By Dave Hughes
Casey Willett is gone from Baltimore sports talker WNST, 1570 AM.
In a statement sent to the Baltimore Sun, WNST owner and morning show host Nestor Aparacio said: "In our continued effort to redefine WNST.net as Baltimore's premier sports web media company we needed to make some changes in our beat coverage of the Ravens and Orioles for 2009. The economic realities of advertising in the local marketplace have changed our operating budget and our business model has morphed over the past year from a traditional AM sports radio station to a full-service, nonstop web media company. We're going in a different direction with our Ravens and Orioles coverage on the web this year. Casey Willett is a hard worker and a great person and we wish him well in the future."
Willett worked at WNST for five years. According to a statement he posted on Facebook.com: "I was let go by WNST. … I will not get into all of the details, but was told the company wanted to go in a different direction. It was five of the best years of my life. There are friendships, memories, events and times that I will remember for the rest of my life. I made some friends that I will remain friends with forever and will be forever thankful for that."
Willett joins Rob Long and the Fighting Ungers among recent departures from WNST.
Up the sports radio dial, Baltimore Sun sports media columnist Ray Frager isn't laughing at Jerry Coleman's ethnic gags on sports talker WVIE, 1370 AM.
Frager writes in his Sun blog: "Coleman was discussing Koji Uehara's outing for the Orioles in spring training. In the background, we heard a gong. Apparently, the gong is something Coleman has used for awhile, according to his comments on the air (recently). Still, if you're going to stoop to ethnic stereotyping, you could at least make it funny."
In the world of soccer, Comcast SportsNet and DC United announced their regional television schedule for the 2009 Major League Soccer season. The 15 televised games will feature clashes with the Chicago Fire June 13, New England Revolution May 30 and a home match against the Seattle Sounders FC Sept. 12.
CSN/WTOPer Dave Johnson starts his 14th season as the television voice of DC United. Former team coach Thomas Rongen will return to the broadcast booth, continuing his second stint as a color analyst. The complete schedule is at www.dcunited.com.
Area cable TV giant Comcast will be adding the new full-time high-def channel from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network April 1. Look for it on Channel 247. As you already know, MASN carries both the Orioles and the Nationals.
So, if the O's are on MASN-HD, and the Nats are also playing that night, you'll find the Nats on MASN's main standard-def channel or on MASN2. Vice versa if the Nats are on MASN-HD. Got it?
MASN-HD will also be carried by most other TV providers in the region, including Verizon's FiOS and DirecTV. Still no word from Dish Network.
For more on MASN and its HD plans this season, check out my column in February's print edition of PressBox, in which I interviewed MASN spokesman Todd Webster.
In Washington, D.C., Channel 4 WRC has signed a three-year deal to carry the Redskins' preseason games, replacing Channel 9 WUSA. WRC will also provide pre- and postgame programs, plus a series of Redskins shows to air on weekends. However, the coverage will no longer be hosted by longtime anchor George Michael, who is no longer with the NBC station. He'll be replaced by Lindsay Czarniak and Dan Hellie and other NBC4ers.
For Skins fans in the Baltimore area that don't get WRC on cable, never fear. Like last year, Comcast SportsNet will also carry the Skins' preseason games.
Posted March 18, 2009