Friday, September 17, 1999

SPORTS ON TV-RADIO


Channel 12 switches to Vols-Gators

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Thanks to the power of the people, local football fans this Saturday will get to see the best game so far this college football season.

        WKRC (Channel 12) switched from the Michigan-Syracuse game to the Florida-Tennessee game Thursday afternoon.

        CBS had planned to air the Michigan-Syracuse game in the 8p.m. Saturday slot.

        “They think Ohio, Michigan,” said WKRC General Manager Bill Moll. “They try to regionalize games.”

        Which can be a good thing. But in this case, Tennessee-Florida is such a superior game that all but die-hard Michigan and Syracuse fans would probably rather watch it.

        When I brought this to Moll's attention, he said he'd check with CBS about making the switch. An hour later, the switch had been made.

        Channel 12 wasn't simply acting on my call.

        “We got tons of calls,” said Mary Stapleton of the station's programming department. “Some people were pretty mad.”

        So credit WKRC for listening and acting.

        The Tennessee-Florida game promises to have major national title implications. Tennessee is the defending national champion, and Florida's Swamp is one of the hardest places in the country to play.

        The game is also the debut of CBS's new top college football announcing team. Sean McDonough will be paired with Todd Blackledge, who comes over from ABC, where he was the lead studio analyst.

        SHORT TRIAL: After one week as the guest analyst on the Fox Sports Net's NFL This Morning, Chris Spielman has signed on with the 11a.m. Sunday show to be a regular the rest of the season.

        It's a good move by FSN. Spielman, the recently retired Cleveland Brown, is one of the more interesting and outspoken NFL players in recent memory.

        He had that deer-in-the-headlights look once during last week's show, but, overall, he was good.

        Potentially, he's as good or better than anyone on ESPN's NFL Countdown. MIAMI HOOPS: Miami University is talking with Channel 12 about doing a five or six basketball games this season.

        “We're working on it,” said MU Athletic Director Joel Maturi. “It's not set in stone. We're waiting for the (Mid-American Conference) TV package to be finalized.”

        LEADERS IN CLUBHOUSE: Tom Myers, Nicky Spivak, David Cox and Bob Burger are the early leaders in my contest to pick ESPN's SportsCentury top 25 athletes.

        Each got 22 of 25 correct. The winner will be determined on who came closest to the actual order.

        Do you think Martina Navratilova should be on the list? Can't argue with her credentials as an athlete. But she didn't become a U.S. citizen until late in her career. The list is supposed to be North American athletes.

        IT'S OFFICIAL: The Reds-Houston game Sept.28 will be carried on Fox Sports Net Ohio. The game wasn't on the original schedule. Saturday's Pittsburgh game was moved a national Fox network game, so FSNO could pick up another game.

        Both games from Houston (including the other Sept.29) will be shown on FSNO.

        John Fay covers TV/radio sports for The Enquirer. He can be reached at 768-8445.

       



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