A number of quick hits from the Boston sports media world this week:
Congratulations to 98.5 The SportsHub for receiving the Marconi Award for Sports Station of the year from the National Association of Broadcasters. As Jessica Heslam notes, WEEI cannot be happy that their competition won this prestigious award after just two years on the airwaves.
Speaking of 98.5 FM, they made a pretty big announcement Thursday afternoon, as they and Comcast SportsNet announced that the Felger and Massarotti show will be simulcast on CSNNE each afternoon beginning sometime this fall. A new set/studio will be built for the program, and according to Felger, it will be "done right." He said it wouldn't just be "black drapes hung over the windows" - a little shot at competitor WEEI's simulcasts with NESN.
NESN announced this week that they have hired former play-by-play voice Dale Arnold to host their Bruins studio programming, including the pre and post game shows. Arnold, the long-time WEEI mid-day host who was unceremoniously reassigned to "floating" duty last February, returns to NESN where he had been one of the voices of the Bruins from 1994 to 2007. Arnold replaces the popular Kathryn Tappen who moved on to a national position with the NHL Network. NESN president and CEO Sean McGrail said of the hiring "Dale brings authenticity, credibility and a deep passion and knowledge about the league and the Bruins organization. We are very happy to welcome him back to NESN."
NESN also announced that they have re-signed Bruins reporter Naoko Funayama to a contract extension. Funayama has been the Bruins reporter for the last three years and also provides regular reports to NESN Daily. She's worked on the station's Red Sox coverage in the past as well.
This Sunday's Patriots/Bills game on CBS will be called by the network's fourth team of Marv Albert and Rich Gannon. Albert is a newcomer to the CBS NFL lineup this fall, having come over to replace Gus Johnson, who is now at FOX. Albert had been calling radio broadcasts for Westwood One the last few seasons. CBS sends their top team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, who have called more Patriots broadcasts than any other national duo, out to Oakland for the Jets/Raiders game.
The Patriots ratings continue to break ratings records. Last Sunday's Patriots/Chargers game on CBS drew a 35.3 local rating with a 61% HH share. This is a week two record for the organization. It surpassed the previous rating of 34.96 set last season against the New York Jets. Over 868,000 households in the Boston area tuned in to watch the broadcast on Sunday afternoon, the fourth highest total in the NFL for Week 2. The Boston market fell short of Philadelphia (1,011,000), Chicago (995,000), and New York (978,000) for the Giants game on Monday night.
On Monday, Sept. 12, the Patriots opened the 2011 season on the road against the Miami Dolphins also set a record. The ESPN televised game earned a 10.6 rating nationally, consisting of an average of 10,493,000 households and a 37.1 household rating in the Boston area, which broke the 35.1 mark set in 2009 against the Buffalo Bills for Week 1 household ratings.
The Red Sox September collapse has been painful for fans, but a boon to sports talk radio and television. It's been a blast from the past, as hosts get to pull out old tricks such as the "blame pie" and attempt to assign responsibility for the collapse to the manger, players, general manager or owners. It's almost as if 2004 and 2007 never happened. The "ghosts" of 2003, 1986, 1978, 1972, 1946, etc etc etc all get new life should the Red Sox complete this epic collapse. Heck, Dan Shaughnessy might even get a new book out of it!