As Sinclair and Charter square off over carriage of Bally Sports networks across the country, one Detroit radio host wonders how much of an effect this is actually having on fans.
“With all the different ways to get televised things and people cutting cords…How many people in the metro area cannot watch the Tigers on TV due to [the] broadcasting dispute?,” asked radio host Bob Wojnowski on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit on Wednesday.
Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO Chris Ripley has been pursuing the launch of a DTC option amid interminable negotiations with Charter Communications to carry its broadcast channels, which the company plans to softly launch this spring. While a deal between Sinclair and Charter was completed yesterday, Sinclair will still move its RSNs into the streaming space while simultaneously maintaining a presence on traditional cable television.
“Obviously, I understand [that] the Tigers, the Pistons and the Red Wings [are] maybe not the greatest teams, but what else are you watching?,” asked Riger and Wojo Show co-host Jeff Riger. “It would drive me nuts if I couldn’t watch those games.”
Indeed, the state of sports in Detroit is in a rebuilding phase with the Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers all missing the playoffs in their last-completed seasons, respectively. Despite the rough times in sports, the Detroit fans have remained steadfast and unyielding in their allegiances to their teams. Amid economic inflation though, consumers are becoming more frugal in their spending habits by trying to allocate and use funds effectively tailored to their consumption habits. But as fans patiently wait for the launch of the streaming service, they have been left to pay for cable providers that carry the RSNs to continue to follow their favorite teams – and it has frustrated many.
One practice consumers are participating in is the illicit streaming of sporting events by looking for them on the internet. After Wojnowski read a Ticket Text on the air from a listener explaining that if you know where to look, there are many high-definition streams available, Riger made listeners a gracious offer in offering to reveal his cable login information on-the-air.
“I can give you my little login,” said Riger. “I’ll give all of Metro Detroit my login and you can watch the Wings; the Pistons; and the Tigers on the Bally App.”
Participating in illegal streaming practices causes regional sports networks and other affected parties to lose money, thus harming future broadcast rights agreements. Upon that realization, Riger hypothesized that it was precisely the reason why the Tigers missed out on signing shortstop Carlos Correa, who ultimately inked a deal with the American League Central-rival Minnesota Twins.
“Wait a second – do you think that’s why Carlos Correa isn’t in Detroit?,” Riger asked Wojnowski when discussing consumers finding online streams of games for free.
“Yep, I do,” replied Wojnowski.
“People – come on!,” exclaimed Riger to close out the segment.
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.”