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Viva Medias B's
08-11-2010, 10:26 AM
According to Ed Sherman of Crain's Chicago Business, the White Sox are close to renewing their current radio rights arrangement with WSCR-AM (670). An idea of an FM sports talk station starting up in Chicago where the White Sox could potentially move after this season was kicked around, but there does not seem to be enough interest in Chicago to support a third sports talk station. Therefore, Sherman believes the White Sox will opt to sensibly remain on the 50,000-watt clear channel signal that is WSCR.

Link (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=business-of-sports&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af5555513-c950-4657-a93a-80db16fdf4adPost%3a7def6b1b-55ca-40c4-ae26-fcad7fbf16d4&plckCommentSortOrder=TimeStampAscending&sid=sitelife.chicagobusiness.com)

fram40
08-11-2010, 12:57 PM
According to Ed Sherman of Crain's Chicago Business, the White Sox are close to renewing their current radio rights arrangement with WSCR-AM (670). An idea of an FM sports talk station starting up in Chicago where the White Sox could potentially move after this season was kicked around, but there does not seem to be enough interest in Chicago to support a third sports talk station. Therefore, Sherman believes the White Sox will opt to sensibly remain on the 50,000-watt clear channel signal that is WSCR.

Link (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=business-of-sports&plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af5555513-c950-4657-a93a-80db16fdf4adPost%3a7def6b1b-55ca-40c4-ae26-fcad7fbf16d4&plckCommentSortOrder=TimeStampAscending&sid=sitelife.chicagobusiness.com)

It would be so "Sox-like" to move to an FM sports talk station that no one has ever heard of and would never find on the dial.

Sounds like moving to channel 44 from WGN in 1969. Or maybe moving to pay television (Sportsvision?) in 1983 when few were willing to pay. Those moves contributed mightily to destroying the fan base.

It is hard to believe all the bone-headed PR moves the Sox have made over the years.

FielderJones
08-11-2010, 01:06 PM
It would be so "Sox-like" to move to an FM sports talk station that no one has ever heard of and would never find on the dial.

Sounds like moving to channel 44 from WGN in 1969. Or maybe moving to pay television (Sportsvision?) in 1983 when few were willing to pay. Those moves contributed mightily to destroying the fan base.

It is hard to believe all the bone-headed PR moves the Sox have made over the years.

Fortunately, they have learned from the mistakes of yesteryear as they are staying with WSCR.

KenBerryGrab
08-11-2010, 01:19 PM
All of us relying on the big 670 in outlying regions say YES! YES!

34 Inch Stick
08-11-2010, 01:52 PM
I am for anything that gives me more years of the Guillen sons occasionally spanish language baseball hour.

hawkjt
08-11-2010, 01:55 PM
Smart move. 670AM is a big arse signal....reaches out to western Iowa when I visit parental units.

Brian26
08-11-2010, 01:58 PM
I'm sure its partially a symptom of the economic climate, but the broadcasts have become increasingly difficult to listen to with the number of sponsorships and commercial reads that occur during the actual game. The pre-game show is almost intolerable. We were listening to Rongey the other day and, literally, going into a commercial break there were five plugs on the "Lowe's" Pre-Game Show. Every interview and segment on the pre-game seems to be sponsored. During the game, every pitching change, home run, read of the attendance, etc... It's a challenge to just enjoy the game once you realize how much garbage is being force-fed down through your ears.

eriqjaffe
08-11-2010, 02:01 PM
I'm sure its partially a symptom of the economic climate, but the broadcasts have become increasingly difficult to listen to with the number of sponsorships and commercial reads that occur during the actual game. The pre-game show is almost intolerable. We were listening to Rongey the other day and, literally, going into a commercial break there were five plugs on the "Lowe's" Pre-Game Show. Every interview and segment on the pre-game seems to be sponsored. During the game, every pitching change, home run, read of the attendance, etc... It's a challenge to just enjoy the game once you realize how much garbage is being force-fed down through your ears.On the bright side, I chuckle every time I hear Ed Farmer say, "Lowe's...let's build something together."

Lip Man 1
08-11-2010, 02:09 PM
Fram:

You are close. The Sox originally left WGN after the 1967 season then again after 1981. SportsVision debuted in May 1982.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also to all I'm in the middle of writing a long historical piece entitled "Sox and the Media" which I'll get to George and he'll post in the future.

The story looks at the relationship between the organization and primarily the Chicago media. What has changed over the years, why it changed over the years, the mistakes that were made, the situations that took place beyond the Sox control and what is the relationship / coverage today.

