Major League Baseball is officially back under a new collective bargaining agreement for another full 162-game season that began last week. The game itself, while at its core is still “America’s Pastime,” has fundamentally shifted in terms of how it reaches and appeals to consumers – one shift being the placement of box scores.
One of the media distributors that has published the league’s box scores is the newspaper, a place where consumers have learned of the previous day’s news and happenings in various areas of society. While most newspapers have focused their content on the digital domain amid a decline in daily physical circulation, there remains a fraction of people who prefer to get their news by receiving the traditional, physical copy of the paper.
Veteran host Norm Hitzges has openly acknowledged that he falls into that category, which he refers to as the “‘I need a paper in my hands’ group,” as he continues to receive the physical newspaper each morning. Amid the medium’s gradual transition to digital content though, Hitzges expressed to his co-host Donovan Lewis on Norm and D Invasion on The Ticket in Dallas that he is mourning an omission from the newspapers that he just noticed this week.
“I’m mourning the fact that The Dallas Morning News no longer publishes box scores of other [baseball] games,” said Hitzges. “I used to pour over box scores, and unless I’m missing something, I haven’t seen box scores of other games since the season opened.”
Hitzges started as the industry’s first full-time morning drive host in Dallas, and has been on-the-air for over 30 years, including a non-sequential stint as a cable television announcer for MLB’s Texas Rangers. In that time, he has frequently had to look at box scores to follow games around the league, something he did in the newspaper – until 2022.
“That was a childhood ritual of mine,” recollected Lewis, “to grab the newspaper in the summer and pour over all the box scores from the other games…I would run out in the morning, get the paper, and I think at first my dad was a little upset because he wanted to read the paper first, and he’s a sports guy also. But he gave up that fight a long time ago after I would run out.”
As he was assimilating into the broadcasting space, Lewis worked a paper route in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a year-and-a-half. His connection to newspapers, while it has remained strong through the evolution of media, has, like many others, wavered to the degree that he only receives a physical newspaper on Wednesdays and Sundays. Yet his co-host seemed unaware as to how Lewis would receive information about something that happens on a day in which he does not receive the physical newspaper.
“Once you get it a couple days a week, you can always check it out online,” explained Lewis. “I’m just talking about the physical copy of the paper. My parents got it every single day, and I don’t even think they get the paper every day now.”
Hitzges, a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, knows that media outlets in today’s society are evolving with changing technologies and consumer trends – both of which are concentrating in the digital space. Convergence has led to the extinction of newspapers and the amalgamation of content, and it is something that is forcing those reluctant – including Hitzges – to adapt.
“I think we’re getting older and getting smaller,” Hitzges said regarding those who continue to read physical copies of newspapers. “Obviously, some cities have totally lost newspapers… That seems to be the trend – that newspapers are slowly, especially in rural areas, slowly but surely disappearing.”
Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte
“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”
Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.
Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin.
“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”
Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.
“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”
Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.
Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football
“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”
The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.
“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about:
As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.
“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”
Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan
“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”
John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.
Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.
“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”
Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.
The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.
“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”