Three Sports Items

Like the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Roger Brown, we’re focusing this Monday on sports media items. But we have some tidbits Roger doesn’t have:

KEEP RANTING: We’re heading into the last weeks of yet another lost Cleveland Indians season, with the Tribe, despite better play lately, nowhere near a playoff berth.

That means FOX Sports Net Ohio will have to make a decision about “Cleveland Rants”, the radio/TV simulcast featuring the network’s Les Levine and WKNR/850’s Neil Bender. The show has veered off from the Indians at times – it covered the first couple of days of Browns training camp – but it’s mostly been tied to the team as a post-game show.

OMW hears that FSN Ohio wants to continue with “Rants” after the Indians season.

But we hear it’s not altogether certain that the show will be in the exact same format, and it appears likely that WKNR won’t be along for the “Rants” ride after the baseball season…making it solely a TV show.

Since WKNR host Bender is paid by his radio station and does the radio side of “Rants” alone after TV is finished, that would seem to indicate he wouldn’t continue on the TV side after the changes.

Others could be in the mix alongside Levine in the post-Indians “Rants” world, and we note that FSN Ohio’s Mike Reghi would be certainly available – much to the chagrin of many Cavaliers fans, since the team’s recent decision to replace him as its TV voice made Reghi much less busy during the fall and winter months.

Reghi will be working on the network’s weekly Cleveland Browns show (with Levine, according to an announcement he made earlier), but that’s only a day a week…

CASEY’S BACK: WTAM/1100’s Casey Coleman was back in his perch today as co-host of the station’s “Wills and Coleman” morning drive show.

A brief setback after chemotherapy treatment last week kept him off the sidelines during the Browns Radio Network broadcast of the New Orleans Saints victory over the Browns.

(And considering how the home team played, especially in the first half, perhaps Casey was lucky not to be there.)

We did hear Casey on the phone with Browns radio studio host and WTAM sports director Mike Snyder during post game, and unless something’s changed since then, Coleman still plans to do sideline reporting for the Browns game against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

What we do have new is a note from an OMW reader, who was at the Cleveland chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award ceremonies on Saturday. Casey got the organization’s “Silver Circle” award at that banquet. We’ll let our reader handle the wording:

Casey was on-stage to accept the award. And he gave a very touching, emotional speech that left the room silent. He thanked his wife for being by his side.

Martin Savidge and Kelly O’Donnell were there as hosts, but having Casey there to accept the tribute from his peers was the emotional highlight of the evening.

We have nothing more to say, other than to give our continued best wishes to local broadcasting’s toughest fighter, Casey Coleman…

GETTING TO ROGER: You know it’s a busy sports media menu when the local paper’s sports media column is the third item on the list.

In this week’s edition, Roger Brown gives kudos to former Buckeye and ABC/ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit for his work on the Buckeyes’ win over Texas this weekend, and brickbats to local ABC affiliate WEWS/5 for obstructing the score with weather warning graphics, leaving a station logo behind untouched.

The Artful Roger also notes the hiring by WEWS of former Browns star Reggie Rucker as a studio contributor to the station’s Monday night newscasts, and lower ratings for Indians games on SportsTime Ohio vs. last year on FSN Ohio.

If we remember right, the ratings were comparable early on, which we assume means that the Tribe being out of contention has driven away day-to-day viewers. But WKYC/3 is still putting up decent numbers for its mainly Sunday afternoon contests, says Roger.

In addition to catching up with FSN Ohio about its new Cavaliers deal and the regular broadcast of Browns head coach Romeo Crennel’s press conference, Roger has a non-answer.

Yep, Roger says he still hasn’t heard what the “word is” regarding WKNR’s new network affiliation, with ESPN Radio heading out at the Salem Cleveland sports talker about a month from now.

Brown notes that FOX Sports Radio would have “stronger programming” than Sporting News Radio, which is sort of like saying Thunderbird is better than Ripple in the cheap wine section of your local supermarket. (It could be the other way for all we know, as your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] is a dedicated non-drinker.)

The network sports radio landscape is downright awful once you get past ESPN Radio.

Neither network has a strong morning drive show, for one. About the only show worth noting on either network is the mid-morning ET show with Tony Bruno on SNR, and that slot is currently covered on WKNR.

And no one knows if SNR will even survive parent Sporting News’ sale to Advance/Newhouse, a newspaper publisher which also owns Roger’s employer, oddly enough.

No wonder it’s taking WKNR program director Michael Luczak so long to make up his mind. He’s too busy holding his nose…

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