Underrated and (due mostly to his time slot) underappreciated, Sandy Penner will have his final show for WDAE today, ending a four-year run.
Penner is returning to Charlotte and WFNZ, where he worked before coming to Tampa. Penner co-hosted a show there the Charlotte Observer named the area's best sports show.
It's a great move for Penner. He will work a midday slot in the heart of the college basketball world, one of his favorite topics. In Tampa Bay, hoops talk equates to radio death.
"He's going back to an area he really, really loves," WDAE program director Brad James said. "I'm happy for him. We're going to miss him, no question about it."
James said Penner, who did the 6-8 a.m. show, routinely doubled the ratings of his competitors.
Since the passing of Chris Thomas, Penner has undisputably been the most knowledgeable personality in the market.
James said WDAE will simulcas t Dan Sileo's show out of Orlando. Ironically, Sileo (a former Miami Hurricanes and Buccaneers lineman) used to work for WDAE until Penner replaced him in 2000. Sileo left for at-the-time-fledging Fox Sports Radio Network, but hated Los Angeles and returned to Florida.
We're No. 16!
ESPN's series of shows to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the network continues Tuesday, this time looking at the 25 worst teams of the past 25 years.
The show airs at 7 p.m., and remarkably none of the Bucs teams made it on the list, However, Tampa Bay is represented by the 2002 Devil Rays, who come in at No. 16.
Take heart, though, the 1998 Marlins are No. 7.
ESPN already has released 22 of the worst teams on the list, but is saving the last three for the show, all college football teams - 1985 Columbia, 1991 Prairie View and 1981 Northwestern.
Karl Malone, ratings magnet?
ABC earned a 15.4 overnight Nielsen rating for Game 5 of the Lakers-Pistons NBA Finals, the best for Game 5 since 1998 when Michael Jordan led Chicago over Utah in his last season.
Locally, coverage of NBA games continued to draw little interest, garnering about a third of the national rating. On Sunday, for example, the national rating for Game 4 was 12.7, while in Tampa Bay it managed just a 4.8. That was well behind Fox's coverage of the Pocono 500 (7.3), and just ahead of NBC's prime-time offering of the Olympic Trials for platform diving (3.8).
Tour De Tuneup
Outdoor Life Network will air a new special, Five Battles Won, a retrospective of Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's monumental wins - to tune up for its July race coverage.
The special debuts Monday at 9 p.m. and will rebroadcast Thursday at 10 p.m., June 27 (8 p.m.), June 28 (10 p.m.), June 30 (8 p.m.), July 1 (7 p.m.) and July 2 (9 p.m.). OLN begins its tour coverage July 3.
Due to the rave reviews the channel received for its coverage last year, OLN is adding a morning prerace show beginning at 8:30.
Around the dial
After 35 years as the Knicks radio and TV voice, Marv Albert is leaving MSG Network because the two were unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension. The New York Times reported that MSG wanted Albert to tone down his criticism of the Knicks, and Albert refused. ... Marv's brother Kenny Albert, former Monday Night Football analyst Dan Fouts and former Broncos running back Terrell Davis will be the broadcast team for the three preseason NFL games that NFL Network plans to carry this year. ... ESPN's coverage of Wimbledon, highlighted by Dick Enberg calling matches, begins Monday, with 120 hours of programming planned over two weeks, including live coverage of a women's semifinal July 1 and a men's semi July 2.