By: Art Vuolo
This is a radio column, and I love sports. But I don’t aspire to be another Pat Caputo. He does a fine job reporting sports for The Oakland Press.
However, I cannot ignore what’s going on with The Big Ten Network.
Did you watch the University of Michigan game yesterday? Did you see the Michigan State University game? Any contest considered a “lesser game” won’t be seen locally as this new college football network fights with area cable TV operators over, you guessed it, money.
Currently the Big Ten Network is available only to DirectTV subscribers. Comcast and other cable outlets would be charged about $1.10 per subscriber to add the college football network and feel customers (not interested in the games) would balk at the rate increase.
The network feels it should be offered at no additional charge similar to dozens of other sports channels like ESPN and FSN. The Big Ten Network is 51 percent owned by the Big Ten Conference and 49 percent by the Fox Television Network.
The one benefactor in all of this should be radio.
Mike Chires, new vice president/general manager of Host Communications and the Michigan Sports Network in Novi, feels that this situation will hopefully drive more fans over to the radio coverage.
Remember that after 30 years on WJR, the Wolverines are now on CKLW-AM (800) which reaches from Ontario and southeast Michigan down into Indiana and Ohio. The games are also on Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) along with a network of stations statewide.
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Recently, I begged stations to turn off the delay during football games so our radios would be in sync with the action.
Well, if you were at the Michigan Stadium yesterday, you may have seen these little radios, which allow fans in the stadium to hear the live play-by-play without the time delay of the “regular” radio broadcast of every home and away Michigan football game this year.