Media Bits & Bytes: Jim Johnson announces retirement…

Roe & Roeper Show Gang

Jim Johnson (left) with Roe Conn, Richard Roeper and Christina Filiaggi.

– Jim Johnson, WLS-AM 890 veteran news anchor of 45 years, announced his retirement this afternoon on the “Roe and Roeper” show. Radio Ink spoke with Johnson, who says he made the decision earlier this week with the mindset that he’s done it all. Johnson also said that he’s in good health and ready to do other things.

As a long-time listener of Roe Conn dating back to his days with Garry Meier, afternoons on WLS just won’t be the same. Johnson is expected to hang up the headphones for good sometime this summer.

– ESPN took plenty of flack from various online critics yesterday for their delayed reaction at acknowledging the news of the NBA’s Jason Collins coming out as the first openly gay professional athlete in one of the four major American sports. Instead, ESPN was in high Tim Tebow mode all morning following the news his release by the New York Jets.

In a related note, are the inmates slowly initiating a backlash at the “mothership?” ESPN personalities Bob Ley, Scott Van Pelt and Bill Simmons all voiced some form of angst at the network, each in their own subtle or unsubtle way.

  • Ley tweeted: “Unintended but blessed consequence of Jason Collins’ courageous statement… Muting the Tebowmania.”
  • Simons, the Grantland columnist, which is affiliated with ESPN, shortly re-tweeted Ley (Simons himself was suspended from social networking in March for a tweet which criticized a specific exchange that took place on ESPN’s “First Take”).
  • Van Pelt on his ESPN Radio show stated his unhappiness with the amount of coverage Tebow got that morning by the network. Awful Announcing has the audio and an additional write-up.

Clearly, all of the above would go far beyond what ESPN’s standard and practices would allow. Based on recent history of how ESPN operates, I would expect all three of them will find themselves in hot water, with the high probability of suspensions.

– CNN announced that their new morning show “New Day” will launch June 10. The show will be hosted by former ABC News “20/20” host and “Good Morning America” anchor Chris Cuomo and CNN “Situation Room” anchor Kate Boldaun. Anchoring the news will be Michaela Pereira, previously a news anchor at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. TV News Insider also posted the show’s logo and additional information pertaining to the show.

– While it may be old news by now that the conservative Koch brothers may be among those interested in purchasing the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers (which includes the Chicago Tribune the and Los Angeles Times), there continues to be no shortage of reaction coming from within the media circle.

According to the Huffington Post, about half of the LA Times’ staff indicated they will quit if the paper is purchased by the Koch brothers. The rest of the piece narrates the overall preference for local ownership, while examining the potential  pro’s and the con’s that can happen when a paper is locally owned.

Michael Wolff wrote a sound piece yesterday for the USA Today, examining the sentiment that the Koch brothers would attempt to turn their purchased newspapers into a strong and viable conservative news outlet. Wolff paints a realistic picture of why such a plan would likely be an uphill battle — the obvious hurdle is the dwindling state of the newspaper industry.  Still, this piece provides a reasoned round-up, all of which is still speculation, but fun to read nevertheless.

Continuing on the sentiment that the Koch brothers would attempt to build a strong conservative news outlet is syndicated columnist David Sirota. In his Salon piece last week, Sirota outlines the Koch brother’s plan to build a conservative media empire beyond newspapers.

– Barry Diller dropped a bomb shell earlier today on Bloomberg Television when asked about the purchase of Newsweek. Of course, I’m saying bombshell not because I’m surprised Diller would think such a thing, but because he actually had the gall to say it. Not only did he say he doesn’t have great expectations for the future of Newsweek, but that the purchase itself was a mistake(!). Diller described the idea of printing a weekly news magazine as “”fool’s errand” in an environment where the news is instant (ya think!).

For my money, the only news magazine worth touching is the Economist, which provides a very in-depth and highly education look at important news happenings around the world – something that no other news magazine comes close to doing — the exception would be Foreign Policy, except that is a bi-monthly publication. The Economist and Foreign Policy are also more big picture oriented.

