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Forever program promos fall short

Commentary

March 31, 2013
By Steve Sampsell (sports@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Whether it's news talk or sports talk, Forever Broadcasting takes a somewhat unusual approach with on-air promotions for its shows and talent.

Surprisingly often, those promos either belittle the hosts or rely on low-brow humor. It's surprising because such an approach diminishes both the hosts and the listeners.

Whether it's a promo that focuses on the intelligence of a news-talk host, saying his brainpower could light a children's nightlight for only a few seconds, or whether it's a promo that a sports-talk show features "the best pair since Pam Anderson," the spots just seem silly.

If the radio market supported shock-talk radio or if the audience were somehow combative, maybe the approach would make some sense.

Instead, it's just a repeated running down of the on-air talent, right there in front of listeners. It's something the broadcast group does consistently - across formats, time of day and stations - and it just seems somewhat counter-intuitive.

Maybe the promotions department has a better, more-developed sense of humor than the audience.

Or, maybe listeners really do respond to such stuff. But the time dedicated to a promo might be better used to actually promote the positives of the people and programs on the air.

Social matters

Forget the baseless, silly social media conspiracy theories about an anti-Penn State bias during ESPN's coverage of the NCAA wrestling championships.

The all-sports network did a good job last weekend and gave the Nittany Lions the attention they deserved.

ESPN made just two mistakes.

First, because wrestling has one of the largest social media followings of all NCAA sports, ESPN should have provided a Twitter hashtag or something similar for viewers to utilize during the broadcast.

Second, the production team used a slow-motion replay, repeatedly, to try to determine back points during a coach's challenge at 133 pounds.

A real-time view would have been more appropriate for viewers to get a sense of what happened or did not in that instance.

Tuner tidbits

n The most-hard-to-listen-to part of regional coverage of the Penn State Lady Lions' postseason run was the continued mispronunciation of the names of coaches and players by veteran sports-talk host Jed Donahue. On radio it's all about getting those right. At least it should be.

n There's no more opposite pair on TV than college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg and studio analyst Charles Barkley. While Kellogg rarely utters a negative word, especially in regard to the work of game officials, Barkley can offer an opinion in any situation. Going from game to studio can prompt intellectual whiplash for viewers.

n Anyone who listens to the Final Four on radio next week (and lots of people do) will hear college basketball and NBA legend Bill Walton handling pre-game and halftime duties. Walton's deep voice and deep thoughts - often a compilation of unconnected-but-somehow-connected observations - usually result in good radio.

n His season might be over, but Penn State men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers worked last Wednesday night, and then appeared in reruns, as a guest analyst on "Big Ten Basketball and Beyond" on the Big Ten Network. Chambers went to his notes early, but did well - as always his personality shone through. It was a good bit of visibility for the Nittany Lion program heading into next year.

n Watch for both ESPN and the NFL Network to air specials about the announcement of the NFL schedule, which will be released April 16. Also, every day is a day closer to the Hall of Fame Game, the season's first preseason game, which will feature the Cowboys and Dolphins at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4.

Steve Sampsell covers the broadcast side of sports. He's on Twitter @talkingtvsports, writes at www.talkingtvsports.com online, and may be contacted at talkingtvsports@gmail.com with comments and story ideas.

 
 

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