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OK..got alot of news to tell you guys


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Heat in national spotlight, finally


by Jim Sarni

Posted April 16 2004


There are plenty of sexy first-round matchups in the NBA playoffs. Heat-Hornets isn't one of them.


But in South Florida, fans are giddy that the home team is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, and after what the Marlins accomplished last year, there is a sense of boundless confidence.


Sunshine Network and WFOR-TV will split the local telecasts while the Heat finally will be turned up in the rest of the country with TNT carrying Games 1, 3 and 4 against the Hornets. Lead announcers Marv Albert and Mike Fratello will call Game 1, Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins do Game 3, and Gary Bender, John Thompson and former Heat player Rex Chapman have the Game 4 assignment.


TNT will air more than 40 games in 40 nights, ESPN could do as many as 33 and NBA TV could do as many as eight first-round games. ABC will have five Sunday games before the Finals.


NBA TV, which will air Game 2 of Heat-Hornets on Wednesday, will be available to all NBA TV distributors (including Comcast) through a nationwide free preview Saturday through May 5.


NBA TV will overload the biggest hoop fans with more than 1,000 hours of postseason programming, including the launch of a new weeknight show Destination Finals and special editions of NBA TV Insiders.


Destination Finals, which debuts Monday at 6 p.m., will contain wall-to-wall coverage of every game, news conferences, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes reporting from correspondent Rick Kamla, who, beginning May 4, will travel to 30 games in 30 days capturing the sights and sounds from each city. Bet Rick can't wait to get to South Beach.


Everybody's talking


Sports talk gets louder in May.


WFLL (1400-AM) will become 1400 The Fan on May 3, joining the ever-increasing chorus of sports talk stations that includes WQAM (560-AM), WEFL (760-AM) and WRFX (940-AM).


And the critics say South Florida is a crummy sports community.


WFLL will be run by Carl Foster, who has produced local sports radio programming for the past decade, most recently for WRFX. The new station's weekday lineup will begin with the revival of the Morning Bullpen, with Foster returning as host alongside Anita Marks and a third member to be named. Former Dolphin Bryan Cox is a possibility.


Tom Alexander, who worked at CBS Sportsline, will co-host a mid-day baseball show and Dino Costa will handle the afternoon drive-time slot. Costa has hosted talk shows in Denver, Cleveland, Wheeling, W.Va., Trenton, N.J., and Jacksonville.


Respect the champs


Do I have this right: ESPN is finally showing the World Champions Marlins on Thursday afternoon on its 17th baseball telecast of the season and after 18 other teams have been on, including the Astros, a non-playoff team, five times. Lack of respect, plain and simple. ...


Too bad the Marlins didn't air this week's games in Puerto Rico, but if you're going to skip telecasts, Puerto Rico is the place to do it. Here's a thought: televise all 162 games next season. ...


WEFL is broadcasting a Florida State League Game of the Week with Ryan Lieber (WPTV-Ch. 5) and Lisa Pride (WPEC-Ch. 12), who is the wife of Curtis Pride. Marlins pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, will join Evan Cohen Mondays at 5:05 p.m. during the baseball season. ...


Fox unveils four new game enhancements for its baseball telecasts on tonight's Yankees-Red Sox prime-time opener. Ball Tracer shows an action track of the ball as it is released from the pitcher's hand. The ball has a comet trail -- could this be the reincarnation of the glowing puck? -- illustrating its path into the catcher's glove. Strike Zone provides silhouette-outline of the strike zone and has the ability to show pitch placement in a sequence. High Home Camera shows the trajectory of a home run with an action track and measures a runner's lead off first base in five-foot increments.


You guys will now have a baseball show midday on the 1,000 watt 1400 WFLL. WFLL is the sister station of WJNA, the Marlins radio affiliate in Palm Beach with a powerful signal and the station that could replace WQAM as Marlins flagship if the Marlins bolt.

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