What’s worth posting at this point in the week:
(Photo by Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
== Considering what he had to say in his last correspondence with us before the April NFL Draft, wouldn’t that be something if Chris Mortensen was able to make it to Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6 to accept the Professional Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award.
Presented to a reporter who “has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage,” it is named for the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1962-67) who was also a longtime reporter in New York. Previous recipients include Bob Oates (L.A.Times), Jerry Magee (San Diego Union), Will McDonough (Boston Globe), Paul Zimmerman and Peter King (Sports Illustrated), Dave Anderson (New York Times) and Art Spander (Oakland Tribune).
Mortensen wasn’t up to giving us an update or response to this announcement. Instead, ESPN sent responses by ESPN NFL staffers:
John Clayton, a former PFWA president (1999-2001) and 2007 McCann Award recipient: “Chris is one of our profession’s greatest treasures. As a reporter, he is masterful. Like Will McDonough did, Chris shows that accurate information can educate a fan base. Plus, in every segment, he provides the right information that keeps football fans in the know on what is happening in a rapidly changing sport.”
Adam Schefter, a former PFWA president (2001-03): “There is not a single person in our industry who is more deserving of any single award than Mort is for the McCann Award. It’s based on long and distinguished reporting in professional football, and there’s nobody who has done it longer or in a more distinguished way than Mort. As good of a reporter as he is, he’s a better man, teammate and friend, and the only thing that will give me more joy than seeing him get this award will be getting to work with him again this fall.”
== After waiting it out for about a month for the official announcement that the Rams have an unusual five-year radio partnership with all-sports KSPN-AM (710) and classic rock station KSWD-FM (100.3 The Sound), owned by two different companies, the rumors have started about how these two may end up merging on more than just NFL contests.
Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications, which owns The Sound as its only station in the L.A. market, has had success with all-sports FM stations in Boston (WEEI-FM 93.7, a simulcast of all sports WEEI-AM 850 and carrying Patriots games), Providence, R.I. (WVEI-FM 103.7) and Memphis (WMFS-FM 92.9, a simulcast of ESPN’s WMFS-AM 830), so it wouldn’t be out of character for it to flip this into the same format, which would make it L.A.’s first, and loudest, all-sports station on the FM side.
Entercom is the fourth-largest radio broadcasting company in the U.S. with 124 stations in 27 markets. It also owns alternative rock station KBZT-FM (94.9) in San Diego and KGMZ-FM (95.7), aka The Game, an all-sports format in San Francisco/Oakland, carrying Raiders game.
Both Entercom and ESPN, which owns KSPN-710, agreed to a rights fee to carry Rams games on their radio platforms. Sources say that the reason potential Southern California front-runner iHeartMedia, which has powerful stations on both the AM and FM side, didn’t win out here was because it wanted to do a revenue sharing plan with the Rams, and the team didn’t go for it.
KLAC-AM (570), for example, which is part-owned by the Dodgers as well as iHeartRadio and also carries UCLA sports, did a revenue share with the Clippers to get them on board when their previous flagship station, KFWB-AM (980), aka “The Beast,” was sold several months ago.
The Rams’ radio deal puts the bulk of the work on KSPN, starting with producing the show, selling all the advertising for the game and pre- and post-game shows and creating a radio network for outlying cities (including St. Louis?) The Sound 100.3 will simply simulcast the KSPN game call.
Conflicting dates that come up for the Rams and other KSPN programming will be interesting to watch. KSPN is already tied in as the flagship station for the Lakers, USC football and basketball, sometimes with the Angels and carrying the MLB, NBA and college football games nationally distributed on ESPN Radio.
Next up for the Rams is hiring a play-by-play man as well as color analysts, and develop a pre- and post-game show. Those mentioned as possible analysts are former Rams stars Jackie Slater, the Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman who spent 19 of his 20 NFL seasons for the Rams in L.A. and has been coaching at Azusa Pacific, and another Pro Football Hall of Fame member, Eric Dickerson, the running back who tried reporting on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in 2000.
Also of note: It was revealed at the monthly meeting of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters that KWKW-AM (1330), the ESPN Deportes station in L.A., will have the Spanish-language call of the Rams this season and employ KNBC-Channel 4 sports anchor Mario Solis on play-by-play and Troy Santiago as the analyst. Continue reading