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Ravens Kick Off Preseason With Strong TV Ratings

By Dave Hughes

Channel 11/WBAL's telecast of the Baltimore Ravens' preseason opener Aug. 8 was the most-watched show on Baltimore TV since March.

The game nabbed a 21.4 rating and 33 share, or about 329,000 viewers, according to The Baltimore Sun.

"That size audience for a preseason game is another example of the power of the Ravens brand," Dan Joerres, general manager of WBAL-TV, told The Sun. "The pregame show drew 137,000 viewers at 7 p.m. -- that's just a huge number at 7 o'clock."

The game drew roughly one-third of the Baltimore market TV audience with both men and women ages 25-54.


Channel 11/WBAL sports anchor Pete Gilbert will join Brett Hollander this season for 98 Rock's Ravens pregame show.

Hollander, who also hosts the weekday-evening "Sportsline" show on Hearst radio sister news talker WBAL, 1090 AM, said: "Our entire team of broadcasters is excited for the start of the new Ravens season. ... Pete is such a great guy, and I know he is going to add a lot to the broadcast."

Hollander said 98 Rock's pregamer tended to be more of a celebration of football in Baltimore, while Keith Mills' WBAL pregame show offers more of an Xs-and-Os kind of analysis.

"It's really great that our stations offer a variety in our Ravens coverage between the two radio stations," Hollander said. "We also incorporate music into our show to go along with great guests every week. I think the format has really worked well over the years, as we talk about the Ravens while getting the audience fired up for the game. ... Sundays on 98 Rock are like an energetic tailgate with your buddies -- talking Baltimore football. You can't beat it."


Nestor Aparicio, who owns Towson sports talker WNST, 1570 AM, said he planned to host the 10 a.m.-12 p.m. slot on days after the Ravens play, usually Mondays. 

The station recently put the national Dan Patrick show in that late-morning slot.

"We're also doing a Wednesday night show with Bryant McKinnie that will move around the beltway during the season," Aparicio said.


The Baltimore radio ratings for the month of July, age 12-plus demo, put Orioles flagship WBAL, AM 1090, in ninth place. Sports talker WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan, placed 13th, with its weekday-morning "The Norris & Davis Show" in 11th.

CBS Sports Radio-formatted WJZ-AM, 1300, ranked 35th, with Washington, D.C., sports talker WTEM, ESPN 980, placing 43rd in the Baltimore market.


One advantage of living in the Baltimore TV market is that your cable system may carry two Fox stations -- Baltimore's Fox 45 and D.C.'s Fox 5.  On many football Sundays, the two Fox stations often don't carry the same NFL games, allowing additional choices for your sports-viewing pleasure.

That may soon end.

Channel 45/WBFF owner Sinclair is asking the Federal Communications Commission to require that cable TV systems serving Glen Burnie, Bel Air, Ellicott City, Columbia and other parts of Howard, Baltimore, and Anne Arundel counties be required to drop Channel 5/WTTG.

In a July petition to the FCC, Sinclair contended that those communities are officially part of the Baltimore TV market, and carriage of D.C.'s Fox station infringes on WBFF's contractual right to provide exclusive Fox programming within its own market.

In 1972, the FCC gave cable systems in those Baltimore-market counties permission to carry WTTG because it was judged to be significantly viewed outside of the D.C. market.

Sinclair executives now say that WTTG's viewership levels have dropped within the Baltimore market, and they want the signal gone completely.

Leaders of both Howard and Anne Arundel counties have asked the FCC to reject Sinclair's petition, allowing Fox 5 to remain on those Baltimore-area cable systems.


Comcast SportsNet will kick off the second eight-episode season of "Table Manners," hosted by 106.7 The Fan, WJFK's morning Junkies.

Episode one, debuting at 11 p.m. Aug. 20, is a one-hour special that will feature former Oriole Cal Ripken Jr.

Sports Junkies John Auville, Eric Bickel, Jason Bishop and John-Paul Flaim will also interview Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, former Redskins defensive back Fred Smoot, former U.S. Sen. and Virginia Gov. George Allen, former University of Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams, former Washington Capitals defenseman Rod Langway, sports agent David Falk and Washington Spirit soccer player Ali Krieger.

Each episode will also be presented as an encore multiple times and will be available at for one week after its television debut.

"Table Manners" is shot at The Palm restaurant in Tysons Corner, Va.

Posted Aug. 12, 2013