Normally-calm Canadians in downtown Toronto go wild over Canada winning the 2014 Winter Olympics gold medal in men’s ice hockey. Credit: Shaheen Karolia/ Wiki Commons.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Do you like Olympics ice hockey? Then radio is the medium for you during the 2018 Winter Olympics, taking place in South Korea’s Pyeongchang county, Feb. 9–25.
In fact, ice hockey appears to be the only specific sport radio broadcasters in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States are focusing on, along with general news briefs on the Winter Olympic Games’ overall progress.
In a BBC Sports news release dated Feb. 8, the headline promised, “Winter Olympics 2018: BBC Sport’s live coverage times on TV, radio & online.”
However, the text said that the BBC’s Olympics coverage was “on BBC TV, Red Button (interactive video), Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app.”
No mention of radio here.
Nevertheless, a search for “radio” on this BBC Sports page revealed that BBC Radio 5 presented a pre-games preview on that day.
As well, BBC Radio 5 is scheduled to provide live coverage of men and women’s ice hockey in the preliminary rounds Feb. 11–16, as played by various countries. No other sports matches — just hockey.
In Canada, the multi-platform broadcast rights for the 2018 Winter Olympics are being shared by public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada and private broadcasters Bell Media and Rogers Media.
The majority of Canada’s Olympics radio coverage is being carried on Bell Media’s TSN Radio, a group of seven stations in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Like the BBC, TSN Radio is focused on men and women’s ice hockey. Unlike the BBC, it will carry fewer games in the preliminary rounds, and all will feature Canadian teams. TSN Radio will also carry the semi-final and Gold Medal games for both men’s and women’s ice hockey.
At least Canadian radio’s focus on Olympic hockey makes sense. Not only is the country hockey-mad, but Canada’s men’s and women’s teams both won gold medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So the interest in hockey here is genuine.
Meanwhile, CBC Radio is broadcasting updates called “Olympic Games Report” within morning, noon and afternoon shows across the CBC Radio network during the 2018 Winter Games. “These updates include news and results from the Olympic Games as well as interviews with Olympic athletes and members of CBC's TV broadcast team,” said CBC spokesperson Simon Bassett.
Make no mistake: Hockey is a big part of that coverage.
U.S. content syndicator/official Olympics radio partner Westwood One, owned by Cumulus Media, is offering radio coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics “From the lighting of the flame to the closing ceremonies,” said the company’s website.
Available via satellite to Westwood One-affiliated radio stations in the U.S., this coverage includes live short updates three times an hour on a 24/7 basis, and a two-hour nightly show recapping the day’s “top events and biggest stories, with highlights, analysis, (and) interviews.
Continuing radio’s commitment to Olympic ice hockey, Westwood one is also offering affiliates “Exclusive live play-by-play coverage of Team USA Hockey and the Gold Medal Game.”
Conclusion: If it’s ice hockey that you love, then radio won’t let you down during the 2018 Winter Olympics. At least not in the U.K., Canada and the U.S.