CSN is adding `Plus' channel for when sports net overflows

ON MEDIA

The Kickoff

September 21, 2007|By RAY FRAGER

And we're back.

Sorry for my absence from these pages, but there was a matter of some urgency dealing with my health. Luckily for me, I've recovered. Unluckily for you, the column is back.

However, I believe doctors removed that part of my brain that enables me to write about one subject for more than a few paragraphs.

Comcast SportsNet is adding an overflow channel, called CSN+, starting Oct. 1. The channel will be activated when Comcast SportsNet carries simultaneous live games of the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards or area colleges. On Comcast cable systems, CSN+ will reside in MASN2's current home. On other cable carriers or satellite systems, it might be on a different channel. Viewers will be able to find CSN+'s location at comcastsports- net.com.

Give Mike Tirico points for humility. In yesterday's debut broadcast of The Mike Tirico Show on ESPN Radio, he said he didn't like the program's name.

University of Maryland alumni report: SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, Class of 1988, will appear regularly on Tirico's show and serve as a substitute host.

He was probably just yanking everybody's chain, but Ravens receiver Derrick Mason showed plenty of bravado during his appearance on this week's Ravens Wired, which airs on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and WBFF/Channel 45. Explaining that television doesn't necessarily capture his true essence with its pictures, Mason said: "Sometimes, you have to look into the camera and tell just how good-looking you are."

Then, watching himself elude a tackler after catching a pass, Mason said: "Come on, man. That first dude isn't going to tackle me. A linebacker?"

The same show featured glimpses from the sideline and bench during Sunday's Ravens-New York Jets game. This feature would have been more compelling if not for the way the voices overlapped, making it difficult to hear what any one individual is saying.

Not only did the Bengals beat the Ravens in the season opener, but Cincinnati also beat Baltimore in the ratings for the game. And the ratings weren't nearly as close as the score. In Cincinnati, the telecast drew 43.5 percent of the audience. In Baltimore, the rating was 29.5. The Ravens-Jets game got a 24.9, putting Baltimore at No. 15 among NFL markets Sunday.

When Frank Caliendo did his weekly picks on Fox NFL Sunday while impersonating Jim Rome, the ersatz Rome likely had more viewers in one day than the real Rome gets in a couple of weeks on his ESPN show.

NBC's John Madden said the Dallas Cowboys' "America's Team" aura isn't just marketing hype. (The Cowboys face the Chicago Bears on NBC on Sunday night.) "The Dallas Cowboys have more fans than any team in the country," Madden said, according to highlights of a conference call this week. "When you go on the road and you go to the visiting team hotel, the Dallas Cowboys lead the league in hotel lobbies. You go to some teams, and there'll be like 10 people in the lobby. You go to the Dallas Cowboys, and there will be like 1,000. It's just that wherever the Cowboys go, they are stars."

New Wave music fans might get a kick out of hearing Ravens reciting lyrics from the Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime" - "This ain't no party/this ain't no disco/this ain't no fooling around" - to promote MASN's extensive team-related programming, but I would suggest the Ravens take it a step further. Let's have coach Brian Billick open news conferences by quoting from the Heads' "Girlfriend Is Better" - "Stop making sense, stop making sense ... "

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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