Posts for csn

CSN Philly Is Now NBC Sports Philly

Kyle Scott - August 23, 2017

CSN press release:

NBC Sports Regional Networks will align the remainder of its five CSN-branded networks, as well as two TCNs, on October 2. The new names will incorporate “NBC Sports” with each of the networks’ regional designations. The announcement was made today byDavid Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks and NBC Sports Group Platform and Content Strategy.

“We’re excited to complete the brand evolution of our remaining RSNs, which will now include the iconic NBC Sports name on all of our networks,” said Preschlack. “This development is a reaffirmation of our continued commitment to provide the best, most compelling local sports coverage to our fans across the country.”

The brand evolution will not impact the scheduled games, pre- and post-game shows, and other programming currently available on these networks.

CSN Chicago, CSN Northwest and CSN Philadelphia will combine “NBC Sports” with their current regional designations: NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest and NBC Sports Philadelphia. TCN will transition to NBC Sports Philadelphia +, and continue to house separate material produced by NBC Sports Philadelphia.

CSN Mid-Atlantic, TCN Mid-Atlantic and CSN New England will also adopt the city names used by their primary team partners, becoming NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Washington + and NBC Sports Boston, respectively.

This was expected. CSN Philly has taken on the look and feel of its NBC big brother for two years now. A name change was inevitable. It doesn’t sound like there will be any other substantive changes.

Some Thoughts on CSN’s Cuts

Kyle Scott - June 29, 2017

So I’ve been thinking a lot about CSN’s dismissal of Tim Panaccio and Dei Lynam (such is my current existence), which follows drastic, similar changes at ESPN and FOX Sports. The common thread throughout all of these moves, among several more impactful business factors, is that the traditional team reporter or talking head has no place in the modern sports media climate.

Think about it: When Tim Panaccio came up through the ranks, there was no Internet, no cable news, and certainly no social media. He was part of a generation of newspaper beat reporters whose job it was to attend practices, games and press conferences, and then recount to a wide audience what happened. Not only was there not a need to provide further analysis or unique content, but that sort of thing would’ve also worked against the reporter’s role as impartial observer and stenographer.

Fast-forward to today, where no one outlet (or even handful of outlets) is responsible for disseminating news and information, and most of the interesting stuff is surfaced, rather quickly, by social media. In sports, teams can perform the role of the old-school beat writer themselves, and often do so in a much more thorough and interactive way. Video highlights are way better than written accounts. Live press conferences remove the secrecy and reveal the extremely hollow nature of most comments made to the press by increasingly well-coached athletes who are taught exactly what to say and how to say it. Sure, there is the occasional situation where only an impartial observer can extract the truth, but let’s be honest, this is sports we’re talking about and those instances are usually unnecessary.

That all makes the role of the traditional beat writer – the Tim Panaccios of the world – redundant at best, and completely unnecessary at worst. Some – many, even – have evolved to provide their own unique and at times indispensable slant on coverage. Tim McManus and Sheil Kapadia pioneered this tactic locally when they started Birds 24/7 for Philly Mag (they’re now with ESPN). Eagles reporters, specifically, have done a good job of adding value to their coverage of the games and press conferences that everyone sees anyway. But when it comes to the other three teams, the slack has mostly been picked up by blogs and new media. Derek Bodner covers the Sixers better than anyone on the planet, and as such he has commanded over $6,000 per month from 2,000 paying subscribers (which is more than most beat writers make). Bill Meltzer provides Flyers fans with in-depth coverage and analysis. Corey Seidman, at CSN, a 20-something kid with no notable industry experience with which to speak, has risen to become the best Phillies analyst on a network filled with former players and coaches. Sites like this one, which work around the fringes of teams, provide daily commentary and aggregation of the most interesting stories and topics. As such, the role of guys like Panaccio and most of his Flyers compadres, who failed to evolve, is relatively useless. Panaccio was LAPPED by online writers providing more in-depth and interesting Flyers reporting and commentary, all without contempt for fans. Readers were given a choice, and they almost always chose something else. The notion of competition – differentiating yourself – was largely lost on Panaccio and his cohorts. In fact, the Core 4 of Flyers beat writers seemingly kept each other in check by banding together in the name of preservation. Their poolside complaint is one of my favorite things ever. They shunned outsiders, like Frank Seravalli, who dared to be different (Seravalli now works for TSN). So, really, it’s natural selection that cost guys like Panaccio. In an increasingly cost-conscience sports media environment, one that was built atop the massive profits of cable networks in the late 90s and early 2000s, Panaccio and others failed to provide value, and that made them dispensable. They just continually performed a function that was no longer necessary. Continue Reading

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And Dei Lynam Is Out at CSN

Kyle Scott - June 28, 2017

Neil Hartman.

Leslie Gudel.

Ron Burke.

