Hollywood Heights For CBS Sports Radio?

With CBS Radio announcing plans to launch an all-sports station on FM in Atlanta, it's only a matter of time before CBS follows suit in Los Angeles - such a move would give the radio conglomerate a sports station in each of the top ten markets. The new FM sports station in L.A. could easily be in the mix for Dodgers broadcasts.

“Dave’s not here, man.”

The famous line from a Cheech & Chong comedy routine is what many Atlanta radio listeners – okay, not very many – will be saying this fall, as CBS Radio has announced that WZGC-FM, the rock station once known as “Z93,” currently going by the name “92.9 Dave-FM”, will be replaced by – we’ve heard this before – a brand new FM sports radio station.

CBS Radio has had a recent penchant for launching mostly-local sports stations on the FM dial in major markets. Following the debut of “98.7 The Fan” in Tampa, which is officially scheduled for this Thursday, the Atlanta station will be the tenth FM sports property in CBS Radio’s portfolio.

And while CBS also has a penchant for naming their FM sports talkers “The Fan,” the Atlanta station will reportedly have the simple branding of “Sports Radio 92.9.”

Currently, there are two major sports radio stations in the Big Peach: Lincoln Financial Media’s WQXI/”790 The Zone” and Cumulus’ WCNN/”680 The Fan.” The interesting thing here is that the latter station, which simulcasts on an FM translator at 93.7, has already agreed to carry some programming from the new CBS Sports Radio Network that they will be assisting CBS with.

Does this mean shows like “Buck And Kincade” and “The Rude Awakening” will be moving to 92.9 while 680 becomes a 24/7 repeater of CBSSRN, with “Boomer And Carton” in morning drive? Not necessarily. Rick Caffey, CBS Radio/Atlanta’s market manager, has went on the record as saying Sports Radio 92.9’s “accent will be local personalities,” though he added that having local ties to Atlanta would not be required.

Not only will this not be the first time CBS launches an FM sports talk station in a major or large market, but it’ll be doing so once again in a market that up until that point only had sports radio stations on the AM dial. Think about it: when CBS launched new FM sports talkers in Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., preexisting sports stations were only operating on the AM band – in most cases, at least two of them had been on the air (a longtime ESPN Radio station on AM 1250 in Pittsburgh had shut down in 2010, months after “93.7 The Fan” debuted).

And there’s one more market to consider: not only a market whose sports stations are currently exclusively on the AM dial, but a very major market – and a glaring omission on the vast list of cities which will be graced with the presence of the CBS Sports Radio Network this September at the earliest.

Yep, the City of Angels.

Ever since the announcement of CBSSRN’s launch, rumors had been healthily circulating that CBS Radio would flip one of its FM properties in Los Angeles, specifically KCBS-FM/”93.1 Jack-FM”, to an FM sports station. In the most recent L.A. PPM’s, “Jack” finished in sixteenth place overall. In the April PPM period, they finished in 22nd place with a matching 2.2 rating.

Meanwhile, there are three sports stations in Los Angeles, all on AM: KSPN/”ESPN 710,” owned and operated by the Worldwide Leader’s parent company, Disney; Clear Channel’s KLAC/”Fox Sports 570″; and KLAA/AM 830, owned by the Angels franchise. The highest ranking sports station in the most recent PPM’s is “710 ESPN”, in 25th place. But when it comes to the sports radio format, revenue matters more than ratings because it’s an easy sell. It’s where the dollars are – 1,000+ stations can’t be wrong.

Expect CBS Radio to make an announcement perhaps in the fall for one of its FM stations in Los Angeles to convert to sports. It’s not like it’ll interfere with a local NFL team’s season or anything. But should CBS pull the trigger on an FM sports talker in L.A., you can bet they’ll be wheeling and dealing for radio play-by-play of a local sports franchise. I don’t think the Angels will be going anywhere, but the Dodgers just started a three-year deal with KLAC. When “93.7 The Fan” in Pittsburgh launched in 2010, they waited two years before they finally poached Pirates games from Clear Channel, who had held a local monopoly on sports play-by-play on the radio. And “92.3 The Fan” in Cleveland figures to be active in discussion when the Indians’ current radio contract with Clear Channel expires at year’s end.

