By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Mar 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

College basketball games are played over an entire season, but they reach levels of so-called "madness" every March. Proof is in the ratings.

For those of you who tune in to check on your prognostication brackets of the NCAA Division 1 tournament, you are not alone. The combined coverage of the first week of games on CBS and Turner Network stations like TBS, TNT and truTV averaged 8.9 million viewers.

For those of you keeping track, that’s the most in recent history and beats out 8.2 million in 2012. Sunday’s coverage averaged 11.1 million viewers, making it the most watched opening Sunday in 15 years.

Closer to home, Marquette has stepped up marketing efforts since the two victories last week set up its entrance into the Sweet 16. Besides electronic billboards and more showings of spirit on campus, social media has jumped for the Golden Eagles.

The Twitter account has bumped up a couple hundred followers over the weekend. The university was quick to point out @cbssports calling its match-up with Butler the best game of the tournament so far. Marquette’s Pinterest board with 47 pins has more than 1,500 followers and counting.

Games continue on Thursday, running to the Final Four and championship game on April 8 on CBS.

VOCAL HELP: NBC needs some help in the ratings. Its primetime line-up took fifth place in the ratings in the last sweep, finishing behind CBS, FOX, ABC and Univision. In Milwaukee, the NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 tends to be stronger in the numbers than counterparts in other markets.

One show NBC is counting on to help is "The Voice." Sporting new judges Usher and Shakira on the latest season’s premier on Monday night, the Peacock is counting on more people to watch. Host Carson Daly said that the two-hour opener was the best episode of "The Voice" ever. He credited the new judges and carry-overs Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.

THE THRONE: Those interested in having their own throne, like the ones in "Game of Thrones" can enter a new contest with Time Warner Cable. To enter the sweepstakes, entrants must be a fan of the Time Warner Cable or Mi Cultura Facebook page and fill out the form by April 12.

The Grand Prize winner will be selected on or around April 15. Find more information and see the video of the making of the throne on Time Warner Cable’s Facebook page.

OSCARS: Usually the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences runs its awards program in February for a couple of reasons. It’s a relatively slow time at the box office, and it is during a traditional sweeps period for TV stations. But, because the Winter Olympics will be at that time in 2014, the academy is moving the Oscars to a week later in March next year. In 2015, the red carpet and ceremony return to February and both years the production will air on ABC. The Winter Olympics will be broadcast on NBC.

Earlier this year, the Screen Actors Guild announced that its SAG awards will be moved earlier in January in 2014. Usually the SAG and Golden Globes are seen as a pre-cursor to the ceremony and is a good indication as to who will lead the nominations for the golden statute.

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.