Dave Briggs Totally Crossed Out On NBC Sports Network's "The Crossover"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Beadle will be the primary host of NBC Sports Network's "The Crossover" when new episodes resume on Monday, May 20. Dave Briggs will reportedly remain with NBC.

Michelle Beadle will be the primary host of NBC Sports Network’s “The Crossover” when new episodes resume on Monday, May 20. Dave Briggs will reportedly remain with NBC.

When it debuted the week prior to Super Bowl XLVII, “The Crossover” showed promise as a staple on NBC Sports Network. Moreso due to the presence of NBC’s big acquisition, Michelle Beadle, on the program.

Her pairing with Dave Briggs, a Boston sports television veteran who had most recently been on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends,” had to spark some chemistry in order for it to work.

In fact, upon the show’s launch, its executive producer, Sam Flood, had this to say about the show’s description: “It’s about personality. It’s about people you want to spend time with. It’s the people you want to be at the bar and hang out with, and these are the two people you want to do that with.”

After less than four months, it has become clear that NBC Sports Network does not want to spend time with Dave Briggs anymore.

When the show returns from a scheduled hiatus this week, it will possess three things: “New set, new cast, better vibe.”

Translation: “The Crossover” will now be hosted solely by Beadle, with a rotation of co-hosts. Briggs, meanwhile, will still remain with NBC and is already set to embark on a new venture with the company. (Given his past on Fox News, could it be MSNBC?)

And I’m guessing it’ll cost a fraction of what ESPN laid down for their new “SportsCenter” studio, for NBCSN to invest in the “new set” and “better vibe” for “The Crossover.”

The 6 PM ET time slot in which the show airs is crowded real estate among sports-oriented cable networks. You’ve already got the early evening edition of “SportsCenter” on ESPN, Jim Rome’s broadcast on CBS Sports Network, and starting this August, the brand new Fox Sports 1’s “Football Live,” which will have a rotation of co-hosts – kinda like “Crossover” will, with Beadle being the constant.

It goes without saying that Erin Andrews will likely be appearing on “Football Live” several times a week.

I guess NBC is sharpening up its claws in the battle of the former ESPN personalities catfight with FS1.

So will Dave Briggs be missed? If this sampling of Twitter reaction during the premiere week of “The Crossover” is any indication, probably not.

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ESPN Upfront 2013 Message: Destroy Fox Sports 1 Or Bus(t)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among other things at their 2013 upfront presentation, ESPN introduced a new bus, as well as a new million-dollar "SportsCenter" studio. Fox Sports 1, launching this summer, likely had a hand in these being created.

Among other things at their 2013 upfront presentation, ESPN introduced a new bus, as well as a new million-dollar “SportsCenter” studio. Fox Sports 1, launching this summer, likely had a hand in these being created.

Before I paint the picture of ESPN’s annual upfront presentation for 2013, let me first give you a quick recap of last year’s edition: the place was packed with advertisers and sports media observers (of course, the show is mostly for the advertisers). The headliners were “stars (including would-be ESPN analyst Ray Lewis), a marching band (the one belonging to The Ohio State University) [and] mascots (Mr. Met and Al E. Gator, among others).” Many of the announcements last year included the unveiling of a new ESPN Radio app, and the expansion of Bill Simmons’ Grantland franchise.

You could say that this year’s ESPN upfront presentation was just a little bit different: oh, sure, the ad buyers and sports media flacks packed the house again, and sports stars were once again present; in fact, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “closed” the event (watch the righty, currently in his final year in the major leagues, shadow Lewis and become an analyst next year; in fact, bank on it). And yes, there was some more mascot mischief.

But when you’ve got a competitor in Fox Sports 1 launching in a few months – perhaps the first network in the Worldwide Leader’s existence that can call themselves a legitimate competitor – not only do you have to top your previous upfront, oh, no: you also have to top Fox Sports 1’s upfront in March.

Yes, there was your average slew of announcements – new slate of “30 For 30” documentary films; new football (“NFL Insiders”, replacing the incumbent “NFL32”) and soccer (“ESPNFC”) programs; new “ESPN The Magazine” “body issue” featuring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in all his tattooed glory, much to the chagrin of David Whitley.

But there were two gigantic things that ESPN unveiled at this year’s upfront.

First, starting next year, ESPN’s “SportsCenter” shows will emanate from a brand new, state-of-the-art – make that continent-of-the-art, it’s so huge – 193,000 square foot studio, being billed “Digital Center 2.” Estimated cost to erect the set: $125 million.

