Clairvoyant Cowboy?

The way it's set up now, Brad Sham's radio calls of Cowboys game are way ahead of the TV broadcast--which, ya know, kind of takes the surprise out of things for those playing along at home.

As good--no, as great--as he is, Dallas Cowboys' legendary play-by-play voice Brad Sham can't see into the future. It only sounds that way. Since I love Brad and hate Joe Theisman (and Tony Kornheiser, for that matter), during Monday's Cowboys-Saints pre-season game I did the old "turn down the sound on the TV and listen to the radio" trick. Uh-oh. As I was watching Drew Bledsoe drop back to pass, I was hearing Sham scream that Terry Glenn had made an "incredible one-handed catch!" While Bledsoe was totally in sync with his receivers, the synergy between Cowboys games on TV and Cowboys games on KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket) is way out of whack--the timing, that is, not the product.

I've long been a fan of former pre- and post-game host Wally Lynn, but Bob Sturm seems more than capable of sailing a smooth pre-game ship. If you listened Monday you heard Kristi Scales--the best sideline reporter in football--ask hard questions of and get defining answers from owner Jerry Jones on the manufactured "controversy" between Bledsoe and Tony Romo. During the broadcast, Sham has few peers, and new analyst Charlie Waters adds a contagious mix of prepared coach and passionate fan. Ideally, Cowboys fans want to hear on the radio what we're watching on TV. Right? That's where the problems come in.

With the advents of cable and satellite to go along with old-school rabbit ears, there are now three different broadcast methods delivering the game to TVs. If you had three TVs lined up, each with a different method of reception, you'd see the game at three different "speeds." For example, standard broadcast-TV viewers would've seen Glenn's miraculous catch first; three seconds later, cable subscribers saw it; and six seconds later, satellite subscribers had their belated turn.

"It's a bit of a frustration point, because it's impossible to sync with all three," says Sturm. "We're trying to work through it. But we can only get in step with one, and the question becomes, which one?"

As it was in the past with flagship stations KVIL-FM (103.7) and KLUV-FM (98.7), the answer will likely be the standard rabbit-ears majority. That's because the metroplex has the highest percentage of non-cable/satellite homes of any major U.S. city. (Why? I dunno. Why do wheels on cars look as if they're spinning backward? Some things just defy explanation.) The ultimate goal, obviously, of The Ticket's broadcasts is to mesh with the most viewers. So dust off your old antennae, or get ready for yet another season of Sham being one step ahead of you. --Richie Whitt

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

Latest Stories