I've spoken with former players from different eras, current members of the Sox front office, fans and members of the mainstream media for it.

Lip

fram40
08-11-2010, 02:27 PM
Fram:

You are close. The Sox originally left WGN after the 1967 season then again after 1981. SportsVision debuted in May 1982.



The story of my life - close but no cigar.

I just turned 50 and I can remember the move to channel 44 (or was the first move to channel 32?) I certainly remember Jack Drees and Falstaff beer. Or was it Drury's beer? Well - I guess I don't remember it as well as I thought. But I was only 6 (almost 7) at the time. As for SportsVision - well, that was the 80s and you can imagine what I was doing in the early '80s.

Lip - looking forward to your media history. Reading the book "Hope and Despair" (by Dan H?) was utterly depressing. To be reminded of all of the PR mis-steps over the years. To realize how much of the Sox current predicament is their own damn fault. To realise how much of it is teh Reinsdorf teams fault.

Brian - I agree that the pre-game show is un-listenable. It seems to be about 25 minutes of commercials/promos sandwiched around one minute of Coop, one minute of Ozzie, and three minutes of Farmer/DJ and/or Ranger. Just horrible.

downstairs
08-11-2010, 02:31 PM
Lip: Can't wait to read the article. That sounds fantastic.

Brian26
08-11-2010, 02:40 PM
Brian - I agree that the pre-game show is un-listenable. It seems to be about 25 minutes of commercials/promos sandwiched around one minute of Coop, one minute of Ozzie, and three minutes of Farmer/DJ and/or Ranger. Just horrible.

By the way- it's no fault of Ranger. He does a great job.

fram40
08-11-2010, 02:48 PM
By the way- it's no fault of Ranger. He does a great job.

agreed. I like Ranger - both pre and post, and weekly. Does a great job.

As does Lawrence Holmes as the fill-in host

HomeFish
08-11-2010, 02:53 PM
I enjoy the awkwardness when a meaningless 7th or 8th inning solo shot gets awarded the "Ford Drive of the Game." You can tell that they needed to name one of those before the end of the game and were nervous that it might not happen.

ewokpelts
08-11-2010, 03:08 PM
the article did mention that more teams have gone to FM and produce the broadcasts inhouse. i think the sox looked at the economy, and the media market in chicago, and decided that staying on the score was the best move for now.

i do know mlb wants to drive more radio traffic onto XM/Sirius and online. But that's hard when people can grab multiple teams for free over the air. Hence the quiet push to fm(lower frequency) stations.

Lip Man 1
08-11-2010, 03:18 PM
Fram:

The Sox originally went to the new WFLD-TV / Field Enterprises for the start of the 1968 season.

Lip

Medford Bobby
08-11-2010, 04:37 PM
The story of my life - close but no cigar.

I just turned 50 and I can remember the move to channel 44 (or was the first move to channel 32?) I certainly remember Jack Drees and Falstaff beer. Or was it Drury's beer? Well - I guess I don't remember it as well as I thought. But I was only 6 (almost 7) at the time. As for SportsVision - well, that was the 80s and you can imagine what I was doing in the early '80s.

Lip - looking forward to your media history. Reading the book "Hope and Despair" (by Dan H?) was utterly depressing. To be reminded of all of the PR mis-steps over the years. To realize how much of the Sox current predicament is their own damn fault. To realise how much of it is teh Reinsdorf teams fault.

Brian - I agree that the pre-game show is un-listenable. It seems to be about 25 minutes of commercials/promos sandwiched around one minute of Coop, one minute of Ozzie, and three minutes of Farmer/DJ and/or Ranger. Just horrible.
Can you image the suck bucket Mariner's have an HOUR pre and post games hsows....imagine the filler in those programs.....:scratch:

KnightSox
08-11-2010, 07:05 PM
but there does not seem to be enough interest in Chicago to support a third sports talk station.There goes Mike Norths radio comeback.

Dub25
08-11-2010, 10:50 PM
Fram:

You are close. The Sox originally left WGN after the 1967 season then again after 1981. SportsVision debuted in May 1982.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also to all I'm in the middle of writing a long historical piece entitled "Sox and the Media" which I'll get to George and he'll post in the future.

The story looks at the relationship between the organization and primarily the Chicago media. What has changed over the years, why it changed over the years, the mistakes that were made, the situations that took place beyond the Sox control and what is the relationship / coverage today.