Consider how many MLB teams have either made the move to FM or are pining to make the move – which is the catalyst for either the New York Yankees or Mets possibly bringing their broadcasts to FM after many years on AM; both of their current radio contracts simultaneously expire at the end of the season.

Incidentally, the Dodgers were once heard on a CBS-owned radio station for five years starting in 2003, KFWB/AM 980, which recently had been placed in an ownership trust due to CBS reaching the maximum media ownership limit in the Los Angeles market. Meanwhile, KFWB does currently hold radio rights to Clippers basketball games, which could be moved to whichever FM station CBS turns into a sports radio station. (For the record, the Lakers are heard on “710 ESPN”.)

And how about those Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, whose existence had been a rumor throughout their playoff run on their current flagship station, KTLK/AM 1150? I’m sure on a CBS-run sports station on AM, let alone FM, they’d feel like royalty.

One more thing to consider: Once “Sports Radio 92.9” launches in Atlanta, CBS will have a live and local sports station, on AM or FM, in each of the top ten radio markets – all, that is, except Market No. 2. (Edit: As well as San Francisco, but CBSSR will be cleared in that market via two Cumulus stations.)

So don’t be surprised if CBS Radio makes waves by jacking up one of its FM stations and rocking the sports radio landscape in Los Angeles. (Read into that previous sentence what you will, radio nerds.)

And if CBS is not considering such a move in L.A. – well, they could be as high as Cheech and Chong.

(But seriously… don’t do drugs, kids.)


ESPN's Doug Gottlieb Departing For New Digs At CBS

Doug Gottlieb will be leaving ESPN and ESPN Radio this fall to join CBS Sports and the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network. In addition to continuing his radio career, he'll also continue calling college basketball games, perhaps the Final Four.

Add Doug Gottlieb to the ever-growing list of notable talent departing ESPN.

The Big Lead has been informed by sources close to the network that Gottlieb, who currently hosts a national afternoon drive program on ESPN Radio, will join CBS Sports as early as this September, when his current ESPN contract expires. All signs point to him resuming his duties hosting a national radio show on the new CBS Sports Radio Network, scheduled to launch with 24/7 programming in January.

In addition to the CBS Sports Radio Network, Gottlieb will also appear on a television show on the CBS Sports Network – you know, the one on cable. No word if the TV show will be different from his CBSSR radio show, or a simulcast of it.

Another task at CBS Sports for Gottlieb, the former point guard at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State, who had also been announcing college basketball games for ESPN, will do likewise on CBS, as well as CBS Sports Network. He would also be a shoo-in for participating in CBS’ March Madness coverage, or even the Final Four, should Steve Kerr depart for a managerial job in the NBA, as The Big Lead suggests.

CBS initially made an offer to Gottlieb earlier this month. What apparently sweetened the pot for Gottlieb, an ESPN employee since 2003, to jump to CBS was an opportunity to return to his hometown in Orange, CA, where his father, former Division I NCAA coach Bob Gottlieb, had started an “Orange County Express” basketball program; he currently runs a development program at Branch West Basketball Academy.

Doug Gottlieb follows Erin Andrews and Michelle Beadle amongst talent leaving the Worldwide Leader in recent months. Though recently, ESPN recently gained a college basketball journalist from CBS Sports in Brett McMurphy.

Meanwhile, ESPN Radio has not announced any immediate programming plans in replacing Gottlieb’s radio show this fall – though I’m sure they haven’t ruled out airing Tim Tebow sound bites on a three-hour loop as a possibility.

"NFL AM" Opening Drive: Breaking Down The Show's First Hour

NFL Network's new morning show, "NFL AM," debuted. And based on the show's first hour, which included spirited performances from Super Bowl champion Eric Davis, this show's already got its game face on.

“It is the dawn of a new era.”

With those words from co-host Brian Webber, it was game on for “NFL AM,” NFL Network’s new morning franchise.

