Monday, August 31, 2020

Seeing Sports In A Different Way


I have to admit that I never thought I’d see the day where sporting events would be played in front of no fans. 

In this industry, we often kid around about a team that plays in front of sparse crowds because of a losing record. There are cases where a stadium location also leads to smaller crowds.

There are fickle sports towns where if you win, they’ll support the team. If you don’t win, they won’t support. There are others where they’ll support no matter what.

Here in 2020, I remember when Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James scoffed at the idea of playing in front of no fans during the beginning of COVID-19. 

But as the virus kept cancelling and postponing events, each sport had to make a decision to permanently stop or hope to find a way to salvage a season.

Early in the process, I began to watch Korea Baseball Organization Games on ESPN. I enjoy baseball so much that it was interesting to watch it in another country with no fans. 

Then, it became more interesting to see remote announcers call the games and that has developed into a current trend. The KBO also had cheerleaders which I don’t see happening in MLB.

NASCAR started the remote announcers and no fans.

MLB used piped in noise at games and remote announcers. Teams got clever by selling cardboard cut outs of fans in the stands. 

What’s interesting in MLB was since there are no fans, players could be heard and as a result, there were some ejections as players would argue balls and strikes or questionable calls with the umpires. There was an instance where a player got tossed from the stands. 

Because it looked bad, empty seats were covered up with canvas advertising to create additional advertising revenues.

The NBA and NHL Bubbles were well thought out and planned as tarps covered arena seats and there were virtual fans in the stands.

As we enter football season, it appears that there won’t be fans in the stands for the first game or two. When fans are allowed in the stands, I wouldn’t expect stadiums to have crowds of over 25% due to social distancing.

When will stadiums have larger capacities to give a team home court, ice and field advantage? 

There wasn’t any in the NHL and NBA. Without fans, the team that should have had an advantage of fans was negated. 

The Indianapolis 500, The US Open Tennis Tournament in New York as well as other events certainly aren’t the same without fans. But for now, at least there are events going on and champions will be crowned, even if some of these titles are going to have an asterisk in the history books.

Will fans decide to stay away from sporting events because it’s more convenient and less expensive to stay home? 

Some of this will determine where they live. 

In colder climates, they’ll go back quicker since there is a lot less to do. In the warmer climates like Florida, California, Arizona and Southern Nevada, I’d see less urgency.

I predict that the crowds will never be the same after what we’ve seen this year. As a result, owners of these teams are going to have to get real creative with their marketing departments to entice fans to come back.

I know as a member of the media, the way we do things will be much different with remote reporting as Zoom Technology takes over our landscape. Will there ever be a press box that’s near it’s capacity? It will be interesting to find out in 2021.

For those media members that retired early, they’re probably glad that they got out at the right time.

But how things have changed in this unprecedented time we live in.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at

Adjusting To New Times


Earlier in the day, I had a conversation with a young aspiring broadcaster Damon Knight as to how things were like when I broke into the Media Business back in 1979.

I told him when I did radio shows, the way we researched the broadcasts was by relying on our local newspapers, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

We also utilized The Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI), along with the Sports Tickers. 

Back in the 1980’s, George Eichorn, Phil Guastella and I created the Sports Exchange and it aired on multiple stations. On one station, we would do a two hour broadcast while on another, we went from 6-12 Midnight on Saturdays.

Week in and week out, it was great meeting the challenge on making each show better.

Nowadays, the game is much different. 

There is still terrestrial radio which is viewed as local radio and is governed by The Federal Communication Communication that heavily regulates the industry. I have done terrestrial radio in numerous markets around the USA.

Two years ago, I was exposed to Internet Radio, working with Peter Wein of the WEI Network. I really enjoyed my time with Peter, who is a father figure and we launched the Sports Exchange. 

I had complete say of the guests and produced the show, while he operated the board. 

Unfortunately, that run ended with the passing of his wife then he went on to have a stroke shortly after her death. Perhaps, one day, I would welcome a reunion. 

The Sports Exchange on his network would get between 4-5000 listeners. Our best show was with my Detroit Tigers idol Mickey Lolich where we had 5,300 listeners. Lolich won three games in the1968 World Series leading the Detroit Tigers to a title.

When Peter’s health declined, it was time to get into podcasting and I met Jeff Adelman at a Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce Referral Group. We were planning to do a Hockey Show and he got me registered on Spreaker. Adelman is a personal injury attorney but because of his busy schedule, it was tough for him to commit to a regular schedule.

But thanks to Jeff, I got involved in the Podcast Movement. 

We started the South Florida Tribune Podcast and our first guest was Frank Lodato, who is a renowned sports psychologist with the Canadian Football League and the National Hockey League.

Adelman introducing me to this was the beginning of a new challenge to combine the broadcast side with the editorial as there are currently six shows. 

We have the Sports Exchange, No Limits, 108 Stitches, Baseball Talk, Real N’ Rare, A Fantasy Football Show with Myself and Ryan Skolrud (Skullking Sports) and the South Florida Tribune Podcast. There is a nice mixture of sports and non sports related broadcasts.

The main places you can subscribe to them is Apple Podcasts, Spreaker, Spotify, I-Heart Radio and and Google Podcasts, plus wherever you get your podcasts.

When I talk about adjusting to the times, in this industry, I’d would be in trouble without LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, as these have been great a great source to get guests. 

As I continue to build my audio resume, I never know whether this would lead to another potential opportunity in addition to keeping The South Florida Tribune and Broadcast Division growing.

Social Media is a love and hate relationship.

One person who has not only been helpful on the broadcast, but social media is Rudy Reyes. We’ve done broadcasts together and he’s helped me adapt to the promotional side as well. Reyes social media prowess if off the charts!

When I put things in their proper context, these days, I hate dealing with e-mailing and text messaging when a phone call was all I needed to communicate with people. 

If there is anything that makes me stir crazy, it’s technology. 

But again, either you adapt or you don’t last in the business which I’ve reluctantly done.

If it were up to me, I would rather have a flip phone instead of a smart phone.

But thanks to the smart phone, I can access websites like The Score, ESPN.Com, FoxSports.Com, Sports Illustrated, etc... to get my information. This is what I explained to Damon and if he’s going to be successful in broadcasting, he’ll realize that he has more tools in his box than I ever had.

Being old school, I’ve participated on numerous Zoom Calls and have learned a lot by being a part of The Miami Marlins listening to other media members questions, in addition to slipping one in occasionally.

Because of COVID-19, I have to realize that meetings with sponsors will be virtual.

Sports coverage has seen remote broadcasting in many ways as announcers haven’t traveled to games. It’s a new experience plus it’s cut down the cost of the networks.

What will press boxes look like in the future? Will teams have a 50% capacity in the future? Time will tell but my prediction is yes until we get COVID-19 under control and a vaccine is created?

For those media members that have retired, I have a feeling that they’re relieved they got out at the right time. And for those of us still in this business, we can just wonder how much more difficult it will be to provide the coverage that we hope we can. 

If you’re a PR Guy in this business, it has to be extremely difficult as to what requests they’ll approve and which ones they deny.

In the meantime, we just have to roll with the mind boggling changes of “Adjusting To New Times.”

Scott Morganroth can be reached at

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