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Lotus Broadcasting Pushes All In On Golden Knights

“Continuing their emphasis on the Golden Knights 2020 Stanley Cup chase, Lotus Broadcasting will debut a new daily NHL show beginning next Monday, Aug. 10.”

Brandon Contes

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Gearing up for what they hope will be a long run in the NHL postseason, Lotus Broadcasting announced additional daily programming for the Golden Knights on their flagship radio station FOX Sports Las Vegas 98.9 FM/1340 AM.

Lotus and FOX Sports Las Vegas host Ryan Wallis announced his VGK Insider Show will increase by an hour, now airing weekdays from 4 – 6pm PT. In addition to the expanded timeslot, Wallis will also be joined by longtime Canadian sportscaster Daren Millard, who was added to the Vegas Golden Knights TV coverage in 2019. 

Continuing their emphasis on the Golden Knights 2020 Stanley Cup chase, Lotus Broadcasting will debut a new daily NHL show beginning next Monday, Aug. 10. Knight Time at Noon will air weekdays from 12pm – 1pm PT, featuring a rotating cast of team broadcasters including Millard, Dave Goucher, Shane Hnidy, Gary Lawless, Dan D’Uva, Mike McKenna and Stormy Buonantony. The show will feature the latest news, updates and storylines from the Golden Knights and the entire NHL playoffs.

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Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’

“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”

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As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.

During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.

“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”

Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.

“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”

Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.

“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”

Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.

“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”

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Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’

“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”

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On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”

“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”

In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.

“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”

Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.

“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”

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Anthony Lima: NBA Ratings Have Become Political Talking Points

“I always laugh when people kind of rub people’s faces in the low ratings, like ‘Here you go. You guys watch something that wasn’t as watched as something last year.’ Cool. You got me.”

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Ratings matter to networks, but do they matter to the average fan that just wants to watch basketball or hockey? Ken Carman doesn’t think so. He said Tuesday on 92.3 The Fan that the talk is either dismissed or goes right over the audience’s head.

“I don’t think the general fan cares,” the Cleveland morning man said. “I don’t think that anybody in Northeast Ohio who is a basketball fan, like a guy who’s getting ready to go to work who is a 20-something NBA fan, I think they’re just going to watch. I don’t think they care.”

Carman’s partner Anthony Lima admits that he cares about ratings. That has more to do with being in the industry though. He thinks that the emphasis put on ratings in conversations that are not exclusively amongst industry professionals has taken on a largely political tone.

“Certain cable networks tell you not to watch sports because they feel they’ve gone too woke,” he said. “So they will celebrate people not watching sports. Fine, cool. If you get a rise out of that, then awesome for you.”

Ken Carman acknowledged that there are always going to be teams that draw a bigger audience than others. Usually, those are the teams in the biggest markets, but that isn’t always the case.

He pointed to the Green Bay Packers as a reliable ratings driver for the NFL. Superstars help too. The Cleveland Cavaliers were constantly put on national TV when LeBron James was on the team. That didn’t give him any sense of pride in his local team that he didn’t get from them winning and regularly contending for titles.

“It’s a weird galaxy brain thing,” Carman said. “I don’t need the NFL to have higher ratings. I don’t care. I don’t need the NBA to have higher ratings. I don’t care.”

Anthony Lima said he isn’t sure what people who celebrate low ratings are trying to accomplish or even why they are reported at all.

“I always laugh when people kind of rub people’s faces in the low ratings, like ‘Here you go. You guys watch something that wasn’t as watched as something last year.’ Cool. You got me.”

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