A program that was months in the making and perhaps years overdue – the network launched in late 2003, back when ESPN was the only major national sports-oriented cable network and what is now NBC Sports Network was known as Outdoor Life Network – “NFL AM” finally bowed on the first Monday after all 32 NFL teams’ training camps had opened for the 2012 season.

“We are live and looking forward to becoming a part of your morning routine,” co-host Nicole Zaloumis pled to viewers.

Based on the program’s very first hour – or “quarter,” as the program would like to refer to that measurement of time – I’m sure many folks, especially looking for an alternative to offerings from ESPN’s networks in the morning, will not be hesitant in heeding that call.

The first news item on “NFL AM” under the umbrella of “The Latest”: Andrew Luck being booed in his first practice at Indianapolis Colts training camp. Scott Hanson, who had been stationed at the Colts’ camp in Anderson, IN, contributed a pre-recorded piece. The next news item involved the Dolphins’ quarterback controversy, which included a live call from Jeff Darlington from the Dolphins’ training camp in Davie, FL.

The final news headline in the segment led to what would be the program’s first “Opening Drive”: the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp opened up Sunday in Oxnard, CA, as Webber pointed out, “about 50 miles north of our studios here in Los Angeles.” The first selection off the “Opening Drive” menu was this question: “Is this a make or break season for Tony Romo?” The next course: “Should teams be allowed to ban players from using Twitter?”; this after Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis restricted his team from using the social media app. Great quote from Mark Kriegel: “Football coaches will never be proponents of the First Amendment.” Webber then led into an “Opening Drive” debate on whether or not a Super Bowl title or a gold medal is a “bigger accomplishment” with this barb aimed at NBC: “You don’t have to worry about tape delay; we’re live, it’s twelve past the hour, as I glance at the clock.”

In the show’s first moments, Webber had alluded to the “NFL AM” crew being up bright and early – but ready. “We’re the first national morning show to be coming to you from the West Coast,” noted Steve Wyche, “so why not be fired up?”

Wyche and Kriegel led off the show’s second segment with the first edition of “Double Coverage” by arguing, “Have the Saints been treated unfairly?” And Kriegel’s first-ever utterance in this segment was a memorable one. Alluding to the huge “Do your job” poster displaying a photo of the team’s head coach, suspended for the season as a result of Bountygate: “What is Sean Payton, a political prisoner?” The next “Double Coverage” question, which the duo had a minute to debate: “Can Reggie Bush lead the league in rushing?” Wyche led off with an emphatic, “No!”, followed by an explanation. Kriegel countered with his thoughts, which included this gem: “This is the loftiest goal he has stated since going out with a Kardashian.”

Zaloumis anchored various football headlines leading off the show’s third segment. Next, Webber and Davis brought in Kimberly Jones, live from Jets training camp in Cortland, NY. “You knew it wouldn’t be long before we had to ask what’s happening between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow,” David asked Jones. “What type of day did each one of them have on Sunday?” In a word, Jones said, “Bad!” That before she mentioned each quarterback went 1-for-7. Following Jones’ contribution, Zaloumis instructed Wyche and Kriegel, “Let’s continue to talk the Jets,” debating whether or not the team would make the playoffs in 2012. After that was a feature “NFL AM” dubbed, “Our Daily Tebow.” It focused on Jets linebacker Bart Scott’s thoughts on Tebow’s run in the rain at practice the other day. It also showed the New York Daily News’ back-page headline depicting the shirtless, overweight Tebow as the “Not So Incredible Hunk.” It gave an opportunity for Kriegel to give a “shout out to my boys on the desk at the Daily News” (he had been a sportswriter for the newspaper for eight years) for a “Bo Derek-esque” back page. Wyche, however, begged to differ: “I think they Photoshopped [Tebow’s] head on Kriegel’s body.” (Late in the second hour, NFLN’s lightning-quick graphics department actually showed a doctored photo of a shirtless Tebow on Saturday, but with Kriegel’s head replacing Tim’s. ESPN would call that sacrilege.)