– Digital strategist Fred Jacobs wrote an interesting piece today about measuring the success of a radio station’s app . Jacobs asks and answered how radio brands can optimize their content and the enhance the app experience beyond the basic function of streaming.

– Media strategist Mark Ramsey wrote an excellent blog yesterday detailing the biggest problem in radio. To sum up his point, Ramsey says that if radio ever finds itself irrelevant, it won’t be because of technology, but because of what radio did to itself. Instead of focusing on short-term popularity and monetizing, radio should concenrate more on delivering better content that will truly matter to the audience.  Ramsey strongly emphasizes that radio keeps attempting to be something it is not.

– Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins told Bloomberg that tablets are a failed business model and doubts they will exist five years from now. Though Heins may not be responsible for Blackberry’s failed attempt at their sole tablet, the Playbook, anything coming from that company I can’t help but hesitate to take more than a grain of salt. Even as technology improves, I don’t see mankind being content at consuming extensive videos or reading via a  four or five-inch smartphone screen.

– What if mind reading technology allows you to turn the kitchen light on or off , change the television channel or surf the Internet? A piece from the New York Times reports that such technology is coming sooner than we may think.

Last year, a project called BrainGate pioneered by Dr. Donoghue, enabled two people with full paralysis to use a robotic arm with a computer responding to their brain activity.

From mind reading to voice recognition: Expect Labs, a voice recognition company, is the recipient of a hefty investment by Samsung, Intel and Spanish telco Telefonica.

From Engadget:

The startup’s prescient tech, known as the Anticipatory Computing Engine (or ACE, zing!), aims to guesstimate a user’s actions or information needs by listening in on and analyzing real-time conversations. It’s understandable if the prospect creeps you out — it should — but the end goal isn’t to invade a user’s privacy (though the data mined would be significant), it’s to anticipate and assist.

– Congrats to Larz over at Chicagoland Radio and Media for yesterday’s complete website re-launch. In addition to a new layout and navigation,  the most noteworthy change is the new message board. Not everyone is fully happy with the changes however, including myself, which I voiced on the original board last night (and in hindsight, somewhat regret doing). I do believe it is unfair to fully grade the new message board until the server issues are worked out and it can function at full speed.

Love him or hate him, you have to at least give Larz credit on the growth of that message board and website. Not only is the board read by many working at one of the Chicago radio, television or newspaper outlets, but many of those same people post(!) — some under their real names, many more under an anonymous handle.

For the record, Larz has always been very gracious and helpful to me whenever I’ve attempted my own media-related online ventures. He’s been supportive in the launching of this blog and he was more than kind when I was the new kid on the block in 2007 when attempting to run my own media message board, the short-lived “Blabbin’ Cabin.” Without knowing me and before I ever posted on his board, Larz plugged my new board and wished me well via email. I’ve appreciated his friendship since.

Trust and Twitter: Aboslutely incumbent on user’s own responsibility

TwitterLast night on the message board (the original board), a user posted the question about Twitter and whether it is controlling radio. The poster was also frazzled by the amount of re-tweets and the concept of getting “likes” — or in the case of Twitter, “follows.”  I was pleased with my response, so I thought I’d also post it here. You can also view the original thread here.

My response to the question of whether Twitter

Twitter is the absolute best method for delivering news and information. The user has to work harder and be smarter to filter through what he/she thinks is nonsense.

When my wife texted me several months back telling me her school was on lockdown, there was nothing on the local town’s news website to indicate why. When I went on Twitter and searched the name of the town, I found after 20 seconds there was a bank robbery in that same subdivision. Several people nearby were tweeting about it before the news could get their hands on it.

There was a lot of nonsense going around on Twitter and sites like Reddit in the days after the Boston Marathon bombings. You know who else screwed up just days after? John King and CNN. Fox News and the Associated Press followed. The New York Post made a callous mistake that you would have thought was done by a citizen journalist.

You can get duplicitous information via a HAM radio.

