Feb 15 2008
By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch
Banner week for Shots with the Chris Berman videos story earlier this week (thanks to Extra Mustard, et al) and Thursday’s Fox NewsChannel appearance with shrewd Shepard Smith discussing the unending Arlen Specter debacle. That in mind, and knowing that too much of a good thing can be bad, today’s offering will be slightly abbreviated.
Also factoring into the shorter Shots: A Thursday night trip out to Amherst to see the Minutemen completely confound their coach and the withering, few remaining True Umies.
It was a Valentine’s Day very similar to the ones I experienced as a student at the State U. – I spent most of it alone in a gym (at the more-than-half-empty Mullins Center); there were co-eds all around but not-a-one looking in my direction; my team lost; and, most familiar of all: I wound up alone at a bar near campus.
The more things change. . .
• At first blush, the announcement of Dale Arnold as the primary fill-in for the wonderful Dave O’Brien on Red Sox radio broadcasts struck us as odd. Dull Dale wouldn’t have been among our Top 5 choices and he may not have even made the Top 10.
But upon further review, Arnold was really the only choice that Entercom had – and make no mistake, this was Entercom (and Jason Wolfe’s) choice. (Interestingly, Wolfe was the only one quoted in the Arnold release from Entercom thru Regan Communications, unlike last year’s joint effort from the Sox and Entercom on the Obie/Geff introduction.)
The cost-cutting Entercommies obviously wanted to put in there own guy after being force-fed Sox booth pick, Glenn Geffner last season. (Geffner will be in the Florida Marlins’ radio booth this season).
After Arnold, there was no one else in the WEEI bullpen who could have filled the role, although we would have been interested to hear Sean Grande get in the mix. ‘Jon Rish is solid in his pre- and post-game duties, but to have him do more than a handful of games would have been too risky and not something the Red Sox would have been comfortable with.
So Arnold was the guy and it will work out quite well for all parties. O’Brien will have a steadier, deeper presence and the Sox get a dutiful soldier who will – as he did for the Bruins – become a virtual PR man for the team. With Arnold’s 20 hours of on-air time per week it will ensure ‘EEI’s valuable partner, the Sox, that they have a company man on duty during the midday at Nation’s radio station.
• It’s been this way for a while, but the rumblings out of the Schrafft Building are getting louder that ESPN Radio 890 is hanging on by a thread. Someone needs to pull the plug soon – it’s just not working. With all the moves at other places, somethings got to give with the Tang Gang.
• Our trip to NCAA headquarters last week for the Mock Selection session was all sorts of educational.
Maybe most pleasant of all our discoveries was the time we got to spend with ESPN’s Tom Brennan (the ex-Vermont coach) and former Maryland Terp, Adrian Branch. The duo was paired up as one “team” during last Thursday’s exercise and they consistently provided the best entertainment.
Brennan radio background shows through at every turn and he and Doug Gottlieb have developed a great rapport (even though we’re still waiting for TB to finally snap and wrestle the oftentimes smug and opinionated Gottlieb to the parquet).
As for Branch – who worked the UMass-Fordham game for ESPN2 – he’s a rising star at the Worldwide Leader. He combines a player’s mentality with a good sense of humor and a smooth delivery. We expect him to be called up from the ESPNU minor leagues soon and to stick for a while.
. . . Also at the session we attended was CBS’s Clark Kellogg, who has grown considerably from his early days with the network and is now as much a part of March Madness as Billy Packer and buzzer beaters. Kellogg’s passion and knowledge of the game serve him well and he was very into the selection process.
• Andy Pettitte is teflon in all of this. Here’s a guy who “only did it once,” then admits he did it another time, but his father was involved the second time, so he didn’t think he had to mention it.
Which means that he, too, lied.
Still, even as Andy is throwing Roger under the bus, he’s touted as honest and good man.
Won’t they all just go away? Please?
• Imagine if the Krafty Ones pulled off 19-0?. Oh, and don’t think we didn’t notice it being announced on Clemens Day. And yes, we’re renewing our foursome – it’s an investment.
But this is a substantial increase across the board (minus standing room which is probably on Route One somewhere) and one wonders whether they would have been better off with a gradual increase annually? For these prices – already highest in the NFL last season – we will fully expect the Gillette Stadium entrance policies will be revised and streamlined so hard-working folks can get to our 117 dollar seat in a timely manner and not be herded like doomed cattle on the way in.
• Best Shots Comments ever from Valentine’s Day 2008: #3 – Shots is one bitter dude, followed by #4 – 30 bucks on Antonio’s is A LOT of pizza.
[In fact, I got 40 bucks worth of the treasured Amherst pizza on Thursday – a full 16 slices of exotic flavors that will serve as the main course for Nephew Jake’s post-game meal tonight after the freshman hoop team’s season finale. I spoil the kid, whaddya want? Makes him like UMass as his college of choice. . .
• Continued bad news from GateHouse land where Shots is told that the Brockton Enterprise sports editor Bill Abramson is part of the cuts, leaving assistant Ken Lechtanski to focus more on Web matters. Meanwhile the Patriot Ledger sports editor (and former Herald boss) Mark Torpey is going to become sports editor for both papers’ sports departments. An insider at the one of the titles sees this as a further sign that overlap will be eliminated, staffs will be melded and coverage will be, to say the least, compromised.
. . . Say what you will as to whether the recession is real or imagined: it’s serious in matters of media job availability. . . again. And forever, we fear.
• CN8 re-launched its late night “Out of Bounds” offering this week with a re-titled and re-positioned (at 11:30 p.m.) half-hour show, “Out of Bounds Late Night.” The new iteration of an old property is hosted by market newcomer Jeff Rickard and is more highlight driven than its prior hourlong incarnation. (DISCLAIMER TIME: Shots appears regularly on OOB episodes including the un-changed 7 p.m. Philly-originating version.)
Remaining as the 11:30’s reporter is the multi-talented John Carchedi in a role that will allow him to further show his chops in story-telling and on-scene reportage. Former OOB 11 p.m. co-host Phil Burton has been re-assigned within the CN8 family and will contribute to CN8′s lineup of original programs, according to a company spokeswoman. In March, Burton will host CN8′s first-ever live broadcast of Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.
. . . Rickard, an avid cyclist, spent four years as a nationally syndicated talk show host at Sporting News Radio and most recently at ESPN radio. Prior to ESPN, Rickard was the program director for an all sports radio station in Salt Lake City while also working as the television studio host for the Utah Jazz.
• Shots is off to Beale Street again next week for what could be a Holy War, not to mention a very pricey ticket, so no regularly schedule edition of this space will appear. It’s worth reminding you that as March Madness approaches in earnest, our time will be dedicated to the bouncing ball more and more. We always seem to give this warning and then always seem to be brought back in to the fray with some emerging sports media story or another. But for the sake of our bank account, that will happen less and less in the coming weeks and months.
I know you understand and appreciate your patience and patronage.
. . . Worth noting that CBS’s earnest and visible takeover of CSTV is already paying off on the TV side. I’m inclined, oddly, to applaud for Billy Packer for taking the assignment – or even volunteering for it.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.
His work – and weekly college hoops report card – for CSTV.com can be found at the Hang Time blog on Mondays and The Glass Sneaker throughout the week. You can also listen for the weekly Professor’s Podcast, also at CSTV.com in iTunes at The Daily Buzz.