Cranking Out The Friday Megalinks

Let’s do some Friday linkage for you.

MLB Postseason starts up really in earnest with four games on Saturday. College Football in full swing and the NFL completes its first month of games on Sunday. Your Weekend Viewing Picks have everything you need to know in sports and primetime programming.

To the linkage.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage will be known for having the Brothers Waltrip next year.

Mike Reynolds of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Turner Sports will be all over the League Division Series for the first four days of the MLB Postseason.

Adweek has a graphic showing how much time we spend on watching football.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that TBS and Fox should see good ratings for the MLB Postseason based on an exciting final night of the season on Wednesday.

Nelli Andreeva of Deadline reports that ESPN is developing an ABC sitcom based on Boston sports fans. That’s going to go over well.

Bill Hofheimer in ESPN’s Front Row blog talks with ESPN’s Jon Gruden about calling a “home game” this Monday.

Jim Romanesko of the Poynter Institute looks at the despicable reaction of Buffalo Bills fans to a column written by a female sportswriter at the Albany Times Union.

Bob’s Blitz has video of WFAN’s Mike Francesa attempting to add on the air.

Brandon Costa at Sports Video Group looks at ESPN placing microphones on various players and coaches during the WNBA Finals.

Brandon chronicles a wild Wednesday night at MLB Network.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at the advantages or lack of thereof having a bigger payroll in MLB.

The Sports Biz Miss Kristi Dosh tells us that despite not making the playoffs, the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox still get a share of the postseason pie.

The Sports Media Watch looks at how the tumultuous Final Night of the MLB season led to a ratings bonanza for ESPN.

SMW says for the MLB season, ESPN’s ratings went up slightly.

SMW says TBS’ ratings for the MLB regular season were flat compared with last year.

Joe Favorito looks at how Dick Vitale has made himself into a viable brand.

The Daly Planet delves into the changes with the Fox Sports NASCAR crew.

The Influencer Economy has a look into Blogs with Balls 4 and the future of sports media.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe (this is the last day I’ll be able to link to Chad as his columns go behind the dreaded paywall starting October 1) writes about NESN viewers unable to see analyst Dennis Eckersley on the last day of the season.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy shares some blame in the Red Sox collapse.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with TBS’ Brian Anderson who steps into the network’s lead spot for the MLB Postseason.

Justin Terranova of the New York Post has five questions for NBC Football Night in America analyst Rodney Harrison.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a new local sports talk show host isn’t spending any time discussing any local topics.

Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record writes about local radio stations picking up MLB League Division Series games.

To the New Jersey Newsroom where Evan Weiner says the college conference shuffle is making fans roll their collective eyes.

In the Allentown (PA) Morning Call, Keith Groller writes that MLB will have a hard act to follow in the postseason after a compelling final night of the regular season.

Laura Nachman says Comcast SportsNet will be all over the Phillies in the MLB Postseason.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes that sections of the Baltimore Sun’s sports website will go behind the dreaded paywall.

South

The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jacksonville Jaguars have avoided a blackout for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

To the St. Petersburg Times where Tom Jones says Sun Sports got big ratings for the Tampa Bay Rays’ march to the playoffs this week.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that MLB Network was all over the twists and turns from the final night of the regular season.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has his news and notes.

Midewest

John Kieswetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a local CBS affiliate will provide halftime highlights during Bengals games at Paul Brown Stadium.

John writes that Saturday’s Cincinnati-Miami game will be seen live online and on local TV on tape delay.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with Tigers TV voice Mario Impemba about the team’s chances of advancing in the MLB Postseason.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel speaks with Brewers TV voice Brian Anderson about getting the top gig for TBS for the playoffs.

Bob has a couple of quotes from CBS’ Phil Simms about Sunday’s Denver-Green Bay game.

To Crain’s Chicago Business and Ed Sherman who writes that Nebraska’s addition to the conference can only help the Big Ten Network.

Ed has his winners and losers in sports media and business.

In the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin, Paul Christian talks with former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster who’s now patrolling the sidelines for Gus Johnson and FX’s college football game of the week.

Jennifer Mann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been arrested on DUI charges for the second time this year.

Dan Caesar of the Post-Dispatch writes that Fox Sports Midwest has suspended McLaughlin indefinitely.

West

Bill Center in the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres expect to bring back its TV booth, but no word on the team’s radio announcers or new TV contract for next season.

The Union-Tribune says Sunday’s Chargers game against the Dolphins will be blacked out.

John Maffei of the North County Times says the Padres hope to have a new TV deal (with Fox Sports Net) in place by the New Year.

At the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes that Wednesday’s MLB season finale was Must See TV.

Jim says despite being on a losing team, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is in the center of the MVP debate among TV analysts.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Jenn Brown’s endorsement deal with GNC.

Tom says Bill Macdonald’s full-time days with Fox Sports West are over.

Tom looks at TBS’ coverage of the MLB Postseason.

Tom wonders why the NFL pulled back the 1st half Thursday Night Football package from the table.

Canada

In the Toronto Globe and Mail, Bruce Dowbiggin says MLB got a shot in the arm on Wednesday.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog writes that TSN has locked up curling on TV in Canada through the end of the decade.

And that’s going to do it. I may have a few more links later tonight.

Friday Megalinks

Due to being at jobsites for the last few days, I haven’t been able post links like I’ve wanted to at either my main page or the Fang’s Bites at BSMW site. I apologize for that. I have tried to be diligent in updating as much as I can.

Let’s get to the linkage.

But first, there’s always the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment planning.

National

John Ourand at Sports Business Journal writes that ESPN will do everything it can to head off NBC/Versus at the pass.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch asks if sports broadcasting and politics should mix?

Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press says the Big 12′s TV contracts helped to keep the conference together for now.

The Nielsen Ratings Wire blog notes that among various TV programming, sports in primetime continues to do well.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy talks with CBS/WFAN/Westwood One’s Boomer Esiason on how the NFL should investigate the Dallas Cowboys’ medical staff for clearing Tony Romo to play last Sunday.

Mike says ESPN is denying any responsibility for the recent college football chaos and says the Longhorn Network doesn’t have anything to do with it. I think Texas A&M, Missouri and other Big 12 schools would beg to differ.

Bob Velin of USA Today writes that CBS’ 48 Hours Mystery program will investigate the mysterious and unsettling death of boxer Arturo Gatti.

Mike McCarthy and Michael Hiestand of USA Today debate whether schools or TV wield the power in college sports.