Snoop Dogg greeted viewers with a program ID: “Wake up with the NFL. “NFL AM.” NFL Network.” This preceded the show’s fourth segment, which started with Davis breaking down the top ten “training camp storylines” to Zaloumis. These would actually be dispersed throughout the show, with the number one training camp storyline served up in the final hour. And in case you’re wondering, “Does Mark Sanchez start 16 games for the Jets?” was only eighth on the list. This, combined with the fact that the show didn’t actually address the Jets until the third segment of the program (and they would be talking to Jets head coach Rex Ryan in the show’s second hour) tells you that the network is not as dependent on the Jets as other sports networks are. And even if you throw in a daily segment devoted to Tebow (and it sounds like it’s going to be a serious bit, at least during football season – ESPN should be on notice), when you consider the program has to create four hours of content each morning, as opposed to going back to the same well during “SportsCenter,” we should really give NFLN the benefit of the doubt in this case.

In the fifth segment of the hour, er, quarter, Zaloumis presented “Figure Of Speech,” in which Davis and Kriegel role-played football players and figures making headlines. For example, the gentlemen had to make a case as to what running back Maurice Jones-Drew should say to Jaguars ownership. Davis really got into character, even going so far as to crutch down to impersonate Jones-Drew’s short stature. In the segment’s next item of “speech,” “What should Peyton Manning say to inspire” the Broncos at training camp, Davis game, in my view, a less-than-command performance, sounding more like Forrest Gump than Peyton Manning, but still somewhat humorous.

The sixth and final segment of the first hour (quarter, whatever) led off with an instant replay of Davis’ impersonation of Jones-Drew, which led to Zaloumis reading the first-ever tweet to be read in the history of the program, “Eric Davis is killin’ MJD on “NFL AM.” Classic.” The hour closed with “Extra Point,” a debate from all five program members on the studio’s vast couch over whether or not Colts wideout Reggie Wayne (assisted by National Guard soldiers) or Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (riding a tractor) made a better arrival to his respective team’s training camp. The show’s first hour would officially close with viewer feedback from a “Caption This” photo of Peyton Manning that was presented going into the show’s very first commercial break – and somehow a tweet intended for Steve Wyche got in there. Like most programs, there will be first-day jitters here and there.

Overall, “NFL AM” is a sharp, balanced, enlightening breakfast smorgasbord of football: headlines, interviews, interaction with viewers, and comic relief from a Super Bowl champion. This show has it all – and this is only based on observing the program’s first hour.

Other items of note: the graphics are easy on the eyes, yet some of them, as you would expect, are synonymous with the morning theme (e.g. you may see a giant coffee mug with the Dallas Cowboys lgoo preceding an item for a Cowboys story). And it appears that the charter advertiser for “NFL AM” is Burger King, with the restaurant’s logo conspicuously adorned on the front of the studio’s table.

The program’s Twitter account had surpassed the 2,000-follower plateau during the show’s first hour, and had exceeded 2,500 followers by show’s end; as of 12 Noon ET on July 30, there are close to 3,000 followers – that total should only be exponential as the “NFL AM” brand is just beginning to thrive. Also, in addition to soliciting tweets and Facebook comments from viewers, the program is even asking for texts – you remember text messaging, right, kids? – as a way to interact with the program. As a matter of fact, a text from a viewer in Salem, OR wondering if the San Francisco 49ers can “improve on last year’s success” was read by Wyche in the second hour of the show, and then debated by him and his “Double Coverage” partner-in-crime for sixty seconds.

By the way, during the aforementioned Rex Ryan interview, when Tim Tebow came up in discussion, NFL Network ran normal training camp footage of Tebow – as opposed to the “running shirtless in the rain” footage that ESPN has jammed down viewers’ eyeballs all weekend long. (And has even continued to do so on Monday morning, apparently.)

And in the final “Opening Drive” debate in the “fourth quarter,” when discussing the “most intriguing QB competition this preseason,” while Mark Kriegel assured that “it will be” a competition between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, Eric Davis stressed that the starting quarterback “is Mark Sanchez’s job… That’s not a competition.” Meanwhile, on ESPN, you guessed it – they were instructing viewers that there is indeed a “Jets QB competition.”

