In this week’s issue… Baseball season, finally – Remembering BZ’s Bob Raleigh – Frisina out in Syracuse – CT AM sells – Call changes in Canada
By SCOTT FYBUSH
*If you live the life of a NEW YORK Mets fan – and there are plenty of them among our readership and colleagues – you’re accustomed to last-second roster changes and unexpected exits.
So it was a very Mets-fan sort of moment, perhaps, when news broke late last week that just as the lockout-delayed season is about to get underway, the Mets broadcasts on flagship WCBS (880) won’t include longtime broadcaster Ed Coleman, who’s been the team’s pre- and post-game host and had been expected to spend some time in the booth filling in for play-by-play host Howie Rose.
Coleman came to the Mets games on WCBS from Audacy sister station WFAN (660/101.9), where he’s been the last remaining voice from the sports talker’s 1987 launch, when he came to New York from New England, where his career included time at Lowell’s WCAP (980).
But as Newsday‘s Neil Best was first to report on Friday, the 72-year-old sportscaster is retiring before the start of the season, saying he’s “leaving on good terms” to avoid wearying travel and to spend more time with family. Best also hinted that Coleman “sensed the generational shift at the station,” where other long-running WFAN voices have also moved on, whether voluntarily or otherwise. That includes longtime update host Bob Heussler, who is also retiring.
In classic Mets-fan fashion, Coleman’s announcement on Friday was very quickly upstaged by more unfortunate Mets news, in this case Jacob deGrom’s injury – but it also came amidst still more broadcast news. In partnership with Audacy, the team’s Spanish-language radio rights will live this season on the Audacy app, which will be the exclusive streaming location for the broadcasts. After losing their previous broadcast home, WQBU (92.7), after that station’s sale to Family Stations, the Spanish broadcasts will also be carried on WEPN (1050).
And there was Yankees broadcast news, too: for the first time in more than 70 years, there won’t be local Yankees TV broadcasts over the air in 2022. As the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchant first reported Thursday, the package of 21 mostly Friday night games that the YES Network had traditionally put out over WPIX (Channel 11) and a small network of upstate broadcasters are instead headed to Amazon Prime, starting April 22. As with several of these subsidiary streaming deals (including one that will put a handful of games on Apple TV+), those games will be exclusive to their streaming services and not available over YES or the expensive MLB TV package, frustrating fans who don’t want to have to pay for multiple streaming services just to watch all their teams’ games. (The Mets, for their part, will have 28 weekend games on WPIX in the New York market.)
It’s not just the majors starting up this week – minor-league ball starts Tuesday, too, and we’ll round up broadcast coverage at the AAA and AA levels as our Baseball on the Radio coverage continues next week.
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