John Taylor of College Football Talk writes that Brett Favre gets his first taste of being an analyst next week for CSS.

John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports that the FCC has ruled that Cablevision-owned MSG Network cannot withhold its HD signal to other cable providers violating program-access rules.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that YES received its second highest rating ever for the American League East Division clinching game this week.

Mike says Golf Channel and NBC Sports are teaming up for a promotion to give a lucky viewer of “The Big Break” a chance to win a trip to see Notre Dame play in Ireland next year.

Tim Nudd of Adweek says the NFL has pulled an ad for its fantasy football product which used a picture of Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles after he was injured last week.

David Lieberman of Deadline reports that Time Warner Cable is planning to offer a low cost tier that will not include ESPN in the lineup.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the video of ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown calling Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones something else.

Glenn Davis at SportsGrid has the sixth and perhaps final installment of New Era’s Yankees-Red Sox Alec Baldwin-John Kraskinski ads. They have been quite good. This latest one may have taken it a bit too far.

Also from SportsGrid, Dan Fogarty reviews the ESPN Films documentary “Catching Hell”, on Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs.

Sports Media Watch talks with the crew of ESPN’s College GameDay.

SMW says despite being on tape delay, Fox drew a decent audience for its first English Premier League game on Sunday.

SMW notes that the ratings for CBS’ 2nd game of its NFL doubleheader dropped from last year.

SMW says the NBA lockout has forced the cancellation of the start of training camp and over 40 preseason games.

And SMW has some various ratings news and notes.

Joe Favorito looks at one imaginative marketing campaign that helped Eye Black this week.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reviews “Moneyball.”

Darren has some interesting facts on sports participation in America.

Karen Hogan of Sports Video Group looks at how CBS Sports Network was able to bring the Tim Brando Show into a TV simulcast from his base in Shreveport, LA.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has this week’s network TV on-screen typos.

Ben Koo from AA says tomorrow is when Gus Johnson and FX get their real grand opening in college football.

At The Stir, Maressa Brown feels ESPN’s Erin Andrews is unqualified to demonstrate CrossFit.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes that WEEI’s Glenn Ordway has suffered a rather severe pay cut due to low ratings for The Big Show.

At SBNation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen looks at a busy week in local sports media news.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette writes that Dale Arnold is pleased to be back with NESN after leaving in 2007.

Lang Whitaker and Ian Lovett of the New York Times give us an inside look at DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel and NFL Network’s RedZone.

John Jeansonne of Newsday reviews ESPN Films’ documentary on transgendered tennis player Renee Richards.

Newsday’s Neil Best says fans seem to be buying into the New York Islanders’ future.

Claire Atkinson of the New York Post has news that some Time Warner Cable subscribers have been waiting for, that the company appears to be close to a carriage agreement with NFL Network.

Phil Mushnick at the Post can’t stand ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

Justin Terranova of the Post says last month’s Russian plane crash that killed 44 members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl really hit home for MSG Network analyst Joe Micheletti.

And Justin has five questions for Joe.

Lou Lumenick of the Post says “Moneyball” is one of the best baseball movies of all-time.

I’ll break my self-imposed embargo on the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman for a week for this story on the Yankees’ radio rights which are in flux and so are the fates of broadcasters John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that MSG Network has named Steve Cangialosi to replace Mike “Doc” Emrick on New Jersey Devils games.

And Pete talks with Steve about his new gig.

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette is not a fan of a new local sports talk show host.

Ken notes that NBC Sports is extending its “Summer at Saratoga” series for at least two more years.

At Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com notes that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic has announced its Capitals and Wizards schedules.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says the college football conference merry-go-round could have some legal ramifications.

Jim says the ratings for the NFL in both Baltimore and Washington were very strong.

South

In the Miami Herald, Joseph Goodman notes the irony of ESPN possibly saving college football from massive chaos.

Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel catches up with ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer.

Jeff Sentell of the Birmingham (AL) News says ESPN is not ponying up to air high school games from the region.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that an Astros broadcaster is celebrating 25 years with the club.

David asks readers if they find the idea of the Longhorn Network offensive.

Mel Bracht at the Daily Oklahoman says an Oklahoma State wide receiver will be profiled on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Midwest

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Cleveland MLB team radio voice Mike Hegan is leaving he broadcast after this season.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Reds voice Marty Brennaman can’t campaign on-air for his former partner Joe Nuxhall for the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award.

Micahel Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wonders why the DirecTV/NBC series “Friday Night Lights” didn’t do better in the ratings.

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says actor Brad Pitt saw “Moneyball” as a compelling story.

Bob says the Green Bay Packers will be showcased aplenty in the late afternoon window on both CBS and Fox this season.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business writes that the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship failed to draw viewers away from the NFL on Sunday.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times talks with WMAQ-TV sports anchor Paula Ferris.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders why Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin has been missing of late.

Kevin Haskin of the Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal writes that CBS Sports Network was in town to air an NCAA Division II football game this week.

West

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says Big Ten Network won’t allow the local Cox system to pick up Saturday’s San Diego State-Michigan game on a one-time only basis.

The North County Times’ John Maffei writes that unless fans can find a sports bar, they’ll have to listen to San Diego State on the radio.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says it’s too bad Southern California couldn’t see the end of the exciting Oakland-Buffalo game due to silly NFL rules.

Jim says HBO will replay last Saturday’s controversial Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says a bankruptcy court has given the Dodgers permission to change their flagship radio station for next season.

Tom says the NFL secondary market rule needs to be changed.

Tom also has a few notes that he couldn’t get into his Friday column.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News looks at the Pac-12′s decision to stand pat, TV’s role in the whole thing and where BYU may be headed.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that CBC’s P.J. Stock is regretting his initial comments on Wade Belak’s death.

The Toronto Sports Media Blog is not so fast to forgive P.J.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CBC has made some additions to its Hockey Night in Canada crew.

And there you have it for your links today.

Friday Megalinks Just For You

Let’s do some linkage.

The Weekend Viewing Picks give you everything to you need for your viewing pleasure.

Let’s do this.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that primetime is the right time for college football.

Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Daily reports that ESPN has sold out its ad inventory for its new NASCAR non-stop initiative which will allow fans to see continuous race action while commercials run.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says NFL Network used some creative methods in Boston to promote its Bill Belichick documentary.

If you watched the Belichick documentary, then you probably know about the best scene which was the coach yelling at the Baltimore Ravens’ Derrick Mason who was trash talking. Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has the video.

