To say that Cleveland Browns radio programming for the upcoming season is unique would be an understatement.
It’s not because of what’s airing. It’s because of how it’s structured.
Game day coverage will mix hosts from the respective lineups of the two competing radio stations that hold rights to Browns broadcasts — WKRK (92.3 The Fan) and WKNR (ESPN Cleveland).
Four hours before kickoff, Browns Game Day, which will be hosted by The Fan’s Ken Carman and KNR’s Je’Rod Cherry, airs, followed by Northeast Ohio Ford Dealers Countdown to Kickoff (yeah, try that in one breath), the two-hour pregame show hosted by Jeff Phelps, Tony Rizzo and Cherry.
Browns games, per the agreement announced last winter, will air on three flagship stations locally, (The Fan, WKNR and WNCX 98.5 FM).
Michael Reghi will provide play-by-play and Doug Dieken color for preseason games. Dieken teams with longtime play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan for the regular season.
The Cleveland Browns Postgame Show will air immediately following and features Phelps with Dustin Fox. That is the only game day show that features talent exclusive to a single station — The Fan.
The pairings should prove interesting — especially the first of the day.
Carman, who toiled in radio in this area, has always impressed with not only his sports knowledge, but also his ability to put it in perspective in his weekday show that airs at 7 p.m. on The Fan. The scary part: He’s just in his mid-20s.
It’s easy to see why Phelps and Rizzo lead the pregame show. They have the knowledge, voices and familiarity to fans in the area.
Add Cherry, who has plied his trade at WKNR for more than a few years, played for the New England Patriots and brings nine years of NFL experience.
Johnny Football learning
Perhaps no one warned Johnny Manziel what he was in for after winning the Heisman Trophy and having a shot to win multiple trophies.
This is a guy who has been besieged by media coverage and notoriety since winning the Heisman Trophy last December is getting a quick lesson in media relations — as in how it relates to you when the very people who built you up systematically go about tearing you down.
Some of it, such as unprofessional behavior at the Manning Passing Academy, is of his own doing. But the Manning family was cool with it.
Manziel is a still-wet-behind-the-ears kid. They all make mistakes. Ask my 18-year-old son, whose posterior seems to have a permanent place for my size 12 Nike.
But the media’s not about to give Manziel a break because of it, especially now that he’s been accused of having accepted $7,500 for an autograph-signing session. If he wants some simple, honest advice he might want to seek Tim Tebow out. He knows something about the spotlight.
Golf’s ratings equation
Things get really simple mathematically when Tiger Woods is in the hunt for a tournament title. Woods + winning = ratings.
Such was the case for his appearance at the Bridgestone Invitational this weekend. When Woods stalked a potential 59 on Friday word got out and CBS’ (Channel 19 locally) numbers skyrocketed.
Saturday’s third round received a three rating and an eight share and rose an astronomical 178 percent over last year in overnight ratings. Sunday’s fourth round, which saw Woods seal the deal, was up 138 percent over last year.
Locally, the Cleveland market ranked No. 6 out of 56 markets on Saturday and No. 7 on Sunday in overnights.
Tribe gains TV watchers
The Indians-Tigers game Monday night on SportsTime Ohio posted the Tribe’s highest TV rating in six years at 12.1. It was the No.1 show of the night locally beating The Bachelorette and Under the Dome.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.