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Root Sports Launching In Houston



AT&T and DirecTV were granted a clear path Thursday to launch Root Sports Houston, the new television home for Astros and Rockets games, and to begin televising Rockets games as early as this month.

Based on an agreement between Comcast lawyers and attorneys for AT&T, DirecTV, the Astros and Rockets, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes dissolved the last court-imposed delay against closing the new network deal.

However, it remains unclear when Comcast SportsNet Houston, the teams’ current home, will fade to black and Root Sports Houston, which will have carriage on DirecTV and AT&T U-verse in addition to Comcast cable, will take its place.

“There’s still a process. We don’t have an announcement on when this will allow us to (launch the new network),” said Rockets general counsel Rafael Stone. “But there’s a clear path with no more legal obstacles.”

Attorneys reached an agreement that allows Comcast to continue its appeal on financial aspects of the year-long CSN Houston bankruptcy case and for the teams to close on the transactions that will accompany the network sale and the transfer of their broadcast rights to Root Sports Houston.

Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur on Oct. 30 approved a reorganization plan that approved the sale of the Astros-Rockets-Comcast-owned network to AT&T and DirecTV. He also imposed a 14-day stay to allow Comcast to appeal the ruling.

Comcast appealed Isgur’s ruling to Hughes and sought to stay the decision while it appealed.

However, Comcast attorneys said Wednesday their primary motive on appeal will be to recoup a $100 million loan granted CSN Houston for startup costs in 2012 and that they would not stand in the way of launching the new network.

Attorneys for the teams, in turn, agreed the new network’s launch would not be viewed as nullifying Comcast’s rights on appeal.

Accordingly. Hughes denied the motion to stay Isgur’s order and also terminated the automatic stay granted by the bankruptcy court.

Attorneys earlier indicated the new network could launch on Nov. 14, but DirecTV would not confirm that date. CSN Houston’s current telecast schedule now extends through Sunday, Nov. 16.

“It’s great for the city,” said Rockets owner Leslie Alexander. “It’s great for the Rockets fans, and I’m thrilled. Thank you very much to Judge Hughes for letting fans be able to watch the Rockets.”

Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe added, “We’re ready to get the games on TV. It’s great to start the Rockets’ season. It’s great for the fans of Houston. It’s an exciting time.”

Under the reorganization plan approved by Isgur, the teams and Comcast will lose their network equity, and the teams agreed to forego immediate payment of more than $100 million in unpaid rights fees.

Only 45 of the 141 CSN Houston employees will be retained by the new network, which will show Rockets and Astros games but will not retain CSN Houston’s news and talk shows.

Comcast will continue to contest Isgur’s determination that Comcast is not due full repayment of its $100 million secured loan. Comcast is now scheduled to receive only $26 million.

Attorneys met behind closed doors for more than 90 minutes Wednesday and also met with Hughes, who apparently encouraged a settlement that would enable him to avoid having to rule on the stay request.

“One reason I want to handle this as expeditiously as possible is so I can get rid of you guys,” he said. “This hasn’t been much fun the last 15 months.”

Attorneys now will work on legal briefings related to the financial issues, which may be discussed after the Thanksgiving holidays.

CSN Houston launched in October 2012 but was never available on DirecTV, U-verse, Dish Network or Suddenlink cable. Limited carriage resulted in limited revenue, and Comcast filed to put the network into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2013 when the Astros said they would retake their broadcast rights because of unpaid rights fees.

Credit to the Houston Chronicle who originally posted this article

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”



Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”



When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”



Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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