Brandon Costa from Sports Video Group notes that Sports Illustrated has released a new Football Rivals mobile app.

Sports Media Watch says ABC is doing well with college football in its first two weeks of the season.

SMW notes that last Saturday’s Notre Dame-Michigan game on ESPN in primetime did better than the previous week’s Fighting Irish game on NBC.

SMW says last week’s NASCAR race in Richmond garnered a four year ratings high for ABC.

Tony Manfred of the Business Insider Sports Page says sports bars got hit the hardest by DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket technical difficulties last week.

Steve Lepore from Puck The Media has NHL Network’s preseason schedule that begins next week.

Joe Favorito says sports brands are now jumping into the corn field maze craze.

Awful Announcing has this week’s network TV on-screen typos.

Parade talks with ESPN’s Erin Andrews.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn from the Boston Globe writes about some ex-Patriots players who have made the transition to TV.

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald talks about 98.5 The Sports Hub winning the prestigious Marconi for Best Sports Station in the country over a former winner, WEEI.

Bill Doyle at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette praises the NFL Films documentary on Bill Belichick.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir looks at a rare film that followed the late Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto and other ex-Pinstripers to Austria for an exhibition game in 1994.

Daniel E. Slotnick of the Times writes that former New York Jet and broadcaster Sam DeLuca has passed away.

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with statistician Steve Hirdt about his career and getting to work a “home” game for this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.

Neil says SNY is fortunate to have the Jets as a partner to help viewers forget about the Mets.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post is angry at everyone.

The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for YES analyst Ken Singleton.

Jerry Barmash in Fishbowl NY writes that MSG Network brings back its signature hockey studio show for another season.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that local sports anchor Andrew Catalon gets a call-up to the NFL on CBS in October.

Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record talks with MLB Network’s Brian Kenny about why he left ESPN after almost a decade and a half.

Ken has more with Brian Kenny in his column.

Ken is tired of NHL Network rerunning last season’s playoffs.

South

Serena Moyle of the Tallahassee (FL) Democrat profiles ESPN’s Erin Andrews as she’s in town for the Oklahoma-Florida State game.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says you watched the NFL in droves last week.

David says ESPN is treating Longhorn Network differently than its other entities.

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman writes that Longhorn Network will pick up one Oklahoma State basketball game.

Mel has some news and notes.

Gina Mizell of the Oklahoman says ESPN is keeping a close eye on Oklahoma State and Texas A&M for a potential College GameDay visit.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that Fox Sports Ohio expands its pregame show tomorrow to air highlights of Johnny Bench Night.

John says a local radio station has fired a long-time sports reporter and other parts of its staff.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with a long-time Division II college football radio voice.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says some local Time Warner Cable subscribers will have access to this Saturday’s Wisconsin game.

Bob explains why the Wisconsin game isn’t on TV.

Bob says the Brewers’ Prince Fielder will be seen in a profile on TBS Sunday.

Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says all of the Blues games will be televised for the first time ever.

West

Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune writes that ESPN’s deal with BYU has now become a recruiting tool for the school.

Matt Solinsky of the Desert (CA) Sun says the NFL Network documentary on Patriots coach Bill Belichick is definitely “must see TV”.

John Maffei from the North County Times tries to discover what the holdup is for the San Diego Padres’ TV and radio rights.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says Time Warner Cable has signed a long-term deal for California’s high school championships.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times talks with the Fox NFL Sunday crew.

T.J. Simers of the Times writes that Vin Scully can cause trouble at home.

Also from the Times, Eric Sondheimer has details of the Time Warner deal with the California Interscholastic Federation.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Jay “The Rat” Mariotti is determined to get the last word on his tumultuous year.

Tom has some media moves that didn’t make his column.

Tom says MLB Network will air a special on statistics.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says an 8 year delay will help Steve Moore in his lawsuit against Todd Bertuzzi and the NHL stemming from an incident in Vancouver.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada has finally made some moves to fill some personnel holes.

And that’s going to conclude the links for this Friday.

The Friday Night Megalinks

I’ve been to Newton, MA and back, South Kingstown, RI and back and all over my hometown of North Kingstown, RI and all of this today. It’s time to do the megalinks and get them all done in one sitting.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks for your sports and entertainment programming.

National

Sports Business Daily goes over the UFC/Fox agreement that will put four live MMA events on network TV and plenty of ancillary programming on Fox’s cable networks.

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that Fox Sports Media Group El Presidente Por Vida David Hill has done an about face on airing Mixed Martial Arts.

Sergio Non of USA Today writes that UFC will revamp its shows when they move from Spike and Versus to Fox’s networks.

Sergio has those who will take part in the first UFC on Fox card in November.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times writes in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center that the success of the UFC on Fox all depends on whether the sport can have a breakout star.

Dave Meltzer at Yahoo! says UFC President Dana White couldn’t be happier in making this deal with Fox.

Also from Yahoo!, Kevin Iole says it will be the fighters who will benefit the most from the new UFC on Fox contract.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser has Spike announcing that the new season of UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter will be the last on its airwaves, naturally.

Anthony Crupi of Adweek looks into the particulars of the UFC on Fox deal.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine writes that the Fox contract gives UFC some instant mainstream credibility.

There will be more UFC on Fox stories sprinkled throughout the megalinks. Let’s move on to other stories now.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wonders if Showtime’s “The Franchise” is bringing down the San Francisco Giants this season.

Georg Szalai of the Reporter reports that Comcast has withdrawn a lawsuit against DirecTV over an ad campaign for NFL Sunday Ticket.

David Goetzl of MediaPost notes that DirecTV plans to expand its fantasy offerings for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News looks at Versus/NBC Sports Network’s new exclusive NHL night in the first year of its new 10 year contract with the league.

Andrew McMains of Adweek looks at a new inspiring web video produced for the US Olympic Committee.

All Access says the ESPN Radio affiliate in Minnesota’s Twin Cities has chosen the hosts for its midday show.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy explores which teams won and lost in the new NHL TV schedules.

Cam Martin of SportsNewser writes that former voice of the North Carolina Tar Heels, Woody Durham, will be honored for his contributions to college football.

The Big Lead wonders if Jay Bilas is the most respected voice at ESPN.

Timothy Burke of SportsGrid investigates how former 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell managed to appear to appear on the Dan Patrick Show and the Colin Cowherd Show at the same time.

And Tim presents the Atlanta Braves’ Shake Cam and how it can make fans a bit too excited.

Sports Media Watch says the U-20 World Cup is scoring for Galavision.

Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has a look at some interesting sports media typos.

Matt shows us how the Baseball Tonight crew had trouble demonstrating its new touchscreen.

Joe Favorito looks at what’s new with professional lacrosse.

Patrick Stafford of Smart Company in Australia speaks with the owner of Footytips.com about how he sold his site to ESPN.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the limited classic programming on NBA TV during the current league lockout can only take the channel so far.

Sox & Dawgs has the video of NESN’s Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy wearing chicken hats in the booth.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes on how regional sports networks have increasing power and money to be a game changer for some professional teams.

Richard looks at the UFC on Fox deal that puts Mixed Martial Arts into the mainstream.

Dan Levin from the Times has a good story on how some athletes in Communist China are trying to buck their archaic system.

Mark DeCambre of the New York Post notes that the new Meadowlands Stadium now will have a sponsor when the new NFL season begins.

Justin Terranova in the Post looks at how Fordham University was a training ground for several NYC announcers.

Justin has five questions for SNY Jets analyst Anthony Becht.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes about Fox signing UFC for seven years.

Pete says local sports anchor Andrew Catalon’s call of tonight’s Browns-Lions game will be seen on NFL Network this weekend.

Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says a local radio station will air a full high school football schedule.

Ken says the NBC Sports Group is increasing its commitment to horse racing this fall.

And Ken writes that a new local sports radio talk show will be debuting soon.

To Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record who says the New York Rangers will be featured extensively on the national NHL TV schedules.

Crossing Broad has the audio of Philadelphia’s sports radio station WIP announcement that it’s taking over WYSP’s FM frequency killing off a heritage rock station.

Dan Gross of the Philadelphia Daily News says ‘YSP staffers were melancholy about CBS Radio’s announcement killing off the station.

Jeff Wolfe of the Delaware County Times writes about WIP’s displacement of WYSP just as the rocker’s ratings were increasing.

Mike White in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says two local high school games hit the ESPN family of networks this fall.

Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette says the Penguins TV announcing crew will return for another season.

In the Baltimore Sun, David Zurawik explains where Ravens fans can find the team on TV and radio.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the Ravens did extremely well in the ratings in both Baltimore and Washington, DC in their NFL preseason opener.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with DC NFL Team radio voice Larry Michael.

And Jim writes that the Washington Capitals will have plenty of appearances on NBC/Versus (NBC Sports Network).

Mike Madden in the Washington City Paper says the local sports anchor is becoming a thing of the past.

Keith Loria of the Fairfax (VA) Times says native Lindsay Czarniak is about to make her debut on ESPN.

South

The Charleston (WV) Gazette notes that Root Sports Pittsburgh will carry some West Virginia and Marshall programming.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Bob Griese will be joining the Miami Dolphins radio broadcast team replacing the late Jim Mandich.

Andy Kent of the Miami Dolphins website has Griese’s thoughts about joining the broadcast team and also sharing thoughts about Mandich.

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times has some thoughts on the UFC/Fox deal, the Little League World Series on TV and CBS’ production of the PGA Championship.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel says Yahoo! Sports does a better job of investigating college sports than the NCAA.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that Saturday’s US National Gymnastics championships get a network primetime slot.

Mike Finger and Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News says the Longhorn Network hasn’t given up on airing high school football games in one form or another.

The Daily Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht looks at UFC getting a big payday from Fox.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer talks with NBC’s Cris Collinsworth who’s going into his third season as Sunday Night Football analyst.

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal now knows why DirecTV was so willing to give him a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket after learning that the service will be offered to Sony Playstation 3 owners.

The Grand Rapids (MI) Press’ Michael Zuidema notes that a Big Ten Network analyst feels Nebraska is a perfect fit for the conference.

Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is amazed at ESPN’s ever-expanding army of NFL analysts and mountain of NFL programming.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Scott Dochterman in the Iowa City Gazette says NFL Network has picked up Mediacom for cable subscribers in the Hawkeye State.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says it’s not known which network will air the October 15th contest between BYU and Oregon State.

Dick Harmon of the Deseret (UT) News speaks with BYUtv’s Executive Director in a lengthy interview. Part I of which is here. Read Part II here.

Larry Bohannan at the Desert (CA) Sun says there’s evidence of not much live golf shown in a PGA Tour telecast.

John Maffei of the North County Times weighs the pros and cons of airing the Little League World Series.

In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle looks at the contrasting opinions that John and Patrick McEnroe had on the state of American tennis on HBO’s Real Sports this week.

Jim explores the UFC on Fox deal.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times says Fox paid a pretty penny to get UFC into the fold.

Meg James of the Times also writes about the UFC on Fox deal.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says when it came down to it, Fox didn’t have much of a choice but to sign UFC.

Tom says one sidebar to the UFC on Fox deal is the fact that Fox Sports Radio will also air MMA events.

Tom writes that former Dodgers radio voice Ross Porter has found his latest gig, calling high school sports online.

Canada

The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin feels TSN Radio isn’t getting the job done.

The Winnipeg Free Press notes that the Jets will get 22 games aired on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.

And the number of links today are hearken back to the first two years of this blog. Lots of links. That’s it.

The Complete Friday Megalinks

Friday’s have become maddening. I was out of the office earlier today and expect to be out again later, but I’m doing the Megalinks early so I can be done with them and be free for other stuff tonight.

As always, check out the Weekend Viewing Picks for the sports and entertaining programming.

National

We’ll begin with Andy Staples from Sports Illustrated who writes that the Longhorn Network has suddenly created a big problem for Big 12 Conference schools not named “Texas.”

Gavin J. Blair of the Hollywood Reporter says one of Japan’s networks will begin airing women’s soccer in the wake of the country’s win in the Women’s World Cup last week.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says MSG Network will celebrate Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend with a marathon of Halls of Fame specials.

Jessica Shambora of Fortune says ESPN succeeds where other cable channels don’t.

Glenn Davis of SportsGrid notes that NFL Players Association Executive DeMaurice Smith snuck up on ESPN reporters George Smith and Chris Mortensen during a live shot on Thursday.

Cam Martin at SportsNewser has former Howard Stern Show castmember Artie Lange confirming that he’s in talks to do a Fox Sports Radio show.

Karen Hogan of the Sports Video Group mentions that ESPN Films will premiere a new documentary on famed Georgia running back Herschel Walker in September.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell tells us that he’s going to sing the national anthem before a selected MLB game next month.

