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Ray Lewis Has Strong Debut On ESPN

September 10, 2013

By Dave Hughes, DCRTV.com

Baltimore Ravens great Ray Lewis made his debut as a football show presenter on ESPN Sept. 8 to generally positive reviews.


The Baltimore Sun TV columnist David Zurawik wrote that Lewis had exceeded his expectations on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" Sept. 8.

"One week in, he is already better than two-thirds of the ex-NFL players drawing paychecks as TV analysts," Zurawik wrote. "ESPN has itself a winner -- a big-time winner -- in Lewis. And he's going to be one of the best in the business before long. ...

"Overall, Lewis' greatest contribution to ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' was the genuine sense of energy, enthusiasm and even joy that he brought to the conversation."

Jim Williams, a Baltimore-based sports-media columnist who used to write for the Washington Examiner and Baltimore Examiner, said he thought Lewis did fine.

"He's a bit of a natural," he said. "I think one of the things that Ray will learn is to be a little more succinct, but that will come with time. He seems comfortable on camera and interacts well with other members of the broadcast team. I'd grade him a strong B out of the box."

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Nationally, 25.1 million viewers saw the Sept. 5 Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos evening game on NBC, a 5 percent increase from last year's regular-season NFL opener.

It was the third-largest audience in the 12-year history of the Kickoff Game, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.

Approximately 37.6 percent of Baltimore TV homes and about 43.9 percent of those in Denver tuned into the game, which the Ravens lost, 49-27.

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CBS sports talker WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan, placed 12th in the August radio ratings for the Baltimore market. Its morning show team of Steve Davis and Ed Norris ranked seventh in the age 12-plus demo.

In the men-only, age 25-54 demo, WJZ-FM placed fifth, with "The Norris & Davis Show" third.

Hearst news talker WBAL-AM, 1090, which is the flagship station for the Orioles and Ravens, ranked seventh in the overall age 12-plus demo.

WJZ-AM, 1300, which carries the CBS Sports Radio network, placed 36th in the age 12-plus numbers.

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Thom Loverro is returning to the Washington Times, where he will pen two weekly sports columns.

He left the paper five years ago, when it dispatched its sports department, which it has since restored.

Since then, Loverro has been co-hosting the midday "The Sports Fix" show on Redskins owner Dan Snyder's sports talk WTEM, ESPN 980. He will continue the radio gig.

Loverro used to write for The Baltimore Sun before joining the Times in 1992.

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Comcast SportsNet will carry 82 regular-season games and two preseason games of the Wizards during the 2013-14 season. The regular-season schedule tips off with the Wizards' opener at Detroit Oct. 30.

CSN, based in Bethesda, will also carry 71 regular-season and two preseason games of the Capitals this season. Ten of those games will air on CSN-Plus. Its sister networks, NBC SportsNet and NBC, will air 11 more Capitals games. CSN's coverage will start Oct. 3 against Calgary.

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On Sept. 3, Comcast SportsNet launched "SportsNet Central: Football Tonight," which will air throughout the NFL season, at 6 p.m. and midnight weekdays.

The half-hour show, which will feature coverage of the Ravens and Redskins, will include rotating hosts Chick Hernandez, Michael Jenkins, Chris Miller and Rob Carlin, plus analysts Trevor Matich, Brad Jackson, Rick "Doc" Walker, Charley Casserly and Qadry Ismail.

***

There were lots of complaints Sept. 7 on Baltimore Orioles-related blogs and Facebook pages after the Orioles telecast was not televised outside of the Baltimore and Salisbury/Ocean City markets.

The game was flexed to 1:05 p.m. for optional national coverage on Fox, but most of the country got the Red Sox/Yankees game, including the Washington, D.C., market, via Fox-owned Channel 5/WTTG.

A similar situation once happened with a Washington Nationals game on Fox not being carried by Baltimore Fox station, Channel 45/WBFF.

***

The Associated Press reports that an American Indian tribe in upstate New York will run a radio ad campaign this season in the D.C. market pressing for the Washington Redskins to shed a name often criticized as offensive.

Posted Sept. 10, 2013