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Sportscaster Jim Brandstatter sat on a ledge near the outer edges of Ann Arbor Pioneer High School’s parking lot, clutching his hands together for warmth as looked out at a quiet Michigan Stadium.

Several fans recognized him and asked for pictures or handshakes, and he gladly obliged. But one just blurted out a question from the sidewalk.

“Are you gonna miss him?”

Brandstatter replied without hesitation.

“Yeah,” he said, before pausing briefly to gather his thoughts. “Absolutely.”
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CherryDon Cherry’s status as an icon of Canadian TV hockey may prove to be his downfall as the groundbreaking deal between Rogers Communications and CBC ushers in a new era of “Hockey Night in Canada,” marketing experts said.

The 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement announced this week gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games and will see the beloved broadcast shift to the telecommunication giant’s multiple platforms, including City and Sportsnet.

Such a radical transformation — from must-see “appointment” viewing to “hockey a la carte” — could call for a shake-up when it comes to on-air talent, including the man many consider the face of “Hockey Night in Canada,” said David Kincaid, managing partner and CEO of the Toronto-based Level 5 Strategy Group.
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dan-hickenSix months after he last appeared on television, longtime sports anchor Dan Hicken was back on the air Sunday for Action Sports 360.

Hicken worked at First Coast News for 27 years, most recently as the sports director.

On May 31, his contract expired, and he signed on at CBS47/FOX30’s Action Sports 360 program.

His six-month non-compete clause dies Sunday, and he will join the live broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on FOX30 and at 11:20 p.m. on CBS47.
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Biddeford native and Northeastern University graduate Jessica Gagne has been named to replace Melissa Kim as the sports anchor at WLBZ-TV (NBC) Channel 2 in Bangor.

Kim left in September to take a sports reporter job at WIAT (CBS) Channel 42 in Birmingham, Ala.

Gagne and John Mehler had been sharing sports anchor and news reporter chores. Mehler will remain as a news reporter.

“Jessica understands the sports landscape for the whole state and she is a good storyteller which is what the job has become. It’s not just about showing a lot of highlights, it’s about getting out and meeting people and sharing stories,” said WCSH Portland (Ch. 6)/WLBZ sports director Lee Goldberg. “She has a lot of personality, she can fit in and feel comfortable in any conversation.

“She knows her stuff. I’ve been very impressed with her,” added Goldberg.

The 26-year-old Gagne, who began working at WLBZ as a news reporter on Feb. 11, said she is “very, very excited.”

“It’s an incredible opportunity. I’ve always loved sports. I’m also a news junkie and I wanted to try to find a way to marry the two and make a living out of it,” said Gagne, who received a journalism degree from Northeastern after spending a year at Syracuse University.

She said Tina Cervasio, who covered the Boston Red Sox for the New England Sports Network, served as an inspiration.

“Once I saw her, I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,” said Gagne. “People in Maine are so passionate about sports. There are so many great programs in the state. I enjoy going around looking for unique stories based around sports and bringing them to the forefront. There are a lot of great stories out there.”

Her paternal grandmother, who encouraged her to find a profession that enabled her to use her writing skills, was another inspiration, she said.

The former cheerleader, volleyball player, competitive dancer and manager for the Biddeford High football team will anchor the 6 p.m. sportscasts on WLBZ and also will do occasional weekend anchoring for WCSH/WLBZ in addition to being a sports reporter.

Read more at Bangor Daily News where this story was originally published.

TSN, though, had developed a strong product and a deep, smart, high-calibre cast of characters. So on the surface, the NHL’s decision to take the money and run from its most competent sports broadcast partner seems apt to produce sub-standard television for a while.

Given Sportsnet’s lower-profile cast of commentators and the massive scope of the project they have signed up for, a flood of TSN talent moving over seems inevitable, though TSN has indicated it intends to soldier on with hard-hitting hockey news and analysis and is telling employees not to jump ship.

“We are completely comfortable and confident putting our game in their hands,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said of the move to Rogers’ properties, but you might want to clip and save that quote.

The hockey deal isn’t forever, but it’s going to feel like it if Sportsnet doesn’t drastically upgrade its talent.
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mike heller“The Mike Heller Show” of Madison’s WTSO-AM (1070) will air nationally from 8-11 a.m. Friday, taking the place of “The Dan Patrick Show,’ which airs on 275 stations weekday mornings.

Heller’s show will be on radio only, and not simulcast on NBC Sports Network and DirecTV, as Patrick’s show does.

In the Milwaukee market, Patrick’s morning show and Heller’s afternoon show air on WOKY-AM (920).

Phil Dawson and Jon Arias join Heller on the show.