Yes, cable subscribers, that is where your hard-earned inflated cable bill dollars is going.

Oh, and you’ll also be footing the bill for fuel that ESPN will be needing to get around in their brand new bus!

The vehicle, dubbed “SportsCenter On The Scene,” will be mobile for many sporting events year-round. Among its features, according to the network, are “satellite technology, bureau kit camera, lighting and equipment to do a live shot.” Yes, but will it prevent the trajectory of rogue water bottles being thrown in its direction?

By the way, ESPN’s “SportsCenter On The Scene” bus is said to be the first vehicle for the Worldwide Leader since Stephen A. Smith’s old late-night talk show on ESPN2, “Quite Frankly.”

And ESPN president John Skipper was quite frank in talking about the soon-to-be-launched Fox Sports 1 and other competitors that are already in battle (CBS and NBC Sports Network, just to name a couple) in the sports cable trenches. “We like competition,” he admitted. “It makes us better.”

Well, if it took Fox being committed to a new national sports cable network for ESPN to make a dramatic upgrade in their “SportsCenter” set and add a pair of wheels, what took them so long?

Yes, who needs the duo from the Canadian version of “SportsCenter” (that would be Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, who will be leaving TSN to anchor Fox Sports 1’s nightly “Fox Sports Live” program) when you can watch who we have in a breathtaking new structure!

There’s ESPN bidding aggressively on sports broadcasting contracts – and it is these contracts, as well as long-term carriage deals with cable companies, that Skipper says is the backbone of ESPN’s success – and then there’s flat-out largesse.

A bus? Really? Were plans for a “SportsCenter In The Sky” helicopter a little out of hand?

In a related item, earlier in the day, Fox Sports fired a salvo and announced that when the current Speed channel morphs into Fox Sports 1 on August 17, its action sports-themed network Fuel will indeed be transformed into Fox Sports 2 on the very same day. A third Fox Sports network (Fox College Sports?) can’t be far behind at this point.

But for now, with its splashy “look at how much money and talent we have” upfront, ESPN wins the day in the end.

The question is, will they win the fight with the elephant in the room that will be Fox Sports 1?

ESPN New York Radio Host Convinced Rangers Played Penguins In NHL Playoffs (Audio)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What game was Robin Lundberg watching? The early-morning host on ESPN Radio 98.7, the New York Rangers' flagship station, said several times on the air that they had played the Penguins in the playoffs, when they were actually playing the Capitals.

What game was Robin Lundberg watching? The early-morning host on ESPN Radio 98.7, the New York Rangers’ flagship station, said several times on the air that they had played the Penguins in the playoffs, when they were actually playing the Capitals.

The National Hockey League has seen more than its share of disrespect in the media. We’ve already experienced the botching of team players and the botching of team logos.

But what was heard early Thursday morning on New York’s ESPN Radio 98.7 really takes the cake.

Robin Lundberg, who hosts a daily, one-hour show at 3 AM – I’ll give them credit for putting on live, local talent in overnight hours, but just one hour? Come on – had asked listeners several times to comment on the previous night’s playoff game between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. (They’re actually playing the Washington Capitals.)

Mind you, ESPN 98.7 is only the flagship station of the Rangers.

So for Lundberg to make this mistake not once, not twice, not three times, but four times in twenty minutes probably won’t sit well with hockey purists, much less Rangers fans.

Click here to listen to an audio montage – the slip-ups are at 2:10, 3:15, 4:48 and 5:15.

The most baffling of these gaffes has to be the third one, which follows a minute-long conversation with his producer who provided insight on Game 4 of the Rangers/Capitals series. At two points (4:15 and 4:35) during the chat, Chris Mitchell mentions “the Capitals.” Seconds later, Lundberg takes a call and asks him, “What were you watching? Heat/Bulls or Rangers/Penguins?”

It took a tweet halfway through Lundberg’s one-hour show informing him of his repeated mistake. Then and only then did he acknowledge, “I know that. I misspoke because the Islanders play the Penguins” on Thursday night, in a playoff game that will actually air on ESPN 98.7 (the Islanders’ usual radio home is Hofstra University’s 88.7 WRHU).

If you “misspeak” one time, fine. But to do so four times in 50% of your radio show (did I mention it’s only an hour long?), all while assuring listeners, “I’m not trying to insult any hockey fans” (2:55), is downright mind-boggling.