As you can see, the different between Tebow coverage on the two networks: NFL Network can have fun with it – and they also know that there are thirty-one teams other than the Jets to report about.

A tip of the coffee cup to the “NFL AM” crew. I like what I’m seeing so far, and “Daily Tebow” segment or not, I hope others do, as well.

ESPN Executing Their Own Version Of "Hard Knocks" With Jets

It seems like ESPN is airing their own version of HBO's "Hard Knocks", manufacturing storylines from Jets training camp that are generating buzz in other sources. And personalities such as Sal Paolantonio are taking viewers - and reporters from competing networks - along for the ride.

When HBO Sports and NFL Films decided that the Miami Dolphins would be featured on this season’s edition of “Hard Knocks,” which officially bows next Tuesday, the response was as lukewarm as you can imagine. Of course, following the eventual signings of former Miami resident Chad Johnson (nee Ochocinco nee Johnson) and first-round draft pick Lauren Tannehill – I beg your pardon, Ryan Tannehill – interest in this year’s “Hard Knocks” may pick up.

Of course, not as much as it would had the New York Jets been profiled for the second straight season. In mid-May, the team turned down an invite to reappear on “Hard Knocks,” despite previously expressing interest in returning to the show – much to the dismay of many football fans.

And especially very much to the dismay of one network.

No, not HBO. ESPN.

Regular viewers have realized how much of a brazen, perceivable lean that the Worldwide Leader has for some popular East Coast teams, especially the Jets. Who could forget the 2010 season in which they went so ga-ga over them – the Jets had three “Monday Night Football” games that year, of which they won only one – they conveniently dropped the ball in reporting that Brett Favre had sent lewd text messages to a former team sideline reporter, Jenn Sterger.

So with the obvious circus atmosphere that would unfold with the acquisition of Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos, ESPN brass likely decided, “Well, if HBO isn’t going to have the Jets on ‘Hard Knocks’ this year, we’ll have to do it ourselves.”

And not only has the Worldwide Leader already stormed out of the gate on this front, they show no shame in creating artificial Jets training camp storylines – even at the expense of innocent reporters on competing networks.

Such was the case on the very first day of Jets training camp. During their daily “NFL32” program, ESPN presented a four-second clip from a media Q&A with incumbent Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The female reporter had started her question with, “Tim…” Following a brief pause of silence, Sanchez shot back, “I’m Mark.” The reporter responded, “I know.”

As Jets beat reporter Ben Shpigel told me, “The reporter began [the] question by saying “Tim,” as in “Tim said,” or something like that. But she kept getting interrupted.”

Despite that, ESPN jumped on the opportunity to present that four-second exchange out of context – and it led to many credible news sources into reporting that a reporter “confused Mark Sanchez with Tim Tebow.”

Thankfully, sites like this one and others were easily able to see into the BS as video of this out-of-context rapport had started to go viral.

As well as networks, such as NFL Network. Notice how little attention they gave this ESPN-ginned-up controversy on their air. Not only was it not mentioned on Thursday’s edition of “NFL Total Access,” Warren Sapp all but laughed off the artifically awkward exchange on Friday’s edition of the program. “They’re calling the starting quarterback Tim already,” Sapp joked, before playfully recreating the conversation.

And I still think the innocent reporter caught in the crossfire of ESPN’s quest for Jets dirt, NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, should demand an apology from the Worldwide Leader over this manufactured controversy created by the network.

Fast-forward to Saturday – and yet another Jet-oriented rumpus emanating from Bristol.

On the late-morning edition of “SportsCenter,” anchor Sage Steele takes to Twitter and writes, “Hey @TimTebow fans – tune into @SportsCenter right now.” Viewers would witness video of Tebow at Jets training camp – but not just any video of Tebow at Jets training camp: video of Tebow running shirtless in the rain at Jets training camp.