So to answer your question, Twitter isn’t just controlling the radio, it is a valuable component of today’s media environment.

The original poster submitted a follow-up question, asking how to be sure you can trust what you’re reading. This poster is worried about lazy journalism and the rush to be first in breaking a story.

My follow-up response:

Speaking in terms of news via Twitter, you follow who you are willing to trust.

Do you trust anyone specific on the radio or television? You can chose to only follow those people on Twitter. If you happen, for example, to highly trust Pete Williams of NBC News, you can chose to follow him, and trust that if he re-tweets anything, it will only be because he has confidence or knows that the content is somehow useful.

You can enjoy a Garry Meier on the radio, for example, but find his Twitter useless because the staffer who runs his account is likely to tweet silly, stupid news things that I am not interested in (some of those things, I find funny when Meier is talking about them — but not via his Twitter).

That’s at least how I see it. On my personal Twitter, I recently found there was too much junk so I started un-following a bunch of people. This probably sounds silly, especially to someone who is new to social networking — but I trimmed a lot of the fat, and it greatly enhanced the experience.

I’ve been on Twitter for three of four years now, and probably only began to appreciate it when following baseball’s hot stove news and rumors. Since starting a separate Twitter specifically for this blog and by primarily following only individuals or outlets involved with media, my appreciation for it is even higher (and I’ve only been using that account for one week).

Media Bits & Bytes (4/29/13)

– The Chicago Blackhawks begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs tomorrow night when hosting the Minnesota Wild. On television, game one will air nationally on the NBC Sports Network and locally on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. As for radio, that may still be up in the air still due to WGN-AM 720 having a Cubs game scheduled at the same time (though WGN is the radio home for both the Cubs and the Hawks, the Cubs have priority).

So far this season, when the Cubs/Blackhawks conflict arised, Hawks games have aired on WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop, and it would make sense that such would be the case tomorrow night. No such announcement has been made yet by WGN or The Loop though — and the official Chicago Blackhawks Facebook page posted late last night that radio coverage is still to be determined.

[Addendum: On WGN’s 10 a.m. newscast, anchor Steve Bertrand announced the game will be heard on WIND-AM/560 The Answer.]

– The Southtown Star posted an interesting write-up of Mitch Rosen’s visit to St. Xavier University last week. Rosen, program director at WSCR-AM/670 The Score spoke to students about getting into radio and broadcasting. Rosen made no effort to sugar coat just how hard it is to get into sports talk radio — and I would imagine radio in general — by saying that if one is lucky enough to find a job, not to expect to make much money. Instead of going the traditional route, Rosen encouraged students to use social media to network and share ideas.

The write-up wasn’t overly long, so I would be curious to hear Rosen further expound on the social media idea. Overall, the prospect of going into terrestrial radio is no better now than it was when I was in high school or college, 10 years ago. On the other hand, podcasting is slowly becoming a more legitimate way to get your voice out there and can also be useful for practicing one’s craft.

– While listening to Hit & Run yesterday morning on The Score, it was a nice surprise to hear Dave Wills join hosts Barry Rozner and Connor McKnight to talk about today’s White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. Wills, previously the White Sox radio pre/post-game show host, is now the play-by-play voice for the Rays. Though I was happy for him, I was sad to see him go when he took the Rays job in 2004. I always liked his work and to this day, think he would make an excellent broadcaster for the White Sox.

– I had a chance to watch most of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner coverage on Saturday night via CNN. This was honestly the first year I made any special effort to watch it live. It goes without saying that the parody video of “House of Cards” was absolutely fantastic. Asides from some previous year highlights and a few other interesting features, I could probably go without the first hour that resembles a “pre-game” you might view on the night of the Oscars.

In short, while I thought President Barack Obama’s performance was good, it was going to be hard to beat what he accomplished last year.

