NFL on Westwood One: Wikis

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The NFL on Westwood One is the brand name given to weekly National Football League games carried on the radio over the Westwood One network.

Westwood One's package includes two weekly Sunday afternoon games, the Sunday Night Football game, the Monday Night Football game, the Thanksgiving Day games, late-season Saturday games, all Thursday night games (beginning in 2006), the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, all playoff games, the Super Bowl, and the Pro Bowl. These games are distributed throughout the United States and Canada, but blacked out in the markets of the competing teams.

Contents

Relationship to CBS

Westwood One has had a long-standing relationship with CBS Radio, which owned the network for approximately ten years (1998–2008) and, through the CBS Radio Network, still maintains control of the production of certain programming, including NFL games. As such, there is often synergy between the NFL on Westwood One and its former sister outlet, the NFL on CBS.

The current theme music for Westwood One's pro football coverage is "Posthumus Zone" by E.S. Posthumus, the same as that used on the NFL on CBS television coverage (Westwood One's sports coverage has always used the appropriate CBS television theme for their sport where applicable).

Some personnel is shared between the two units; for instance, certain CBS play-by-play announcers (e.g. Don Criqui, Dick Enberg and Ian Eagle) call select Sunday afternoon games throughout the first several weeks of the season on CBS and then switch to Thursday and Saturday night games on Westwood One. Boomer Esiason, who is an analyst for CBS' The NFL Today, calls color commentary on Westwood One's Monday Night Football (and will often advertise the latter on the former, as "the Monday night game on Westwood One"); conversely, Steve Tasker, a color commentator for CBS's Sunday afternoon coverage, serves as an analyst on Westwood One shows.

The coverage carried the CBS Radio Sports tag (both with and without "Westwood One") for many years before switching to Westwood One.

NFL on Westwood One doubleheader

Each week, Westwood One features two games from the Sunday afternoon lineup (one of the 1:00 games and one of the 4:00 games, respectively). These games are not league-endorsed and are broadcast by agreement with individual teams.[1] Westwood One currently has agreements with 23 of the league's 32 teams (of the 9 others, 8 are affiliated with Compass Media Networks instead).[2]

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Broadcast teams

In 2009, Westwood One's primary announcing crews for Sunday NFL doubleheader coverage consist of Howard David paired with Dan Reeves, and Kevin Kugler paired with Mark Malone. David and Kugler respectively replace Bill Rosinski, who left Westwood One for a position at ESPN Radio, and Harry Kalas, who died in April 2009.

David returns to Westwood One following an eight-year absence, during which he worked for both the Miami Dolphins and SportsUSA's NFL coverage. Kugler, who also calls the Final Four for Westwood One, joins the NFL broadcast term after being the lead voice for Westwood One's college football coverage. Reeves enters his fourth season as a color analyst and Malone returns for his second year in the booth.

Scott Graham serves as the pregame, halftime, and postgame host for all of Westwood One's Sunday doubleheader broadcasts in 2009. Tommy Tighe had previously served as the network's Sunday afternoon host.

Sunday Night Football

Pregame

Westwood One's coverage of Sunday Night Football begins with their weekly NFL recap show, NFL Sunday. The show beings at 7:30 p.m every Sunday night on most affiliates (in cases where a market is getting the late Westwood One game, the show is joined in progress). Scott Graham and Jason Horowitz host, replacing Tommy Tighe and Dave Lamont, who left Westwood One to join ESPN following the 2008 season.

Following NFL Sunday, the normal Westwood One pregame show begins with Graham anchoring solo until kickoff.

For the 2006 season, NBC co-produced NFL Sunday and turned it into an abbreviated radio version of its Football Night in America TV pregame, complete with the John Williams-composed NBC Sunday Night Football theme song. Al Trautwig started the season as host of the show, but was replaced by Graham in the middle of the season.

Play-by-play

Prior to 1996, the play-by-play role for CBS Radio Sports' coverage of Sunday Night Football was filled by broadcasting veteran Howard David. That season, David was promoted by the network to the Monday Night Football game, and CBS Radio replaced him with (at the time) former Dallas Cowboys announcer Brad Sham, who had worked at the network in the past (and still does today) as a secondary play-by-play man.

