All-sports radio just talk until more to talk about

RADIO-TV

November 08, 1991|By RAY FRAGER

"Good morning. You're listening to Baltimore's WMSH, Meshuggeh Radio, the station that's crazy about sports.

"In a few moments, we'll have the first traffic report from our SportsCopter with Stan White at the controls. Later on, it'll be commentary from Charley Eckman, speaking on sports as a reflection of our culture. At 10, it's sports talk with Art Sinclair, followed at noon by "Lunch with Mike," as The Sun's Mike Littwin discusses smart baseball with Orioles base-running coach Lonnie Smith. And, don't forget, tonight from Australia, it's Game 3 of the World Major Soccer League playoffs between the Blast and the Sydney Sheldons. . . . "

Sound far-fetched? Well, maybe that part about Littwin's having a talk show. . . . Other than that, though, what about the shot at having an all-sports radio station in Baltimore?

Baltimoreans already can hear the format via the strong signals from New York's WFAN (660 AM) and Philadelphia's WIP (610 AM), but those stations aren't the only ones that have gone to all-sports. Others include KYBG in Denver, KFAN in Minneapolis, XTRA in San Diego, KJR in Seattle, WFNS in Tampa, Fla., KDEF in Albuquerque, N.M., WEII in Boston, WSKR in Petersburg, N.J., and WJOC in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Albuquerque? Chattanooga? Why not Baltimore?

"As much as I would like it, unless Baltimore got pro football, it would be pretty hard," said Stan "The Fan" Charles, who runs a daily talk show during baseball season and a weekly show during college basketball season on WCAO (600 AM). "Right now, you're pretty hard-pressed to find much to talk about."

Jeff Rimer, "Sports Line" host on WBAL (1090 AM), said: "I think if we got the NFL, we'd be in a lot better situation. I think, with the Orioles, we're a one-horse town."

Four years ago, WCBM (680 AM) filled much of its programming day with sports talk.

"Going back to 1987 at WCBM, we had lots and lots of sports talk," said Phil Wood, a show-less Joe among area announcers. "There never was a shortage of callers."

All-sports stations generally get as much play-by-play as possible. WFAN, for example, has the New York Mets, Knicks and Rangers.

"I think, to make it go, you need a tremendous amount of play-by-play," said Tom Davis of WQSR (105.7 FM) and Home Team Sports. "I don't think Baltimore could do it, because there aren't enough teams."

Wood doesn't necessarily disagree that all-sports requires plenty game coverage, but says the programming is out there.

"Some people would tell you that you have to have major-league teams," Wood said. "I would agree, but it doesn't necessarily have to be local."

WCBM, for example, carried Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Raiders games.

Baltimore listeners get some out-of-town games with CBS Radio baseball and NFL broadcasts on WBAL. But do they want to talk about them? Davis says no.

"In New York, you have all of those teams to draw from," he said. "There's just not enough to talk about here. It's like last year: How many times did they talk about Mickey Tettleton until he was traded?"

Anyway, Wood says, all-sports radio is coming.

"I think it's inevitable that somebody here or in D.C. will do it," said Wood, who likely could get back on the air on such a station.

Hey, here's an idea: Why not let WBAL try it? They just could use their current announcers.

"Hello, hello, it's Allan Prell on sports. And it's a divine day in sports, a lovely day that can bring a teeny, tiny smile to the beak of that ornithologically correct little bird on our Orioles' caps. [Cackle, cackle.] Your Uncle Allie has an extra hard trivia question for you special smart listeners. . . . "

"Welcome to the Ron Smith Show. My guest this hour is Farley Fennell, who is head of STOP, Society To Obliterate Polyester, a group dedicated to returning major-league baseball uniforms to flannel. But, before we get to Mr. Fennell, did you notice that the papers again listed Dave Johnson's ERA a half-point too high? There's the liberal press again, ganging up on a right-hander. . . . "

Then again, we always could wait.

* There will be no pay-per-view of Nov. 16's Penn State-Notre Dame game. And ABC says there never definitely was going to be.

"We never announced anything," ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandel said, "so we don't feel we really need to unannounce something."

Earlier this week, though, Mandel had confirmed statements by Notre Dame officials and the College Football Association that a pay-per-view telecast was a possibility. Mandel was not specific in saying why it would come off. The game is an ABC regional telecast.

*

CBS' James Brown is returning to his Washington sportscasting roots, filling in for the next few weeks on Channel 9. The sports anchor, Glenn Brenner, suffered a "small vascular event" after running the Marine Corps Marathon Sunday.

*

In rock-and-roll circles, The Boss is Bruce Springsteen. In my circles, The Boss is the boss. "When you going to tour again, boss?" I asked him, holding the black leather jacket and motorcycle boots I'd brought along as visual aids. "You know, if you went away, I'd take care of that Things My Boss Wants to Know feature." The boss leaned back in his chair, looked over at his Perry Como poster and said, "Nice try."

Things My Boss Wants to Know: If the Washington Redskins ever have to be on NBC again, can we make sure that Paul Maguire is in Tahiti that day? . . . So, what's the deal: Is Bill Parcells returning to coaching or becoming the new host of "Studs"? . . . Does Larry Csonka's involvement with "American Gladiators" wipe the Miami Dolphins' perfect season out of the record books?

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