Sports Media Watch has some various ratings news and notes.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media waxes poetic about Mike Emrick’s departure as Voice of the New Jersey Devils.

Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has the site’s next matchup in its Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament, Joe Buck vs. Jim Gray. That’s a tough choice.

Ryan Yoder from AA says ESPN is taking a chance on airing live poker.

Joe Favorito asks who really benefits from the World Cup?

Dave Kohl at Major League Programs has a review of the week in sports media.

Dom Cosentino of Deadspin notes that San Francisco Giants announcer Jon Miller is still bitter about his firing by ESPN.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe talks with Sunday Night Baseball analyst Bobby Valentine about his first year in the broadcast booth.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir talks with Mike Emrick about his decision to leave the New Jersey Devils.

Newsday’s Neil Best writes that the Derek Jeter 3,000 hit chase has put a famous memorabilia company into the spotlight one again.

Neil talks about New Jersey announcers departing their teams after long runs.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post admits that he loves to hate WFAN’s Mike Francesa.

Justin Terranova of the Post writes about Hall of Fame announcer Mike Emrick leaving the New Jersey Devils after 21 seasons.

Justin has five questions for ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks with an NBC Sports executive about how its summer horse racing series from Saratoga came to fruition.

Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that one Baltimore TV station is cutting back on its sports coverage.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg revels in an on-air argument on one of the local sports radio stations in the DC Sports Bog.

South

At the Houston Chronicle, Brent Zwerneman writes that Texas A&M officials are very concerned about the Longhorn Network and what it means for the future of the Big 12 Conference.

The Chronicle’s David Barron has statements from Big 12 Commissioner Don Beebe and Longhorn Network owner ESPN about the conference’s temporary cease-and-desist order on airing high school football games and a Texas conference game.

David says the Longhorn Network saga could make for good reality TV.

David says while Longhorn Network is prevented from airing high school football for now, Fox Sports Southwest will have an NFL Red Zone Channel-like high school football block on Friday nights.

Suzanne Halliburton of the Austin Statesman-American says Longhorn Network programming is currently in limbo.

From the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht writes that ESPN will document the Oklahoma football program as it prepares for the 2011 campaign.

Midwest

John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that ESPN’s Barry Larkin is coming back to the Queen’s City this Sunday.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that a local TV sports director is back on the job after corrective neck surgery.

Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has this week’s winners and losers.

Roman Augustoviz says WNBA star Maya Moore will give viewers an inside look at the WNBA All-Star Game tomorrow.

West

John Maffei at the North County Times says there’s too much money being left on the table for an extended NFL lockout.

Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times writes that court documents show MLB was very skeptical of how Fox’s money for an extended rights deal could have helped the Dodgers remain competitive.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Minnesota Twins analyst Bert Blyeven credits Dodgers voice Vin Scully for helping him to become a Hall of Fame pitcher.

Jeff Faraudo of the San Jose Mercury Times reports that ESPN Deportes now has an affiliate in the Bay Area.

Jon Wilner of the Mercury Times tries to handicap what will happen next with the Pac-12 Network.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail looks at Bryant Gumbel’s closing comments on the US Women’s soccer team on HBO’s Real Sports.

And that’s going to do it. Stay cool on this scorcher of a day.

Local and National Stanley Cup Finals Coverage

Here is a roundup of the local and national coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals.

From the NHL:

2011 STANLEY CUP FINAL TO FEATURE VANCOUVER CANUCKS VS. BOSTON BRUINS

NEW YORK (May 27, 2011) – The 2011 Stanley Cup Final will feature the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins.

Based on their superior regular-season performance, the Canucks will host Games One and Two of the Stanley Cup Final, as well as Games Five and Seven, if necessary.  Games Three and Four will be hosted by the Bruins, as well as game Six, if necessary.

NBC will telecast Games One and Two and, if necessary, Games Five through Seven of the best-of-seven series in the U.S., while VERSUS will broadcast Games Three and Four. In Canada, CBC and RDS will provide coverage for the entire series. All games also will be carried on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

NHL Network, the League’s 24-hour, all-access pass to the most comprehensive hockey coverage, will feature special programming surrounding the Stanley Cup Final.  NHL.com will continue to provide extensive digital coverage.

2011 Stanley Cup Final Schedule

Game                Date                 Time (ET)        Vancouver vs. Boston                Networks
Game 1                Wed., June 1        8:00 p.m.         Boston at Vancouver                CBC, NBC, RDS

Game 2                Sat., June 4        8:00 p.m.         Boston at Vancouver                CBC, NBC, RDS

Game 3                Mon., June 6        8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Boston                   VERSUS, CBC, RDS

Game 4                Wed., June 8         8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Boston                VERSUS, CBC, RDS

*Game 5        Fri., June 10          8:00 p.m.         Boston at Vancouver                CBC, NBC, RDS

*Game 6        Mon., June 13        8:00 p.m.         Vancouver at Boston                NBC, CBC, RDS

*Game 7        Wed., June 15        8:00 p.m.        Boston at Vancouver                 CBC, NBC, RDS

* – If necessary
All times listed are Eastern Time

### 5/27/2011
From NESN:
NESN ANNOUNCES PLANS TO EXPAND BRUINS COVERAGE FOR STANLEY CUP FINAL

Daily Live Coverage Begins Tuesday, May 31 with Series Preview

 

BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, will expand its coverage of the Bruins during the Stanley Cup Final to include daily live shows beginning with a special series preview edition of Bruins Face-Off LIVE on Tuesday, May 31 at 5:30 p.m. NESN.com, already the region’s most popular hockey site, will also enhance its Bruins coverage for the Stanley Cup Final with more daily reports, expert opinions, cutting-edge analysis, original videos and other interactive features.

 

“As NESN’s ratings have shown, New England’s sports fans are supporting the Bruins in record numbers this season while relying on our team of experts since training camp opened in September for the most knowledgeable and in-depth coverage,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO.  “With the Bruins now in the Stanley Cup Final we are excited to deliver an unprecedented amount of live coverage with up-to-the minute reports on NESN.com.”

 

NESN’s daily live Bruins programming will consist of pre and post-game coverage before and after every game along with special editions of Bruins Face-Off LIVE airing on the team’s off days.  For Bruins home games, Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by Hess will continue to originate from NESN’s TD Garden studio.  After each game, Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE will feature interviews and instant reaction from NESN’s team of hockey analysts.

