Notebook: Britt McHenry, 87.7 The Game, Fighting Illini, Chicago Fire, 120 Sports

Northwestern graduate Britt McHenry is the latest Medill School of Journalism product to join the World Wide Leader. She's based in D.C. but on St. Patrick's Day (she indeed has the luck of the Irish) she will start doing national work for ESPN.

More Britt McHenry photos and career bio at this link. And check out the gallery in this post too.

-Screen grab below is from Fox Sports Live (their version of SportsCenter) on Fox Sports 1. When he visited Northwestern, I asked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Coach Richard Pitino about the top trending topic in college basketball this season- that would be Twitter. Quite a few big name college hoops coaches publicly discussed social media and the adverse effect it’s having on their programs and players: Tom Izzo, Thad Matta, Pitino's Dad Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Following the Golden Gophers 54-48 win at Northwestern, Richard Pitino gave a very colorful and insightful answer to my question.



-I asked Illinois Fighting Illini Coach John Groce about it too. He gave a very insightful answer and spoke of the two times he's tried implementing a Twitter ban on his teams. He profound said "it's not what you tweet so much as what you read, and what you read about yourself."

Because the phone is right there, and the temptation is so strong. Watch the whole conversation below, skip ahead to the 11 minute mark

-The Chicago Fire announced that WPWR My50 Chicago will once again be the official television broadcast partner of the Chicago Fire for the 2014 season. Last season was the first time that all Chicago Fire games were broadcast locally on one channel (My50), a trend that the club is excited to continue for 2014.

In addition to the 26 local games, the Chicago Fire will appear on NBC Sports Network (four games), ESPN (one game), ESPN2 (two games), Univision Deportes (one game) and UniMas (five games).

-Play-by-play announcer Dan Kelly is returning for his fifth season, and color analyst Kevin Egan is back for his second. There will be one new addition to the broadcast team in 2014 as Brooke Weisbrod will be introduced as the Club’s new sideline reporter. The Chicago Fire host Opening Day at Toyota Park against the 2013 MLS Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls on Sunday, March 23, at 2 p.m. CT.

-More on the Chicago Fire broadcast team:

– Kelly did play-by-play for the Blackhawks on Comcast SportsNet from 2006-2008. In addition, Kelly has done play-by-play for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Big Ten Network (including men’s and women's college soccer for five years, as well as both mens and women's Big Ten Tournament.

- Egan is a television sports journalist from Dublin, Ireland, who has covered soccer at the highest level. After working for RTE (Ireland’s National Broadcaster) for five years, Egan moved to Chicago in 2009 and began working for the Big Ten Network. At BTN, Egan commentates on Big Ten soccer matches, while also presenting BTN Soccer Report.

– Weisbrod, who has made Chicago home since 2002, will make her first appearance as the Chicago Fire’s sideline reporter on May 3. Since 2003, Weisbrod has worked with ESPN, NBC Sports Network, The Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, and The Sporting News. In addition to her new role with the Fire, Brooke has joined WGN’s “The Game” as sports update anchor and is the color analyst for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.

-Speaking of 87.7 The Game, they poached two on-airs away from WSCR 670 The Score since they opened up shop. Both Connor McKnight and Ben Finfer left the CBS corporate parent to join the WGN offering. I think it's very healthy to have a third sports talk radio station in town. The Score have been so dominant for so long that a couple of their people really have seriously inflated egos. I have a few friends at WSCR, and a lot of them are genuinely really nice guys. However, there's a couple Score personalities who kind of overrate their station in life, and they could use a reality check.

I'm not the only one who thinks this way, I often hear a more severe version of this complaint from people who work in that building. Will 87.7 The Game be enough of a threat to humble some of these Score guys? Maybe. But also again maybe not. WSCR is the Midwest's best sports talk radio station by far. Of course, some of their on-air talent could have a little more humility about it.

-The Chicago Fire also announced Monday that ESPN 1000 (WMVP-AM) will broadcast a live, weekly Fire-themed soccer show beginning on Saturday, March 8, at 7 a.m. Fred Huebner will host “Chicago Fire Weekly,” with regular contributions from current Fire TV color analyst, Kevin Egan.

“In 2014, a World Cup year, it’s a great opportunity for the Fire to launch a weekly English radio show in addition to our existing Spanish-language programming on WLEY FM-107.9,” said Fire COO Atul Khosla.

-Huebner is currently a part-time host at ESPN 1000 for various weekend shows including Talkin’ Baseball, Ultimate Postgame Show and Chicago’s Gameday. Fred also anchors the local updates during the Mike & Mike Show during the week.

-The Chicago Fire unveiled their new primary kit (that's soccerspeak for jersey) at the Annual Kickoff luncheon on Monday, here's more info and pics, and check out a couple more pictures in the gallery.

-Tonight Chicagoland, not actual Chicago, but the outer rings of Chicago will feature the two worst possible match-ups you could ever see in both the Big Ten and the Big East. Weird coincidence that both games happen so close to each other at exactly the same tip off time (6pm). DePaul (11-19, 3-14 BIG EAST) vs. Butler (12-15, 2-13 BIG EAST ) at All State Arena in Rosemont. Penn State (14-15, 5-11) at Northwestern (12-17, 5-11). Last place versus penultimate in both leagues.

-You know how EVERY SINGLE PERSON who covered the NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field this past Saturday did the extremely shopworn Twitpic cliche "oh, look, here's my view from the office today!" I'm guessing NO ONE covering either of those games will be doing that tonight!

-Media, you have until the end of this calendar year to do the cliche "here's my view from the office today" social media pics. That is all.

-Speaking of that NU game tonight, the school made this social media message from Coach Chris Collins, via YouTube video, pitching you to buy tickets to the game. And elicited a very witty response on Twitter from Michael Cardmody, son of Bill Carmody, who was ousted as Northwestern Head Coach last year around in this time in favor of Collins.

Carmody is a great follow on Twitter, and not just because he has a drinking cappucino in Piazza San Marco while wearing a fedora avatar.

-120 Sports is a web only sports network launching this spring that will have a lot of juice behind it. There’s a lot of money and juice behind 120 Sports, most notably, the Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. (more on this)

-Media, this is the final prom season you get to "report" the cliche "celebrity prom date with regular everyday person story" That is all.

-I don't claim to be on expert on dating/relationships/women, but I do this is a MATHEMATICAL CERTAINTY: there is a direct correlation between how often a woman changes her Facebook cover photo and/or profile pic and how nuts she is. The more often you see that (this goes for Twitter avatars too) changed, the more batsh** crazier she is. Period.

Paul M. Banks owns The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent analyst on news talk radio; with regular segments on ESPN,NBC, CBS and Fox. A former NBC Chicago and Washington Times writer, he’s also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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