Add Dei Lynam to that list– she tweeted today that she’s leaving the network:

It’s unclear whose decision this was (I’ll try to find out more), but Dei was obviously one of the network’s mainstays and one of their leading Sixers voices. Her departure comes on the heels of other of the more seasoned on-air personalities leaving over the past year or so as the network gets away from news and highlights and doubles down on debate-style and web videos.

Reader Email: What Happened To CSN?

Kyle Scott - May 15, 2017

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Email from reader yvonne:

Just read your article on ‘CSN thinks it gets millennials’ and wanted to tell you how thoroughly I enjoyed it. A pleasure to read such a well considered and written article.

I feel a point not made by anyone in all of the changing faces and formats at CSN in pursuit of the millenial audience is the price the company will pay in the alienation of its established, long time generation of sports fans, radio listeners and TV viewers who identified with and felt a personal connection to the long time ‘faces’ of the network and the comfort of usual expectations being met. I enjoyed Leslie Gudel and Neil Hartman and when Ron Burke joined with Brian Baldinger and Ray Didinger I thought that interaction was informative and they ‘clicked’ for me. The viewer has to be able to identify with the hosts and want to invest emotionally in them and their way of doing things. I personally never enjoyed the Ruben Frank/ Dave Spadero segments on Michael Barkans’ Show. I thought they were fabricated to reflect the fiesty/ passionate character of the Philadelphia sports fan and ended up being ridiculously juvenile spats. That emotional investment by the viewer is a valuable asset which needs to be respected by the company which elicits it.

Surely, there are things that need to change but I feel a more measured approach would have served CSN better. I think BOB was a good idea. The format, personnel and time slot had a lot to do with it not being successful. It was uncomfortably ‘stiff’ in its format and presentation. I think The Dan Patrick Show is a great model of how to transcend the gender gap in sports on TV/Radio. I agree with you about Michael Barkan and his ease with the incorporation of the many streams of information. I enjoy his easy going yet confident style of hosting..

What is happening to CSN sports, (NBC influence, maybe), is akin to what’s happening in sports today generally…. everything is metrics and analytics, a business calculation. Not all things lend themselves to that being the main or only focus for executive decision making. Sports teams and the groups who report on them are organic and are more about personalities, chemistry, confidence, leadership and always talent.

Thank you for the article.

I agree with a lot here. CSN is going in a strange direction. They’ve jettisoned or not renewed the contracts of some of their more household names while at the same time embracing the debate format of sports TV with often out-of-their-element personalities. ESPN is doing the exact opposite. Sure, they laid off a bunch of their big-name reporters, but they’re literally building their lineup around personalities. CSN, it seems, only lets personalities shine if they’re boxed into a debate segment and a relaxed-fit sweater.

More credit goes to ESPN for dumping more money into 30 for 30 and Outside The Lines. Ergo: Continue Reading

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Sarah Baicker Is Leaving CSN

Kyle Scott - April 6, 2017

The Breakfast on Broad fallout continues.

Sarah Baicker announced last night on Facebook that she’s leaving CSN and heading to New York. Portions:

It broke my heart when Breakfast on Broad was canceled earlier this year. That show was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I worked with an amazing group of people who believed in what we were doing. We won a freakin’ Emmy! But, hey, plenty of great TV gets canceled before it ought to be. It happens.

I learned of the show’s fate back on Jan. 31, and I’ve done *a lot* of thinking since then. That’s an understatement. But what has become clear to me in the weeks since is that it’s time to move on. CSN has been great to me, and great for me. I will miss a lot about this place — the people, the access, the crazy stuff only people who have worked in sports will understand. But it’s time to take a leap. So I’m gonna do that. Tomorrow’s Phillies postgame show will be the last time you’ll see me on CSN.

This is not particularly surprising. The on-air BOB talent was thrust into awkward roles once the show was canceled. Jillian Mele quickly left for FOX News. Rob Ellis is currently a roving on-air personality who, for Opening Day, was sent to Xfinity Live! to taste drinks made by the Phanatic (that is quite possibly the worst use of Ellis imaginable). Barrett Brooks makes a bit more sense as a traditional analyst. And Baicker, who had done mostly online Flyers stuff prior to the show, was cast as an analyst slash web guru whom the network typically relied upon, including during her time on BOB, to read Tweets so they could pay lip service to doing social media. It didn’t seem like an ideal spot.

I’ve heard that Baicker is leaving on her own, opting not to renew her contract, and does have a yet-unknown gig lined up in New York, where her boyfriend also lives.

