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Finn: Red Sox Potentially Changing Radio Broadcast Approach

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Chad Finn, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    I feel like the fact that they are doing this in the first place means that the number of regular broadcast listeners is really low and getting lower, and they are doing it to increase that number, or at least level if off. We who post here are the hardcores, and catering to the hardcores is rarely a good idea.
     
  2. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    The difference is, I actually kinda care what you yahoos think while you're watching the game. You're entertaining, I know your personalities and tastes and biases, and it's a bit like watching the game with you at a bar.

    The takes and callers you get on sports talk shows, nevermind Boston sports talk shows, are so dumb that every time in the last two decades that I've turned one on while driving, I regretted and fixed my mistake within a few minutes. I'd rather listen to a radio show that's nothing but audio of babies crying, than listen to adult babies getting paid to essentially cry on-air.

    If they had done precisely this with the 2012 Red Sox, I would have watched it and approved. Let's just say the 2018 version was not MST3K worthy, and the 2019 edition is highly unlikely to be such either.
     
  3. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Live callers (without a delay) would be a short-lived experiment. "Adam Jones is at the plate....whoa....the phones are lighting up......"
     
  4. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Except that there really can't be more than a handful of different kind of hardcores who would willingly turn down the tv and turn up the radio to experience this (not to mention the sync issue).
    I suppose there might be some marginal net gain, because *most* radio listeners are captive to their surroundings -- car, outhouse, etc -- and will have little choice, while a few talk-radio addicts will do the multicast. But when I'm listening late at night to a west coast game, the last thing I want to hear is a bunch of people talking.
     
  5. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    I’d rather listen to a robot do play-by-play.
     
  6. TedsColdHead

    TedsColdHead Member SoSH Member

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    Could this be similar to what TNT does with the NBA - Players Only broadcasts? They have former players in a "conversational style" who talk over the game. I hate it !!!!
     
  7. NickEsasky

    NickEsasky Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em SoSH Member

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    I feel like people comparing this to what TV broadcasts have tested out seem to be missing one key element here. There's nothing to see when listening to the radio. I need those people to tell me what is happening in the game pretty much at all times.
     
  8. joyofsox

    joyofsox empty, bleak Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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  9. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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  10. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    From the WEEI article linked above, here is their attempt at spinning this:
    So they are looking for an announcer who is full of hot takes, who will criticize players and the manager in an attempt to provoke more interest and listeners. I despise this approach. I don't need some dumbass criticizing everything and trying to push the buttons of the audience. Maybe an ideal broadcaster could pull this off with valid, reasonable commentary, but with WEEI in charge, this will be horrible. Maybe they will hire Dan Shaughnessy for this job, he has to be at the ballpark most games anyway, he would be ideal for what they want.

    "The game remains paramount, BUT...."

    So the broadcast will be about the game and also have a lot of blabbing. Unless they could find another Eckersley, who does not exist, they won't find anyone who can "be conversational" all game long who won't be annoying as hell. Even Eck might get really old on the radio every day, with no video to look at, and relying on him to actually tell us what is happening. The people in charge at WEEI clearly believe that baseball on the radio is boring, so they are going to try to liven it up with what they think is interesting conversation. This will not end well.

    Yes, that is why this will be awful on the radio. The radio guys need to talk about what is happening on the field. If they continue to do that, then the extra "conversation" means that the talking will be nonstop. What will happen is less description of the game and lots more dumb "controversial" opinions.

    Who is actually looking for this kind of "more"? Not many people who actually listen to games on the radio will want this. And WEEI is dumber than I thought if they believe this will draw in millennials to listen to baseball on the radio. That ain't gonna happen.
    Thank god for mlb.com allowing you to choose the other team's broadcast. Even though some of the other team's announcers are so bad they make Neverett look like Vin Scully, at least most of them talk about the game and don't try to inject their hot takes.

    Dale Arnold sucks, his voice is like audio Pepto-Bismol. I highly doubt he even likes baseball. He thinks palling around with Roger Clemens during a game was good radio. Usually when the radio broadcast has guests, it is bad for the listeners. The announcers tend to be much more interested in chatting with the guest than they are in talking about the game, and it usually is results in bad radio.
    Thank god Arnold isn't campaigning for this job. He's awful and he thinks if you call the action, it's going to "suck." But I'm sure whoever gets this job will view it the same way, that's why WEEI included this quote in that article.