 

NESN’s Bruins studio host Kathryn Tappen will be joined by studio analysts Gord Kluzak, Barry Pederson, and play-by-play voice Jack Edwards throughout the series. Bruins game analyst Andy Brickley, rink-side reporter Naoko Funayama and NESN.com beat writer Doug Flynn will travel with the team to deliver in-arena coverage from Vancouver.

 

NESN’s Bruins Stanley Cup Final Programming Schedule

Tuesday, May 31 Bruins Face-Off LIVE (30 min. preview special) 5:30 PM
 

Wednesday, June 1

Game 1 Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by HESS (90 min.) 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Thursday, June 2

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:30 PM
 

Friday, June 3

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:30 PM
 

Saturday, June 4

Game 2 Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by Hess 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Sunday, June 5

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 9:30 PM
 

 

Monday, June 6

Game 3 Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by HESS (90 min.) 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Tuesday, June 7

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:30 PM
 

Wednesday, June 8

Game 4 Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by Hess 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Thursday, June 9

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:30 PM
 

Friday, June 10

Game 5* Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by Hess 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Saturday, June 11

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:00 PM
 

Sunday, June 12

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:00 PM
 

Monday, June 13

Game 6* Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by HESS (90 min.) 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM
 

Tuesday, June 14

Bruins Face-Off LIVE 5:30 PM
 

Wednesday, June 15

Game 7* Bruins Face-Off LIVE presented by HESS 6:30 PM
Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE 10:45 PM

 

*= If Necessary

From Comcast SportsNet:

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO OFFER COMPREHENSIVE NIGHTLY AND GAME-DAY COVERAGE OF BRUINS-CANUCKS STANLEY CUP FINALS

BURLINGTON, MA – The Boston Bruins have returned to the Stanley Cup Finals and seek their first Cup since 1972. Comcast SportsNet will offer the region’s most comprehensive coverage of the series before and after the nationally exclusive telecasts on either NBC or VERSUS.
 Comcast SportsNet’s nightly coverage of the Bruins-Canucks series will begin every evening at 6:00 p.m. with Chevrolet SportsNet Central. Anchors/reporters Mike Giardi and Kevin Walsh and CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty will provide extensive nightly reports. The Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Bob Beers and VERSUS/NBC hockey analysts are expected to contribute to Comcast SportsNet’s nightly and game night coverage.

As a lead-in to NBC’s and VERSUS’ game-night coverage, Comcast SportsNet will also host a one-hour Chevrolet SportsNet Central Extra at 7:00 p.m. with Michael Felger and Tony Amonte in-studio previewing the game and Giardi, Walsh and Haggerty reporting live from inside the arena.  NBC is airing Games 1, 2 and VERSUS games 3 and 4. If necessary, NBC will provide coverage of games 5, 6 and 7. All telecasts begin 8 p.m.

Following every NBC and VERSUS national high-definition telecast, Comcast SportsNet will host a one-hour post-game Chevrolet SportsNet Central Extra, which will feature in-depth analysis and player interviews along with player and coach press conferences.

Comcast SportsNet’s coverage will also extend to CSNNE.com where Giardi and Haggerty will file post-game editions of the Great American Hockey Show after each Bruins-Canucks game. CSNNE.com will also feature an in-depth “Game Story” package following each game that features a game summary, player(s) of the game profile; analysis on the game’s “turning point” and a “by the numbers” breakdown.

The Comcast SportsNet live coverage surrounding NBC’s and VERSUS’ game telecasts is as follows:

Wednesday, June 1
6 p.m. –  SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. – Bruins vs. Canucks Game 1 on NBC
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central

Saturday, June 4
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central (Live)
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra (Live)
8 p.m. – Bruins vs. Canucks Game 2 on NBC
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central (Live)

Monday, June 6
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. – Canucks vs. Bruins Game 3 on VERSUS
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central

Wednesday, June 8
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. – Canucks vs. Bruins Game 4 on VERSUS
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central

Friday, June 10*
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. – Bruins vs. Canucks Game 5 on NBC
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central

Monday, June 13*
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. –  Canucks vs. Bruins Game 6 on NBC
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central

Wednesday, June 15
6 p.m. – SportsNet Central
7 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
8 p.m. – Bruins vs. Canucks Game 7 on NBC
11 p.m. – SportsNet Central Extra
12 p.m. – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight
1 a.m. – SportsNet Central
###

Friday Megalinks Are Here

Time for some megalink action. This is turning out to be a busy day, but let me try to give you as many as I can. This being Memorial Day weekend, there’s plenty of sports action. Primetime viewing is kind of slim, but you can check out my Weekend Viewing Picks for the action.

Let’s get to the links. I’ll do as many as I can. I do have to leave early.

National

From yesterday’s Sports Business Daily, John Ourand speaks with outgoing NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer who is retiring at the end of the summer.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable also writes about Ken Schanzer’s retirement from NBC Sports.

Multichannel notes that Time Warner Cable will have a presence to promote the Speed 2 channel at the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte this weekend.

USA Today’s Mike McCarthy and Michael Hiestand debate whether LeBron James as a villain is good for the NBA.

Mike McCarthy writes that former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen caused an uproar on ESPN Radio this morning by saying LeBron James could be better than Michael Jordan.

Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center delves into the ESPN book.

Fox Sports notes that this week, Ken Rosenthal’s bowtie will honor our troops during this Memorial Day Weekend.

The Big Lead interviews New York Times NFL beat writer Judy Battista and talks about how she covers the lockout.

Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid notes that Nike tried to put the screws on TNT’s Charles Barkley to be nicer to LeBron James.

SportsbyBrooks says ESPN management told its hosts what to ask James Andrew Miller about the book he co-authored on the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has a review of “Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN”.

Alyson Shontell of the Business Insider Sports Page says former Versus host Jenn Sterger is now working for an internet TV startup company.

Sports Media Watch says the NHL on Versus saw a ratings high for Boston-Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

SMW notes that the NBA Finals gets its earliest start in 25 years.

And SMW says the NHL Stanley Cup Final avoided conflicting with the NBA Finals.

Dave Kohl at Major League Programs has some complaints on broadcasters not providing the starting lineups when they’re supposed to.

Len Berman has his Top 5 stories of the day.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Mark Blaudshun of the Boston Globe reports that the Big East Conference has rejected ESPN’s “Best offer” to continue their 32 year relationship.

Chad Finn of the Globe says Bruins fans are finally getting the media coverage they’ve been yearning for.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette notes that the local minor league baseball team gets a new media distribution to fans and it’s not what you might think.

