Ravens finally appear ready to make call on TV-radio deals

Media Watch

July 02, 1996|By MILTON KENT

Here's what we know about the Ravens' broadcasting situation, with a scant month to go before the exhibition season gets under way:

Defensive back Eric Turner is the first player to sign a deal with a radio station. He will appear 15 times a week on WCBM (680 AM), starting Aug. 4. Also, Paul Maguire, one of NBC's lead analysts, will perform the same duties on the team's preseason television games.

And that's about all the information there is on the Ravens' television and radio plans for the coming season. The team has not reached a decision on which stations will carry their games.

David Modell, the team's executive vice president, said an answer to one of Baltimore's burning questions should come tomorrow afternoon.

Station officials on the radio and television sides have been waiting for the team to make a call since the league granted approval for the move from Cleveland to Baltimore in March.

Privately, some programmers and salesmen have grumbled that the perceived delay in making the decision and the shortened sales time that delay has caused will make it difficult to make the deal a successful one.

Modell said Ravens officials were determined to take as much time as they needed to ensure that they made the right decision.

"We have been fairly consistent in saying from March on that we had fairly monumental tasks in front of us, and we had to show each element of our task the proper amount of detail," said Modell. "I would rather take a little extra time and do things right than rush and make mistakes along the way. I hope our attention to detail shows that."

Modell said the team will produce its three preseason television games and buy the air time from a station, and is deciding whether to accept a rights fee from a radio station or to produce its games after buying the air time.

Hearst Broadcasting, which owns WBAL (1090 AM) and WIYY (97.9 FM), and Infinity, which owns WXYV (102.7 FM), WLIF (101.9 FM), WCAO (600 AM) and WJFK (1300 AM), are considered to be the leading contenders for the radio rights, should the team take a bid.

R & R show on HTS

After the replay of the Chesapeake Classic high school all-star football game tonight at 7: 30, Home Team Sports debuts a local version of the vaunted "American Sportsman" outdoors show.

Titled "This is Our Region," the program features local sports celebrities pursuing their recreational interests, with HTS announcers as hosts and produced by the regional channel's production crew.

In tonight's opener, Washington Bullets coach Jim Lynam goes sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, former Orioles pitcher and current team analyst Mike Flanagan is seen fly-fishing on the Gunpowder River and former Washington Redskins linebacker Sam Huff goes horseback riding in Middleburg, Va.

"This is Our Region" will run through September, with two original half-hour shows airing each month.

Whiz kids coverage

Ever visited a neighbor who has every imaginable audiovisual device and can't wait to show them off? At first, you're dazzled, but after a couple of hours, there's just so much to see and take in that you can't process it all.

That's kind of the way Saturday's Orioles-Yankees contest felt on Fox. Baltimoreans got a chance to see the network's No. 1 production team, led by senior coordinating producer John Fillipelli and director Bill Webb, both Emmy winners.

The apparatus at their disposal is impressive, but by about the fifth inning or so, you just felt like there were just a few too many replays of seemingly meaningless things. To be sure, replays are generally instructive, but an overabundance, as we saw Saturday, can be monotonous and a bit mind-numbing. And that three-way box, with pitcher, catcher and batter separated, is an example of way too much information for a viewer to process.

As for the booth, Joe Buck is a solid, witty pro, even at the tender television age of 28. For anyone younger than, say, 35, listening to Buck now must be reminiscent of what his Hall of Fame father, Jack, was like in his prime.

His analyst partner, Tim McCarver is, to this listener, like the sitcom "Seinfeld" -- an acquired taste that doesn't go down well.

McCarver, through his stints at ABC, CBS and with the New York Mets, has been insufferable with his overanalysis and gosh-awful puns. So far, McCarver has been tolerable, though he's good for at least one groaner pun per game and he still can make a situation with runners on first and second and two outs in the second inning seem like war is about to be declared.

Schedule adjustments

HTS and Channel 13 have worked out a little four-game trade of Orioles games for this month.

Channel 13 and Washington's Channel 50 will now air Orioles home games against Boston this Friday and the Yankees next Friday.

In exchange, HTS will carry Orioles games against Minnesota here on July 23 and at the Metrodome a week later.

Govern yourselves accordingly.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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