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83-Steelers-43
08-17-2006, 09:19 AM
Smizik on TV: Fox Sports Radio not making inroads
Thursday, August 17, 2006

By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Instead of making a major push to be more competitive with ESPN Radio 1250, it looks as if Fox Sports Radio 970 has done little more than switch chairs. When Stan Savran was fired last month, executives at Clear Channel, which owns the station, suggested big things were in store. If so, they've yet to surface.

Savran has been replaced by Tim Benz and Joe Bendel, who are doing a good show that will attract listeners Savran did not. But Savran attracted listeners Bendel and Benz won't get.

For now, at best, it's a wash.

But by dropping "In The Locker Room," with Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley, in morning drive time and going instead with weak network shows, Fox lost considerable ground to ESPN. Listeners seeking a national show are more apt to tune in Mike and Mike on ESPN.

Ilkin and Wolfley couldn't match Mike and Mike in the ratings, but the local Steelers-oriented tone of the show had a loyal audience and one its replacements won't hold.

Benz and Bendel bring good reporting skills to the station and that's noticeable in listening to their show. But those talents haven't shown up on the station's sports reports, which are produced out of the city.

Despite losing Benz, its best reporter, ESPN still has a significant edge in news-gathering capability. That's mostly true because ESPN actually has a staff of reporters who are out in the field. Fox does not.


WTAE a no-show for Steelers


No television station pushes its Steelers coverage any harder than WTAE, where even the smallest Steelers story can make its way into the newscast. Which made it rather surprising that it would be the only station in town not to staff the Steelers' opening exhibition game in Arizona.

No Ben Roethlisberger angle was too mundane for WTAE to put on the air, but in the quarterback's much-awaited first game back from injury -- and the team's first game since the Super Bowl -- it failed to have a reporter on the scene.

This probably has to do with the fact the station is woefully understaffed in sports, where only Jon Burton is a full-time, on-air employee. WTAE's commitment to sports has to be questioned because it not only orchestrated the move of sports director Andrew Stockey to morning news anchor two months ago, but has lagged in finding either a replacement for Stockey or a replacement for Burton, if he is moved into Stockey's role.

It's a far cry from the day when WTAE bragged about its "Front Four" of on-air sports personalities.

KDKA, which televised the game, WPXI and FSN Pittsburgh all had reporters on the scene.


KDKA has the range


It was suggested in this column recently that because KDKA-AM (1020) and WPGB-FM (104.7) -- the two stations vying to carry Pirates baseball next season -- are 50,000 watts in power they have the same range. That is not correct. Both stations do a great job of penetrating the region, but KDKA's signal is far more powerful. KDKA's signal is somewhat legendary and reaches most states east of the Mississippi River, something an FM station cannot do.


High school football on the move


Four of the high school football games scheduled to be carried by FSN Pittsburgh on its Thursday night package have been pre-empted by Penguins hockey. All four games, played on consecutive weeks in October, have been moved to Friday night.

The involved games are: Bethel Park at McKeesport Area, Oct 6; Blackhawk at Moon Area, Oct. 13; South Park at Seton-LaSalle, Oct. 20; Hampton at Pine-Richland, Oct. 27.


Around the dial


Ilkin and Wolfley's "In The Locker Room" show has moved to television in the form of a weekly sports magazine. The program can be seen 8 p.m. Thursday on the Comcast Network, which is available only to Comcast cable subscribers. ... Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Joe Starkey has joined the staff of ESPN Radio 1250 and will host "Pittsburgh Game Day" from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and do occasional fill-in on other talk shows. ... The segment on the Pittsburgh baseball drug trials of the 1980s, which was set to run on "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" this month, has been pushed back to September on HBO.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06229/714203-194.stm

BlackNGold203
08-17-2006, 09:33 AM
My opinion...

Fox sucks...I dont like FSN...I dont like Fox radio...I dont like Fox national news....

If it werent for Family Guy and American Dad..i wouldnt even turn on channel 53...

but thats me....:cool: :cool:

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2006, 09:34 AM
Wow....WTAE is really dropping the ball with Steeler coverage. I'm not sure if any of you fellow locals have ever watched "Action Sports Sunday" on WTAE. It's on during the same time slot as the "#1 Cochran Sports Showdown" on KDKA?

Absolutely HORRIBLE show. It's hosted by Jon Burton. This guy's job is to bring up the topic at hand and then he just laughs for a half hour straight. That's all he does.

On top of that, he's normally joined by Mark Madden which makes the show even worse. Sadly, the show is also joined by Bendl and Starkey who I feel bring good things to the table but they are overshadowed by Madden's big mouth and body frame.

IMO, WTAE still has a long way to go to match FSN or KDKA when it comes to sports reporting/shows in this city.

BlackNGold203
08-17-2006, 09:35 AM
yeah 83...Channel 4 is pretty weak with sports coverage...

I'm entertained by Madden on the radio...but he's hard to look at....LOL

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2006, 09:41 AM
Jon Burton: So, what do you think of Ben's thumb?

Madden: *cracks a joke*

Jon Burton: HAHAHAHAHAHAH oh, oh, oh, HAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAH, oh, oh, ahhhh...

Starkey: *Looks at Madden and wonders if he ate a baby cow before the show*

Bendl: *Looks at Burton and wonders if he smoked a rock before the show*

That's what the show basically consists of.....

BlackNGold203
08-17-2006, 09:50 AM
Jon Burton: So, what do you think of Ben's thumb?

Madden: *cracks a joke*

Jon Burton: HAHAHAHAHAHAH oh, oh, oh, HAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHAH, oh, oh, ahhhh...

Starkey: *Looks at Madden and wonders if he ate a baby cow before the show*

Bendl: *Looks at Burton and wonders if he smoked a rock before the show*

That's what the show basically consists of.....

:sofunny: :sofunny: :sofunny:

Lyn
08-17-2006, 09:56 AM
I like the Terry Bradshaw group on game days.

83-Steelers-43
08-17-2006, 10:00 AM
I like the Terry Bradshaw group on game days.

For away games I normally listen to WDVE radio for pre-game talk, but If I had to choose when dealing with a TV pre-game show, it would have to be Terry and the group.

dSharp
08-17-2006, 02:57 PM
It must be nice to be able to complain about what Pittsburgh radio is better. :smile:

Being stuck up here, smack dab in the middle of Buffalo Bills, NY Jets, and NY Giants country, I'll take anything Steelers related I can get. :bouncy:

By the way ESPN is garbage. The only worthwhile analysts or hosts in the entire Network are Berman and Stuart Scott. Everyone else that works for that company is a certified jackass.

"T.O. took a crap!! GET A LIVE FEED DOWN THERE RIGHT NOW!! I want HD coverage on the floater!!"