Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday Grab Bag

Just some random stuff, mostly followups:

COMCAST NFL: OMW hears that after a few days of only a notification message, Time Warner Cable has finally returned the NFL Network to subscribers on the former Comcast system locally.

It's back on its usual channels as of Tuesday - 180 and 275. And an OMW reader reports that the notification that TWC plans to pull the NFL Network without a new agreement has been moved to a rather odd place...cable channel 116. Not digital cable channel 116, which carries the History Channel...but analog cable channel 116.

Various published reports say that TWC has backed down from any court challenge to the recent FCC decision that forced it to return the NFL Network to former Adelphia and Comcast subscribers, and the cable operator continues to pursue a final resolution otherwise.

From OMW's corner, it appears TWC has nearly three months to come to an agreement with the NFL Network...if it is not successful in its negotiations before September 3rd. Most viewers won't really care about the channel again until they're not able to see actual games on it...which start on Thanksgiving Night...

STILL MORE DUNCAN FALLOUT: The fallout over the dismissal of WERE/1300 morning host Ronnie Duncan as the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers public address announcer is still reverberating in the sports media world in Northeast Ohio

Duncan himself weighed in with Cavs beat writer Bob Finnan in the Lorain Morning Journal/Lake County News-Herald:

"'They made me a robot,'' Duncan said. ''Dan (Gilbert) would interject things during the games, like 'Cleveland basketball' (sung to the tune of 'Detroit basketball'). They wanted Mason. Maybe Dan should have bought the Detroit Pistons.''

"Mason" is now-former Pistons PA announcer John Mason, who that team insists is not headed to Cleveland.

But the "Detroit Connection" is hard to shake for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert in the Cleveland sports media, as suggested by Cleveland Plain Dealer sports columnist Bill Livingston in his column today.

Like Finnan, Livingston does point out some of Duncan's on-mic goofs at the "Q", including calling Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson "Oscar Robinson".

Most of this is out of our purview, so we'll only bring up that some people are calling for former Cavs PA announcer Howie Chizek to return to the microphone. But as we said elsewhere - that isn't happening on either side of this equation.

The WNIR/100.1 midday talk host declined to commute to downtown Cleveland when the team moved from the Richfield Coliseum to then-Gund Arena.

Not only that, Howie has long complained on the air about the current state of professional sports, and its emphasis on overly produced entertainment.

On the other side, it appears Dan Gilbert is actually looking for more of the same - see the above quote - and for that matter, for even more than he got out of Duncan.

Howie is very popular among Cavaliers fans, and is usually considered the gold standard of arena announcing around these parts. But even if he got past his own concerns, what he does is not what the current ownership wants...and never the trains shall meet...

NOTE: Our apologies to News-Herald/Morning Journal Cavs beat writer Bob Finnan for the misidentification earlier. We guess we had to get all the Browns stuff we'd been writing out of our heads!


Anonymous said...

I think it's a matter of high respect for Howie Chizek that people quickly call for his return. But when you consider his personal concerns, can anyone really blame him?

Anonymous said...

I always thought the best NBA Arena announcer was the Los Angeles Lakers guy. I don't know who he is but he has this incredibly deep voice and says:

"Foul - Abdul-Jabbar - his fifth. Boston basketball"

Real low key.

That's as good as it gets.

It's called "class".

Ronnie Duncan was the opposite of the aforementioned. Then again .. eveidently .. he was told to do it so ..

Anonymous said...

You have to laugh at Duncan's comments. It would be far better to walk away with dignity than to bad mouth the Cavs. He's lucky to even have a chance at the PA job in the 1st place. They tried it and it didn't work. You would be hard pressed to find anyone other than Roger Brown who liked Duncan in the PA role.

Anonymous said...

Duncan was annoying (that constant "never moving teeth-smile face") on the TV sports, and FAR more so as the Cavs PA anncr. I was horrified when he was even considered for the post.

That said, Gilbert has got to give up these CRAPPY in-game notions of his. THEY RUIN THE GAME, DAN!! Just SHUT UP and let the game play out, with (as #2 said) "class." You lost that the minute you rolled in from Michigan.

On a side note: Can last night's arrest finally silence those Mo Clarett apologists who constantly cry to "give him a 2nd chance?" The guy is a career thug, and I have NO DOUBT he intended to use those guns (why else wear a bulletproof vest at 3am?). Lock him up and toss away the key before he KILLS SOMEONE---you all KNOW he'd do it in a heartbeat.

Ryan Kilbane said...

I'm sorry, but Howie Chizek is yet another egomaniac. I listened to the guy on More Sports and Les Levine once, and all he could mouth off about was how he "invented this, and he invited that." Give it up old man. You weren't the first PA guy in the world to say "two minutes...less than two minutes remaining in the quarter."

Ohio Media Watch said...

Oh, that's just Howie's schtick, that's all.

My favorite Howie-ism was when he used to say that "we worked with" the ABC network for years. No, he didn't mean he worked FOR the ABC network, he meant that the station used to CARRY the ABC radio newscasts. (Of course, it does again, as of about a year or so ago.)

He often spouts off that he basically invented telephone talk radio in the nation, which isn't true, either.

