Jun 27 2008
By David Scott
Boston Sports Media Watch
With her final taping of Comcast SportsNet’s “Celtics Now” on Monday, Laura Behnke finished up her three-plus year run in the Boston market. Behnke bolts Boston this Saturday and will join the San Francisco Bay Area’s KNTV (NBC11) as the weekend sports anchor. Behnke, a University of Wisconsin graduate who grew up in Eagan, Minnesota, came to the market via NECN, but probably did her best work for CSN, where she teamed with Donny Marshall on the Celts weekly magazine show (in addition to a studio role for Celtics’ coverage). She also did fill-in work with WEEI 850 AM in recent months.
“It is sad to be leaving Boston,” said Behnke via email late Thursday. “I have been incredibly fortunate and am incredibly thankful for every opportunity I’ve been given at NECN, CSN and WEEI.”
While Hazel Mae’s departure grabs the gossip page headlines, Behnke’s exit is the one which actually diminishes the market’s talent pool the most.
. . . Another CSN contributor, Dave Briggs (the ex-WHDH TV sports guy), is popping up in a new spot as he is two months into to working with Fox NewsChannel’s weekend “Fox Friends” morning show. Briggs continues to do work at CSN, but is hoping the FNC gig turns into something. In the brief glimpse we got of Briggs the News Guy last weekend was very strong. He’s not simply a sports guy, that’s for sure.
“I am co-hosting both Saturdays and Sundays (at FNC), and Friday each of the next two weeks,” said Briggs in an email exchange earlier this week. “Honestly, the first time I read a single news story was live on national TV, but I quickly found out I love it.”
• This is actually the start of Shots’ Summer Respite. Not sure how long that’s going to last – and history says something will break that forces me out of said Respite – but we need some time away from all the shenanigans that now envelope this sports media criticism game.
A few things of import before we ride our scooter along the Atlantic head position our beach chair at friendly angles:
• I will most miss the periodic voice mail messages from Dan Pires where he called me a “mishoogie” and instructed me to call him. I’ll also miss the out-of-the-blue email with a link or attachments that made me blush or giggle or both.
Mostly though, I’ll miss the the idea of having a guy like Pires offsetting all the self-important phonies walking the corridors of Patriot Place.
RIP you mishoogie, you.
• Deadspin founder Will Leitch leaves his influential web site this week – for the MSM – and the Mattoonie did not go quietly.
Which was nice to see, if not a bit discomforting to watch unfold.
In four memorable days of the FareWill Tour, he spoke of thick skin, nice guys and a three year history that sure did have its share of “moments.” The site will continue – our bet is AJ Daulerio takes over – but the exit of Leitch marks a bit of an opening up in the Wild West of Edgy Sports Blog Land.
For quite sometime now, we’ve found ourselves going to The Big Lead with more frequency and fervency than we ever went to Deadspin with. Maybe that’s because TBL hooked us on its interviews and some of its more critical analysis of the media biz players. Perhaps it’s because we had one too many Carl Monday jokes.
At the very least, we need to thank Leitch for all his past links and wish him the best of luck moving forward. (The Virtual Roast or Vroast was almost too much to handle. Well-played.)
• With all the bleak news for Boston’s paper this week, let’s not forget the Hartford Courant’s inherent problems that seem to have the HC spiraling downward as well.
• One nugget to chomp on while we’re gone: Glenn Ordway, “The Big O” of WEEI, is up for renewal this summer. The Big O needs to get the Big $ for what will likely be his final substantial deal in the market and the negotiations promise to make the Summer of ’07 “Dennis & Callahan” imbroglio look like a game of Chutes and Ladders.
Thing is, Ordway has even more juice than D&C.
Jason Wolfe should have kept the bidding open a bit longer for the Doc, sports drink-splashed, dress shirt.
• Stay in touch and stay out of the direct sunlight.
David Scott writes from a seaside shanty on the shores of Hull, Mass. and can be reached at shotsATbostonsportsmediaDOTcom.
Scott’s first book, with Memphis Coach John Calipari, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2009.