In a statement, CSN thanked Sarah for her contributions: “We thank Sarah Baicker for her contributions to our networks, and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Some thoughts: The awful local sports teams have murdered the Philly sports media space. Just decimated it. What was a lively and exciting corner of the industry just a few years ago following consecutive Phillies World Series runs, a Flyers Stanley Cup run, and even several highly controversial or discussable Eagles moments (Vick, Cooper, Chip), has become a wasteland of unsustainable dreck. Would BOB still exist if it had a championship run to discuss every morning? I think the format was doomed from the start, but I suspect the runway would’ve been longer. Sports talk radio is dreadful right now, but I can’t even bring myself to keep making fun of it because I am acutely aware that there is so little to work with. And ditto for CSN, which already exists in an industry going through rapid change– the lack of a quality sports team to cover just piles on the misery.

I’m not implying that Baicker is leaving because sports are terrible. But, in just the last year or so, Philly Mag has laid off their (HIGHLY POPULAR) Eagles and Sixers reporters. CSN has parted ways with Neil Hartman, (CB Phillies reporter) Leslie Gudel and Ron Burke. John Gonzalez left the network to go sit on the beach in LA. And now Mele and Baicker are leaving on their own. Sports talk radio is at times unlistenable. Michael Barkann and Josh Innes were pushed out of WIP (for different reasons). And even the blogosphere kind of blows right now. Everyone is trying something, but it’s damn near impossible to get anything to stick because the interest just isn’t there, relatively speaking. The brief Sixers surge in January seemed to signal an end to all that… but then Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were declared out for the season, Nerlens Noel was traded, and Jahlil Okafor something something meniscus. There’s just not the market for Philly sports coverage right now that everyone thinks there is, and that, combined with other factors, is impacting many careers.

BOB Signs Off With Jay Pharoah Telling the Girls to “Get Blacked” and a Strange Eric Lindros Joke

Kyle Scott - February 3, 2017

Breakfast On Broad signed off the air one last time today after a 20-month run atop somewhere in the ratings. As we wrote from the beginning, the format was basically destined to fail, but the BOB cast and crew managed to turn out a watchable product on most days. There seemed to be just enough warmth and affection between Rob Ellis, Jillian Mele, Sarah Baicker and Barrett Brooks to make their interactions genuine, which is the most important ingredient in a morning show. The content, however, perhaps through little fault of their own (Philly sports suck), was usually lacking, the analysis was often surface-level, and they had more than their share of manufactured #debate.

On their last episode, the crew – sans Barrett, who was in St. Louis tending on some business – welcomed on apparent CB commenter Jay Pharoah, who told Sarah and Jillian that they need to “get blacked”…

… and Eric Lindros, who took about as kindly to Rob’s joke as a snowman takes to a guy taunting him with a blow torch:

Thus concludes BOB.

Is This The Worst Poll Question of All-Time?

Kyle Scott - January 17, 2017

The local media is running out of topics. Look no further than this absurd hashtag discussion-generating hashtag topic hashtag debate hashtag cutting edge question from BOB. Sarah Baicker, commendably trying to generate buzz for her show, puffed on the flames with her retweet, which was quickly put in its rightful place by Billy Penn’s Dan Levy:

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Even if this is a fun little segment for a morning show, it speaks to what is wrong with needing to program GOBS of content each day– there’s simply not enough interesting stuff to discuss. So, you wind up with BS like this or 97.5’s ridiculous “call in and we’ll give you a team and number and you have to name the player” topic yesterday.

The Process is, inarguably, one of the best, most authentic and fun nicknames in recent memory. EVERYBODY LIKES IT! It works, as Dan said, because it’s a tongue-in-cheek dig at both the haters and the team itself, which was hesitant to embrace the movement until they realized it could be highly profitable.

There’s no malice on the part of BOB to decry the name, and I’d venture to guess that just about everyone who works on the show, including Baicker, thinks the nickname is fantastic. But, when you have two hours to fill, and it’s a Tuesday morning in January, you have to resort to stuff like this that actively tweaks your audience and ultimately works against mainstream media in the process, making them seem woefully out-of-touch. Pissing off your own viewers is the exact sort of Skip Bayless nonsense that most people have come to hate. And I couldn’t think of a worse topic right now, for any local sports outlet, than taking a dig, however minor, at anything relating to Joel Embiid or the Process. At this point, Embiid could skin a cat live on Twitter and brand it with “The Process” in exclusive photos posted to his Snapchat and 92% of fans would be totally cool with it, and the other 8% who actually like cats can screw off anyway. There are literally thousands of people, every game, home and away, chanting trust the process when Embiid steps to the free throw line – a near record-setting number of times last night – and we’re raising the topic that there could be a better option? God that’s bad programming. Just really bad.

CSN Sweaters

Jim Adair - January 16, 2017

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Split-screen striped synergy as master sweater wearer D-Gunn and Barrett Brooks take their latitudes far and wide to keep things in perspective for the viewer.



A little ice-side argyle action from Barkann. It reminds Pierre of the dress code at Avon Old Farms.


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Marshall Harris DGAF with his tight v-neck. Pecks for days. Continue Reading

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