    I don't trust these guys the least little bit to be able to do this successfully. I fear their idea of "more" will be a complete trainwreck. WEEI is in the business of dishing out dumb hot takes to push peoples' buttons, and that is what they will be trying to do here during the broadcasts, despite their corporate spin.
     
  11. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Lumer Loni is dumb as a post. Sometimes, "'here's the pitch, low and away, ball 2" IS all there is to say. And then there's some announcer babble about the hitter's father being the best blacksmith in Ottumwa.

    Sometimes, there are situations that might lend themselves to some further discussion.

    But they are going to turn *every* pitch and *every* decision into the week between Patriot games.
     
  12. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    WEEI seems to be attacking a straw man here - radio broadcasts have never been just "balls and strikes." Obviously that would be really boring, which is why all radio broadcasters work in other commentary, anecdotes from the past, etc. - heck, Vin Scully did a single-man booth for a long time and still managed to work in lots of stuff other than "just" calling the game. It's not like last year Castig and Neverett were just sitting there going "Ball. ... Strike. ... Groundout to third, one out."
     
  13. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    I'm a Syracuse Newhouse guy. Been in the radio biz. I'm fine with a radio broadcast being more lively, and Neverett didn't seem to have much of a "personality". So I'm cool with a change. But @The Gray Eagle is right when he said, "The radio guys need to talk about what is happening on the field. If they continue to do that, then the extra "conversation" means that the talking will be nonstop. What will happen is less description of the game and lots more dumb "controversial" opinions." You can "see" the game on the TV screen so doing the broadcast requires far less PBP and allows for more discussion. But the only way to "see" the game on the radio is through the descriptions given by the PBP guy (enhanced by the color guy). There's a lot less room for conversation. Now because baseball is slower than basketball, for example, there's more room for radio conversation in baseball broadcasts than basketball broadcasts, but still...far LESS room than TV broadcasts.

    No idea how this is going to work, but I suspect at the end of the day they'll just hire a guy with more personality and they'll encourage a little more discussion. I doubt we're in for some radically new radio product.
     
  14. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    I've said this about TV broadcasts, but it's true of radio as well...silence is okay sometimes. It's one of the things I love about listening to games on radio...the announcers going quiet when there's nothing going on and just letting the sounds of the ballpark come through. The most important thing about the silence to me...it means I'm not missing anything. If the announcer is quiet, so is the game.

    That all goes away if they're filling gaps and lulls with conversation and hot takez. Any discussion that isn't about the immediate action on the field makes me think they're missing something they could be telling me about what's going on on the field.

    And for fuck's sake, I WANT to hear "he kicks and deals, low and away ball 3". Fuck Merloni for suggesting that stuff is slow paced and unwanted by the listeners. That IS baseball on radio.
     
  15. 8slim

    8slim Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This is all so silly. There is sooooooooooo much down time in baseball. The radio team is always discussing things aside from the play on the field. Having some experience in media, this strikes me as coming from someone who is realllllllly trying to get a promotion by pitching this "innovative" idea to management. I can only imagine the words "paradigm" and "disruption" were in that PowerPoint.
     
  16. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Funny (well not really, more like painful) anecdote about the silence. On Sunday afternoon one of my wife's very good friend was in town, briefly, so we took our kids out to meet up with her family for some frozen yogurt. This was during the 4th quarter of the Pats game. I was following the game on my phone a bit since it was tight and late in the 4th quarter. Ghost kicked the field goal as we were leaving and we went to the car. So a few minutes after we got in the car I flipped the game on the radio, just to hear the end or some immediate postgame. When I turned it on, there was no talking. It was all background noise - it almost sounded like a scrambled signal. I said to my wife something along the lines of are we not getting a signal or something, and she responded along the lines of, no, I hear whistling and noise. Then either Zo or Socci started saying "if this stands..." and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Anyway that sucked. But in one of the most stunning plays in Pats history, neither Zo nor Socci felt the need to just continuously blabber on. The silence was powerful.
     
  17. HangingW/ScottCooper

    HangingW/ScottCooper Member SoSH Member

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    Merloni and Castig and be done with it.
     
  18. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    The use of "tedious" by EEI suggests that they, or whoever wrote the article, does not like baseball. There is nothing tedious about each pitch. And I bet that for fans listening on the radio, there is nothing tedious about it either. Almost by definition those who listen on the radio are the true, serious, die-hard fans. There is no other radio fan base to appeal to. And also, by the nature of the sport being played (nearly) every day for six months, it won't be the casual fan who tunes in to hear "hot takes" about a daily sport. None of it makes sense.
     
