Settlements, Olympics coverage made for interesting year
The Mayans didn’t win, thank goodness. The world is still alive.
But it seemed as if they played many roles in playing with our minds, especially when it comes to sports broadcasting.
The year 2012 was one of the wildest years that I can think of since I started writing a TV column in 1989.
It started at midnight Jan. 1, when MSG, MSG Plus and Sabres TV HD went off the Time Warner Cable system in a dispute between the two sides over, naturally, money. The dispute lasted until Feb. 17, when the two sides came together and reached an agreement on a new deal. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and attorney general Eric Schneiderman helped broker the deal.
There were a combination of factors that helped get the deal done. The New York Rangers were one of the NHL’s top teams (you remember the NHL, right?), and Jeremy Lin was bringing excitement to the New York Knicks.
Later in the year, another dispute ended. This was one dispute NFL fans were happy to see resolved.
On Sept. 21, after 3,244 days, Time Warner Cable and NFL Network came to an agreement. The deal put NFL Network, which premiered Nov. 4, 2003, on the digital basic and Sports Pass tiers. NFL RedZone, which debuted
Sept. 13, 2009, and shows touchdowns from every Sunday afternoon game, is on the Sports Pass tier.
Another big story in 2012 was the NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in London. Despite millions of complaints from viewers about not showing key events live during the day and waiting to televise them on tape in prime time, a total of 219.4 million Americans watched the London Olympics on the networks of NBCUniversal, setting the record as the most-watched event in U.S. television history, surpassing the 2008 Beijing Olympics (215 million).
This was the first Summer Olympics in the Twitter era, and complaints were so numerous that #nbcfail was trending during the Games.
The year saw a bevy of transactions on the Capital Region scene. FOX23 (WXXA) sports
director Rich Becker and weekend anchor and “FOX Fast Track” host Scott Morlock left the station. Kristian Read became sports director. Liana Bonavita is now anchoring “FOX Fast Track.”
Over at YNN, former sports director Joe Calderone left the station in May. ABC10 (WTEN) hired Josh Sims as weekend sports anchor.
It was a busy year for Andrew Catalon of NBC13 (WNYT). He was back calling the Masters for DirecTV, was named play-by-play announcer of UConn women’s basketball telecasts on SNY and called the Summer Olympics tennis matches from Wimbledon, as well as the U.S. Open. Just last week, it was announced that Catalon would trade places with Chris Onorato. Catalon became a 30-hour employee, while Onorato was promoted to full-time status.
Schenectady native Joe Tessitore signed a new contract with ESPN and received a promotion, going from calling Friday night college football games to Saturday prime-time contests, and he added hosting duties with “College Football Live.”
On the radio side, FOX Sports 980 (WOFX) program director Paul Ihander left and was replaced by Josh Everett.
FOX Sports 980 lost one sports property permanently, and another temporarily. “Inside Pro Football” ended a six-run on WOFX and moved to rival ESPN Radio 104.5 The Team (WTMM-FM). WOFX also saw the University at Albany football leave before the start of the season in September. The games moved to UAlbany’s radio
station, WCDB-FM (90.9). The plan was to synch the radio call with video on the UAlbany website. But production problems led to UAlbany returning to WOFX in September.
All in all, a wild and crazy year. I’m glad I got to write about it, and you get to read it, without the Mayans ruining it.
Here are the upcoming games in the NFL and college bowl games that will be on TV over the next week. Announcers, in order of play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter, are in
ESPN and ESPN HD — Atlanta at Detroit, 8:30 p.m. (Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden/Lisa Salters).
FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD — New Orleans at Dallas, 1 p.m. (Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa); N.Y. Giants at Baltimore, 4:25 p.m. (Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver).
CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD — San Diego at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m. (Marv Albert/Rich Gannon).
NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD — San Francisco at Seattle, 8:20 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya).
ESPN and ESPN HD — New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, noon (Beth Mowins/Joey Galloway/Quint Kessenich); Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State, 3:30 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Tom Rinaldi).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. SMU, 8 p.m. (Carter Blackburn/Kelly Stouffer/Kaylee Hartung).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Little Caesars Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (Mark Neely/Ray Bentley/Jemele Hill).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, 3 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Danny Kanell/Quint Kessenich); Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke, 6:30 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Ed Cunningham/Jeannine Edwards); Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA, 9:45 p.m. (Dave Pasch/Brian Griese/Jenn Brown).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 2 p.m. (Dave Lamont/Kelly Stouffer/Cara Capuano); Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech, 5:30 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Matt Millen/Maria Taylor); Meineke Car Care Bowl: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, 9 p.m. (Mark Jones/Brock Huard/Jessica Mendoza).
This is my final column of 2012. Please have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2013.