Conan O’Brien, on the other hand, I was disappointed in. While he had a few good jokes, I found his delivery and constant reading off his script distracting. His performance resembled nothing of the Conan you normally see on his late night stage. One of Conan’s best skills is improvising and interacting with his audience- — which he did none of  on Saturday night. Instead, he came across as nervous and possibly rushed. I wonder if he was given strict orders that prevented him for performing in his normal fashion. And if so, then what was the point of inviting him in the first place?

Media Bits & Bytes (4/26/13)

A few news bites and added tidbits to end the work week with…

– While I don’t usually listen to Rush Limbaugh’s show, I heard the tail end of a segment today as my car radio was already on WLS-AM 890 from my drive this morning. Though I wasn’t really paying attention, in that 30 seconds I heard reference to the Tribune, brain injuries in football and how liberalism, not football, is the culprit for brains becoming scrambled.

At that moment, I didn’t think it was possible he was referencing John Kass’s column from earlier this week. That was until I saw the Facebook post by Kass later in the afternoon making reference to Limbaugh’s rant against his column. That same post, I’m guessing in tongue-and-cheek, John clarified he is not a sports writer nor a liberal. So while Limbaugh was  blasting Kass who he thought was a sports writer and a liberal, he obviously had no idea the guy precedes him on his Chicago affiliate. Even if it’s unfair to criticize Limbaugh for not knowing that, I can’t help but to still find that at least a little bit amusing.

– The White House Correspondents Dinner is tomorrow night. For anyone who loves politics or policial media, this is something to look forward to each year. I especially can’t wait to see how Conan O’Brien comes across as guest comedian. According to TV Newser, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC will have various live coverage from 8-10pm CT (both CNN and MSNBC plan to air best-of highlights from previous years during the 8pm hour).

– The New York Times announced to investors yesterday that the company plans to eventually launch new subscription models for digital subscribers. Specifically mentioned was a lower cost option where digital subscribers would have access to select stories or specific sections. The company needs to ensure that the amount of new subscribers — individuals who never in a million years would pay $15 each 30 days to read news online — make up for any current subscribers who drop to a lower priced tier. Having a $9.99 option is likely to attract a lot more people unwilling to pay the $15.

– The television landscape is going to change one day soon. I would like to think the Netflix or Hulu model would somehow break the hold that cable and satellite currently have. But how would they do it? Author, speaker and all-round media guy Doc Searls blogs about television’s 3-step transition and how that change may come about.

– With WGN-AM 720 midday host Mike McConnell off today, CLTV’s “Politics Tonight” host Paul Lisnek filled in during 10am-12pm slot, while WGN Assistant Program Director Alex Quigley filled in during the 1-3pm slot.  With McConnell off again Monday, the same guest hosts will again fill in  at the same respective times.

– Rob Hart is back in Milwaukee tomorrow filling in at WTMJ-AM 620 from 3-7 p.m. Hart, who guest hosted a show earlier this week at WTMJ, is the current morning show sidekick and sports anchor at at WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop in Chicago.

Luntz’s criticism of conservative talk radio echoes broader truth about today’s political coverage

Republican consultant Frank Luntz is about to find himself in hot water within the conservative circle. Yesterday, Mother Jones posted the full narrative (written and video) of Luntz criticizing today’s mainstream conservative talk radio hosts while speaking to Republican students at the University of Pittsburgh on Monday. Luntz made his off the record comments after assurance he would not be recorded. In today’s world, he should have known better.

In line with what Luntz has said or written in the past, he believes much of the polarizing talk by conservative talkers such as Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin are “problematic” for the party’s long-term success. Luntz realizes that conservatives are on the losing battle of specific issues, such as immigration reform or birth control. Conservative talkers opposing such issues is counterproductive if independents or anyone else in the middle vote against Republicans in the future.

Unfortunately, conservative talk radio is no different than prime time cable news on the Fox News Channel — same thing on the opposite end of the spectrum with MSNBC and the abundance of progressive content. It’s all about making money. Political news and discussion is practically entertainment. The people who watch or listen to such polarizing coverage seemingly enjoy getting riled up. So the media companies and their hosts tell them exactly what they want to hear.