  19. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    I dont think Castig can do 9 innings of pbp effectively for a whole season. He certainly hasn't done it on a regular basis in quite a while. He and Merloni weren't totally shitty when it was just the two of them when Neverett missed a few games. But I dont see 162 games of pbp as a viable option.
     
  20. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    You are absolutely correct. No pink hats listen to the Sox on the radio. Only actual baseball fans to that, and so the thing that actual baseball fans care most about is....baseball!
     
  21. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    I don't think Castig has done 9 innings of PBP regularly in his Red Sox tenure. From Ken Coleman to Bob Starr to Trupe to Geffner to DOB to Neverett, he's always had a partner who split duties every game. Can't imagine he's interested in calling every inning of the season at this stage of his career.
     
  22. The Allented Mr Ripley

    The Allented Mr Ripley holden Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Merloni says he doesn't want the job, anyway.
     
  23. mt8thsw9th

    mt8thsw9th anti-SoSHal SoSH Member

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    This is actually great news. Whenever I'm consuming a format which uses one fewer sense than television, the one thing I crave is people yelling over each other when a live event needs to be described to me in detail. I've already changed all my conferences at work to "talk radio style", so this is just another welcome step toward my life being 24/7 Idiocracy. I like money.
     
  24. John Marzano Olympic Hero

    John Marzano Olympic Hero has fancy plans, and pants to match Dope

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    Imagine if the Sox were on the verge of clinching the AL East, AL Pennant or World Series and some mouth breather was bitching about pitch counts or lack of hustle and grit while the final out is recorded.

    Instead of Joe Castiglione asking "Can you believe it?"

    Larry from Watertown is going to bray, "Why is David Price even on this team? The nerds are ruining this game." before getting cut off to be informed that the Red Sox are the AL East/AL/World Series champs.
     
  25. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    You're right. Not sure what i was thinking there.
     
  26. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

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    Well, the TV guys need to discuss what's happening on the field, too, instead of bringing people into the booth to babble. It seems as though everybody on the air today has got to be a "personality;" just doing the job is not enough and they can't get buy with their own personality so they have to have side men/women.

    Baseball does have and has had its monotonous moments--the stepping out of the box, adjusting equipment, pitching change, and the like--but you don't see them on radio. Curt Gowdy might have said, "Williams is digging in (at the plate)," but you didn't see it and Gowdy didn't repeat it after every pitch unlike today when you watch batters leave the box after every pitch to adjust something. It was the normal pace of the game. When I watched Garciaparra as he began he career with Boston, I had no doubt that I was watching a future Hall-of-Famer, but, oh, did he drive me up walls, fidgeting with teh straps of his batting gloves.On radio, you would never have noticed.

    When I was a kid, well over 90% of the baseball games I followed were by radio broadcast...and it was nice. I could read a book and keep score while the game was going on or I could turnof the rafio in the shed that had a huge loudspeaker and bounce the ball off the roof to practice catching it or mow the lawn (with a hand-mower). Today when I have a game on television and a book or Sunday crossword puzzle at hand, I look up at the crack of the bat...and find a replay or a re-re-replay, not always from the current game. The thing you lose with radio is seeing the great plays, especially as htey happen. The great radio announcers could handle the drama but I suspect that many of today's just think they can been seen later on the 'net or tv.
     
  27. gryoung

    gryoung Member SoSH Member

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    Lou Merloni - ugh.

    162 games with the Smartest Guy in the Room is way, way too much for any normal human to handle.
     
  28. bankshot1

    bankshot1 Member SoSH Member

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    A couple of thoughts

    When I was a boy

    Baseball used to be 2 to 2 1/2 hour game, now its closer to 3 1/2 hours or longer if its Sox-MFY, thats a lot more incremental time to banter about. There's only so many times you can tell that really funny story about (whatever) during the rain-delay.

    Given the internet and the apps available to deliver MLB anyteam anytime anyplace, the value of radio rights has to be getting trashed, as America ages and those who grew up on mostly listening to the game, die.

    Can anyone easily imagine a teenager today listening to 1-game for 3+ hours?

    I'm not sure sports radio/hot takz is the way to go, but perhaps it should not be surprising.
     
  29. Haunted

    Haunted The Man in the Box Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    So they claim "this isn't going to be like talk radio!" and then go on to describe exactly talk radio?

