News, notes and random thoughts as we prepare for a Sunday without the NFL.
u Two of the Capital Region’s TV stations are in need of sports anchors. One of the stations is searching for one, while the other is not.
WXXA (Ch. 23) is seeking a replacement for weekend sports anchor Brent Martineau, who announced a couple of weeks ago that he is leaving for a similar position in Jacksonville, Fla. Martineau’s last day is Feb. 27.
Gene Ross, the station’s news director, said it may not be until the end of March when they hire Martineau’s replacement.
“I’m sure we’ll attract a lot of
resumes and tapes,” Ross said. “Rich [Becker, WXXA’s sports
director] and I will look at them, and try to pick out the contenders, and whittle the pile down and make a choice. Those jobs typically get a lot of interest.”
Scott Morlock, a WXXA sports producer who anchors “Fox Fast Track,” will be the weekend anchor for now.
“We’re real fortunate that Scott Morlock can do the job for a while,” Ross said. “That helps us out.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if Morlock is a candidate for the job. Ross wouldn’t comment on that.
March is a busy sports month in the Capital Region, with the MAAC and high school basketball tournaments and the ECAC Hockey and NCAA East Regional tournaments.
While it would be nice for Ross to have someone in place the day after Martineau leaves, he doesn’t want to rush the process.
“You want to fill [the position] as fast as you can, but with the right person,” Ross said. “The really good person we find is going to be into local sports and understands how hard they work because Rich and Brent are a great team, and they work very hard.”
Over at WTEN (Ch. 10), sports anchor Jamie Seh is working very hard, because she IS the sports department.
Sports director Brian Sinkoff was one of several WTEN employees who were laid off last month by Young Broadcasting, owner of the station. As of right now, there are no plans to hire a replacement.
“That is my understanding,” WTEN news director Dana Dieterle said.
That means Seh is working six days. The only day she has off is Monday.
“It’s the slowest sports day,”
Dieterle said. “Ideally, she’s leaving us some sports content.”
Considering WTEN tried going without regular sportscasts during the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts a few years ago, it doesn’t surprise me that Young Broadcasting won’t actively pursue a replacement for Sinkoff anytime soon.
u There is a new local sports talkshow on the air.
Anthony Mormino, best known for his handicapping of the Saratoga racing meet for WOFX-AM (980) and WNYT (Ch. 13), is the host of “The Varsity” on WTMM-FM (104.5). The show, which started last week, airs from 11 a.m. to
It is the first locally produced sports talkshow on WTMM, which is the home of ESPN Radio.
“It’s a step,” WTMM program director Jeff Levack said. “We’ve done some vignettes, and some little things where we try to incorporate local. Anthony dropped in our lap, and we took the opportunity to build something around him.”
If “The Varsity” works, could there be more local sports talk on WTMM?
“Definitely, it’s a goal,” Levack said. “It’s a long-term goal, though. It’s not like, next week, we’re going to add one. It’s kind of hard to mess with that ESPN product, though. What national host are you going to take off the air?”
u I guess NFL fans needed one last football fix.
Last Sunday’s Pro Bowl drew its best ratings in eight years. Fox earned a 6.3 rating and a 12 share. That’s up 37 percent from last year’s 4.6, which was televised on a Saturday in prime time by CBS. It’s the highest Pro Bowl rating since the game attracted an 8.6 in 2000.
u Fox has coverage of the 50th Daytona 500 at 2 p.m. Sunday. It can be seen on WXXA.
During a conference call Wednesday, Fox play-by-play announcer Mike Joy talked about the excitement of the new NASCAR season.
“It’s been awhile since we had so much change in the sport,” Joy said. “With drivers changing teams, drivers changing sponsors, we have a new ‘Car of Today’ platform in use at Daytona in all of the races. There’s more anticipation going into this Daytona 500 than I can remember in a long, long time.”
WXXA will have a special edition of “Fox Fast Track” at 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The show will begin airing every Sunday, starting
u NBA All-Star weekend on TNT got under way Friday night with the rookie challenge. Tonight at 8:30, it’s the shooting stars, skills challenge, three-point shootout and slam-dunk contest.
The All-Star Game will be Sunday at 8:30 p.m.
u Beginning in March, College Sports Television (CSTV) will be renamed CBS College Sports Network.
CBS acquired CSTV in January of 2006.
“We believe this rebranding will better position our college sports cable network in the competitive world of cable television distribution,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. “It’s hard to imagine a cable company going forward that will not welcome the CBS Sports-branded channel to its cable systems. In this move, we further build on the value of this important new part of our company.”
CSTV gave college sports like hockey, wrestling and gymnastics greater exposure. Hopefully, CBS won’t tinker with that formula.