Category Archives: Radio

News Bites for January 26, 2015

Wildcats lose play-by-play voice Chris Graham; WNC baseball looks for new broadcaster: Chris Graham, who has called the games for the Western Nevada College baseball team for eight years, is leaving the voluntary post for a full-time job with the Nevada legislature.  If you have your own broadcasting equipment and have a deep understanding of baseball, contact Coach DJ Whittemore at (775) 445-3250 to apply.

Auburn Doubledays hire an operations manager, play-by-play voice: The nascent New York-Penn League franchise has hired David Lauterbach, a senior at Syracuse University, as their play-by-play voice.  Lauterbach worked the games for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League for the past two seasons.

Headrick joins RailRiders broadcast team: The Yankees’ Triple A affiliate in Scranton-Wilkes Barre has hired Darren Headrick as color announcer alongside play-by-play guy John Sadakon on both radio and television game broadcasts.  Headrick previously did PxP for the indians’ Advanced A affiliate Carolina Mudcats, and was named 2013 Carolina League Broadcaster of the Year.

Welcome Liebhaber to the radio booth: The Jackson Generals radio booth, that is.  Brandon Liebhaber is a 22-year-old graduate of Northwestern University.  The Generals, who play in the Southern League, are the Double A affiliates of the Mariners. Liebhaber has previously announced in the Cape Cod league and for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League.

Royals’ Matthews on pace of play: Keep hitter in batter’s box, call a strike a strike: As the Royals’ TV PxP announcer, Denny Matthews has a definite opinion about pace of play.

Bye Bye, Bud: Selig Left His Mark On Baseball: Say what you want about the guy.  Whether you love him or hate him, either way, you gotta admit it: the reign of Bud Selig has been very positive for the growth of baseball media.

 

News Bites for January 23, 2015

This is the first “News Bites” post for this blog, which is something we’re going to experiment with.  The intent is to make News Bites a round up of stories involving the baseball media that broke during the prior day (or few days).

Major baseball media stories will rate their own, more elaborate posts with greater analysis, but otherwise we will put as many stories as we can capture into a News Bite post and provide links for you to “read all about it.”

The hope is that there there will be enough ongoing baseball media news to rate publishing a News Bites post at least most days.  And there have been in the last 24 hours, so here you go:

Jeff Levering joins Brewers radio broadcast team: Levering was play by play for the Pawtucket Red Sox the past two seasons.  He will work three innings on those days Bob Uecker is absent, and will do media support for the broadcasts otherwise.

MSSU Athletics announces baseball radio partner for 2015: Missouri Southern State University will have ten regular season games air on WMBH-AM in Joplin.

River Bandits return to the radio: All games in 2015 for the Quad Cities team will air on KBOB-AM, bumping Chicago Cubs broadcasts to ESPN 93.5.

Tech Baseball Will Have Nine Big 12 Games Televised: The games will air on Texas Tech TV on Fox Sports starting with the home opener against Kansas on March 27.

SEC ANNOUNCES BASEBALL TV SCHEDULE: A total of 80 games will air on the new SEC Network beginning with the February 21 Florida State/Georgia tilt.

WKU baseball has five TV games: Western Kentucky University games will air starting May 1 against Middle Tennessee on Fox Sports 1.  The other four will run on the overflow channel for the SEC Network and on WatchESPN.

“Broadcasting the Baseball Game”: Glorious Magazine Cover from 1924

Committee member John Thorn came across this gorgeous magazine cover from the May 1924 issue of Scientific American, demonstrating the coming technological marvel that was the vocal transmission of an account of a baseball game beyond mere shouting distance.

At that point in time, there were only three teams broadcasting home games on a regular basis: the Cubs and the White Sox on WMAQ in Chicago; and the Reds on WMH (now WKRC) in Cincinnati.

And as seems to be the case with all technologies in their infancy, radio broadcasting tended the province of the very young.  The famous first broadcast in Pittsburgh on KDKA in August of 1921 was called by 26 year old Harold Arlin, and the Cubs and White Sox in 1924 were announced by 23 year old Hal Totten.  I don’t know how old Gene Mittendorf, who called the Reds in ’24, was, but if I had to guess, he wasn’t anything like the septuagenarians and octogenarians who routinely populate the AM and FM baseball airwaves of today.

In any event, without further ado, here is that wonderful cover, for your ogling pleasure (click on it for a larger view):

Radio Broadcast Scientific American May 1924

ESPN announces Opening Day quadruple header, first month of Sunday Night games

Where you are right now, it may be sunny and bright or it may be cold and white.

