The Mike Tirico factor in NBC’s delayed Doc Emrick replacement plan

More from:

Andrew Marchand

Tony Romo may use 'Kirk Herbstreit model' for Bears-Saints game

Craig Carton's treatment of Evan Roberts is hurting him in ratings war

Why Tom Rinaldi left ESPN for Fox Sports

NFL's monster TV deals with networks, Amazon will surpass $100B

Hubie Brown back on broadcasts as ESPN finalizes NBA pandemic plan

NBC plans to wait until later in the NHL season before deciding who will follow the legendary Doc Emrick as the TV voice of the Stanley Cup, The Post has learned.

The leading candidates are Kenny Albert, Brendan Burke and John Forslund. Mike Tirico, who is the face of NBC, still can’t be ruled out as he has done games, but with the Summer Olympics scheduled so close to the Cup Final, he is not the favorite at the moment.

If Tirico wants to add the Stanley Cup to his resume, he probably could make it happen.

As it stands, the situation is in flux for a variety of reasons as NBC formulates its plans. It wants to show deference to Emrick, who is arguably hockey’s all-time best play-by-player. Its contract with the NHL ends at the conclusion of this year. And, perhaps most importantly, with the pandemic still ongoing it is possible the schedule could be disrupted. As of right now, the Stanley Cup would conclude on July 9 at the latest.

The Summer Olympics are slated to begin two weeks later on July 23 in Tokyo. Tirico would conceivably have the time to call the Stanley Cup, though traditionally, dating back to when Bob Costas hosted, the enormity of the Games for NBC had it clear out the schedule for its main presenter well in advance.

Albert, the Rangers’ radio play-by-player, has been doing a conference final on NBC for years, which would make him the most seamless choice to move into Emrick’s seat. Burke, the up-and-comer, calls Islanders TV. Forslund left his position doing Carolina games. All are already featured on NBC’s regular season and playoff coverage.

NBC will take it slow because the decision could have long-lasting implications for its presentation. There is mutual interest from NBC and the league to extend their relationship. However, ESPN and Fox Sports could be involved in deals, and the NHL has been said to want to have multiple national partners instead of just exclusivity with one network. NBC’s contract with the NHL concludes at the end of this season.

NHL broadcast setups

Albert, Burke, Steve Cangialosi, Sam Rosen, etc. will call NHL games the same way they are done locally for the NBA. For home games, they will be at the arena, but they will not travel to road games, instead doing them in studio. If the COVID-19 vaccine changes the circumstances, the situation may alter. NBC will travel for some games and be in its Stamford, Conn. studios for others.

Long-term, it would be a mistake for local announcers to not travel full-time for quality and knowledge purposes.

WFAN vs. ESPN New York

While WFAN went wall-to-wall with Francisco Lindor talk after the trade broke on Twitter, ESPN New York was focused on football. 

Maggie Gray, a Mets fan, was so excited about the trade that she was nearly tongue-tied. On ESPN New York, neither Bart Scott nor Alan Hahn are baseball guys, but that really isn’t the issue. Their new national/local problem has an inherent problem because it is trying to serve two different audiences. 

Nationally, Lindor is a story, but ESPN always favors football and basketball so Hahn and Scott weren’t just zeroed in on the Mets full throttle.

ESPN New York reacted by having the Michael Kay Show start an hour earlier, pushing Max Kellerman out of the way. Kay began the show without Peter Rosenberg or Don La Greca.

ESPN NY deserves credit for removing Kellerman’s hour, but it does show that ESPN Radio’s usual plan doesn’t make full sense, at least for New York’s purposes. Kay competes with FAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts show that begins at 2 p.m., but Kay is hampered by Kellerman’s weak national lead-in.

Overall, the Lindor trade demonstrated radio’s continued power in the audio space. What radio has over podcasts is that it is live. Podcasts are here and they will continue to grow in audience, but they still can’t match radio for live reaction.  

Overall, good hustle by Kay, but FAN continues to have the advantage over ESPN NY because the FAN brand stands for local, while ESPN New York continues to be a local and national hodgepodge.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article