After the 1997 season, Sham returned to the Cowboys. The network hired Joel Meyers to replace him, and he would hold the position through the end of the 2005 season.

Dave Sims is the current voice of Sunday Night Football, replacing Meyers permanently after subbing for him when his other broadcasting endeavors, including play-by-play for the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Big 12 Conference college football on Fox Sports Net, rendered him unavailable. Prior to that, Sims was one of two main broadcasters on the featured doubleheader earlier on Sunday. Howard David subs for Sims on games he can't call due to other commitments.

Color commentary

When Howard David was in the booth, he originally split the season between two color commentators, John Dockery and Pat Haden. This arrangement was in place due to the fact that television coverage of Sunday Night Football was split at the time between TNT and ESPN, with Haden serving as TNT's color analyst for their coverage and moving over to the radio side once his obligations with TNT were fulfilled. Other color commentators include Bob Trumpy, who served as Sunday Night Football analyst from 2000–2004 and again from 2006–2007, and John Riggins, who was the color man for the 2005 season.

Jim Fassel replaced Trumpy for the 2008 season; originally Fassel was scheduled to work alongside Harry Kalas on the doubleheader coverage as he had in 2007. Fassel left Westwood One following the 2008 season to become a head coach in the UFL. James Lofton will serve as the network's Monday Night Football analyst in 2009.

Monday Night Football

The radiocast of Monday Night Football is Westwood One's flagship NFL broadcast, and its broadcast team is regarded as Westwood One's lead team, calling all the important postseason games and the Super Bowl.

Buck and Stram

For many years (beginning in 1978), the CBS Radio/Westwood One coverage of Monday Night Football was anchored by Jack Buck on play-by-play, with former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram alongside him in the color position. They stayed paired together for nearly every major game covered by the network, in two separate stints with the network (from 1978 until Super Bowl XIX in early 1985, when NBC Radio took over the broadcasting rights, and then again from 1987 until Super Bowl XXX in early 1996.)

During their time as Monday Night Football lead broadcast team both Buck and Stram worked on the television side as well. Stram had served as a color commentator on The NFL on CBS prior to joining Buck on the radio and continued to do so from 1978 until CBS lost the rights to the NFL in 1993. Buck rejoined the CBS network coverage as a play-by-play man in 1982 (after calling games in 1973 and 1974) and remained there until 1987. In 1982 and 1983, Buck and Stram were paired together on both Sunday afternoon and Monday night, a rare occurrence. After NBC Radio took over the rights to the NFL package in 1985 Buck and Stram returned to CBS television coverage, working together again for the 1985 season.

David, Millen and Esiason

In 1996, Stram and Buck were replaced by Sunday Night Football voice Howard David and pregame contributor and NFL on Fox color man Matt Millen. These two were joined by former ABC Monday Night Football color man Boomer Esiason in 2000. Following that season Millen left broadcasting for an ill-fated job as president of the Detroit Lions, from which he was fired in 2008.

In 2001, Lesley Visser, a veteran Female Sportscaster and a contributor to CBS Sports's NFL Pre-game show The NFL Today joined David and Esiason in the booth making her the first female analyst ever on an NFL broadcast booth. She left after one season to focus exclusively on HBO and CBS.

Albert and Esiason

After calling through the 2001 season and calling Super Bowl XXXVI, Howard David left to work the Miami Dolphins' local radio broadcasts for the 2002 season. Marv Albert became the play-by-play voice for Monday Night Football on Westwood One. He continues in that role to this day. Esiason remains as principal color commentator.

Since Boomer Esiason has worked on the The NFL Today, he and Marv Albert have become the exclusive voices for Westwood One's coverage of the AFC Championship Game in years when The NFL Today travels to the site of the game (something it has not done since the 2006 game in Denver). In order to do both of his jobs, Esiason uses a wireless microphone to call the end of each half so he can save time in getting from the broadcast booth to the field, where the show's set typically is.

If The NFL Today chooses not to travel to the game site, Esiason stays behind in New York with the other studio hosts. To compensate, Albert either calls the game alongside another analyst (as he did with Sam Wyche in 2007) or not at all (which happened in 2008, when Albert was absent from championship weekend, and in 2009 when Albert called the NFC Championship Game).