Luntz of course will be vilified by the conservative media as a traitor, I’m sure under the premise that he is willing to compromise conservative principles in order to achieve his own individual agenda (whatever that may be — I’m sure they’ll think of something).

As long as there is money to be made in the political news entertainment field, people like Limbaugh or Levin have no reason to change their dialogue.

Sports highlights on the radio have got to go

Recently, a co-worker of mine who listens to WGN-AM 720 each morning complained how he hates when sportscaster Dave Eanet plays highlights from the previous night’s Blackhawks game. A Hawks highlight usually consists of  play-by-play man John Wiedeman screaming “he shoots, he scores!” to be immediately followed by the jarring horn.  This co-worker insists the loud voice and horn is not the most pleasant sound to hear shortly after waking up.

While sports highlights are essential for television, they often don’t work on the radio. Unless the highlight is of something monumental or the actual context of the broadcast is noteworthy, such highlights during a radio sportscast are not necessary.

I sense such highlights are often used just for the sake of having a sound bite and/or to take up content space in the given update.

When listening to Fox Sports Radio, update anchor Tomm Looney (who by design is obnoxious and outlandish) is one of the worst offenders. While the updates are only a minute long, Looney is notorious for wasting 15 to 20 seconds by playing a meaningless highlight. Not only do they sound sound horrible over the air (especially Knick games at Madison Square Garden where the organ blasts at full strength), they also waste valuable seconds in an update that may already be too short (for evenings on a sports radio network, I’m thinking a minute and a half or two minutes is more appropriate).

I’m not going out of my way to specifically criticize Eanet or Looney. The playing of such highlights is a bad practice used by radio veterans throughout the country.  Improve the overall sportscast by elimination of the poor sound bite and fill that space up with an added tidbit or other content more useful. A few seconds can go a long way.

CNN interested in resurrecting ‘Crossfire’ – Maturity of political news audience in question

Dylan Byers reports in his Politico “On Media” column that CNN is looking to resurrect “Crossfire,” the popular debate show from their past where a Democrat pundit goes head-to-head with a Republican pundit.  According to Myers, CNN has been in talks with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter as potential hosts.

Great… Absolutely great! Just when political television can’t get any more immature…

I typically don’t like television debate shows because it is so hard to house an effective debate in either a 30 or 60 minute block that will also include periodic commercial breaks. Assuming that such a show is a half-hour, with 12 minutes of commercials, that leaves 18 minutes for debate time on what will likely be no less than three topics, but possibly as many as six or seven topics .  There just isn’t any time for an effective debate. Instead, you’ll have typical talking points with a lot of (Newt) screaming that leads absolutely nowhere. Talk about an absolute waste of time!

CNN is seemingly willing to try anything in hopes of jump starting their day-to-day ratings. While the Fox News Channel and MSNBC feature more partisan programming, CNN has more or less remained neutral in hopes of attracting an audience interested in news “down the middle.”

Unfortunately, people seem to think that style of news is boring. For that reason, the partisan blend of news and opinion shows you see on Fox News and MSNBC continue to do well. Just more living proof that too many people are perfectly okay having their political news spoon fed to them as long as they generally agree with the ideology of whoever is doing the feeding.

Good reasons to keep an extra ear tuned to WTMJ in Milwaukee

In recent weeks, former WGN-AM 720 General Manager Tom Langmyer (pictured, right) has been keeping busy with some added consulting work for WTMJ-AM 620 in Milwaukee.  I have high respect for Langmyer and the work he did at WGN, especially for the job he did re-building the station following the disastrous Kevin Metheny era. So of course, I am interested in observing any changes, regardless how minute, that may occur at WTMJ under Langmyer’s watch.

Sometimes, it is the simple things that can help make a difference — such as simple branding. One of the changes at WTMJ since Langmyer’s arrival is the station’s branding, now dubbed “Wisconsin’s Radio Station.” Simple and to the point, much like the “Voice of Chicago” branding that WGN originally adopted in 2005 (and again re-introduced in July, 2011).  While I don’t expect a slogan to make or break a radio station, a solid branding tagline can be the first step towards extensive changes that hopefully do make a difference down the road.

