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Cubs Ratings Are Surging

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This year’s good timing award goes to ABC-7 and WBBM-AM 780.

In December, ABC-7 signed on for a five-year package of Cubs games despite the team’s TV ratings sinking to historic lows in 2014. John Idler, the station’s president and general manager, figured the ratings would rise dramatically at some point. He didn’t, however, expect to hit the jackpot this year.

“The timeline has been accelerated,” Idler said. “The (2015) ratings definitely have exceeded our expectations.”

Meanwhile, WBBM says the station is drawing ratings 30-50 percent higher than at the start of the season for its game broadcasts during the first year of its radio deal with the Cubs.

The Cubs turnaround has confirmed what everyone thought: They were a sleeping giant on the ratings front.

Through Wednesday, Comcast SportsNet was averaging a 3.2 rating for Cubs games, up dramatically from 1.50 in 2014; 1 local ratings point is worth an estimated 35,000 homes. WGN-9 is averaging a 4.7 for its Cubs telecasts, more than double from last year. ABC-7 is doing a 4.5 rating for the 22 Cubs games it has aired.

Those numbers don’t even tell the whole story. The ratings have exploded with the Cubs’ surge since the All-Star break.

ABC-7 averaged a 7.9 rating between 7-8:15 p.m. for the Cubs-Tigers game on Aug. 18 before a long rain delay halted play. WGN-9 peaked with a 7.3 rating for the Cubs-Brewers game on Aug. 12. CSN posted its highest-rated Cubs game in six years with a 5.1 rating for the game against the Brewers on Aug. 11.

Naturally, CSN vice president and general manager Phil Bedella is ecstatic to see the interest of Cubs fans after several lean years.

“This feels different,” Bedella said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen people who follow the Cubs closely this excited about the team and where it is going with these young players. Fans are thinking, ‘My God, these guys have the framework to be good for a long time.’ The demand for the Cubs is at a level we never thought we’d get to this quickly in the process.”

CSN, WGN-9, and ABC-7 are gearing up for even bigger ratings with the Cubs actually playing meaningful games in September. Knowing the team’s history, Bedella felt a bit sheepish in talking about a recent staff meeting about coverage plans if the Cubs clinch a playoff berth.

“We don’t want to jinx anything, but it’s something we have to do,” Bedella said. “We said, ‘When was the last time we had any discussions about the Cubs and the playoffs?’ It’s been a long time. It feels great to have that kind of conversation.”

Sox ratings: With the team failing to meet high expectations, the White Sox ratings on CSN have been mostly flat, hovering around a 1.0 average. Bedella, though, says the Sox have seen nice ratings bumps on the days and nights Chris Sale pitches.

Bedella also believes the Sox have benefited from the Cubs’ strong ratings.

“What we’ve seen before is that when one of the teams does well, it lifts all ships,” Bedella said.

Remote patrol: Brian Urlacher has signed on with ESPN 1000. The station will air “The Brian Urlacher Show” with Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman at 5 p.m. on 12 select Tuesday afternoons during the season starting Sept. 15. Bears guard Kyle Long also is back as a regular contributor to WMVP.

WBBM will encounter its first conflict with the Cubs and Bears both playing on Saturday night. The Bears-Bengals game will start on WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 at 5:30 p.m. The Cubs-Dodgers game then takes over 105.9 at 7:45 p.m. with the Bears continuing on 780. After the Bears game, the Cubs will be heard on both signals. WBBM will air the first John Fox show of the season at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Credit to the Chicago Tribune who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’

“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”

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Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.

You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.

“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”

Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”

“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”

While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.

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Mick Hubert to Retire After 33 Years As Voice Of Florida Gators

“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew.”

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After more than three decades and more than 2,500 games called in Gainesville, Mick Hubert is retiring as the voice of the Florida Gators.

Hubert, 68, will call it a career after the Florida baseball team concludes its regular season this weekend.

Hubert, who’s called numerous Gators national championships across multiple sports in his tenure, said he had been thinking about retiring but finally had peace about it to make the decision.

“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew,” he said. “I had been considering this for a little while. I just had to do some praying about it and enjoy every game.”

The longtime broadcaster is a 2019 inductee into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

Hubert said he poured his heart and soul into broadcasts and that hopefully fans recognized that.

“I hope they heard the enthusiasm, and the credibility is important to me,” he said. “You need to be factual and credible, but you need to be enthusiastic. That’s what I always felt. I always wanted to take my audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I also wanted to give them enough information so they could paint that picture in their mind.”

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Reporter Tells Kevin & Query About NBA Draft Lottery Security Measures

“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know.”

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The NBA Draft is coming up towards the end of June, and the top half of the draft order was set this week in the NBA Draft Lottery.

The lottery adds a level of excitement to the mix because you never know if the team with the best odds for the number one pick will actually get it.

But it’s a whole process that actually unfolds well before it airs on ESPN. Pacers reporter Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files told Kevin Bowen and Jake Query on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis what it was like to have access to the lottery.

“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know,” he said. “It’s already happened. But we’re locked down, sequestered in a room, a ballroom, can’t leave.”

What was even more interesting to Agness was the fact that even people representing lottery teams were under an embargo until the results aired on TV.

“We had all that good info, but the person that won the lottery for instance couldn’t call and celebrate with their people,” Agness said. “None of us in the room could tweet it out because none of us had our devices.”

Agness added that the league had contingency plans in case the lottery drum failed, if the same team had its ping pong ball drawn, and just about every other scenario you could think of. He said he was very impressed with how the NBA did things.

“It was kind of cool to see how well-run everything was in the end,” he said.

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