In 2009, Westwood One named Kevin Harlan and Warren Moon as the secondary broadcast team for Monday night games. Harlan will call games that Albert is unavailable for (replacing Dave Sims, who would trade places with Albert and call the Monday night game while Albert would call the Sunday night game), with Moon substituting for Esiason on games he can't make due to his duties as morning-drive host at WFAN (replacing a series of rotating guest analysts, which Moon was a part of).

Pregame and halftime show host

The pregame and halftime shows are hosted by Jim Gray, who has held the job since 2004.

As of 2008, there is no official sideline reporter for Monday Night Football.

Spanish language

In 2005, Westwood One carried an alternate Spanish-language feed featuring Clemson Smith-Muniz as play-by-play host and David Crommett as commentator. Those broadcasts have moved to United Stations Radio Networks.

Run to the Playoffs (Thursday Night/Saturday Night Football)

With the NFL adding late season Thursday and Saturday night games to its slate in 2006 (as well as consolidating its Saturday action into one game), Westwood One has added the Run to the Playoffs games to its coverage.

Ian Eagle returns for a second year as the voice of Thursday Night Football in 2009 and is joined in the booth by Randy Cross. Cross replaces Dennis Green, who like Jim Fassel was hired to coach in the United Football League. Since the NFL has only scheduled one Saturday game for the 2009 season Westwood One did not name a specific commentator for Saturday Night Football.

Dick Enberg served as Westwood One's Thursday Night Football voice from 2006–2007. Don Criqui and Joel Meyers served as play-by-play men for Saturday Night Football, with Marv Albert calling the lone Saturday game in 2008.

Playoff coverage

For the first two rounds of the playoffs, often the regular broadcast teams for Westwood One are mixed, due to Boomer Esiason's unavailability. During the wild card and divisional weekends, there are four games, therefore four separate crews are needed. Some of the other established crews call the less-popular games. For instance, in 2007, Dick Enberg and Dennis Green (from the Thursday night crew) called one of the wild card games, and Marv Albert called games alongside Jim Fassel from the Sunday doubleheader team. In 2009, the teams were even more mixed- for example, Marv Albert called an opening round game with Dennis Green and a divisional playoff game with Warren Moon.

Typically, the first time the main crews are together comes during conference championship weekend. Since Esiason has become a member of The NFL Today cast he and Albert will call the AFC Championship Game (in years that CBS broadcasts from the game site and in addition to their duties as Super Bowl broadcasters) while the Sunday Night Football team will be responsible for the NFC Championship Game. Since 2006, however, CBS has not chosen to travel to the sites of the AFC Championship Game. In the first of those two seasons Albert called the 2007 game in Indianapolis alongside Sam Wyche.

In 2008, neither Albert nor Esiason was available on championship weekend, so Dave Sims and Bob Trumpy moved to the AFC Championship game in New England while Bill Rosinski took Albert's place alongside Jim Fassel for the NFC Championship game in Green Bay. For 2009, Albert returned to the booth for championship Sunday, calling the NFC Championship game alongside Fassel with Dave Sims and Dennis Green responsible for the AFC Championship game.

Other programming

Westwood One, in addition to its game coverage and highlight show on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, offers to affiliate stations four different NFL-related programs during the season leading up to the Super Bowl. The first to premiere is Fantasy Football Forecast, an hour-long weekly program hosted by Kevin Kugler and James Lofton regarding fantasy leagues. This program premieres in late August and runs until the final week of the season.[3]

A second program, NFL Insider, runs from the beginning of the season through to the Super Bowl, is a program hosted by Sunday doubleheader analysts Mark Malone and Dan Reeves and CBS television's Steve Tasker, where the hosts provide analysis of the week, present highlights of the previous week's action, and interview players and coaches.[4]

Boomer Esiason hosts an NFL preview show every week (appropriately called NFL Preview), where he and Scott Graham analyze each game in depth and provide information about what players and other factors will play roles in the upcoming week. This program runs through Super Bowl Sunday and is thirty minutes in length, but runs for an hour leading into the Super Bowl.[5]