An added note of interest for today is the reunion of Langmyer and Rob Hart (pictured, right), a Chicago radio news veteran. Hart, now the sports anchor for the morning show on WLUP-FM/97.9 The Loop, previously worked under Langmyer at WGN (Hart left WGN in 2011 after accepting the morning news anchor position at what would become WIQI-FM/FM News 101.1 (original FM News call letters for first few months were WWWN).  Hart will be filling in for the station’s 12pm-3pm show later today. Hart will make the quick commute to Milwaukee after finishing his morning shift at The Loop.  Hart previously worked at WTMJ as a news anchor and reporter, before moving to WGN.

I’ve been a Rob Hart fan since listening to him fill-in on WGN’s “Noon Show” in 2009 (then hosted by Bob Sirott). The personality Hart showed in that one hour went well above the news anchors who were filling in for Sirott that week. I was happy for Hart when he got more fill-in opportunities in late 2010, after Metheny was out of the picture. When Hart filled-in for morning show host Greg Jarrett for three weeks in December that year, I wrote on the message board that the station should make the bold switch and make Hart the permanent host.

At FM News 101.1 Hart was eventually moved to middays where he hosted his own two-hour talk show, which was marketed as “expanded news coverage.” Unfortunately, the gig didn’t last long as about a month later, WIQI dropped its news format to become an all-90s music format under the branding i101 FM.

Hart has shown great potential in the limited time he has had as a talk show host. I’m looking forward to listening to his show today. While I have no idea how much longer his current contract will keep him at The Loop, I can’t help but feel that his potential is being wasted as a sports anchor (which is the position that was assigned to him after the demise of FM News 101.1 – both stations are owned by Merlin Media). Whenever his time with The Loop does conclude, I suspect he won’t have too much trouble finding new work.

Any news/talk station looking for a bright, young broadcaster would be very wise in hiring him as soon as he officially becomes available.

One thing the newspaper still does better than any new media

Earlier today, I came across a column arguing that the newspaper still has importance. When I clicked the link and saw the title “Old but hardly irrelevant,” I have to admit I was quite skeptical. The piece, written by Michael Bradley, was posted on Indiana University’s As I began, the author was quick to admit that Twitter is the most superior method at delivering news and that the newspaper’s demise is not a question of if, but of when.

So what is Bradley’s argument for newspapers supposed to be?

Bradley surmises that in today’s fast-paced world of information, whatever content we are consuming at the moment will be done away with as soon as we move onto the next piece. In a digital world, there is no hanging onto old pieces of paper for archival purposes.

Bradley insists that the newspaper cover is the one component that simply cannot be replaced. Think the day after a monumental news event or the day after your favorite team wins a championship.

In light of last week’s Boston Marathon bombings, Bradley writes:

Despite all of that, the most powerful reminders of the bombings were the day-after front pages of newspapers from around the world. They were permanent chronicles of the moment and will forever transport us to that time and place. The headlines were chilling, and the photographs were iconic. To many, the first thought of the day will be the image of the three police officers running toward the fallen runner, with smoke heavy in the air and the sense of chaos palpable. No matter how much video footage one watches or informative tweets one reads, none of it has the staying power of a front page.

Bradley is 100% correct. I’ve always been enamored with historic newspaper covers. I was reminded of that over the weekend when visiting the Museum of Science & Industry’s submarine area. In the entrance hall were all the major newspaper covers from the World War II time period. To no surprise, my wife ended up having to patiently wait as I slowly made my way through that hall.

In October, 2005, the night the White Sox won the World Series, I went to all the major Chicago news websites and major sports websites and took screen shots of each home page. For all I knew, webpage screen shots could be a trend in the future. Over eight years later, I still got them, albeit stored on a hard drive never to be looked at (I may have done the same thing after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. Ironically, I don’t remember).