You saw the Rangers game, Robin Lundberg. You said so several times on your program. But it looks like you weren’t paying enough attention to the Rangers’ opponent in that game.

I wonder if he’s going to Habib “Islanders/Capitals” on his next show.

Mike Francesa Talks Islanders Hockey, And A Fight With Michael Kay Breaks Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEPN/New York's Michael Kay thought it was a mistake for his rival, WFAN's Mike Francesa, who beats him handily in the ratings, to open his show by talking about the New York Islanders.

WEPN/New York’s Michael Kay thought it was a mistake for his rival, WFAN’s Mike Francesa, who beats him handily in the ratings, to open his show by talking about the New York Islanders.

Mike Francesa is the most popular sports radio host in New York. In fact, he’s strong enough to carry a list of sports talkers coast-to-coast.

So it probably doesn’t matter if he even watches hockey, let alone discuss the NHL on his show.

On Wednesday’s edition of his WFAN radio/YES Network program, he actually did something that few people expected him to do: Not only did he talk about the New York Islanders, in the midst of a first-round series, tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece, he actually led his show with the Brooklyn-bound NHL squad.

Perhaps it was because center John Tavares, who scored in two straight playoff games, was scheduled to appear on Francesa’s program in the first half-hour.

“John Tavares on with Francesa in the first segment of the show? After a Knicks win? That’s big time,” tweeted known sports radio tweaker @AirChecked.

But there was a big-time tweaking at Francesa a couple of hours later from the fingertips of his rival, WEPN/”ESPN 98.7″ afternoon host Michael Kay:

And yes, at one point, Francesa actually fielded a call from a listener asking him of he was aware of what people on Twitter were saying about him and his radio opponent.

Anyway, here’s more Twitter feedback regarding Francesa vs. Kay:

ESPN Might Restore Faith On "Monday Night Football" (Hill, That Is)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear not, football fans: Faith Hill, legs and all, may once again be gracing TV screens before football games - perhaps on ESPN, which revolutionized the form with Hank Williams, Jr. on "Monday Night Football."

Fear not, football fans: Faith Hill, legs and all, may once again be gracing TV screens before football games – perhaps on ESPN, which revolutionized the form with Hank Williams, Jr. on “Monday Night Football.”

Last month, Faith Hill announced a “difficult decision” to depart as the artist performing prior to “Sunday Night Football” on NBC for six seasons.

On Tuesday, NBC announced that another country recording artist, Carrie Underwood, would replace Hill on the broadcasts starting with the season kickoff game on September 5.

I would not be surprised if this news did not sit well with Faith Hill. This video from a country music award show tells you all you need to know:

Anyway, I have a gut feeling that Faith will eventually be back in the game before long.

Because there are two other nationally televised weekly football broadcasts that could definitely use her services as an upgrade.

And who are ESPN and NFL Network to say no to the woman who belted out a loose version of a Joan Jett song customized for the opponents of that night’s game on the top-rated show in primetime?

Last year, in conjunction with “Thursday Night Football” expanding from eight games per season to thirteen, NFLN brought in Cee Lo Green to perform a theme song to the beat of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” As far as we know, the deal is for at least one season.

But with Faith Hill being a free agent, NFLN could very well tell Cee Lo, “forget you” – or something similar, anyway.

Then, there’s ESPN, whose “Monday Night Football” was for years the model for this device, with Hank Williams, Jr. being known for asking that burning question to viewers, “Are you ready for some football?” The song had been performed before “MNF” starting in 1989 on its original network, ABC, carrying over to ESPN in 2006, until he decided to compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler on the morning of October 3, 2011 – which happened to be a Monday; his intro was yanked from that night’s Buccaneers/Colts game. ESPN would later drop the singer from their “MNF” broadcasts altogether. Since then, they’ve been leaning on production pieces (similar to the “Journey” series on Fox’s NFL pregame show) and comedy bits airing before the game.

It’s clear that they can’t go this route forever; the current period of pregame pieces should act as a buffer between Hank Jr.’s tenure on “MNF” and his eventual replacement; further, there would be less backlash to let time subside before deciding on a new “MNF” artist, as opposed to just dragging a singer off the street to replace Hank Jr. on the October 10, 2011 broadcast. Certainly, Hank Jr., with his updated version of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” being crooned into living rooms and bars for over two decades, has etched himself into football lore, and ESPN respects that.

