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In broadcast world, some thanks

PSU’s Jones swings into his busiest time of the year

We’re just a three days removed from Thanksgiving, and there are many reasons to be thankful in regard to sports media and television. Here are a few atop my list:

David Feherty: The golf analyst and TV personality conducts the best sports interview program on television. We’re getting to the point of the year where episodes will be aired back-to-back during the holidays, and if you have the ability to view things on demand it’s worth doing with his show.

Sure, A-list folks sitting down with Feherty know they’re going to get a generally more-than-kind Q-and-A session, but he always makes things fun and interesting. He’s likeable and it’s good TV.

Steve Jones: Penn State’s play-by-play voice for football and basketball gets even busier at this time of the year with more basketball games and a bit more travel. Still, he remains focused, prepared and sharp when games begin — and really any time he’s behind a mic.

He’s done more than 250 games with Jack Ham on Penn State football and his unrivaled experience as the voice of men’s basketball makes his emotion when the team succeeds (and struggles) is genuine.

Best of all, even better than his solid play-by-play work, is his amazing ability to contextualize things in a positive manner for Penn State.

His optimism is nice. Sure, sometimes it sounds contrived — it would be easier to be negative, after all — but he always manages to back it up with facts and sound so logical.

Beth Mowins: ESPN’s versatile play-by-play talent, who handles college football, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball and softball, was the first woman do handle play-by-play duties on a nationally televised NFL game. She also works preseason games in that role for the Oakland Raiders.

This past week, she added play-by-play of a game show, calling spins of the big wheel on The Price is Right.

Kudos to the show’s host, comedian Drew Carey, who likes Mowins’ work and put the plan in action to get her on the show. And kudos to her agent, and to her, for doing it. Sometimes broadcasters take themselves too seriously. This gig was a neat opportunity and a neat story.

Replay review: It’s the gift that keeps on giving, most recently for fans in our region during the Ole Miss-Penn State basketball game Wednesday night, when a missed possession call allowed the Nittany Lions to keep the ball.

Sure, Penn State still faltered and let go of what was a 21-point lead, but the replay in the team’s favor was just another example of how the system fails — consistently and in every sport.

Replay neither makes the game faster nor any less likely to lead to what should be the correct winner. Fans would typically want any system to ensure both of those things.

It’s impressive that replay, across sports, networks and everything else, continues to fail to deliver on that promise.

It would seem hard to do, but apparently, it’s not.

CFP overkill

All the money people pay in their cable bills and all the money that broadcast and cable networks get from advertisers produces a lot of revenue for college athletic programs — nearly $55 million per year per school in the Big Ten Conference, for example.

It’s so much it seems silly, and it leads to some even sillier things.

Atop that list would be the weekly College Football Playoff rankings TV show and, even worse, the weekly meetings of the playoff committee — funded in large part by the networks and on the backs of the football players.

Actually, there’s not much wrong with the show that airs each week on ESPN. It’s well produced, moves quickly and provides information in which people have an interest.

Getting to the show, though, with hotel room stays and long, made-for-TV board-room meetings involving members of the playoff committee is a hard-to-explain combination of greed and incompetence.

There’s just no reason the 13 members of the selection committee — a group of athletic directors, former coaches and university presidents, with a couple of former college athletes and a former media thrown in the mix — need to meet on the same site every week for their deliberations, votes and eventual reveal.

Tuner tidbits

n Ratings and viewership numbers for that Penn State-Ohio State football game two weeks ago made the matchup the highest-rated game of the season on Fox until that time — although Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game might alter things a bit. Anyway, Penn State-Ohio State drew a 6.3 rating with more than 8 million people watching.

n The nationally ranked Penn State men’s hockey team plays visits Michigan for the start of a two-game series at 7 p.m. Friday. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the game.

n The Formula 1 season ends at 8 this morning with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Race coverage begins at 8 a.m. on ESPN. And ratings for the series this season have prompted an extension of the broadcast contract through 2022.

n The annual Home Depot College football awards will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12 on ESPN.

Sampsell comments on the broadcast media for the Mirror. He can be reached at stevesampsell@gmail.com.

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