Graham and Esiason also present a live radio version of The NFL Today every Sunday morning.[6]

Other broadcasters who work or have worked on The NFL on Westwood One

2006

2007 pairings

2008 pairings

  • Sunday doubleheader: Bill Rosinski, Dan Reeves
  • Sunday doubleheader: Harry Kalas, Mark Malone
  • Sunday Night Football: Dave Sims, Jim Fassel
  • Monday Night Football: Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray
  • Thursday Night Football: Ian Eagle, Hub Arkush
  • Saturday Night Football: Marv Albert, Michael Irvin
  • Thanksgiving Classic: Mark Champion, Jim Fassel (Detroit); Bill Rosinski, Dan Reeves (Dallas)
  • Playoffs: (announcers call one of each weekend's games)
  • Super Bowl XLIII: Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason, John Dockery, Mark Malone, Jim Gray
  • Pro Bowl: Dave Sims, Boomer Esiason, Warren Moon

2009 pairings [7]

  • Sunday doubleheader: Howard David, Dan Reeves
  • Sunday doubleheader: Kevin Kugler, Mark Malone
  • Sunday Night Football: Dave Sims, James Lofton
  • Monday Night Football (primary): Marv Albert, Boomer Esiason, Jim Gray
  • Monday Night Football (secondary): Kevin Harlan, Warren Moon
  • Thursday Night Football: Ian Eagle, Randy Cross
  • Thanksgiving Classic: Larry Kahn, Dan Fouts, Troy West (Detroit); Howard David, Dan Reeves, Kevin Kiley (Dallas)

Availability

During the Conference Championship round, and Super Bowl, most affiliate radio stations of the participating teams' networks must accept the feed from Westwood One. Only the flagship stations (in both English and other languages) can transmit the team's local radio broadcast, although the local broadcasts are also available on Sirius Satellite Radio and FieldPass. An exception is made for the Green Bay Packers because they technically have flagships in two separate cities, WTAQ (AM) & WIXX (FM) in Green Bay and WTMJ in Milwaukee; the latter station has produced Packers radio broadcasts for many years. If the local Westwood One affiliate is not the same as the corresponding affiliate of the team, the Westwood One station retains broadcast rights and the team's station must switch to alternate programming (for example, KSPN in Los Angeles aired an alternate feed of ESPN Radio on January 20, 2008 when the San Diego Chargers played in the AFC Championship Game, as exclusive rights belonged to KLAC, the Chargers' L.A. flagship.)

For all other weeks, within 75 miles of a team's stadium, only stations the team or its flagship station contracts with can carry those games, regardless if the team is home or away. Thus, any competing station that carries Westwood One broadcasts cannot air those games- for instance, any time the New York Jets are playing on Sunday or Monday nights, their games do not air on the Sunday Night Football/Monday Night Football radio flagship, WFAN, but instead WABC and WEPN (the Jets' flagships) retain local exclusivity. (In the case of the Sunday doubleheaders, most stations can opt for an alternate national broadcast from the Sports USA Radio Network or, beginning in 2009, Compass Media Networks.) This rule applies to Toronto, Canada whenever the Buffalo Bills play nationally. (However, in the case of Toronto, the same station affiliates with both the Bills radio network and Westwood One, which means the only difference is which broadcast team the station uses). For a time, the rule applied to the Los Angeles market, but that rule was relaxed in 2008 and all national radio broadcasts are now available in that market on KLAC (Westwood One) and KFWB (Sports USA Radio).

A similar rule applies to Westwood One's NHL coverage, although the NHL's radius is much smaller, and in some markets (such as Rochester, New York), local broadcasts and national broadcasts have aired on competing stations.

The NFL on Westwood One historically has not been available on the NFL's FieldPass subscription Internet radio service, though these broadcasts will become available beginning in the 2009 NFL season as a result of a new broadcast contract.

In December 2008, it was reported that the NFL was considering leaving Westwood One for a rival service (ESPN Radio, Sports USA, and Sporting News Radio being the contenders), or possibly splitting rights between two or more networks.[1] However, on March 12, 2009 it was announced that Westwood One had signed a two-year extension with the NFL.[8]

Notes

External links


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