Was this broadcasting year 2 Live to be True? Or is this a bad rap?

RADIO-TV

December 28, 1990|By RAY FRAGER

The year is nearly a wrap, so how about a little rap on sports broadcasting in 1990? Let's call it "U Can Touch This (But Wipe Your Hands Afterward)."

Listen to Gary "M.C. Hammerhead" Bender, Jim "Vanilla Ice Cream" Nantz, Bob "Forever Young M.C." Costas, Dan "Heavy DD" Dierdorf, and Bob Carpenter and Bill Robinson of 2 Dull Crew:

The year 1990 was one to remember,

From a sucker Super Bowl to hoops in December.

Anchor monster Brent got dissed by CBS,

But NBA TV has the man saying, "Yessssss."

The Irish took their ball, bolted with big money,

To ABC, CFA, that doesn't seem too funny.

We had Goodwill Games with the man who would be King,

Me, I'd rather hear Roseanne Barr trying to sing.

It's been quite a year, in many ways, I know,

Yeah, and one more thing -- let's get a T-O!!!!

SG This, then, is the year that wasn't in television and radio sports:

January

* Bryant Gumbel announces he will be host of some NBC golf telecasts. His "Today" colleagues immediately get into the spirit. Willard Scott commits to play-by-play on Senior pro baseball, but later withdraws upon learning there are no players 100 years old. Deborah Norville says she'll become a roller derby analyst, explaining, "I love the way those women elbow each other out of the way." Jane Pauley opts for figure skating commentary, but mysteriously is replaced on that assignment by Norville.

* CBS bans sportscasters from other networks on a Nike commercial. Shortly thereafter, CBS also announces it no longer will show the moon during night events, because it might remind viewers of ABC's "Monday Night Football."

* ABC pays $210 million for five years of College Football Association games. The network then decides its payments will be tied to graduation rates and grade-point averages of teams that appear on its telecasts. The entire Southwest Conference, except Rice, is kicked out the CFA, and officials from Johns Hopkins and Swarthmore say they are quite excited by a scheduled network appearance.

February

* Jimmy Van Backboord, 14, of Rumsen, N.J., is grounded for a week by his mom for watching college basketball on ESPN. Mrs. Van Backboord heard, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, it's awesome, baby!!!!" coming from the television, and believed Jimmy was watching the Playboy Channel, refusing to buy her son's story about Dick Vitale and a last-second basket.

* Notre Dame signs a $6 million-per-season football deal with NBC. Irish athletic director Dick Rosenthal says it's not the money, it's because there aren't enough tickets for all the Notre Dame fans who want to see the team play at home. Pressed on this point, Rosenthal says, "Just like the president said, 'Read my lips,' it's strictly for the fans."

March

* NBC, miffed at matchup shenanigans, refuses to recognize World Boxing Association titles. To pick up the slack, the network signs a long-term contract to carry championship bouts sanctioned by the Intergalactic Boxing Overseers and Brushless Car Wash, Inc.

* In the wake of the North Carolina State basketball betting allegations, ESPN digs up some damaging tape. Before a game in which Wake Forest's Ralph Kitley had an uncharacteristic big night, a masked figure is seen replacing the regulation basket at Wake's end of the court with a Hula Hoop.

* The National Football League cashes in with a combined $3.6 billion in television contracts from five networks. The league has to make a small concession or two, including adding one playoff team per conference and making sure NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol's favorite quarterback, Babe Laufenberg, gets to start at least one game.

April

* Brent Musburger is fired by CBS. Musburger and the network fail to reach a contract agreement when the announcer refuses to back off his demand that CBS launch a new cable channel, BMTV, featuring nothing but Musburger.

* Channel 2 opens its season of Baltimore Orioles telecasts, but loses track of the ball in the second inning.

May

* On a Sunday night ESPN game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, Jon Miller does his impressions of Vin Scully and Harry Caray, then works his way up and down each aisle doing impressions of each fan in the stadium.

* United Cable of Baltimore experiences technical problems with ESPN baseball telecasts, but has trouble scheduling a time for a repair appointment.

June

* During the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons gather around CBS analyst Hubie Brown rather than coach Chuck Daly to see what play Brown diagrams for them on the Telestrator.

* The Orioles sign a new contract with Channel 2. The station celebrates by finding the ball in the third inning in Cleveland, but loses it again during a station break in the seventh.

July

* Ratings for the Goodwill Games are a disappointment until the last two days, when they take a jump after Turner Broadcasting's Ted Turner promises to decolorize "Casablanca" @if more people watch.

August

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