The idea for Heller’s show to take the place of Patrick’s the morning after Thanksgiving was hatched when Patrick made a Milwaukee appearance last summer, running in a Sausage Race at Miller Park during a Brewers game.

Heller has been a sports talk radio show host on WTSO, which bills itself as “The Big 1070,” since 2001. His show has aired on WOKY in the Milwaukee market since January of this year.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where this story was originally published.

Nuggets Gallinari provides unique voice

November 26, 2013
Courtesy of NBA.com

Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari has found an outlet to keep his head – and his voice – in the game.

While continuing his rehabilitation program to strengthen his left knee, Gallinari is moonlighting as an analyst on the Altitude Radio Network with Nuggets play-by-play announcer Jason Kosmicki.

Gallinari worked his first broadcast Nov. 11 when the Nuggets played the Utah Jazz and returned to the booth again a week later for Denver’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I don’t like to do every game, but only sometimes,” he said. “People don’t want to listen to my voice every time.”

Kosmicki, now in his sixth year as Denver’s play-by-play man, believes otherwise.

“The dude is smart, charming and knows the game of basketball,” he said. “I thought he was quite insightful. If I were a listener I would have enjoyed it.”

Before Gallinari’s first broadcast, Kosmicki provided some basic pointers as the Nuggets rode the bus from the team hotel to EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

He reminded Gallinari that he could provide a unique perspective by giving scouting reports on opposing players; analyzing how a play should be run or defended; and sharing what coach Brian Shaw would be emphasizing during timeouts.

“Little did I know, he didn’t need that much coaching,” Kosmicki said. “He pretty much had a feel for it 8 minutes into the game.”

Gallinari said he worked radio broadcasts for Italian pro league games as a teenager, but his new gig is more challenging because he is not speaking in his native tongue.

“Trying to speak correct English is not easy,” he said. “Maybe the fact I don’t speak perfect English is better. I don’t know. You have to ask the listeners if it’s going well or not.”

Considering Gallinari remains one of the most popular players on the team, it’s hard to imagine many negative reviews from Nuggets Nation.

The listeners, however, surely will welcome the day when Kosmicki is flying solo as he describes Gallinari’s return to the court.

Read more at NBA.com where this story was originally published.

Hockey lives here? Not anymore at TSN.

The NHL announced its new Canadian television contracts Tuesday and stunned sports fans and media watchers alike by freezing the country’s largest sports specialty network out as an NHL rightsholder for more than a decade. The league instead has signed on with CBC and Rogers-owned Sportsnet in a landmark 12-year deal worth $5.2 billion.

TSN’s hockey insider Bob McKenzie hinted at the change late Monday (and you know this is one scoop the esteemed McKenzie wishes he didn’t have to report).
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CSN to provide sports to WashTimes

November 26, 2013
Courtesy of DCRTV

comcast_csnComcast SportsNet and the Washington Times have announced a partnership that will increase the Times’ sports coverage and deliver CSN’s digital media content to additional platforms and audiences.

The agreement will allow the Times to use CSN’s digital media content in its print and digital editions, as well as WashingtonTimes.com. The network’s written, video, and interactive content will complement coverage produced by the Times’ sports reporters and columnists. CSN content used by the Times will include output from Clifton Brown, Tarik El-Bashir, Chuck Gormley, J. Michael, Rich Tandler, and Mark Zuckerman, and will also include video featuring the network’s news anchors, reporters, and analysts.

“Our readers are already lucky to have the daily insights of Thom Loverro and Mike Harris, as well as the cutting-edge beat coverage of reporters like Brian McNally and Zac Boyer,” says John Solomon, Times editor and vice president for content and business development.

“Now with a sports media powerhouse as a partner, we will be able to cover local teams and colleges more closely and to offer more pre-game and post-game analysis. Our readers will get an even deeper dive into the sports experience”

Read more at DCRTV where this story was originally published.

Dodgers targeting Hershiser for TV

November 25, 2013
Courtesy of the Big Lead

DodgersMajor League Baseball is close to approving the new TV network for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and according to two sources in the organization, the club is targeting one announcer to be the face of the network in the coming years: ESPN’s Orel Hershiser.

This should come as a surprise to nobody, seeing as how Hershiser is one of the most beloved Dodgers over the last 40 years – he captured the Cy Young Award and World Series MVP in 1988 – and already one of the top baseball analysts in the business.

How close is Hershiser to leaving ESPN for the new network? Although ESPN declined comment, a source in Bristol confirmed that Hershiser’s contract is almost up, and he is currently in negotiations with ESPN. Obviously, ESPN is trying to retain Hershiser, who is an analyst on Sunday Night Baseball games and on Baseball Tonight.

But will the lure of returning to the franchise that made him famous be too much for ESPN to compete with?

Read more at the Big Lead where this story was originally published.

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