“…Changes In Latitude…”

[This item was originally posted to The Media Drop]

“It’s those Changes In Latitudes,
Changes In Attitudes
Nothin’ remains quite the same”
– Jimmy Buffett, ‘Changes in Latitude’, 1977

Just a few hours after it’s reported that the New York Knicks and Rangers will be leaving their broadcast home of WFAN in New York to go to ESPN, RealNetworks announces that their contract with Major League Baseball will not be renewed. Real’s contract to be the exclusive medium for online broadcasts of MLB’s game subscriptions ran for three years, and will seemingly be up for grabs if baseball decides to keep doing so. Real doesn’t seem to upset about it, claiming that it’s only about a 2% revenue loss for the year – which is fine, if 2% isn’t a big deal for you.

The loss of the Knicks and Rangers is definitely a big deal at WFAN, because not only are the teams going to their “crosstown” rival of ESPN Radio’s local affiliate, but because it blows a big hole in their programming. I don’t see them going after the Nets or Devils anytime soon, and filling it with local college basketball isn’t going to cut it. I’m curious if they’ll move to a “network” game of the week or something like that a couple nights, or perhaps just fill the time with other call-in shows. Surely, Chris “Continent” Carlin would love to take a prime time slot for a while, as he’s moving on from producing the acclaimed “Mike & the Mad Dog” show after six years to have a slot of his own in various places during the week, starting with Sunday mornings as of right now.

This will probably mean some changes for the Knick and Ranger announcing teams, which is typical when these things come about. Even though the announcers work for Madison Square Garden, there’s always politics involved. Currently, Mike Breen and Gus Johnson do about half the games as play-by-play guys, with John Andariese doing color and Spencer Ross doing pre-, post-, and halftime shows. The Rangers currently have Kenny Albert and one-time Ranger Brian Mullen manning the microphones.

Recently, when the New York Yankees moved from 770 WABC in New York to 880 WCBS, Michael Kay left the storied “Sterling & Kay” duo to perform exclusive YES Network television broadcasts, with ESPN’s Charlie Steiner becoming the new voice on the Yankee radio broadcasts. Steiner is rated pretty well by most folks, but as much as some people liked to say certain things about Kay, he and Sterling did very well together. Interestingly enough, Kay also has a mid-day talk show on the New York ESPN Radio affiliate, 1050 WEPN.

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