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Limbaugh is safe on WBEN; Ch.7 "benches" Bylsma press conference

Inquiring minds want to know:

What are the chances that Entercom Radio’s WBEN-AM will drop Rush Limbaugh after a Boston station owned by the same company announced plans to drop the conservative talk show host?

Limbaugh fans can stop worrying about it and Limbaugh haters can stop hoping for it.

That’s essentially the word from Greg Ried, the general manager of all Entercom stations in Buffalo.

“Boston is a unique situation,” explained Ried of Entercom’s WRKO. “They are trying to add more local programming. Rush still thrives on WBEN and has great ratings.”

But what about advertisers, who have been called on to boycott Limbaugh after he made some of his more offensive statements?

“It has been pretty stable lately,” said Ried.

WRKO is the second station to announce plans to drop Limbaugh. An Indianapolis station owned by Emmis Communications announced in April it was dropping the show in July.

Limbaugh appears to have survived the storm since his offensive remarks directed at former Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke more than three years ago after her speech to a House Democrat committee in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives.

After sponsors left his program, Limbaugh apologized and made the questionable claim that he was trying to be humorous.

Inquiring minds wants to know: What was with Channel 7’s decision to be the only local news station to decline to carry the Buffalo Sabres press conference Thursday with new Coach Dan Bylsma live at 4 p.m.?

Channel 2, Channel 4 and Time Warner Cable News all carried the presser live.

Channel 7 General Manager Michael Nurse tweeted that the station “opted to stay with regular programming and cover via streaming and social media given news coverage at 5 p.m.”

“Hot Bench” was more important? Really.

Of course, WNY didn’t need a fourth station to carry the Bylsma presser but Channel 7’s decision not to carry it for a low-rated court show was a dubious one at best.

It was especially dubious in that Channel 7 now has three on-air sports staffers in Shawn Stepner, Nick Filipowski and Joe Buscaglia and is trying to establish its sports presence at a time that Channel 4 is diminishing its sports coverage.

Additionally, Stepner seemed to be in the TV lead on Bylsma’s hiring, suggesting Thursday night that it was imminent when other reporters were more conservative. Perhaps, others were more cautious because of what happened when it looked like Mike Babcock was headed to Buffalo.

Inquiring minds want to know: How interested has Buffalo been in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

According to NBC, the answer is more interested than every other market in the National Hockey League without a playoff team.

During the first 80 games carried by NBC and the NBC Sport Network, Buffalo (1.82 average rating) is the No. 4 market in the country behind only Chicago (3.03), Minneapolis-St. Paul (2.04) and Tampa (1.82), and ahead of fifth-place New York (1.43.)

Of course, since the number of viewers that constitute a rating point is different depending on the size of markets, many more people watch in the bigger cities below Buffalo in the ratings.

NBC also wanted it noted that first-round cable games are blacked out in home markets.

Inquiring minds want to know: How are the NBA playoffs doing here?

Would you believe better than the NHL playoffs, at least on some nights?

On Wednesday, Golden State’s Western Conference finals clinching victory over Houston in game five of their series averaged about a 3.7 rating here on ESPN. Nationally, the 5.6 household rating led to ESPN’s largest NBA audience in three years.

Chicago’s 5-2 victory over Anaheim on the same night to force a game 7 in their NHL Western Conference finals had a 2.6 rating on the NBC Sports Network here.

Needless to say, the NBA Finals match-up starting Thursday with reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of Golden State and four-time MVP LeBron James of Cleveland will be must-see TV for any regular basketball fan -- and many new fans.

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