I've spoken with former players from different eras, current members of the Sox front office, fans and members of the mainstream media for it.

Lip

I would love to read it. I'm sure you will post when it comes out, right?

gaelhound
08-11-2010, 10:53 PM
All of us relying on the big 670 in outlying regions say YES! YES!
I am also doing my missionary work in Madison, keep that 670 beaming out of Bloomingdale!

Dub25
08-11-2010, 11:00 PM
It would be so "Sox-like" to move to an FM sports talk station that no one has ever heard of and would never find on the dial.

Sounds like moving to channel 44 from WGN in 1969. Or maybe moving to pay television (Sportsvision?) in 1983 when few were willing to pay. Those moves contributed mightily to destroying the fan base.

It is hard to believe all the bone-headed PR moves the Sox have made over the years.

I thought I heard about the Score plugging in a FM channel and then the Sox would be on AM and FM??? :scratch: Anyone know what I'm asking?

Frontman
08-11-2010, 11:06 PM
I'm sure its partially a symptom of the economic climate, but the broadcasts have become increasingly difficult to listen to with the number of sponsorships and commercial reads that occur during the actual game. The pre-game show is almost intolerable. We were listening to Rongey the other day and, literally, going into a commercial break there were five plugs on the "Lowe's" Pre-Game Show. Every interview and segment on the pre-game seems to be sponsored. During the game, every pitching change, home run, read of the attendance, etc... It's a challenge to just enjoy the game once you realize how much garbage is being force-fed down through your ears.

It isn't just Sox or even MLB broadcasts. The NFL has been clobbered by that for years now.

Sign of how the game we knew as kids has and will continue to change.

BainesHOF
08-12-2010, 01:47 AM
I'm sure its partially a symptom of the economic climate, but the broadcasts have become increasingly difficult to listen to with the number of sponsorships and commercial reads that occur during the actual game. The pre-game show is almost intolerable. We were listening to Rongey the other day and, literally, going into a commercial break there were five plugs on the "Lowe's" Pre-Game Show. Every interview and segment on the pre-game seems to be sponsored. During the game, every pitching change, home run, read of the attendance, etc... It's a challenge to just enjoy the game once you realize how much garbage is being force-fed down through your ears.

Yes, it's become ridiculous. I don't listen to the pregame show anymore. One of Ranger's interview segments is ridiculous. He literally asks one question in the segment. If the powers-that-be have so little respect for the listener, then I'm not going to waste my time.

soxfanreggie
08-12-2010, 07:19 AM
Smart move. 670AM is a big arse signal....reaches out to western Iowa when I visit parental units.

I was very impressed with how far out the signal went on a drive out to Nebraska. Now if only they could reach Florida without me having to go on the Internet to listen! :D:

ChicagoRushFan
08-12-2010, 10:00 AM
It isn't just Sox or even MLB broadcasts. The NFL has been clobbered by that for years now.

Sign of how the game we knew as kids has and will continue to change.

I think the broadcasts now are closer to those 50 years ago than you think. Bob Elson in the 1960's used to describe Sox home runs as a "a White Owl Wallop" ie: a sponsor: White Owl cigars.

Frontman
08-12-2010, 02:03 PM
I think the broadcasts now are closer to those 50 years ago than you think. Bob Elson in the 1960's used to describe Sox home runs as a "a White Owl Wallop" ie: a sponsor: White Owl cigars.

That's true; but it wasn't for each outstanding play, pitching change, manager dispute, 5/3rd inning, 4th meal inning, etc. It's a bit out of hand now.

Thing of it is; while it might annoy us and frustrate us; its how professional sports are now paid for. Either we stop being fans, or we accept the amount of reads that are made by announcers to keep the team funded.

Ex-Chicagoan
08-12-2010, 02:12 PM
Thing of it is; while it might annoy us and frustrate us; its how professional sports are now paid for. Either we stop being fans, or we accept the amount of reads that are made by announcers to keep the team funded.

Exactly. It's how stuff gets paid for, and it is what it is.

Frankly, I'm glad to hear 670 get the nod; they boom in to West Michigan.

Re: XM/Sirius/etc. - I know MLB is pushing people to this, but it's foolish. Over-the-air terrestrial radio still clobbers satellite's actual audience.

ewokpelts
08-12-2010, 02:13 PM
I thought I heard about the Score plugging in a FM channel and then the Sox would be on AM and FM??? :scratch: Anyone know what I'm asking?
that's something cbs radio has thought about.

jcw218
08-12-2010, 02:18 PM
Frankly, I'm glad to hear 670 get the nod; they boom in to West Michigan.

