cavs pre-season PBP, if memory serves.

But if you like the irrational exuberance of Jim Donovan when Phil Dawson hits a 23 yard field goal, be my guest. To each his own.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone answer this question... I live in Youngstown and I have Direct TV so I don't get Cleveland Locals for Browns Games... If I get the Sunday ticket would I get them then? Whats a good work around for this?

Ohio Media Watch said...

Good question re: local TV in Youngstown, DirecTV and such.

I think you're pretty much stuck, and that Sunday Ticket would still black out probably both Browns and Steelers games (since they're aired locally). You'd then be at the mercy of whatever WKBN/27 or FOX 17/62 airs.

Would anyone in the Youngstown market confirm this?


Anonymous said...

re: local TV in Youngstown, DirecTV and such.
You are right about the black out of Sunday ticket. They look at Youngstown as being in the browns and steelers market so you are out of luck. The best fix would be to pursahse a set of rabbit ears and try for WKBN or WOIO. If the games on FOX then try to shoot for WJW or pray for FOX 17/62 since they have a very, very weak signal.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Just a note - if you're trying to get FOX 17/62, it's now a digital subchannel on WKBN-DT, which has a very strong signal we can get here in Akron. But of course, you'll need a digital tuner.

I think the original post was a Youngstown market resident who wanted Cleveland-based broadcasts of Browns games - if, for example, WKBN broadcast a Steelers contest over a Browns game.

We seem to recall this happened at least twice late last year, when the Browns were clearly out of contention, and the Steelers were driving to their eventual Super Bowl win. (And yes, as a lifelong Browns fan, this hurts us to type!)

So, it'd appear his only hope would be to pick up WOIO (or WJW, if it's a FOX game...).


Anonymous said...

WKBN is considered browns home market which is confusing. But if the browns were not to play but the steelers we to play, then WKBN can air the game, but if they both play at the same time then they carry the browns game. If they air one after the other or if one airs elsewhere (FOX,NFL Network,ESPN,NBC)then there should be no problem.See how it sucks sometimes to live in the middle of 2 cities that have professional teams that are in the same division, and are arch rivals.