Granted, there were photos being distributed on Twitter earlier in the 11 AM ET hour, but Steele really played the fiddle on this one. Then, about an hour later, she tweets this: “Wow! Guess my little Tebow experiment worked… Mention his name and watch the reaction pour in! [Thanks] for playing! :)”

So ESPN is upping the ante in their off-premium-cable production of “Hard Knocks” by resorting to “experiments”. Lovely. The network realizes, though, that sometimes, experiments backfire.

Meanwhile, NFL Network paid little attention to Tebow’s running the Gene Kelly wildcat formation in Cortland. On Saturday’s edition of “Total Access” (weekend editions of the program are live during the training camp period; otherwise, they’re pre-recorded), not only did they run footage of Tebow’s rain run halfway through the show, leading off the C-block, but it was part of a Jets segment that lasted just one minute. This a day after a Friday edition of “Total Access” that spent nearly half the program discussing the Jets – but that likely had to do with the fact that Scott Hanson was broadcasting live from Jets training camp – and it’s one of 28 training camp trips that he plans to make this summer.

Sunday morning. Nearly 24 hours after their little Tebow “experiment,” ESPN and their resident Doogie Howser doppelganger David Lloyd precede a live report from Jets camp on “SportsCenter” with another run of video of Tebow running in the rain without a shirt.

And ESPN played this up, with an item on the “SportsCenter” rundown bar reading, “Tebow In The Rain.”

“Tim Tebow knows how to fuel the ‘mania,” Lloyd narrates. “Tebow jogging off the practice field alone, shirtless, in the rain yesterday. Not sure why he was alone, shirtless and in the rain, but it’s hard not to notice the whole 251 pounds, the most he’s ever weighed in camp.”

Lloyd then throws it to Sal Paolantonio in Cortland with one request.

“Sal, you’re gonna have to top Tebow shirtless in the rain.”

And all throughout the afternoon, as new live editions of “SportsCenter” run on sister network ESPNews, as ESPN starts their leg of NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage for the year, there are reports of the Worldwide Leader running even more day-old clips of a shirtless, sprinting Tim Tebow – just as they’ve been doing all weekend long – reportedly in slow motion, too.

The “experiment” must be working wonders for them.

Give me a break.

I wonder what ESPN has up its sleeve as Jets training camp rolls on. Will they isolate a clip of Mark Sanchez uttering a profanity during a workout, and append that to footage of Tim Tebow having a spectacular drill? Will they take a positive Tebow quip from an otherwise negative Tebow criticism out of context, and spin that into an artificial quarterback controversy?

And what experiment, if any, does Chris Berman have up his sleeve?

Sit back, because ESPN’s edition of “Hard Knocks” is just getting warmed up.

Paraphrasing one of their own anchors gushing over footage of Tim Tebow running in the rain, ESPN sure knows how to fuel Tebowmania.

Un-American? NBC Boots "Baba Booey" From US Olympian During Opening Ceremonies

U.S. Olympic wrestler Jake Herbert shouted "Baba Booey" during the opening ceremonies from London. But if you were watching NBC's tape-delayed presentation of the event, you didn't see it - because they edited it out.

A Stern warning to any American Olympians: if you shout “baba booey” at a camera at any point during the fortnight-long event, chances are it’s not going to make NBC’s air.

Virtually anyone with a radio or television is familiar with the term “baba booey”: It’s a term coined for the producer of Howard Stern’s radio show (created over said producer’s mispronunciation of a cartoon character). And anyone unfamiliar with Stern’s show has likely heard the phrase being bandied about by particular fans of Stern’s show crank calling cable news networks, or even at press conferences.

Once in awhile, though, such shoutouts transcend the traditional media.

Such was the case on Friday night in London, as the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics had culminated. As the athletes representing the United States took to the stage, one of them saw a live camera and, after giving a thumbs-up salute and a smile, punctuated it with: “Howard Stern! Baba Booey!”

Twitter instantly blew up with “baba booey” tweets when it happened at 22:49 GMT:

A few tweeters, perhaps unaware of who Stern is, had thought they heard the man say, “How you doing, Baba Booey”?

