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Magic radio team disappears
Sports on radio takes a hit
Good morning, all!
The trend of canning radio broadcasters for professional sports franchises continues. The NBA’s Orlando Magic is the latest team to say good-bye to its radio team. Gone are longtime play-by-play broadcaster Dennis Neumann, analyst Richie Adubato and the Magic’s voice for its Hispanic speaking broadcasts, Joey Colon. The radio crew will be replaced by the Magic’s television broadcast team. The radio station carrying the games will present the audio version of the television broadcast.
The Magic is not the first franchise to undertake this “budget-saving” measure. Two years go, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes gave legendary, radio voice Chuck Kaiton the boot and opted for a simulcast of its television broadcast on the radio. He moved with the franchise from Hartford to North Carolina in 1997. I interviewed Kaiton for my podcast in 2019. (Chuck Kaiton interview)
I suspect other teams will follow the same path as the Magic and Hurricanes for a combination of reasons. Radio, like newspapers, was in big trouble before the pandemic. COVID-19 maybe the final straw for many of these operations, who are already laying off personnel in record numbers. Public radio station KCRW in Los Angeles just announced the layoff and buy-outs of 18 percent of its staff. Ad dollars are down. Although not all ratings have dropped, ratings for sporting events on radio have taken a hit. Toss in the fact many sports fans are streaming the television broadcasts of their favorite teams on their smartphones and tablets, and you have the perfect recipe for these budget-conscious clubs to say “so-long” to their radio broadcast teams.
Proud as a Peacock
Sticking with the streaming conversation, NBC is presenting the U.S. Open golf tournament on its over-the-air network and the Golf Channel, which is owned by NBC’s parent firm, Comcast. But it is also carrying coverage on its new streaming service, Peacock. Streaming is free to consumers. But how long will that last? More and more networks (see Disney - ABC’s parent-owner - CBS and ESPN) are adding streaming services. The media conglomerates, who bet on the old paradigm of cable television, are doing everything possible to transition to the new communications landscape to maintain or grow revenue streams.
Monday Night Football returns to ABC
Speaking of ABC. The network which gave birth to Monday Night Football in 1970, will return to that arena on Sep. 21, when it carries the Las Vegas Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints game in the Raiders opener in their new stadium. ESPN announced it will carry the game across numerous platforms, including ABC. But don’t kid yourself. The Disney-owned networks want to land a big NFL package not only for ESPN but for ABC, and next Monday night’s presentation could be a prelude to bigger things for Disney and the NFL.
Angell reaches 100
Venerable essayist Roger Angell turns 100 years old on Saturday. His baseball writings for the New Yorker are a must read for those who love to read about the game. Many of his New Yorker writings have been issued in compendiums. In fact, I just finished reading his book “The Summer Game,” which covered his works in the 1960s and early 70s. Several publications, including the New Yorker and Wall St. Journal are featuring the writer on the eve of his 100th birthday.
Even if you are not a baseball fan, Angell writes about the game with such eloquence he is worth reading. For my money, when it comes to writing about the game, Roger Angell and the late Red Smith head the list of those, who have covered the sport.
That’s it for this week. As always, thank you for your support and have a great weekend.