Re: XM/Sirius/etc. - I know MLB is pushing people to this, but it's foolish. Over-the-air terrestrial radio still clobbers satellite's actual audience.

I was away from the Chicago area last weekend and had to rely on XM/Sirius for the games and the only available feed was the Orioles broadcast team. If they made both teams feeds available, that would be another story.

Ex-Chicagoan
08-12-2010, 02:19 PM
XM/Sirius only takes the home team feed, generally.

I should clarify: offering it on satellite IN ADDITION to plain ol' radio makes sense. Shifting it to satellite only does not.

Madscout
08-12-2010, 09:50 PM
On the bright side, I chuckle every time I hear Ed Farmer say, "Lowe's...let's build something together."
I would hate it when DJ and Farmer would try and say "Kick it" along with the "You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party".

Viva Medias B's
08-13-2010, 03:52 PM
that's something cbs radio has thought about.

For now, however, CBS Radio is going to keep WCFS-FM (105.9) in its current format.

Hitmen77
08-13-2010, 03:57 PM
Good. I'm glad their staying on a prominent sports station with a strong multi-state signal instead of going to some obscure FM station that starts fading out even in some outer suburbs.

I thought it was a big step up for them to move from ESPN1000 to The Score in 2006 because 670's signal is so much better.

Fram:

You are close. The Sox originally left WGN after the 1967 season then again after 1981. SportsVision debuted in May 1982.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also to all I'm in the middle of writing a long historical piece entitled "Sox and the Media" which I'll get to George and he'll post in the future.

The story looks at the relationship between the organization and primarily the Chicago media. What has changed over the years, why it changed over the years, the mistakes that were made, the situations that took place beyond the Sox control and what is the relationship / coverage today.

I've spoken with former players from different eras, current members of the Sox front office, fans and members of the mainstream media for it.

Lip

Thanks Lip. I'm very interested in reading this when it comes out.

I have to believe that the biggest thing that cemented the Sox as Chicago's often-overlooked "other team" over the years was their terrible TV deals beginning way back in '68. While the Cubs were on WGN-TV as it spread nationwide on cable, the Sox were relegated to obscure UHF stations and then, even worse, to pay-TV SportsVision beginning in 1982.

It's interesting to learn about how a lot of this was beyond the Sox control. I have heard that once WGN decided to go with the Cubs in the late 60s, the Sox had no good alternative. But I still think the move to pay TV in '82 was their worst move....and something they had some control over. I remember that Einhorn was very much in favor of going to pay TV and that he said it was the future and we'd better get used to it. This was his baby. It certainly didn't sound like something they were just "forced to do". Remember, I'm not talking about basic cable, but a premium pay channel that was $15/month for that one part-time channel.....and $15 was a lot more money in 1982 than it is today.

Ugh, any idiot at the time knew that was going to fail miserably. The only family I knew who had access to Sportvision back in the early 80s when I was a kid was someone in school whose family had an illegal box to get it for free. IMO, the televised games were a problem for the Sox until the late 90s when WGN backed away from covering all Cubs games, the Cubs put some of their games on cable, and basic cable was very widespread at that point.

WhiteSox5187
08-13-2010, 04:03 PM
Good. I'm glad their staying on a prominent sports station with a strong multi-state signal instead of going to some obscure FM station that starts fading out even in some outer suburbs.

I thought it was a big step up for them to move from ESPN1000 to The Score in 2006 because 670's signal is so much better.



Thanks Lip. I'm very interested in reading this when it comes out.

I have to believe that the biggest thing that cemented the Sox as Chicago's often-overlooked "other team" over the years was their terrible TV deals beginning way back in '68. While the Cubs were on WGN-TV as it spread nationwide on cable, the Sox were relegated to obscure UHF stations and then, even worse, to pay-TV SportsVision beginning in 1982.

It's interesting to learn about how a lot of this was beyond the Sox control. I have heard that once WGN decided to go with the Cubs in the late 60s, the Sox had no good alternative. But I still think the move to pay TV in '82 was their worst move....and something they had some control over. I remember that Einhorn was very much in favor of going to pay TV and that he said it was the future and we'd better get used to it. This was his baby. It certainly didn't sound like something they were just "forced to do". Remember, I'm not talking about basic cable, but a premium pay channel that was $15/month for that one part-time channel.....and $15 was a lot more money in 1982 than it is today.

