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Huge Numbers Tune Into Preakness

By Dave Hughes,

At its peak Saturday, the 136th running of the Preakness Preakness was seen in 231,000 Baltimore-area homes via Channel 11/WBAL.

According to the Baltimore Sun, WBAL said the second jewel of the Triple Crown was the most-viewed program in Baltimore thus far during the second quarter of 2011.

Based on Nielsen data, WBAL puts the overall audience at 310,496 viewers.

* * *

In a previous Media Guide column, I reported that CBS Radio in Baltimore was crowing about a fourth-place tie in men aged 25-54 for evenings in April between WBAL-AM, which carries the Orioles, and CBS's WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan, which used to carry the Orioles.

But the management at Hearst news talker WBAL, 1090 AM, was quick to point out that its Orioles broadcasts are doing just fine -- and beating 105.7 -- in many other demographic breakdowns of the Charm City radio ratings for April in the 7-12 p.m. slot. For example:

• Age 12 and older male and female demo: WBAL-AM fifth, WJZ-FM 17th
• Age 18 and older male and female demo: WBAL-AM fourth, WJZ-FM 17th
• Age 25-54 male and female demo: WBAL-AM eighth, WJZ-FM 10th
• Age 18 and older male demo: WBAL-AM second, WJZ-FM ninth

In the overall full-week numbers for the month of April, the demo for age 12 and older, WJZ-FM's 17th ranking, with a 1.7 share, was down from 14th and a 2.6 share in April 2010, when the station had the Orioles.

* * *

Maryland's will broadcast the NCAA Division III lacrosse championship Sunday, May 29, as Salisbury University Sea Gulls face the defending national champ, Tufts Jumbos.

The game will be heard on Baltimore's WVIE, 1370 AM, Aberdeen's WAMD, 970 AM and Ocean City's WQMR, 101.1 FM. The game will also be streamed online and on mobile devices via SFMSports channel 1. Live coverage starts at 6:30 p.m.

* * *

In the Examiner, Jim Williams reports that the resignation of NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol last week instantly led to speculation that this was the beginning of the end for NBC and the Olympics.

On June 6, the International Olympic Committee will auction off the U.S. broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The IOC has a great deal of respect for what Ebersol has done for the games, but Ebersol's absence at the rights negotiation conference in Switzerland won't mean a thing, Williams wrote.
The IOC expects the 2014 and 2016 Games to bring them in excess of $2 billion from a U.S. network. But, Williams wonders, will someone bid more than $2 billion after NBC lost $200 million at the 2010 Games in Vancouver?

Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, the parent company of NBC, has said NBC Universal will make a strong bid, according to Williams.

ESPN/ABC and Fox have also made it clear that they intend to be aggressive in bidding for the games.

Posted May 26, 2011