Fred Contrada at the Springfield (MA) Republican reports that ESPN.com writer Howard Bryant has been sentenced to probation stemming from a domestic assault case back in February.

Phil Mushnick from the New York Post wants to know what Mets owner Fred Wilpon knew about Ponzi scheme scumbag Bernie Madoff and when did he know it.

The Post has five questions for Fox Soccer Channel analyst Eric Wynalda about Saturday’s UEFA Champions League Final.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says soccer continues to try to gain a foothold in the American psyche.

DCRTV’s Dave Hughes has his latest Baltimore-DC media roundup in Press Box.

In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg finds an interesting Tony Kornheiser-John Feinstein tidbit from the ESPN tome.

Dan also recaps a couple of interviews DC NFL team owner Daniel Snyder conducted on Thursday.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks about the retirement of NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer a week after his boss, Dick Ebersol resigned.

Jim speaks with Fox Sports’ Curt Menefee about hosting the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday.

South

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson goes over some of the more interesting tidbits from the ESPN book.

Greg Augman of the St. Petersburg Times writes about ESPN’s Desmond Howard blasting black college athletes for a sense of entitlement.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel laments the probable end of the long-term relationship between Florida State University and Sun Sports.

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Texas Rangers TV voice John Rhadigan was replaced Thursday and will return to hosting the pregame show on Fox Sports Southwest.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle has his take on the ESPN book that has had the sports media talking.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht talks with ousted Rangers voice John Rhadigan.

Mel notes the local ratings for the series-clinching Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

Mel despite losing the series, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook impressed ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy.

Midwest

Cincinnati Enquirer media writer John Kiesewetter says local sports talk show host Andy Furman is on the fast track for a possible new national gig.

John has a few more things on Furman in his blog.

The Waiting For Next Year blog loves Cleveland Browns voice Jim Donovan as do I.

Michael Zuidema at the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says ESPN/ABC is hoping some extra pomp and circumstance at the Centennial Indy 500 will draw viewers this year.

Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the Indianapolis 500 just ain’t what it used to be.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his usual winners and losers today.

Ed explains what Tiger Woods’ agent split from powerful IMG means for Tiger.

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that ESPN/ABC is hopeful that the Indy 500 can finally beat NASCAR outright for the first time in over five years.

West

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star talks with ESPN/ABC IndyCar analyst Scott Goodyear about Danica Patrick’s impact on this year’s Indy 500.

Jim reflects on Dick Ebersol’s tenure as Chairman of NBC Sports.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Jim Rome’s hiring in inaugural days of ESPN2 almost caused one network exec to quit.

Tom explains how ESPN/ABC will attempt to keep the Indianapolis 500 relevant with viewers.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail looks at how Gary Bettman decided to buck ESPN.

That’s going to do it. Finished it all in one shot! Have a good weekend.

Local Impacts of Comcast/NBC Merger

An early meeting that went late, along with the arrival of a Blackberry Playbook have sabotaged the morning links. Check CelticsLinks.com for all the coverage of last night’s Celtics win.

The recent combining of Comcast and NBC was a huge, controversial move that changes the face of network and cable television. It also will have an impact locally, some effects of which are already being seen, and others which may come down the line in time.

One item that has already happened is NBC using Comcast SportsNet personalities for national broadcasts. Carolyn Manno of CSNNE was utilized as a reporter during NBC’s recent “Hockey Day in America” event. In their release hyping the event, the NBC Sports group said the following:

Both “Hockey Day” and the “Heritage Classic” have been identified by NBCUniversal’s Marketing Council as cross-channel priorities. They will receive extensive promotion across NBC Universal’s 20 channels and more than 40 websites. These events for the first time leverage the newly-expanded resources of the NBC Sports Group by combining the national media assets of NBC Sports and VERSUS and the local insight from storied hockey markets like Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia served by Comcast SportsNet.

Another development along these same lines was the deal that NBC/Comcast just signed with the National Hockey League. This deal could impact NESN locally in terms of more nationally televised games, including the playoffs. Dick Ebersol, the Chairman of the NBC Sports Group said in a release announcing the agreement:  “What’s particularly exciting for us is not only the significant increase in regular season games, but the reality of a dream that every single playoff game will air on an NBC Sports Group platform.”

While an emphasis was made on NHL games increasing games by 200% on VERSUS, (which will be renamed to something with NBC in it sometime in the next 90 days) could a few Bruins playoff games be taken away from NESN and actually aired on their competitor here in New England, Comcast SportsNet? It sounds like a possibility.

In addition to the NHL, could NFL telecasts see an impact as well? When the Colts come into Gillette on December 4th, could you see local personalities involved with the broadcast? Utilized as reporters, or having segments prepared by or hosted from CSNNE studios?

Another item that NBC has been doing is creating local news sites around the country, much like ESPN has done with their local sites such as ESPNBoston.com. They’ve created sites in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Diego. While there isn’t an NBCBoston.com just yet, on the sports side, they already have something substantial in place here with CSNNE.com. Could we see an integration there with CSNNE.com and NBC? You’ve already seen more NBC Sports content being used on CSNNE.com (Such as material from ProFootballTalk.com) and more is likely to come, especially on the hockey side, I would guess.

John Ourand of Sports Business Daily raised another possibility today. He reported today that CSN Bay Area will be producing live daily sports news segments for the over-the-air NBC affiliate in the Bay Area, which will air during the 6:00pm and 11:00pm newscasts. Ourand points out that this “could provide a model in other markets where Comcast owns an RSN and NBC owns a local broadcast affiliate.” CSNNE already does with the NECN newscasts. Could WHDH here in Boston go under a similar arrangement?

It is still very early on in this partnership, which is why so many of the above paragraphs ended with question marks. But one thing seems clear, we will see an impact here in our sports coverage as a result.

Let’s Bring Back The Friday Megalinks

Yes, time to do the the megalinks. One of these days, I’ll be able to have enough time to do this during the workday instead of at night, or not at all. But until I can end the shuffling between two offices on Fridays, this is kind of the schedule. Anyway, let’s start.

The Weekend Viewing Picks provide the sports and entertainment programs of note on TV.

Now let’s do the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate whether the New York Jets should shut their yaps.

Ken Wheaton of Advertising Age looks at the dueling front pages in New York and Boston in advance of Sunday’s Jets-Patriots game. 

Andrea Dominack of Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News writes that Showtime and MLB Productions are teaming up for a 24/7-like documentary series on the San Francisco Giants.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says Golf Channel has found some more providers to distribute the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in 3-D.

