Thursday, December 21, 2006

Red Zebra and MASN strike a deal

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Jim Williams, The Examiner
Dec 21, 2006 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 15,326 articles

WASHINGTON - Red Zebra and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network have agreed on a long-term deal to simulcast Triple X ESPN Radio’s “The John Riggins Show” on MASN beginning in February.

MASN was looking to expand its Washington, D.C.-area programming that already includes the Nationals and Georgetown University sports. The Baltimore-based network is attempting to strike a balance and cover the entire Mid-Atlantic region.

Riggins’ radio show, which airs weekdays from 4-7 p.m., is the centerpiece of the deal. The Hall-of-Famer has a diverse and entertaining show, helped along by cohorts Gary Braun and Kevin Sheehan.

So what about “The Anita Marks Show” from Baltimore’s ESPN 1300-AM currently simulcast in that spot on MASN? That show could hold down the 3-5 p.m. slot and Riggins could take over from 5-7 p.m. Nothing is set in stone as of yet.

Red Zebra and MASN’s union brings together two of the region’s most powerful sports owners in the Redskins’ Dan Snyder and the Orioles’ Peter Angelos. There will no doubt be a number of promotional opportunities that will advance both locally-owned broadcast companies. Best of all, fans should be the winner in this deal.

For late night football chatter, it’s FOX

If you have yet to hear John Fricke and Chris Landry’s weekend show on Fox Sports Radio, you have been missing the best football show on radio.

Saturday nights from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. on SportsTalk 980 WTEM-AM and XM channel 142, the duo hosts “College Game Time Rewind” and cover every possible angle of that day’s action. On Sunday nights at the same time, they shift to the pro game for “NFL Game Time Rewind.”

While Fricke is in FOX’s Los Angeles studio, Landry is across the country in his home studio in Baton Rouge, La. Despite a geographic gap, their chemistry is apparent and the show is both entertaining and informative.

Callers light the lines and the show moves quickly as the guys do a great job of fielding questions from all areas of the football world.

Fricke is the polished broadcaster who knows football and keeps things moving. Landry is a former college and pro assistant football coach that currently runs a football scouting service. We talked about all things football both college and pro:

» Landry on the NFL: “This year has been the toughest year to see a clear cut favorite in either conference. San Diego has been playing well and Baltimore has been a dark horse all season. The Colts, Pats and the Bengals have all been inconsistent. In the NFC, Chicago just keeps winning. But after that, is it the Cowboys or the Saints that is the best? It should be some ride to the Super Bowl this year.”

» Fricke on the difference between attending a college and pro games: “The NFL has done a wonderful job of making it comfortable for the fans. But I like the old stadiums like RFK where you could not hear and the stands bounced. The college game gives you tradition, walking though campus and then heading to the stadium for a tailgate party. Both have their strong points but if I had a chance to go to a big time college football game or an NFL game, it would be college for me.”

NASCAR will have a truly New Year

In 2007, NASCAR will have a new look and sound.

FOX is now the official home of the Daytona 500 and will broadcast the 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races following Daytona.

TNT is entering its 22nd year with NASCAR, adding to the longest continuous relationship of any media company with the sport. TNT will broadcast six consecutive races in the middle of the season, including the July 4th weekend extravaganza highlighted by the Pepsi 400 from Daytona (which will actually run on July 7).

The final 17 NEXTEL Cup races will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN.

The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup — the 10 races that finish the season — will be seen on ESPN on ABC.

The NASCAR Busch Series will move to the ESPN family of networks.

Recently, I spoke to ESPN race expert Dr. Jerry Punch and he could not be more excited about NASCAR returning to the network that launched it in the first place.

» Punch on ESPN getting NASCAR back: “It has been six long years since we have done a NASCAR race and I have to tell you that the entire race team here can’t wait. Getting the Busch Series and the final leg of NASCAR season, including the ‘Chase,’ is a dream come true for us.”

» Punch on Toyota getting into NASCAR: “I think it is going to be wonderful for our sport. Toyota has been huge in the truck series and they will no doubt be a major competitor in the ‘Chase for the Cup’ They will take their place with Chevy, Ford and Dodge and man that will be something to see.”

Also new in 2007, DirecTV will have a coverage package that lets you follow the race as well as up to five drivers at a time with a split screen feature.

The sound of NASCAR will also come from a different outlet. SIRIUS will replace XM as the satellite radio home for all things NASCAR. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will debut in January on channel 128. The channel will air 24 hours a day, seven days a week of NASCAR talk. More to come on SIRIUS offerings as the season approaches.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


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