Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Speaking of Sports Again

This update will be mostly related to sports and local media, since that's where the news is...

BIG STO PICKUP: In its continuing drive to have programming other than Cleveland Indians games and assorted Cleveland Browns shows, pre-season game repeats and low-rent wrestling and poker shows, SportsTime Ohio has landed a big one.

The Cleveland-based sports network has officially announced a one-year deal for the statewide rights to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's playoffs and championship games. (The Associated Press story on it can be found here via

Quoting STO's own press release, which the network helpfully sent to OMW:

SportsTime Ohio will have exclusive rights to televise eight (8) football playoff games, six (6) football championship games, eight (8) boys’ basketball playoff games, four (4) boys’ basketball championship games, and four (4) girls’ basketball championship games. In addition, STO has exclusive distribution of a minimum of four (4) other OHSAA events to be determined.

Though STO's coverage will drastically increase the number of potential viewers for the high school games, there is one problem: The Cleveland-based network has no cable or satellite carriage in the Cincinnati and Dayton markets.

To address that problem, SportsTime Ohio turned to close partner Time Warner Cable, which will air the OHSAA contests for its viewers in Southwest Ohio. (There's no word on if STO or TWC will offer games to other cable systems in the Dayton and Cincinnati regions.)

We'll have to assume that STO upped the dollar ante, after the OHSAA folks rejected earlier bids from both that network and the previous incumbent rightsholder, the Columbus-based Ohio News Network, as being inadequate.

The release says games will be seen both live and on tape delay (digital delay now?)...

STO CROWING ABOUT RATINGS: Another press release from the Cleveland Indians-associated STO crows about ratings.

The network says Monday night's Indians contest with the Detroit Tigers, capped by a walk-off home run winner by Casey Blake, garnered the highest ratings in SportsTime Ohio's history:

According to Nielsen’s preliminary ratings, the last hour of the Indians extra innings win over the Tigers delivered a 15 rating, peaking at a 17.9. These numbers equate to over 517,500 viewers 18+ watching the game.

Now, if only we had FSN Ohio's numbers from the Indians' 1995 and 1997 World Series runs to compare...

NEW "KNR2" SHOW THIS WEEK: ESPN Radio has announced its replacement for former early afternoon host Dan Patrick, who left the Worldwide Leader in Sports a while back.

It'll be Monday Night Football play-by-play voice and ESPN TV mainstay Mike Tirico sliding into the 1-3 PM slot formerly occupied by Patrick, with a national simulcast of New York-based WEPN/1050 "ESPN 1050" host Stephen A. Smith in the 3-4 PM time slot weekdays. Smith, of course, is also a mainstay on the TV side of ESPN.

Both shows will only be heard on small stations in Northeast Ohio.

With primary local ESPN affiliate Good Karma WKNR/850 Cleveland running other programming - the last two hours of Jim Rome's Premiere Radio show and the first hour of local afternoon drive show "Munch on Sports" with Mark "Munch" Bishop, the new ESPN shows won't air on "ESPN 850 WKNR".

Instead, they'll be welcomed into Patrick's old time slot on 850's little brother station, WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR2". The station has put up an announcement to that effect on the website.

We'll assume, for now, that Canton market ESPN affiliate WTIG/990 Massillon "ESPN 990", and Youngstown ESPN affiliate WBBW/1240, will carry the new shows.

But...for how long?

Patrick's new radio show, for Chicago-based "The Content Factory", will start soon - October 1st. Will some ESPN Radio stations hang in there for a few weeks with Tirico and Smith, or will they bolt for the new Dan Patrick show? We'll find out in about three weeks...

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