Healthy Monday night rating not sign of Browns fever catching

Media Watch

November 16, 1995|By Milton Kent

You would think that with the city on the verge of returning to the NFL after 12 seasons, Baltimoreans would be breathlessly tuning in by the score to see their new team.

You would be wrong.

The first two exposures of the soon-to-be Baltimore Browns to their new market have drawn less than spectacular ratings, leading one to believe that Charm City hasn't quite caught Browns fever.

Chris Mecchi, Channel 13's ratings researcher and this week's sole and official "Media Watch" ratings supplier, reports that Monday night's AFC Central showdown at Pittsburgh did a 15.6 rating and 25 share for Channel 2.

Though that's one of the higher Monday night ratings of the year, it's more than a point below the 16.7/27 Nielsen national average for that game, and almost a point below the 16.5/28 Channel 45 got for Sunday's Dallas-San Francisco dustup.

It will be interesting to see how the ratings shake out Sunday, when Channel 45 presents the Browns-Green Bay game head-to-head against the Washington-Seattle contest on Channel 11.

In other ratings oddities from last weekend, two figure skating shows, each taped, outperformed the Maryland-Virginia football game, all on Channel 13, and two other skating shows performed solidly as well.

The "Ice Wars" competition, which was taped Nov. 5 and aired last Friday night, did a 7.7/13. Saturday's "CBS Sports Show," which had a week-old event as its focus, did an 8.6/16, and the Terps-Cavaliers game got a 6.9/17.

Channel 11's presentation of a 1994 pro skating competition from Landover got a 5.1/12 on Saturday, while Channel 2's taped event on Sunday drew a 6.3/11.

Mixed NBA radio blessing

There's good and bad news for local basketball fans attached to the announcement that ESPN Radio has obtained exclusive radio rights to the NBA package, including 13 regular-season games, All-Star Weekend, early round playoff games, both conference finals, the league championship series and the draft.

On the one hand, it's great to see the nearly 4-year-old ESPN Radio get its hands on its first event programming. If it brings to the NBA what it brings to its weekend shows, the games will be enjoyable.

However, you may not be able to get any of it here in Baltimore, for WBAL (1090 AM) has the local rights to ESPN Radio. Both the postseason NBA package and the draft run during the Orioles season, and there's no chance the station would bump baseball for hoops.

Let's hope WBAL can reach some agreement with another local station, say WWLG (1360 AM), the current NBA carrier, to place events that conflict with the Orioles, which is what the station does with Maryland football.

Farewell to a friend

The local and national media lost a dear and loyal friend yesterday when Joe Blair, a longtime Maryland sports information official, died in Pittsburgh at age 72 from complications of a stroke he suffered three weeks ago on the football team plane to Louisville.

Hardly anyone who came into contact with Blair, professionally or personally, over a span of five decades ever had a bad word to say about him, a rare feat in a business as cutthroat as this one.

Blair, who did two tours of duty at Maryland surrounding a stint with the Washington Redskins, was a gentle and unassuming man with an ever-present cigarette dangling from his lips and a cup of convenience-store coffee at hand.

It's already impossible to imagine walking along press row at Cole Field House or into the Byrd Stadium press box without seeing Blair's smiling face. His presence and his friendship will .. be sorely missed.

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