Adios Chicago Tribune Live! I gladly welcome with open arms the new format of SportsTalk Live. Comcast SportsNet Chicago is making the right call here, and frankly, it was a bit overdue.
From Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, who actually tipped the story a day early
the Tribune has pulled the plug on its title sponsorship of Chicago Tribune Live, the flagship weeknight talk show that’s been airing on the regional sports network since October 2004.
Starting next week, the roundtable discussion program featuring guests from the media, sports and entertainment worlds will be retitled SportsTalk Live. It will continue to air from 5:30 to 6:30pm Monday through Friday, with veteran sportscaster Dave Kaplan as host.
It debuts February 25th.
“Our goal for SportsTalk Live is to provide Chicago sports fans with a voice on this show, making them a part of the panel discussion each and every night,” said Phil Bedella, Vice President/General Manager of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
“Through a wider range of guests, topics and high-energy debates, not to mention our host David Kaplan leading the charge, we’re looking forward to SportsTalk Live being a very entertaining and informative experience for our viewers.”
A “wider range of guests”- well, I sure hope so.
Because the previous range of guests was seemingly limited to Brian Hamilton, Chris Kuc, David Haugh, Brad Biggs, and K.C. Johnson. Do we really need to see Hamilton and Kuc on television that many times? I know it was a Chicago Tribune show, but the lack of non-Tribune panelists made the show rather dull and banal. It was pretty much all white males; usually all from the same publication. I truly hope the new format encompasses more women and minorities. And other mediums like the internet, with more voices. Just don't have BTN's Tim Doyle on; because he has a track record of not saying intelligent things on the air.
And yes, I'm aware of the irony of utilizing a media platform owned by the Chicago Tribune company to criticize another platform owned by the same corporate media behemoth, so don't bother pointing that out in the comments section.
Social media is indeed part of the plan as SportsTalk Live is encouraging viewers to post their thoughts, questions and comments on the network’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/CSNChicago) and tweeting to @CSNChicago. Viewers should use the hashtag #ChicagoSportsTalk in their tweets. Selected viewer comments and questions for the panel will be read on the air every show.
No reason has been publicly stated for the Tribune’s withdrawal. But don’t think the show will be more populist and less corporate with the departure of the Tribune company. Comcast SportsNet operates under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, the digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk and ProFootballTalk (the website that deemed Mike Florio our new NFL news supreme overlord for some reason).
Comcast SportsNet Chicago adapted the format locally with BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk, BearsTalk, IrishTalk and PrepsTalk.
Anyways, one giant media conglomerate departs, and an even bigger media conglomerate replaces it. However, I’m still very excited about the new format and I think this will be a step in the right direction.
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)