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Ehrlich Not Allowed On Sports Junkies

By Dave Hughes,

CBS Radio won’t allow former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich, who is re-running for the state’s top office, to be a guest with the Sports Junkies on Washington, D.C., area sports talk radio 106.7 The Fan, WJFK.

The Junkies, who once aired on Baltimore’s 105.7 FM, and the old WHFS via 99.1 FM, revealed Oct. 20 on their show Ehrlich cannot do regular guest shots at least during the campaign.

"Our company is scared," said one of the Junkies.

Ehrlich, who regularly came on with the Junkies since their early radio days on the old alternative rock WHFS, used the Junkies and their WJFK show to make the formal announcement over the summer he was re-running for his old office.

The Junkies said CBS's lawyers are concerned the station will have to offer "equal time" to Ehrlich's rival, current Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who the Junkies found time to bash on their show.

The FCC's campaign "equal time" rules do not apply to news shows, and the Junkies do an entertainment-based sports show.

Hearst news talker WBAL, 1090 AM, wants the Orioles back … and bad.

In his Orioles Notebook in the Carroll County Times, Rich Dubroff said WBAL is "aggressively challenging" CBS Radio's 105.7 The Fan, WJZ-FM, for rights to the team, starting next season.

WBAL, currently the Ravens' flagship, aired the Orioles from 1988-2007. However, a source said the team is likely to return to 105.7 following the end of its current three-year deal, expiring this year.

Also, Dubroff said Joe Angel, the Orioles lead broadcaster, is expected to sign a new three-year contract, and Fred Manfra, who has called games since 1993, is also expected to return.

The Orioles and the Nationals, despite their loss-plagued seasons, saw dramatic audience growth in 2010 in both Baltimore and Washington, as well as across the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's seven-state television territory, according to year-over-year Nielsen television ratings.

More than 21 million households watched the Orioles and Nationals on MASN in 2010. The biggest ratings growth occurred in Washington where the Nationals doubled their television audience from 2009, probably due to in large part to the hype surrounding phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

Despite a disappointing start to the season, the Orioles grew their television audience in Baltimore and held steady in Washington. Year over year, the team earned a 3.3 household rating in Baltimore, a 10 percent increase over 2009 and in Washington the team held a 0.7 household rating, unchanged from 2009.

Ratings soared when new manager Buck Showalter took over in early August. During the first two weeks of Showalter's tenure, the Orioles earned a 4.7 household rating in Baltimore, according to stats in the Baltimore Sun.

Across MASN's seven-state television footprint, the number of homes tuning in to watch the Orioles increased six percent to 78,000 households per night, from 73,500 homes in 2009.

When Comcast launches its Comcast SportsNet Plus HD channel in early November, it will also include a new HD version of the Comcast Network via area Comcast systems.
TCN-HD will air when CSN Plus-HD is not running an overflow Capitals or Wizards game, due to schedule conflicts on parent Comcast SportsNet.

All overflow games on CSN Plus will now air in HD. The TCN backing of CSN Plus will also occur with the standard def feed and will occur only on area Comcast systems. Other area TV providers will make different arrangements for their carriage of CSN Plus and CSN Plus-HD.

Last year, Comcast used C-SPAN2 as the background network for CSN Plus, which switched to ESPNews when the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network ran its MASN2 overflow channel during the summer. CSN Plus-HD will appear on channel 844 on Comcast systems, where MASN2-HD had been.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder's Red Zebra radio arm, which owns ESPN 980, WTEM, has signed former Washington Post sports columnist Tony Kornheiser to a two-year deal, for the continuation of his 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. weekday show.

Kornheiser will also contribute to the station's Redskins pregame show. Kornheiser will continue doing his "Pardon The Interruption" late afternoon TV show for ESPN.

Posted Oct. 21, 2010