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Some Golfers Object To Wearing Mics For CBS

“There is a difference in having a player mic’d up for live audio vs retrieving sound that will be edited and aired later.”

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As the PGA Tour resumes its season without fans for the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial, CBS is turning to the players for help by wearing mics, but some are immediately unwilling.

Without fans on site, sports leagues and networks are searching for ways to enhance broadcasts and make them more engaging. Fake crowd noise and virtual fans have been discussed, with another idea being to mic up the players, giving viewers unique access. 

“We’ve been talking to the Tour about it for years,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said on a conference call. “I think there’s probably a greater appreciation for wanting to contemporize golf coverage a little bit and I think the players are beginning to realize that they can play a real role in that and making the product a little more interesting for the viewer at home.”

It’s not a new concept, we’ve seen live player mics used in exhibition events. Last year, Major League Baseball players were mic’d up during the 2019 All Star Game, and many of them even seemed to enjoy it. It’s also not unprecedented for Major League Baseball to have a few players mic’d up during a regular or post-season game, and the same goes for the NFL. But networks don’t go to those mics live.  There is a difference in having a player mic’d up for live audio vs retrieving sound that will be edited and aired later.

During their highly successful coverage of The Match 2, Turner Sports had Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning mic’d up. Justin Thomas served as an on-course reporter for the event, so if anyone was going to accept the request to wear a microphone while playing, you would expect he might be on board. But Thomas made it clear he’s not interested.

“I would not wear a mic, no. That’s not me,” Thomas told GolfWeek’s Tim Schmitt. “What I talk about with (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) and what I talk about with the guys in my group is none of anybody else’s business, no offense.”

Jon Rahm also expressed disinterest in wearing a mic for the tournament. “I wouldn’t support it just because they might need a 20-, 30-second difference from live, might be a little bit delayed. And I’m not the only one; a lot of people swear or something comes up where you can hear it. I don’t think it would be the best thing to do.”

As other sports return it will be interesting to see what kind of access fans are granted for player conversations. For the NBA especially, with mics already on or near the court, how much of that will be filtered and how much of it will air without the players’ approval?

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Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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