Behind the Broadcast: Adding local talk shows part of WTMM growth

The addition of local sports talk shows is indicative of how radio station WTMM has grown.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Ever since WTMM started a

24-hour sports talk format 10 years ago, I’ve always wondered when the station would have its own talk show.

All WTMM ever aired was ESPN Radio shows. Sure, there were

local sports teams on WTMM, from College of Saint Rose men’s basketball to Union College men’s hockey to the Albany River Rats. But the station never had someone who could talk local sports. The only stations that had local sports talk were WOFX-AM (980), with Rodger Wyland’s weekday morning show, and, until it was taken off the air in December, Dan Murphy’s afternoon show; and John Graney’s Sunday night show on WROW-AM (590).

But in the space of three months, WTMM has added two shows.

First, “The Varsity with Anthony Mormino” came on the air in Feb­ruary as a late Sunday morning show. Then on Tuesday, the station announced that former WTEN

(Ch. 10) sports director Brian Sinkoff will have a four-hour

afternoon drive talk show, called “Sound-Off with Sinkoff,” starting Monday at 3 p.m.

It’s great to see WTMM get involved with local sports talk shows. But why did it take so long?

Very simply, it came down to moving WTMM from 1300 AM to 104.5 FM last January. It gave WTMM a better sound and a stronger signal.

“Watching it grow, and watching the listenership expand was just phenomenal,” Regent Commun­ication vice president Bob Ausfeld said. “There’s only so much you can go on an all-satellite. There was a plan, not necessarily right now, [of] doing something either in the afternoon or on the weekend in the late evening. We sat down and decided, after doing a little local research, we found out something in the

afternoon would be good, espec­ially after Murphy left. With the strength of the radio station, it was the perfect time to do it.

“If we were still on the AM, I don’t know if we would have approached it.”

Sinkoff’s show will replace “Sports Nation,” which was on from 4 to 7 p.m. The hour before “Sports Nation” was occupied by Stephen A. Smith, but he ended his show Thursday, and ESPN Radio had not decided on a replacement.

Adding Mormino and Sinkoff makes WTMM a true local sports station.

“This is what we want to do,” Ausfeld said. “You’ll see, as we progress, ESPN is a major part of it, but we’re going to be pushing ‘The Team’ [nickname]. ‘The Team’ is going to be the main thrust of 104.5, the No. 1 choice for sports.”

HAYNES HOSPITALIZED

Colorado Avalanche TV announcer and former Capital District Islanders play-by-play announcer Mike Haynes underwent surgery Thursday for an aneurysm , and will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Denver Post reported that the aneurysm is in the basilar

artery, which supplies blood to the back part of the brain and the inner ear. The paper also said that his surgery was termed a success by doctors, and he is expected to make a good recovery.

Haynes was the voice of the CD Islanders during the team’s time in the AHL from 1990-93. He joined the Avalanche as their radio play-by-play announcer when the team moved to Denver from Quebec in 1995. He moved over to Altitude, the Avalanche’s cable TV home in 2005.

“We truly support Mike and his family during this very difficult time, and we ask all Avalanche fans to keep Mike in their thoughts and prayers in the coming weeks,” said Jim Martin, CEO of Altitude Sports & Entertainment.

The man Haynes replaced, John Kelly, a former Adirondack Red Wings announcer and current TV voice of the St. Louis Blues, will fill in for him.

If you would like to send Haynes a get-well wish, you can send it to him care of Altitude Sports & Entertainment, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, Col., 80204.

gumbel leaves

Bryant Gumbel announced Friday that he won’t return as the NFL Network’s play-by-play announcer. Gumbel was the announcer on the cable network’s coverage of “Thursday Night Football” and “Saturday Night Football.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to call NFL Network games the past two years, which was a new experience for me,” Gumbel said in a statement. “But we’ve agreed that we’d all be better served going in different directions. There are a lot of talented people at NFL Network. I thank them, I wish them well, and I have no doubt that they will be very successful going forward.”

ncaa hoop ratings

One NCAA basketball tourn­ament championship game got a good rating, and the other did not.

Kansas’ 75-68 overtime win over Memphis in the men’s final Monday on CBS drew a fast national rating of 12.1 and a 20 share, down 8 percent from 2007. Last season’s title game, in which Florida beat Ohio State to become the first team in 15 years to repeat as champions, earned a 13.2.

Tennessee’s 64-48 victory over Stanford in women’s title game Tuesday on ESPN earned a 3.0 rating. That is up 30 percent from the 2.3 for last season’s Tennessee-Rutgers game.

parting shots

CBS (WRGB Ch. 6) will have the final two rounds of the Masters this weekend. Third-round coverage is on at today at 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s final-round coverage will start at 2:30 p.m.

The NCAA men’s hockey championship game will be on ESPN tonight at 7. Boston College faces Notre Dame. . . .

There will be a triple-header of NHL Stanley Cup playoff action this weekend. Today at 2 p.m., NBC (WNYT Ch. 13) has Nashville at Detroit. Tonight, Versus has Boston at Montreal at 7, and Dallas at Anaheim at 10 p.m. On Sunday, WNYT has Philadelphia at Washington at 2 p.m.; MSG, MSG Plus and Versus have the Devils at Rangers at 7 p.m.; and Versus has San Jose at Calgary at 10 p.m. . . .

The Yankees-Red Sox series gets the national treatment this weekend. WXXA (Ch. 23) will have today’s game at 3:30 p.m. ESPN carries the game Sunday night at 8. . . .

WCWN (Ch. 45) will televise its first Mets’ game of the season Sunday at 1 p.m. The Mets face the Milwaukee Brewers. . . .

TBS’ Sunday afternoon baseball game will be the Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia at 1:30 p.m. . . .

ESPN has three horse races at 5:30 p.m. It will have live coverage of the Arkansas Derby and Holy Bull Stakes, and taped coverage of the Blue Grass Stakes. . . .

Versus has Davis Cup tennis action between France and the United States this weekend. The doubles match will be on at 1:30 p.m. today, and the reverse singles matches are at 1 p.m. Sunday. . . .

MSG Plus will televise the Nike Hoop Summit today at 4 p.m.

Categories: Sports

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