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"Mike and Mad Dog" to Replace Imus on WFAN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Friday, 13 April 2007 01:15

Don ImusThe fallout from the Don Imus firing has touched the sports world. WFAN is placing the Mike and Mad Dog show in Imus' slot, although the programming change may not be permanent. As detailed in the Hollywood Reporter:

"Imus" had been carried on 61 stations nationwide through Westwood One, including home station WFAN. Sources said it will be replaced, at least for the time being, by the popular team of "Mike and the Mad Dog" sports talk show in the New York area, though that apparently is not set in stone.

As further reported by Mediaweek, WFAN will see considerable revenue losses due to Imus' ouster:

"Imus in the Morning" was responsible for as much as $22 million in revenues, according to sources, but now that is in jeopardy. WFAN midday hosts "Mike and the Mad Dog" will replace Imus Friday (April 13), and the duo will be in place "probably for the next few weeks,” according to CBS spokesman Dana McClintock. 

 
FSN Detroit to Provide 60 Tigers Games in High-Def PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 28 March 2007 10:29

Detroit TigersThe Detroit Tigers, and FSN Detroit announced today that for the 2007 season, FSN Detroit will be doubling the number of games being broadcast in high-definition to 60 games.

The games will be shown on FSN HD, a channel available on high-definition cable service provided by Comcast, Bright House Networks and Wide Open West (WOW!), as well as via satellite on DIRECTV:

  • Comcast - Ch. 201 (metro Detroit, Flint/Saginaw and West Michigan)
  • Bright House Networks - Ch. 232 (western Detroit suburbs)
  • WOW! - Ch. 220 (Detroit suburbs)
  • DIRECTV - Ch. 96 or 97 (Detroit spot beam)

"As the number of high-definition television homes continues to grow, we're delighted to be at the forefront by providing the most local HD sports content," said Greg Hammaren, Vice President/General Manager, FSN Detroit.

Beyond the games on FSN HD, FSN Detroit's standard definition Tigers programming goes to 3.2 million cable and satellite households throughout Michigan and portions of Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana. FSN Detroit is scheduled to deliver nearly 600 hours of Tigers-related original programming during the 2007 season including a record 134 regular season games, TIGERS LIVE pre- and postgame shows, TIGERS WEEKLY, SPOTLIGHT episodes and other special programming.

 
Mariners and FSN Near 10-Year $300 Million Extension PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Friday, 23 March 2007 07:06

MarinersThe Seattle Mariners and Fox Sports Northwest are on the verge of a 10-year extension, worth an estimated $300 million in rights fees. The length and amount of money involved in the deal would make it one of the most lucrative deals for any US pro sports team and a cable network on a regional basis.

While the Seattle Mariners have faltered in the standings the last three years, the club enjoys strong cable ratings posting a 6.5 in 2006, which ranked fifth among baseball local markets. In 2005, a 6.3 rating was fourth. In 2004, a 7.8 ranked third. For three years before that, the Mariners were No. 1 among all major league local markets. As reported by the Seattle P-I:

The numbers and timing were somewhat surprising. Not only have the Mariners been on a three-year slide on the field, pro sports franchises in the past preferred shorter deals to take advantage of better fortunes and changes in the sports and broadcast marketplaces.

The trend is changing in Major League Baseball. The Mariners, whose ownership reportedly had a large debate on the proposed deal, chose to do what several other teams have done -- take a more conservative course of long-term stability with an early lockup.

As further reported:

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue market for TV households is ranked 14th largest in the nation. But FSN reaches far beyond central Puget Sound. With cable channels throughout the state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Canada, Fox claims to reach 3.4 million homes in baseball's largest market geographically.

 
Today Marks 5-Year Anniversary of YES Network PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Staff   
Monday, 19 March 2007 01:10

Yes NetworkToday marks the fifth anniversary of the YES network, and with it the sports network will air a retrospective in celebration. As noted by Neil Best, columnist for NY Newsday, "YES wasn't the first regional sports network owned by a team, but it furthered the trend by (eventually) gaining broad distribution, producing reliable revenues and making other teams - notably the Mets - lust after their own versions."

YES has had a huge impact on the regional sports network (RSN) industry. The fact that, at its core, the Yankees are the product that makes YES a success is not lost on others that track the television industry. As further reported by Newsday:

Neal Pilson, a TV consultant who used to run CBS Sports, calls YES "a role model for all professional sports teams."

Trouble is, many markets and teams can't support such a network. Pilson was involved in one of those failed efforts, for the Twins.

"My caution is not every team has the combination of distribution, ownership and most important, fan appeal, to make it work," Pilson said.

 
Feature-Length Documentary on Red Sox Forthcoming PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Friday, 16 March 2007 05:42

Rooters: The Birth of Red Sox NationA feature-length documentary chronicling 100-years of Red Sox history and the makings of Red Sox Nation is in post-production and could air as early as this summer.