Ugh, any idiot at the time knew that was going to fail miserably. The only family I knew who had access to Sportvision back in the early 80s when I was a kid was someone in school whose family had an illegal box to get it for free. IMO, the televised games were a problem for the Sox until the late 90s when WGN backed away from covering all Cubs games, the Cubs put some of their games on cable, and basic cable was very widespread at that point.

It was actually an idea that was just ahead of its time, the Yankees did it with YES a few years later and it made them lots of money. But...the White Sox aren't the Yankees and Einhorn did it in a way that alienated fans (Chicago I believe had the longest period of televised baseball dating back to the 1940s) and seemed to take delight in it.

Lip Man 1
08-13-2010, 10:18 PM
Hitmen:

The Sox didn't (and still don't) have a lot of options because Chicago, unlike New York or Los Angeles doesn't have a lot of 'independent' stations that would be willing to take Sox programming. The regular channels like 2,5,7 aren't going to interrupt their prime time lineup in April, May and September to show Sox games and naturally channel 11, public TV is out.

Regarding the move after the 67 season, WGN was still willing and badly wanted both the Sox and the Cubs. The decision to leave was made by owner Art Allyn because he thought it would be better for the franchise to stand alone and have a large number of games televised...which was done.

Unfortunately because of poor equipment and technology that wasn't really ready very few could see the games!

On another topic, if you want to learn more about SportsVision, the background of televised baseball in Chicago and why it didn't work, may I recommend the following:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2096

Bob Grim, the Sox Director of Broadcast Operations talked a lot about the issues the club faced and still faces in his interview with WSI:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3669

White Sox 5187:

Sox games started on WGN in 1948 about the same time as the New York clubs, however there was no team in baseball that televised as many HOME GAMES as the Sox and Cubs because it cost far less for WGN to televise games as close as possible to their studios due to the cost of transmitting signal over large land lines.

Lip

MARTINMVP
08-13-2010, 11:41 PM
Good. I'm glad their staying on a prominent sports station with a strong multi-state signal instead of going to some obscure FM station that starts fading out even in some outer suburbs.

I thought it was a big step up for them to move from ESPN1000 to The Score in 2006 because 670's signal is so much better.



Thanks Lip. I'm very interested in reading this when it comes out.

I have to believe that the biggest thing that cemented the Sox as Chicago's often-overlooked "other team" over the years was their terrible TV deals beginning way back in '68. While the Cubs were on WGN-TV as it spread nationwide on cable, the Sox were relegated to obscure UHF stations and then, even worse, to pay-TV SportsVision beginning in 1982.

It's interesting to learn about how a lot of this was beyond the Sox control. I have heard that once WGN decided to go with the Cubs in the late 60s, the Sox had no good alternative. But I still think the move to pay TV in '82 was their worst move....and something they had some control over. I remember that Einhorn was very much in favor of going to pay TV and that he said it was the future and we'd better get used to it. This was his baby. It certainly didn't sound like something they were just "forced to do". Remember, I'm not talking about basic cable, but a premium pay channel that was $15/month for that one part-time channel.....and $15 was a lot more money in 1982 than it is today.

Ugh, any idiot at the time knew that was going to fail miserably. The only family I knew who had access to Sportvision back in the early 80s when I was a kid was someone in school whose family had an illegal box to get it for free. IMO, the televised games were a problem for the Sox until the late 90s when WGN backed away from covering all Cubs games, the Cubs put some of their games on cable, and basic cable was very widespread at that point.

When I started watching baseball in the summer of 1992 (as a second grader), I didn't have cable so my only option was WGN. Cubs were on WGN each day, the Sox were on WGN usually once or twice a week. That sealed the deal for me back then.

It wasn't until 1998 when the Cubs decided to shift some of their games to the then Fox Sports Chicago cable channel.

Hitmen77
08-15-2010, 12:13 AM
It was actually an idea that was just ahead of its time, the Yankees did it with YES a few years later and it made them lots of money. But...the White Sox aren't the Yankees and Einhorn did it in a way that alienated fans (Chicago I believe had the longest period of televised baseball dating back to the 1940s) and seemed to take delight in it.

The idea of a cable network owned by the team may have been ahead of its time, but not putting the Sox on a $15/month channel. $15/month in 1982 is something like $35/month in today's dollars. If the Sox somehow went to a $35/month pay channel today (that's the price for only one channel) I'm sure it would still be a total failure.