    This is going to be just awful.
     
  30. nattysez

    nattysez Member SoSH Member

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    In the hands of a really thoughtful organization that had previously demonstrated its ability to do things out of the box in a respectful and compelling way, this could be interesting. Team broadcasters are usually considered "part of the team" who toe the party line, so giving more leash to some veteran analysts to tell it like it is during games (Eck has been pretty good at this in the past) could be solid.

    But Werner seems to have a tin ear. My understanding is that NESN's broadcasts are generally cluttered and not great; Steve Lyons is terrible; and NESN's programming is unappealing to fans who are most interested in watching baseball -- they could show all kinds of classic games and instead show bad original programming. Combine that with the horror show that is WEEI, and I have a very hard time seeing how this is anything but a disaster.

    I also have to wonder if Joe Castig is going to get phased out under this new approach, which would be an absolute embarrassment for the team.
     
  31. joyofsox

    joyofsox empty, bleak Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Unfortunately, the radio broadcast already ignores the specifics. Both Neverett and Castig seem to assume fans are listening to them while watching TV. They will say things like "fouled off down the line" without saying which foul line. They will describe a ground single going "past Bogaerts at short" but not say whether it went to his right or left. While multiple replays are shown on TV, they will almost go so far as to tell listeners, "There's his foot touching the bag" as if we can all see it. Also, they both seem incapable of accurately reporting where pitches are caught. I have watched games with the radio sound and they will call very low pitches "down the middle", a pitch right down Broadway as "high" and their calls of inside and outside pitches are often wrong. (Don't they have a monitor?) Neverett often fails to call pitches, which is jarring when he next gives the count.
     
  32. Joe D Reid

    Joe D Reid Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    This is part of the challenge. Viewed charitably (I know), EEI's plan is just to hire a color guy instead of a PBP guy. But whoever they hire is going to have to do a fair amount of PBP. I think there are very few interesting color announcers who can also do good radio PBP. Taken together you get a situation where maybe the Castiglione innings are OK but the other innings are trainwrecks.
     
  33. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Having broadcast many sporting events on the radio, I can tell you this little trade secret: No radio PBP announcer in any sport tells you all the specifics. Doing basketball, for example, if the ball gets passed from one wing to the top and around to the other wing, the PBP person will usually just tell you the ball has been passed from one side to the other. In hockey, goodness, there's no way they can keep up with it. In football? Radio PBP: "Brady drops back to pass, steps up in the pocket and fires over the middle to Gronkowski - caught, for a 12 yard gain." Ok, like who pressured Brady? How deep was his drop? "Over the middle" can be anywhere from outside the left hash to outside the right hash. Did he catch it 12 yards out then get tackled immediately? Or did he catch it 7 yards downfield and run for the last 5? It's usually the color guy who fills in the details of that.

    Same thing in baseball. Ground ball past a diving Bogaerts might be the initial call, but then the color guy will fill in from there: "Judge jumped on that fastball and yanked it to left field past Bogaerts, who dove but couldn't come up with it."
     
  34. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    One of my least favorite SoSH criticisms is Red Sox broadcast criticisms. The DOB bellyaching, the Orsillo ballwashing, the mistaken “Remy has been great since DO left” narrative, the “Sean McDonough was the best” narrative, the “Tim Neverett is awful” narrative ... I hate them all. None of them is based in fact. All of them are rose-colored, misshapen arguments that have little to do with the reality of the product on the airwaves.

    Except Steve Lyons. He really does suck.
     
  35. benhogan

    benhogan Baynes Hogan SoSH Member

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    and Eck Rules
     
  36. c_yesterday

    c_yesterday Member SoSH Member

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    When Robert Siegel retired from NPR this summer, it dawned on me that Joe Castiglione is pretty much the only person left in media who's been there as long as I can remember. It's going to be really strange when the day comes that I'm whiling away the summer afternoons and evenings without him in the booth. He'll be 72 on opening day, and the idea that he could spend his broadcasting golden years trying to lend a modicum of dignity to the kind of WEEI shitshow that we're all fearing right now really bums me out.
     
  37. section15

    section15 Member SoSH Member

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    It looks like the shitshow ain't gonna happen - there was some babbling announcement that they never intended to rework the format into gasbag/get-a-life sports..

    Translation = sponsors may have gotten PO'd when they were told of , or even inquired about the plan.
     