There are some folks who'd been doing it in the 1960's in places like NYC (Long John Nebel comes to mind)...and that doesn't even count Cleveland-based hosts who beat him to the punch here in Northeast Ohio. Howie started in 1973 on then-WKNT AM/FM, and had been doing talk on WBBW/Youngstown for a year or two before that.

It's just what Howie does. He's not really arrogant about it. It's almost an act.

But I don't think you'll find many who disagree that he was the best PA announcer in the Cavs' 36 year history.


Anonymous said...

As I have posted elsewhere, Ronnie should have done his homework. No matter who the player was-home or visitor, he should be learning the correct pronounication of that player's name. I would take it as an insult if I was a well known basketball player, and some yo-yo announcer got my name wrong.

Anonymous said...

First off when it comes to Clarett's midnite joyride/god knows what else field trip thiugh Columbus, I think his second chance is up and he screwed it up. I will admit I posted here in other entries suggesting he be given the benefit of the doubt, but after what he did he has his chance and he F*&^%! it up. I do regret thinking he changed and turned his life around.
As for Ronnie Duncan losing his job with the CAVS, I am not shocked that it happened but the CAVS had to know what they were getting into. I mean he was just as highstrung and colorful on 19 action news as he was at the GUNG/THE Q and they had to know what to expect. BTW why did he leve the world famous car wreck known as 19 action news in the first place?I think he wanted to tell his side of things but I do agree that he should of not bad mouthed the CAVS over his firing.

Anonymous said...

Ryan -

You get the award for the single funniest posting in at least a month.

Right on the mark....

djl said...

You would be hard pressed to find anyone other than Roger Brown who liked Duncan in the PA role.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone other than Roger Brown who liked Duncan.

Anonymous said...

Howie Chizek is not arrogant at all. He is a very pleasant person when you meet him and very friendly. For Howie to have such a pleasant attitude after having Joe Finan follow him on the air at 3pm for 20 years and listen to that bitter old fossil is more torture than anyone deserves. Howie was the best PA Announcer we have ever had bar none!

Anonymous said...

Roger, you REALLY like Duncan and his inhuman, distorted-voice wailings? Or have you never BEEN to the Gund??

Ronnie = a nice guy, but does not need to be seen or heard in public.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone name one African-American announcer that Roger Brown has ever criticized? Roger always believes someone is holding them down

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, Howard is all an act. Meant him at a sporting event one time and he was really down to earth. A really nice guy. For that matter, so was Joe Finan, always polite


Anonymous said...

I remember Howie announcing at the Coliseum....


I didn't know at the time when he was at the Coliseum that he had a show on WNIR.

It was because of him that I went to the Waterloo restaurant in Akron. He made the food sound so good. It actually was.

Anonymous said...

Analog Channel 116 in New Philadelphia is just a blank black as day screen.


Ohio Media Watch said...


If you're in New Philly, like your name would suggest, you won't see the NFL Network message on analog 116. The item reports that it's only on that channel on the former Comcast wing of the new TWC.

Us Adelphia types are still getting that notification on digital 125, or at least last time I looked, along with the rotation on 15/17.


Anonymous said...

I remember Howie Chizek almost getting tossed from a 1992 Eastern Conference Finals game for announcing a "foul" that sent Michael Jordan to the charity stripe. He was very entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Something to think about:

Dan Gilbert pays a few hundred million for an NBA team, and for some silly reason he wants to run it his way...including the P.A. announcer.

We finally have an owner for one of the Cleveland teams that cares about what happens at the game, and WINNING, and all we do is complain about it?

Who would you rather own the Cavs? Gund? Dolan? Modell?

Johnny Morgan said...

Dear 8.33am anonymous:

It has nothing to do with Gilbert wanting to win. You can want to win and not hire buffoons (Duncan) or out-of-towners (McLeod).

You're correct--it's his team to run how he wants. If he chooses to run it not as a Clevelander, but as a former Detroiter, fine.

Its our right as the sports-consuming audience to criticize those moves and not go to games (should we care not to).

One more thing: there is an obligation incumbent on every owner to be a members of the community--it comes with owning, not only the franchise that has the community's name attached to it, but also comes with publicizing to the community and comes with playing in a community-funded facility.

This is Cleveland, Ohio--not Cleveland, suburb of former hometown Detroit, Michigan. Gilbert better realize that quick.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Johnny...

And just to add, Gilbert should be concerned about the product/players he puts on the FLOOR, and not so obsessessed with the "trappings" that distract from the game and ABSOLUTELY ANNOY 99% OF THOSE ATTENDING!!! When did sheer NOISE become a facet of entertainment? Why can't we hear the person next to use speak? Must every timeout be filled with senses-dulling decibals of nonsense??

C'mon, 8:33 poster...get a clue.

BizDecision said...

The Lakers' p.a. announcer referenced in the earlier post is Lawrence Tanter. He is one of the best in the business.

Howie was the best, bar none. He rose to the level of the excitement. He didn't need to manufacture it by constantly screaming it like Wayne Brady was doing.

Anonymous said...

Joe Finan is still on the air? He has to be about 95 years old now.