Like you said, one problem in comparing SportsVision to YES is that the Sox brand isn't even close to the Yankees brand. I'm not familiar with YES to know what they charge per month for subscribers. You're right, Einhorn seemed to take delight in taking most Sox games off of free TV.

Hitmen:

The Sox didn't (and still don't) have a lot of options because Chicago, unlike New York or Los Angeles doesn't have a lot of 'independent' stations that would be willing to take Sox programming. The regular channels like 2,5,7 aren't going to interrupt their prime time lineup in April, May and September to show Sox games and naturally channel 11, public TV is out.

Regarding the move after the 67 season, WGN was still willing and badly wanted both the Sox and the Cubs. The decision to leave was made by owner Art Allyn because he thought it would be better for the franchise to stand alone and have a large number of games televised...which was done.

Unfortunately because of poor equipment and technology that wasn't really ready very few could see the games!

On another topic, if you want to learn more about SportsVision, the background of televised baseball in Chicago and why it didn't work, may I recommend the following:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=2&id=2096

Bob Grim, the Sox Director of Broadcast Operations talked a lot about the issues the club faced and still faces in his interview with WSI:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3669

White Sox 5187:

Sox games started on WGN in 1948 about the same time as the New York clubs, however there was no team in baseball that televised as many HOME GAMES as the Sox and Cubs because it cost far less for WGN to televise games as close as possible to their studios due to the cost of transmitting signal over large land lines.

Lip

I didn't realize that it was the Sox decision to leave WGN after 1967. That indeed has to be possibly the most boneheaded move by the Sox over the last half century. Wow, that was incredibly bad!

I understand that Sox were sort of stuck in the early 1980s. After Channel 44 became a pay TV movie channel ("On TV") in 1980, the Sox really didn't have a local station that wanted to carry most of its games. The problem is that Chicago wasn't wired for cable until the mid-1980s (my suburb got wired in 1983, but I know that was well before the city got cable access). So, the "basic cable station" option wasn't available in 1982 either.

So perhaps the Sox were in a no-win situation at that time. But, nonetheless the SportsVision venture was disastrous for the franchise and gave rise to yet another generation who turned to the Cubs because they were games were accessible to Chicago viewers.

tebman
08-15-2010, 12:58 AM
I didn't realize that it was the Sox decision to leave WGN after 1967. That indeed has to be possibly the most boneheaded move by the Sox over the last half century. Wow, that was incredibly bad!

I understand that Sox were sort of stuck in the early 1980s. After Channel 44 became a pay TV movie channel ("On TV") in 1980, the Sox really didn't have a local station that wanted to carry most of its games. The problem is that Chicago wasn't wired for cable until the mid-1980s (my suburb got wired in 1983, but I know that was well before the city got cable access). So, the "basic cable station" option wasn't available in 1982 either.

So perhaps the Sox were in a no-win situation at that time. But, nonetheless the SportsVision venture was disastrous for the franchise and gave rise to yet another generation who turned to the Cubs because they were games were accessible to Chicago viewers.

If you look at the billboard in the top center of the old scoreboard in this 1967 photo, you can see WFLD-TV's ad that announces White Sox games will be on "next year."

http://flyingsock.com/OldComiskey/images/comiskey63.jpg

Sox management has made a lot of boneheaded moves over the years. The switch to Channel 32 in 1968 was one of those because at that time most TVs only received the VHF channels 2-13. If you wanted to pick up the UHF stations on the higher channels, you had to buy an adapter to plug in between the antenna and the TV. In 1967 technology, it was an unstable, flaky contraption that usually brought in a snowy picture unless you put a bigger antenna on your roof.

In the late 1960s (I forget exactly what year) the FCC required new TVs to be able to receive all VHF and UHF channels. That was nice, but there were millions of existing TVs out there that would still need the adapter to be able to receive the UHF channels. The White Sox might as well have put all their games on shortwave, since so few people had a UHF-capable TV.

EdHerman12
08-15-2010, 10:00 AM
Whata great thread this! I hope the Sox stay with WSCR. They do a greta job,a nd yes, it can be commercial ladden at times, but teh signal is fantastic and goes a long way.

If anyone is interested in hearing a few Sox broadcasts from many years ago you can click onto this link..

http://www.archive.org/details/baseball_otr

The are 14 different games that you can listen to 3 which involve the White Sox including...

Games 1 & 5 of the '59 World Series vs the Dodgers & a 1967 game of the White Sox @ Boston who has Harrelson in their lineup..Good stuff...If this has been posted before, my apologies..