The documentary, which will most likely be aired on NESN and entitled, “Rooters: The Birth of Red Sox Nation” starts as early as 1897 with the Royal Rooters, and goes up to present day. As reported by the Boston Herald:

“(They) really formed the backbone for American sports fans as we know them today,” said Peter Nash, a producer and writer of the upcoming film and the author of the book “Boston’s Royal Rooters.”

“If you go to a Red Sox game, or any game in the major league, and you see some fan holding a megaphone or some kind of a noise maker, they were the first to do it,” Nash said.

The documentary will follow the history of Sox fans from the early days to the 1967 “Impossible Dream” season to the present day. Individual stories of families of avid fans passing down a passion for the team will be part of the film, Nash said.

The film will also include older footage of the likes of Peter Gammons and Johnny Pesky.

 
MLB International Reaches New 3- Year TV Deals PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 07 March 2007 03:55

MLBMajor League Baseball International has reached agreements with ESPN Star Sports (ESS) and FTV on comprehensive over-the-air, cable and satellite broadcast packages through 2009, it was announced today.

Financial terms were not released.

As part of a renewal agreement, ESS will maintain cable and satellite television rights in 29 countries and territories across Asia (with exclusivity in all, except for China) through the 2009 MLB championship season. ESS will broadcast up to three MLB regular season games per week, the All-Star Game (with additional rights to the Home Run Derby and the XM All-Star Futures Game), select American and National League Division Series games, both League Championship Series and the World Series to television audiences across Asia.

Additionally, ESS has expanded its inventory in Taiwan specifically to include the right to air up to seven regular season games per week (an increase of four games), any and all games featuring a Taiwanese player, and the entire MLB postseason (Division and League Championship Series games were formally limited). ESS has been a MLB broadcast partner for the past decade.

The new agreement with FTV gives the popular Taiwanese network exclusive over-the-air television rights in Taiwan for the first time ever. From 2007-2009, FTV will broadcast more than 60 MLB regular season games per year, including one game every Saturday morning. FTV will also hold premier content rights as the over-the-air home of the MLB All-Star Game and the entire MLB postseason.

 
ESPN, Fox Debate How to Deal with Bonds PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 03 March 2007 07:51

Barry BondsBoth ESPN and Fox are debating how best to present the day when  Barry Bonds (current contract information) breaks Hank Aaron's all-time homerun record. With the controversy surrounding Bonds, the networks are dancing between the magnitude of the record being broken with Bonds' lack of popularity given steroid allegations. As reported by Variety:

"We'll be gauging the public's reaction as the season goes along," says [Fox network's] Lou D'Ermilio. "If we sense there's a lack of interest, then we might not go as far out of the way in our coverage." And if fan enthusiasm is there? "Then we go for it."

ESPN, on the other hand, is trying to synthesize the two approaches. The net will use "every asset in our arsenal" on the chase, says senior veep of programming and acquisitions Len DeLuca.

But it is also hoping to leaven the quest with hard news. "It will be very different from 1998. It will be less celebratory and more reportorial," Scanlan says. One change, he says, is more coverage of the record's context.

Most strikingly, ESPN will take its cue from an unlikely group: the home crowd. "A Bonds home run will be reflective of the venue," Scanlan says. "If he hits a home run in San Francisco, it will be called differently from the way it's called in Philadelphia."

 
MLB Television Ad Updates for '07: ESPN, Fox, Turner PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Staff   
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 07:17

TelevisionESPN is saying that they are outpacing '06 ad sales for the regular season. Fox is working on locking in advertisers for the '07 All-Star Game in San Francisco as well as the '08 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. And, Turner Sports is not that far along due to only getting parts of this year's postseason, and won't get into regular season games until '08. As reported by Mediaweek:

Media buyers said the shorter ad breaks between innings make the games an attractive buy, and MLB’s willingness to let the networks offer virtual home-plate signage during the games also adds an enhancement to the baseball telecast buys. Plus, ESPN has the ability to package MLB ad sales with all of its other sports programming on the network.

“While regular-season baseball, particularly early in the season, could be a tough sell, ESPN is helped by its exclusive Sunday night national window and its ability to sell baseball with all of its dayparts,” said Larry Novenstern, director of NewCast at Optimedia. “Plus, ESPN did not have that many postseason games [between 8 and 10], so the bulk of its selling in past years was based on regular season.”

ESPN will also be televising a special Sunday Night Baseball national telecast on April 15 from Dodger Stadium where the Los Angeles Dodgers will face the San Diego Padres in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier.

On March 27th ESPN will begin televising ad-sponsored vignettes highlighting Robinson’s career across all the ESPN networks through the April 15 game.

Fox looks to capitalize on Yankee Stadium's swan song. As further reported:

Fox is also trying to lock in advertisers, not only for this season’s MLB All-Star game from San Francisco, but also into the 2008 game, which will be played at New York’s Yankee Stadium (the legendary Bronx Cathedral’s last season before it is replaced with a new ballpark). Advertisers are being offered prime locations in next year’s All-Star game telecast if they commit to certain ad levels this season.

MLB will have 20 national ad partners on opening day this season and all will have in-game units on ESPN and Fox.

 
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