Mike Shields at Mediaweek looks at the new deal between Sporting News and AOL to take over the Fanhouse brand. We’ll have more links on this story throughout the megalinks.

Wayne Friedman of MediaPost writes about the NFL’s TV ratings. 

Diane Mermigas also of MediaPost takes a look at ESPN’s expanded digital offerings.

Katie Hasty of HitFix reports that Christina Aguilera will sing the national anthem during Super Bowl XLV. 

Jane McManus at espnW writes that female reporters still get treated as objects in sports. 

Sports Media Watch notes that the Cotton Bowl got its highest ratings in 12 years thanks to a new primetime timeslot.

SMW says NBA TV is beating MLB Network in the ratings all around. 

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media continues his series comparing NHL Network’s NHL on the Fly to Versus’ NHL Overtime.

Glenn Davis of SportsGrid notes that the debut of Onion SportsDome, the parody of ESPN’s SportsCenter, actually drew a bigger audience than the real SportsCenter on Tuesday night.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the country may be on its way back if golf is any indicator.

Joe Favorito takes a look at the possible return of one of the 1970′s biggest sports brands, the New York Cosmos.

Dave Kohl of Major League Programs looks at how Dick Vitale’s extension at ESPN was reported.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe discusses the record ratings for the NFL.

To Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette who writes that Jets coach Rex Ryan has CBS Sports NFL analysts scratching their heads.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times breaks news that CBS Sports has renewed its agreement to air the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, one of its signature sports properties.

Richard has an interesting article on how TV production meetings with NFL coaches can yield either a lot of information, or absolutely nothing at all.

And Richard looks at the new AOL/Sporting News arrangement that could affect many writers at Fanhouse.

Newsday’s Neil Best notes how the New York Jets have become TV darlings for the NFL’s broadcast partners.

Newsday also has the best of Neil’s blog from the week.

Phil Mushnick at the New York Post blasts ESPN for the BCS National Championship Game. Classic Mushie this week.

The Post’s Justin Terrnaova talks with ESPN’s Trent Dilfer about Jets-pats.

Brian Lewis of the Post’s soccer blog says MLS is hoping to get its TV situation with Fox Soccer Channel resolved soon (scroll down).

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says Rex Ryan could find himself as a pitchman if he continues to win.

To the Albany Times Union where Pete Dougherty has CBS’ NFL analysts wishing Rex Ryan would shut up.

At the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg looks at Washington Wizards/Capitals owners Ted Leonsis’ relationship with the newspaper.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says while the players of Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers may hate each other on the field, the owners are a different story.

Jim says Versus will air the Indy Racing League’s Baltimore Grand Prix in September.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says while the NFL set record TV ratings this season, it’s a different story in South Florida.

Tom Jones at the St. Petersburg Times says a local sports radio fixture is out of a job.

Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel explores Erin Andrews’ new endorsement deal with Reebok. 

Barry Horn in the Dallas Morning News writes that a candidate has emerged to replace Josh Lewin on Texas Rangers telecasts.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Super Bowl XLV actually has two official logos.

Pete Alfano of the Star-Telegram notes that ESPN plans to construct a studio in Fort Worth to help show off virtual technology during Super Bowl Week. 

Pete says ESPN will be showing off Fort Worth’s Sundance Square during Super Bowl Week.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says Comcast could give fans a sneak peek of what’s to come from its upcoming SportsNet Houston channel as it provides other Comcast regional sports networks to the market.

And David provides the new channels that are coming to the Houston market via an expanded Comcast lineup.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says the Dallas Cowboys are still tops in the Sooner State.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says the Michigan High School Athletic Association is not only streaming games, but giving students some good experience in producing them.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Over to Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who notes that ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has been praising the Green Bay Packers as the season has progressed.

West

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes that the San Diego State basketball team will be on national and local TV for its next three games.

John Maffei from the North County Times says the NFL’s TV ratings set records across the country.

Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times catches up with former NBC MLB broadcaster Joe Garagiola.

Bill Shaikin of the Times reports that Fox has advanced some of its rights fee to Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to help him meet operating expenses.

Tom Hoffarth in the Los Angeles Daily News has his look at the best and worst in Los Angeles sports talk show hosts.

Tom has his extensive news and notes.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail is fascinated by Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis who wants to bypass traditional mainstream media.

And that will finish our megalinks for this week.

CSN wins Emmy for Manny Being Manny, Harrison to NBC Official

From CSN today.

COMCAST SPORTSNET’S MANNY BEING MANNY WINS REGIONAL EMMY AWARD

BURLINGTON, MA – Comcast SportsNet, New England’s original regional sports network, was honored with a New England Emmy Award in the Sports One-Time Special category for Manny Being Manny: The Final Days in Boston. The 2009 Emmy is Comcast SportsNet’s 11 Emmy this decade.

Manny Being Manny examined the key moments in Manny Ramirez’s final season as a member of the Red Sox, including his hiring of super agent Scott Boras, the Kevin Youkilis dugout incident, the Jack McCormick clubhouse incident, his no swing at-bat in Yankee Stadium and his mysterious July knee injury.

Honored with Emmys were Kevin Miller, coordinating producer; William Bridgen, executive producer; Steve Reagan, executive producer; Torey Champagne, producer/editor; TJ Powers, graphics/editor and Tom Guilmette, videographer.

“Manny Being Manny was a special project for Comcast SportsNet and our production team is honored to be recognized with an Emmy Award,” said Bill Bridgen, Comcast SportsNet executive vice president and general manager.

NBC held a noon conference call (Still going on, actually) to officially announce the additions of Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy to their Football Night in America lineup.

Dick Ebersol, the Chairman of NBC Sports and Executive Producer of FNA had the following to say about Harrison:

“Rodney is someone we’ve had our eye on. He is a strong communicator and personality, and our initial thoughts about him were confirmed when he did a terrific job for us at the Super Bowl. We have no doubt that Rodney will be as hard-hitting with his opinions as he was with his body on the football field.

“To paraphrase one of his teammates, ‘Rodney was as blunt with his opinions as he was with this hits.’”

In the call, Harrison talked about his approach to his new job, and the need to be candid. He said that there would be times when he would need to be “brutally honest with guys you played with, guys who are your friends” – he then gave the example of if when the Patriots play the Colts this year, and Tom Brady is not performing, and the talk is that his knee is bothering him, Harrison is going to need to point that out.

If more of interest is said, I’ll try to pass it along. Update: Such as what Harrison said about Peyton Manning.