I sure do remember when the Sox went from WGN to UHF TV. My Father bought a UHF ready TV in '68 and it was a color set as well. The Sox wore blue & white unis back then, and that '68 season was bad , but how neat it was to see all the teams in living color! especially the Oakland A's in their green and gold. If I can remember the Sox lost like 10 straight to start that season and there were a lot of home games where they drew well under 10,000 fans. I think the '68 opending day crowd was maybe about 7,000 but it was a few days after the King assassination so a lot of people were afraid to go to the old park.

When they weren't on TV I remember listening to Red Rush and the Old Commander Bob Elson on WMAQ before they moved to a few smaller stations when Harry Carry came along..

I look forward to The Lip's write up on the media history...

kba
08-16-2010, 10:56 AM
If anyone is interested in hearing a few Sox broadcasts from many years ago you can click onto this link..
http://www.archive.org/details/baseball_otr


Great clip of Bob Elson and Red Rush on the 1967 game. The long stretches of dead-air during Elson's play-by-play sure bring back memories ...


Regarding the move after the 67 season, WGN was still willing and badly wanted both the Sox and the Cubs. The decision to leave was made by owner Art Allyn because he thought it would be better for the franchise to stand alone and have a large number of games televised...which was done.


WFLD paid the Sox a million dollars a year for TV rights starting in 1968, which was a pretty healthy sum at that time. I've read accounts that WGN didn't want to give up the Sox games in '68, but what would have happened if the Sox hadn't decided to jump to UHF? Would the traditional arrangement of WGN televising both Sox and Cubs home games have continued into the '70's? Or would one of the teams (presumably the Sox, because of WGN Radio's association with the Cubs) been forced onto another TV station anyway?


I understand that Sox were sort of stuck in the early 1980s. After Channel 44 became a pay TV movie channel ("On TV") in 1980, the Sox really didn't have a local station that wanted to carry most of its games.


The Sox TV situation was already a mess before Reinsdorf and Einhorn bought the team. For the 1981 season, Veeck had negotiated a patchwork arrangement with WGN televising 60 road games and a soon-to-be-formed cable channel televising home games to the 7% of Chicagoland households that had cable. The cable channel (which also was to have shown 14 Cubs games) failed to get off the ground before the season started, so Reinsdorf inherited a situation where fewer than a third of the team's games were televised anywhere. Sportsvision at least got the team back on TV in 1982, albeit only for paying customers. While Sportsvision obviously was a failure, there weren't many other options at the time.

Lip Man 1
08-16-2010, 11:38 AM
KBA:

I assume the arrangement would have continued into the 70's, however remember though a TON of games were being shown by WGN in the 70's because the technology made it possible to broadcast from everywhere a lot more cheaply than in the 50's and 60's.

They were showing roughly 125 or so Cub games a year in the 70's sometimes more. Again my assumption is that either would have been split between the two clubs or they would have gone to a regular 'double header' situation whenever possible since the Cubs played only home day games with the Sox playing a lot of night games both home and road.

The Sox (as bad as they were in 68, 69 and 70) still would have been seen by more fans and with the revival in 1971 would have put them on much better footing financially and from a popularity standpoint.

A million dollars was tough to turn down given their situation and as I said, I could see why Allyn did what he did but it seemed to be short term thinking to get them out of a hole as opposed to a long term strategy.

Lip

DSpivack
08-16-2010, 11:47 AM
KBA:

I assume the arrangement would have continued into the 70's, however remember though a TON of games were being shown by WGN in the 70's because the technology made it possible to broadcast from everywhere a lot more cheaply than in the 50's and 60's.

They were showing roughly 125 or so Cub games a year in the 70's sometimes more. Again my assumption is that either would have been split between the two clubs or they would have gone to a regular 'double header' situation whenever possible since the Cubs played only home day games with the Sox playing a lot of night games both home and road.

The Sox (as bad as they were in 68, 69 and 70) still would have been seen by more fans and with the revival in 1971 would have put them on much better footing financially and from a popularity standpoint.

A million dollars was tough to turn down given their situation and as I said, I could see why Allyn did what he did but it seemed to be short term thinking to get them out of a hole as opposed to a long term strategy.

Lip

Any idea what the ratings were back then when comparable?

Lip Man 1
08-16-2010, 12:26 PM
I have no idea but given how difficult it was to get WFLD-TV in most of Chicago as well as the number of people who couldn't get the channel even if they wanted to, because their TV wasn't equiped to get it, I'd have to say it was very, very small and WGN just destroyed them.