So who is this mysterious Olympian? Some are claiming that it’s the handiwork of Jake Herbert, a silver medalist wrestler, according to his Twitter bio, which also reads: “All in for 2012 Olympic Gold, but I’d do modeling or broadcasting.” Hmmm, wonder who would be his inspiration for broadcasting?

Anyway, it appears that Herbert previously appeared on Stern’s show and vowed to utter the phrase 69 times at the London Olympics. In fact, days before the Olympics began, a couple of his Twitter followers were egging him on to “drop a baba booey” right after he wins a gold medal.

Of course, based on Herbert’s shoutout on Friday night before the games officially began, his fans didn’t have to wait that long.

Unfortunately, American viewers with access to the BBC One channel were able to watch the opening ceremonies unfettered. By the time they ran on NBC on Friday night for the American audience (i.e. the 99% who doesn’t have access to BBC One), the presentation was not only peppered with commentary by the likes of Bob Costas and Ryan Seacrest, but there were, as you would expect, many commercial breaks. NBC and the IOC went to great lengths to shut down any illegal Internet streams of the opening ceremonies on Friday afternoon – they had to protect advertisers involved with NBC’s tape-delayed presentation of the ceremonies who wanted to get their money’s worth. And according to former NBC employee Darren Rovell, NBC’s restrictive tactics appear to have paid off.

And in addition to the criticism NBC received from many for not having a live stream available for the opening ceremonies on Friday afternoon, the Peacock network was also taking some heat for a questionable decision to go to a commercial break right before the American Olympians were announced. Some are even going as far as calling it “un-American.”

With all due respect, there probably couldn’t have been a more “un-American” thing NBC has done on Friday, than to censor Herbert, an American athlete, and his “baba booey” moment, as evidenced by this series of tweets:

Now, I understand that NBC has to run a tight ship and has to make their presentation of the opening ceremonies as clean as possible. But consider the irony that a flatulence gag by Rowan Atkinson’s “Mr. Bean” character from the opening ceremonies was broadcast to NBC viewers on tape delay – but the “baba booey” shoutout wasn’t.

Apparently, according to NBC’s censors, fart humor overrides references to Howard Stern – NBC employee, mind you.

Makes you wonder what all of NBC’s reasons for going to great lengths to ensure maximum viewership of their presentation of the opening ceremonies really are.

UPDATE: Upon reading and retweeting our report, Herbert has but one message to his fans: “Only 68 more to go. 15 days left to get them in.”

Bloody Heck: BBC Bans Radio Broadcasts Of London Olympics Outside England

As part of their deal with the IOC, the BBC has restricted international streaming of Olympics-oriented programming on their radio stations. "Due to rights restrictions, this part of the program is unavailable," is a message online listeners in America and virtually elsewhere may hear.

All Friday afternoon long on Twitter, as the 2012 Olympics opening ceremonies played out in London, thousands upon thousands were giving NBC the business for not making a live stream of the event available on their website, and rightly so. This has led to folks scouring the Internet for pirate feeds of the opening ceremonies. (I would imagine Tom Brady was probably preoccupied that afternoon.)

Of course, the reason for NBC taking these restrictive measures is to ensure that the maximum number of interested viewers will tune in on Friday night, when the cermonies will be presented on a four-hour tape delay.

And if you think such tactics are harsh here in the States, listen to what’s happening at the site of this year’s Olympics – wait a minute, you won’t be able to if you’re in the States.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has rights to the Olympics in England. And as part of their agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the BBC has discontinued access to streams of their Radio 4 and Radio 5 channels to listeners outside the UK.

Which means that even if you’re interested in hearing how the Olympics – a very visual event – emanating from London sounds on the famed BBC, unless you hop on a Virgin flight to Heathrow, you won’t have that opportunity.

“Due to rights restrictions, this part of the program is unavailable,” is a pre-recorded message that online listeners outside England are greeted with when they try to access the stream for Radio 4.

