No, Jim…You Can’t Run Your Own Voice on TV

A small item in Roger Brown’s Friday Plain Dealer column caught OMW’s attention.

It appears local NBC affiliate WKYC/3 got the legal smackdown from the National…Football…League over use of Browns action highlights in the background of their Monday night Browns review show, “The Point After”. The NFL also slapped WKYC on the wrist with a “cease and desist” order for using audio of the Browns’ radio network call of game action, while it showed highlights from the game.

What makes the latter all the more hilarious is that the voice on that radio call is…Channel 3 sports director Jim Donovan, who is, of course, also the Browns’ play-by-play voice on that aforementioned Browns Radio Network (flagship: WMMS/100.7 and sister WTAM/1100), and a co-host on “Point After”.

Now, OMW doesn’t know how much the NFL goes after this on their own – and realizes that it’s probably a specific rights issue. But it’s not hard to guess where the complaint came from… the smart money, or indeed, all money, is on local Browns pre-season/team show rightsholder WOIO/19. The move has a certain swagger to it. Though we do poke fun at the folks at Reserve Square for their “we own the Browns, not Randy Lerner” attitude, with the NFL behind the move, they presumably have the legal ground to stand upon…and even if it’s WKYC’s own voice doing the radio call, Channel 3 probably does not have the rights to it, at least during video of game action.

We wonder if Jim Donovan could slip into a voiceover booth at WKYC and re-do the game call on his own for “Point After”…

Oh, Mr. Brown also notes that the Indians/Chicago White Sox series this past week produced FSN Ohio’s three top-rated Indians telecasts so far this season. One would assume that a 15.1 rating would be enough to prompt FSN Ohio to jump on the bandwagon and arrange more Indians related special programming, but OMW doesn’t control the tight FSN Ohio purse-strings.

We bet that in Boston in 2004, rightsholder NESN was filling their off hours with Red Sox programming…but THEY actually have a studio. If the Indians make it to a certain Series they did reach in 1995 and 1997, will FSN Ohio bother to do anything? They won’t be able to run the games, of course, as those rights are held by the over-air Fox network…

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