Even if I were to print and frame just one of those webpage screen shots, I have the feeling it still wouldn’t be quite the same as the newspaper cover.  Not even close.

Taking a Look at CBS Sports Radio

CBS Sports Radio Logo

I’ve listened on and off to CBS Sports Radio since its Jan. 1 debut. Overall, there isn’t much about CBS Sports that separates it from any of the other sports radio networks. However much you like national sports on the radio will probably be the main decider if you like CBS or not. Folks in larger markets will likely prefer more local alternatives.

That said, based on my own listening, here are a few random opinions…

  • First and foremost, Jim Rome leaving Premiere Radio to go to CBS  Sports Radio was a big deal. Despite any snafus with the juggling of affiliates as a result of his exit from Premiere, Rome’s star power is large enough to make up for it in short time — if it hasn’t happened already. Love him or hate him, he brings new ears to each affiliate, giving the other shows potential for immediate exposure.
  • The morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson is somewhat of a mixed bag. As lead host, Tierney is solid but his surroundings doesn’t give him much to work with. While Barber seems to rarely speak, Jacobson tends to overcompensate by trying extra hard to be witty. More times then not, her attempt at sarcastic humor comes across as mildly annoying. It’s also worth noting that I sometimes have a hard time telling Barber and Tierney apart. Their voices sound alike.
  • I haven’t had the stomach to give either John Feinstein (late middays) or Doug Gottlieb (afternoons) any extended listening. I hear enough of them recite their awful CBS Sports Minute segments, which are heard on various CBS-owned sports stations throughout the country, including 670 The Score/WSCR-AM in Chicago.  That may be an unfair assessment on my part, especially since the few hours of Feinstein I have heard were not as bad as I expected. With a blend of co-hosts around him, which is what he appears to have, may make the show OK. I will make an effort to listen to more of his show.
  • Bringing Scott Ferrall from Sirius XM for late evenings was another positive move. The combination of Ferrall’s raspy voice and unique personality allow for a more fast paced and fun show, which is just perfect for late evenings.
  • The CBS Sports updates (branded simply as Sports Flash) run three times an hour. In 2013, that is far too much, especially when they can run over two minutes long (or three minutes on weekends). ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio have both reduced their respective updates from three times an hour to two. Why CBS opted for three, I don’t know.
  • The CBS Sports Radio jingle or the jingle’s instrumental bed is overplayed tremendously.  You’ll hear it at the beginning and conclusion of each sports update and usually at the beginning or end of a show segment. If listening to the network for any extensive period of time, the listener is likely to get tired of the jingle plenty fast.
  • The CBS Sports Radio web presence is a colossal mess, for many reasons. First and foremost, why they have been unable to secure the URL by now is beyond me (the network was first announced last June!). For the first few months while on the air, their official website,, were a few simple webpages with relatively little information about the network or their  shows. A few weeks ago, the site was re-launched to include newer headlines and podcasts. From a technical standpoint, the re-launched website is very bizarre as they chose to build each individual show page under its own sub-domain. Anyone familiar with optimizing websites for search engines will know how backwards this is when developing a website.
  • Since CBS Sports Radio doesn’t have a dedicated Chicago affiliate, I’ve been listening either on my smart phone via the Tune In app or on the computer via live stream. Ed Sherman of recently interviewed Chris Oliviero, senior vice-president at CBS Sports Radio. Oliviero said that while they are working to get the network in every major market, they have no business plan for having a channel on Sirius/XM. Even though I believe satellite radio will be a losing venture in the long run, I think it is a colossal mistake to ignore such an easy opportunity for expanding their presence.

As I wrote above, CBS Sports Radio doesn’t seem that much different than a Fox Sports or Yahoo Sports Radio. At least CBS doesn’t come across as trying to be “holier than thou,” unlike ESPN — which is a huge a positive.  At this point that’s good enough for me — I’d prefer CBS to ESPN for that reason alone.

NBC Sports Radio launched their 24/7 schedule on April 1st. I will have thoughts on NBC in the very near future.