In addition, podcasts for programs on Radio 4 with Olympics content are either suspended, or heavily edited to remove references to the Olympics. Radio 4’s “Today,” which the BBC dubs the channel’s “flagship news and current affairs programme,” actually will fall into both categories. Over the course of the next two weeks, according to The Guardian, the BBC will be gutting Olympics-related material from podcasts of “Today,” but as was the case on Friday, a message was displayed on the show’s podcast page reading, “We are not allowed to broadcast anything online outside the UK from the Olympic Park or Olympic venues.”

And BBC’s overseas Olympics edict may not just be in effect for Radios 4 and 5. You may experience difficulty (or at least I have) trying to play an Olympics-themed podcast of “The Chris Evans Breakfast Show” from Radio 2.

“On the one hand, it is a great shame,” said an unidentified BBC employee. “On the other, people listening from abroad don’t pay the licence fee.”

For the uninitiated, all English residents must pay an annual licence fee in order to view any programming on television, or hear a single station on the radio.

I bet the British government is probably shaking their fists at all of us Americans viewing all of those lovely photos from the opening ceremonies on Friday afternoon without paying a licence fee.

And I bet NBC is ticked off that many Americans were merely tweeting about the opening ceremonies hours before they were scheduled to be shown on their air.

And so, my fellow Americans, if you think the situation involving Olympics media here is confusing, look on the bright side.

Don’t try to listen online, though.

VIDEO: Reporter Addresses Mark Sanchez As Tim Tebow On First Day Of Jets Training Camp

Tim Tebow arrives on the first day of Jets training camp for the 2012 season. Unfortunately, for one reporter, he was not present at one point today (or was he?) when Mark Sanchez fielded questions from the media and said reporter called him "Tim."

We figured the quarterback drama between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in New York would be a major storyline.

But when a reporter during an informal press conference refers to Sanchez, the incumbent Jets starting quarterback, as “Tim”? There’s no telling just how this might end.

If and when the two-headed QB experiment in New York does come to an end, I can promise you that it’ll be a more compelling ending than that of the final episode of “The Sopranos.”

We have no idea who the female reporter was that addressed Sanchez as “Tim,” but someone on Twitter is claiming that it was Kimberly Jones.

And I have a second Twitter member who found out about the snafu firsthand via “The Michael Kay Show,” attributing the faux pas to Jones.

At any rate, I know Kim enough to know that she probably wouldn’t make such a mistake. And if she did, well, we’re human. And when I saw her pre-recorded piece from rainy Cortland, NY on “NFL Total Access” on NFL Network tonight, I could see how she (or whomever the reporter was) may have been confused. NFLN ran two snippets of interviews with Sanchez and Tebow, and it appears that they were virtually standing in the same area! Watch it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Do we know if both Sanchez and Tebow were both in the same area at the same time when the “Tim” moment occurred? And if that’s the case, did ESPN – which first aired the video – figure they could seize the opportunity to fan the Tebowmania flames in New York by spinning that four-second clip into an otherwise embarrassing moment for the reporter?

Suffice it to say, NFLN didn’t present video of this awkward exchange. At least not on Thursday.

If it turns out that the Worldwide Leader indeed isolated a small, out-of-context clip out of what could possibly be a completely different situation, just to gin up some buzz (led by a tweet from Adam Schefter), then shame on ESPN.

Meanwhile, just when you think things couldn’t be more oppressive for Mark Sanchez… guess which New York Jets quarterback appears on the cover of an NFL sticker collection?

Let the games begin.

Update: I asked Ben Shpigel, Jets beat reporter for the New York Times (and one of whose tweets I’ve linked above) if both Sanchez and Tebow were both present at the time of the snafu. Ben’s response: “No. the reporter began [the] question by saying “Tim,” as in “Tim said,” or something like that. But she kept getting interrupted.”

So, one reporter’s interruption is another network’s manufactured quarterback controversy.

(And I knew Kimberly Jones wouldn’t make such a “mistake.” With the Internets abuzz with “Reporter calls Mark Sanchez ‘Tim'” posts, she should demand an apology from the Worldwide Leader.)

(Original video hat tip.)