And now that Bocephus is pretty much out of the football picture (his recent doubling down on Obama will all but cement that), it’s easier for ESPN to move on to a new artist for the “Monday Night Football” intro.

Could you imagine the innovator of the primetime football game open standing pat with generic intros, while the weekly primetime NFL broadcasts on NBC and NFL Network have artists belting one out?

I say, ESPN shouldn’t stand for being upstaged by the likes of Cee Lo Green. And by hiring Faith Hill to continue her career as an NFL kickoff singer, that would mean NFL Network will have to stand for, well, Cee Lo Green.

Of course, this is all contingent on whether or not Faith Hill’s schedule can accommodate getting back into the grind of recording a song for several weeks. She’d likely need to learn a new one, no doubt. She could also decide to take a year or two off from the NFL.

But something tells me the selection of Carrie Underwood to replace her on NBC is going to speed up this process rather quickly.

Are you ready for some… catfight?

Hoosier New PD Of Sports Radio And "Soft Rock" In Indianapolis? It's Greg Rakestraw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veteran sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw, shown here with Marian University president Dan Elsener, is the new program director for "1070 The Fan" in Indianapolis. He had previously served as PD of another sports radio station in Indy from 2002-2009.

Veteran sports broadcaster Greg Rakestraw, shown here with Marian University president Dan Elsener, is the new program director for “1070 The Fan” in Indianapolis. He had previously served as PD of another sports radio station in Indy from 2002-2009.

Once in awhile, there will be a sports broadcaster that will land in a market, and work a host of sporting events in the area. In New York, it was Marv Albert. In Los Angeles, it was Dick Enberg.

And in Indiana, the person that best fits this description could be Greg Rakestraw.

His play-by-play resume consists mostly of college athletics; you may have seen him calling a game on ESPNU. He’s also served as pregame and postgame host on the Indianapolis Colts radio network, based at WFNI-AM/”1070 The Fan.” He’s actually been aligned with the station for a couple of years. Prior to, he had toiled at two other sports radio stations in Indy: WNDE-AM 1260, where he was a producer and reporter from 1996 until 2000; and WXLW-AM 950, the market’s former ESPN Radio affiliate, where he had been a jack of all trades, notably program director, for seven years (2002-2009).

Indy’s current ESPN Radio affiliate, Emmis Communications’ “1070 The Fan,” recently launched an FM translator at 107.5 FM which simulcasts some local programming, and also clears some shows from “the mothership”; local hosts on 1070 include ESPN announcer Dan Dakich.

Some of Rakestraw’s tasks at “The Fan” since 2011 include subbing for Dakich’s midday show, as well as the afternoon program hosted by John Michael Vincent (best known by his initials, “JMV”) when neither host is available for whatever reason. He’s also maintained a blog on the “Fan” website, titled “Rake’s Take.”

And now, Rake has but a giant take: he’s taking the program director position at the “Fan” tandem, a return to the PD chair for the revered local personality.

And even if he isn’t taking calls or doing play-by-play, Rakestraw will have a say in what you hear on the stations somehow.

“If you hear it on the air, Greg one way or another will have influence over it,” commented Bob Richards, the operations manager for Emmis’ cluster in Indianapolis, which includes WYXB-FM/”Soft Rock 105.7″.

In fact, as an added bonus, Rakestraw will be given the keys to operate the adult contemporary formatted music station as well.

This must be a first: a female-targeted music station that will be programmed by a man who’s worked in sports broadcasting for the last two decades. While the idea may sound far-fetched, it’s the current economics of the radio business that mostly dictates one person being a PD for two or more radio stations, regardless of the stations’ individual formats, and regardless of the programmers’ background in formats on radio.

That being said, Rakestraw’s following across the Hoosier State, combined with “Soft Rock 105.7” usually being the top-rated radio station in Indianapolis not playing country music, should make for a winning team. It’ll be an odd pairing, but with Rake’s involvement in the station, they should continue holding their own.

As for Emmis’ other station in the Indianapolis market, news/talk WIBC, which had been heard for seven decades at AM 1070 before migrating to 93.1 FM, their new PD is the old “Fan” PD, David Wood. So the entire cluster will not be under Rake’s watch. But something tells me he would be open to the challenge.

I’m sure Greg Rakestraw would somehow find a way to balance Steve Simpson, high school basketball, and Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.”