“I know it is fashionable to say ‘I don’t care about the Bills,’ but I think people are interested,” said Murphy this morning. “In all my years covering the team, I’ve never had a year when people weren’t interested in the Bills even in a bad year.”
In a way, all the negative talk about the Bills makes tonight’s game carried on 97 Rock and Channel 7 more interesting.
Murphy views the game as one of 20 Bills games he’ll get to do with analyst Mark Kelso this season – four preseason and 16 regular season games.
“I don’t look at as a preseason game but as one of 20 broadcasts to do our best,” said Murphy.
It won’t be easy tonight. Murphy discussed the difficulty of doing the first preseason game with TV announcer Steve Tasker Thursday while they drove together to the Rochester airport for the team flight to D.C.
“It is not like a regular season game,” said Murphy. “There is no pace, no strategy. It is 80 different auditions going on simultaneously. It makes it tough to broadcast. Steve said it also is tough on the established players because they are playing with young players who believe it is the game of their life.”
But back to the negativity about the Bills. Murphy concedes the Bills have big question marks on the offensive line and at quarterback but wants to see if the defense will go as good against the Skins as it has been in training camp.
“As far as wins and losses, I hope they can win seven games,” said Murphy.
That’s almost double the fashionable nationwide prediction of three or four wins.
Of course, the Bills preseason opener with the Redskins on Channel 7 will be the TV event of the early summer and reduce the radio audience. The ABC affiliate has a 30-minute pre-game show at 7 p.m., followed by the 7:30 p.m. telecast announced by former Bills Tasker and Ray Bentley.
It’s a relatively meaningless game for everyone except new Bills Coach Chan Gailey, the three quarterbacks and several rookies trying to make a good first impression.
But the Bills are the biggest TV draw in this market. Regular season games regularly get ratings in the high 20s and 30s. Preseason ratings carried live can get ratings in the low or high teens, which is double or triple what the top entertainment shows on the networks get here in the summer.
Channel 7 also is carrying next Thursday’s game in Toronto with the Indianapolis Colts at 7:30 p.m., the Aug. 28 home game with the Cincinnati Bengals and Terrell Owens on Aug. 28 (live, if it is sold-out) and the Sept. 2 preseason finale at Detroit.
The Redskins game or the Colts game – which is played on Thursday when potential viewership is higher than it is on Friday -- figures to be the highest-rated of the four.
* Inquiring minds want to know: Who is Christie Witt, the new Traffic Tracker on Channel 2’s “Daybreak”?
She is a 2009 graduate of Medaille College who went on to graduate school at my alma mater, Syracuse University.
On a personal note, she was a former student of mine in a media criticism course I teach at Medaille.
Besides doing the morning traffic reports, Witt also is a web producer at the NBC affiliate.
Considering her relative on-air inexperience, Witt has been quite good delivering her quick early traffic reports and is bound to improve as she puts more TV miles on the road.
* Inquiring minds also want to know who is going to replace Lou Piccone as the radio analyst alongside Paul Peck on University at Buffalo football games this season on WECK?
Jim Kubiak, a former St. Francis High School star quarterback who had a solid career at Navy before playing for the former Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena League, is expected to be announced as UB’s choice shortly. It could happen as early as today. Kubiak is bound to be an improvement on Piccone, a likable personality who provided few insights as an analyst and didn’t seem to realize his role wasn’t that of a cheerleader.
*Speaking of Channel 7, I had to laugh when looking at the 10 most popular items on Channel 7’s “Inside WKBW” website feature. Here is the list: 1. Bridget Blythe 2. Job openings 3. Jennifer Stanonis 4. Laura Gray 5. Ginger Geoffery 6. Joanna Pasceri 7. Kyla Igoe 8. Linda Pellegrino 9. Aaron Mentkowski and 10. Kendra Eaglin.
Do I have to tell you why I laughed? There are eight women on the list and one weatherman. Look at the list and make your own judgment on the order of the women. I wonder how being out of the Top 10 made lead anchor Keith Radford, Mike Randall and Patrick Taney feel.