Lip

Hitmen77
08-16-2010, 09:08 PM
WFLD paid the Sox a million dollars a year for TV rights starting in 1968, which was a pretty healthy sum at that time. I've read accounts that WGN didn't want to give up the Sox games in '68, but what would have happened if the Sox hadn't decided to jump to UHF? Would the traditional arrangement of WGN televising both Sox and Cubs home games have continued into the '70's? Or would one of the teams (presumably the Sox, because of WGN Radio's association with the Cubs) been forced onto another TV station anyway?



The Sox TV situation was already a mess before Reinsdorf and Einhorn bought the team. For the 1981 season, Veeck had negotiated a patchwork arrangement with WGN televising 60 road games and a soon-to-be-formed cable channel televising home games to the 7% of Chicagoland households that had cable. The cable channel (which also was to have shown 14 Cubs games) failed to get off the ground before the season started, so Reinsdorf inherited a situation where fewer than a third of the team's games were televised anywhere. Sportsvision at least got the team back on TV in 1982, albeit only for paying customers. While Sportsvision obviously was a failure, there weren't many other options at the time.

Interesting stuff. I can see how a $1 million in 1967 for cash-strapped Allyn would have been hard to refuse. He didn't have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to see what a long-term disaster this move was (though he must have realized back then how few people could access Channel 32 at the time).

If the Sox had the foresight to stick with WGN at the time I'd imagine that they could have kept their existing arrangement. They could have even had conflicting games farmed out to one of the UHF stations....perhaps something like the arrangement between WGN and WCIU today. Since WGN was traditionally doing only home games anyway, maybe both teams would have put their road games on Ch. 32 or 44. With the Cubs playing all day games, WGN could even have still covered a good number Sox road games in addition to home games.

As far as the situation in 1981/1982 was concerned, it's interesting that Channel 32 apparently didn't want a full slate of Sox games. Why not? This was years before Channel 32 became part of the Fox Network, so it's not like Sox games would have pre-empted original programming. WFLD didn't want Sox games interrupting M*A*S*H reruns and Son of Svengoolie?:scratch:

kba
08-16-2010, 09:45 PM
As far as the situation in 1981/1982 was concerned, it's interesting that Channel 32 apparently didn't want a full slate of Sox games. Why not? This was years before Channel 32 became part of the Fox Network, so it's not like Sox games would have pre-empted original programming. WFLD didn't want Sox games interrupting M*A*S*H reruns and Son of Svengoolie?:scratch:

I don't know the exact ratings that Sox games got on channel 44 in 1980, but, yes, M*A*S*H reruns would have had a bigger audience.

According to an AP article at the time, WFLD made Veeck a low-ball offer for the '81 rights, thinking that the Sox had no bargaining leverage. It doesn't say how many games they offered to televise, but says they demanded a six-year exclusive contract and refused to pay a rights fee, instead offering Veeck a percentage of commercial revenue. The offer also would have allowed the station to back out of the contract if they couldn't sell $250,000 worth of ads.

Brian26
08-16-2010, 09:49 PM
WFLD didn't want Sox games interrupting M*A*S*H reruns and Son of Svengoolie?:scratch:

I think they were trying to protect the Benny Hill franchise. :redneck

Hitmen77
08-17-2010, 10:30 AM
I think they were trying to protect the Benny Hill franchise. :redneck

:nod:

...or perhaps "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"


According to an AP article at the time, WFLD made Veeck a low-ball offer for the '81 rights, thinking that the Sox had no bargaining leverage. It doesn't say how many games they offered to televise, but says they demanded a six-year exclusive contract and refused to pay a rights fee, instead offering Veeck a percentage of commercial revenue. The offer also would have allowed the station to back out of the contract if they couldn't sell $250,000 worth of ads.

IIRC, the station eventually did back out of their subsequent TV deal with the Sox in 1989. I remember at the time that WFLD claimed that they were trying to get out of the TV deal with the Sox because of the team's failure to field a competitive ballclub. The funny thing is that they were saying this at a time when the Sox were bringing up Ventura and McDowell, they had just acquired Wilson Alverez and Sosa, and they had drafted Frank Thomas. The next season the Sox won 94 games.

But that was just an excuse to get out of the deal. The real reason was that Channel 32 was now owned by the Fox Network and they didn't want Sox games blocking their network time slots.