  38. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    That's good news. Now they have to replace Neverett. He wasn't the best, but he developed a little chemistry with Joe C. that made broadcasts tolerable. IMO, there's more room to get worse than better. Fortunately, they have to get someone who also does p-b-p, which rules out full-time Lumerloni as an option. I think its imperative to have someone with some kind of local roots, like Neverett had, even if they didn't call games here before.
     
  39. section15

    section15 Member SoSH Member

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    Jon Rish comes to mind but they drove him out the door (and out of the business) by starving him out.

    Usually, when management makes a decision like that, they stick to their guns, no matter what the overall effect is of their action. I think Rish did come back for a game or two but he's off doing computer programming now and likely making better dough (and has more security).
     
    #89 section15, Jan 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  40. minischwab

    minischwab lurker

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    Late last summer, my wife and I put in a patio behind our house with a fire pit dining table. I found it soooo nice to have dinner, then grab a beer and turn the Sox game on the radio while we sat by the fire. As has been said by others, the "nat sound" of the game is a must for baseball on radio. Between pitches just lay out for a bit if nothing is going on, let me feel like I'm at the park. Related to this, I've been pitching for YEARS the idea of a "Nat Sound" button on my TV remote similar to an SAP button. Turns off broadcasters audio but keeps the game audio on instead of muting. I'd use it for just about every national broadcast and probably some local broadcasts too for my teams. Trouble is if it worked too well, networks would have a hard time justifying the salaries they pay to the announcers.
     
  41. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

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    If you have surround sound, you can just turn off your center channel to get “nat sound.”

    Question: when did baseball (or the Red Sox) start using two guys who do PBP? Is it necessary for some reason? And if so, why?
     
  42. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    You may or may not be aware of this, but the "Game Sound" option is available on MLB.TV.
     
  43. koufax32

    koufax32 He'll cry if he wants to... SoSH Member

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    What? Where? How?
     
  44. koufax32

    koufax32 He'll cry if he wants to... SoSH Member

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    Double post
     
  45. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Does the "center channel off" still work?

    I think two p-b-p on radio has been the norm, rather than the exception for a long time. Sterling's an exception. (Maybe there are more. I dont listen to very many out of town radiocasts). When I was a kid in NY, the Mets and Yankees each had 3 broadcasters who rotated in game between tv and radio. Sometimes there were 2 on TV; sometimes 2 on radio (I dont think NYY ever let Rizzuto work alone, though).

    I think its necessary for the Sox now because I dont think Joe C. can (or wants to ) do 9 regularly. So unless he's gone, too . . . .
     
  46. minischwab

    minischwab lurker

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    I was not aware but that's great! Difference is, MLB.TV is taking local broadcasts, they're not paying any announcers directly. ESPN, MLB Network, Fox, TBS, etc are all paying their own crews to do the games so they're not going to make that available any time soon I'd wager.
     
  47. Haunted

    Haunted The Man in the Box Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This is excellent news.

    The best part was, after their firm denials, Alex Reimer wrote an article saying it absolutely wasn't ever going to be a "sports radio" vibe, and then went on to describe how it was going to be: a "sports radio" vibe.
    https://weei.radio.com/articles/col...r-weei-not-changing-format-red-sox-broadcasts



    This depends on your system. Some will re-adjust levels to spread that center channel signal out to the front left and right.
     
  48. section15

    section15 Member SoSH Member

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    THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT I READ - I could be wrong about them abandoning the weird format.
     
  49. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    I think that was always the norm for radio for a long time. It really wasn't until TV came along that the notion of a former player/manager color analyst became common, and even then I think it's still more of a TV thing than a radio thing, at least for the local broadcasts. But even in the earlier days of regular local TV coverage, those former player/manager "analysts" were called upon to do play-by-play. Hawk Harrelson's a good example of that as he ended up becoming a full time PBP. I remember Bob Montgomery used to call innings on NESN (like the 4th inning of Clemens' 20 K night in 1986).

    I think having two guys doing PBP was (and is) necessary for radio due to the length of the season. Considering that most of the job in radio is PBP and with every game being broadcast, there's a ton of talking to do. It has to grind on even the best voices in the game. I mean, even Vin Scully, renowned for his ability to carry a broadcast solo, took innings off every night (usually the 3rd and the 7th) and ceded the mike to another PBP.
     
  50. Earthbound64

    Earthbound64 Member SoSH Member

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    Thank goodness.
     

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