But one thing is for sure as we mark another day off the calendar: Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is right around the hot corner.

Today, Jan. 14, ESPN announced its slate of Sunday Night games through May 3, including the April 5 opener pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The network also announced a quadruple header for April 6.

Your first question might be: Is my team playing in one of the ESPN televised games? Maybe. You’ll have to check the schedule.

Your second query may ask: How many times will a Yankees-Red Sox game be televised during this first month of the season?

Twice.

There has to be at least a couple, right?

Right!

The Monday, April 6, Opening Day ESPN schedule begins with a 1 p.m. American League East matchup between the Blue Jays and Yankees in New York. Of the nine broadcast games announced, the Yankees will play in four.

At 4 p.m., viewers can see on ESPN a potential pitchers’ duel between the Mets and Nationals in Washington, D.C. ESPN’s Buster Olney recently ranked the Nats’ and Mets’ pitching staffs as the best and fifth best in the MLB, respectively.

Cleveland visits the Astros for a 7 p.m. game on ESPN, and then at 10 p.m. on ESPN2, the World Series champion San Francisco Giants visit the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Beyond the aforementioned opener at Wrigley, ESPN announced the lineup for its next four Sunday night games, which include:

April 12, 8 p.m. – Red Sox at Yankees

April 19, 8 p.m. – Reds at Cardinals

April 26, 8 p.m. – Mets at Yankees

May 3, 8 p.m. – Yankees at Red Sox

ESPN is entering its 26th season of broadcasting Sunday night games and will again use the three-man booth of Dan Shulman, John Kruk and Curt Schilling. Olney again will serve as the field reporter.

And if you’re a radio guy like me, you’ll be glad to know ESPN Radio will also carry the Sunday Night games with Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton calling the action.

Big Changes for Chicago Team Broadcasts

Two big stories have broken in the past week regarding the broadcast of games for Chicago baseball teams.

First, WGN America announced that they were dropping Cubs and White Sox broadcasts entirely, terminating with the end of the 2014 season.  WGN is the superstation that so many of us watched Cubs games on when we first got cable two or three decades ago.  WGN Superstation signed onto the a … or, cable … in 1978, and Cubs games were a staple of the schedule.  Lots of people between the ages of 30 and 45 remember coming home from school, flipping on the Superstation and hearing Harry Caray and Steve Stone (and sometimes Milo Hamilton, Thom Brennaman or DeWayne Staats) regaling viewers and seeing beauty shots of historic Wrigley Field.  It’s the sole reason many out of towners became Cubs fans in the first place.  In 1990 WGN started running the White Sox as well, and although many fewer non-Chicagoans became Sox fans as a result, it did provide them a national platform few other teams could claim.

But in the brave new world of new media, with MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV at our easy disposal, WGN America has slipped into irrelevancy when considering on which channel to watch Cubs and White Sox games.   Despite that WGN America is running 71 Cubs game and 32 White Sox in 2014, the decision comes down to ratings.  That is, neither the Cubs nor Sox generate sufficient ratings to justify continuing to air them.  And so WGN America-slash-Superstation is focusing their efforts on another general audience basic cable network because, you know, we need another one of those.

Read more about this here:

WGN America to drop Chicago sports

Report: WGN America To Drop Cubs, Chicago Sports Programming

On the radio front, it’s the Cubs doing the dropping as they have informed WGN radio that they no longer wish to continue their 90-year marriage, with the Cubs moving to WBBM-AM starting in 2015. Itself a 50,000 watt station with multiple state coverage, in theory the Cubs should not lose anything in the way of listenership with the move.  But again, in this age of online radio coverage (especially through MLB’s super popular At Bat app) coupled with baseball games broadcast on satellite radio giant SiriusXM, it may not be an altogether relevant change.  Don’t feel too bad for WGN for getting shut out by the Cubs, though: they precipitated the move by exercising their contractual option to re-do the deal to keep the team on, because of low ratings brought on by a frankly terrible team that locals are losing interest in, in droves.

Read more about this move here:

Cubs dropping WGN Radio for WBBM-AM

One unintended effect of these two moves is that it completely screws up the Cubs anthem played in the ballpark whenever the team wins.  The song, “Go Cubs Go” by Steve , mentions WGN explicitly in the title, although to be fair, this anthem is already fouled up since it suggests that you can “catch [all the action] on WGN”, which hasn’t been true on the TV side of the house for twenty years now.

Radio move from WGN fouls up ‘Go, Cubs, Go’ anthem