Channels 2, 11 are big hits in race to air Regan news

ON THE AIR

October 18, 1994|By MILTON KENT

Who was the big winner Sunday, besides Phil Regan?

Channels 2 and 11 were claiming some form of victory yesterday in the race to tell Baltimore about the hiring of the Orioles' new manager.

Channel 2 (WMAR), which has been out front during most of the Orioles' managerial comings and goings, scored big, getting reports of Regan's hiring on the air at 12:35 p.m. -- two hours before anyone else.

They updated viewers at halftime of the Dolphins-Raiders game, then got Regan live at 6 p.m. and at 11:25 p.m., when he took

viewer questions.

"We are the sports authority in Baltimore," said Jack Cahalan, Channel 2's news director.

As Cahalan and executive producer Jay Mishkin tell it, sports anchors Scott Garceau and Keith Mills spent most of the afternoon tracking down the story, once they got wind of an impending announcement Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Channel 11 (WBAL) attacked the story aggressively, with comments from owner Peter Angelos and former manager Johnny Oates, as well as reaction from bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and the first news that Mike Flanagan would be the new pitching coach.

Channel 11, using anchors Gerry Sandusky, Mark Viviano and special baseball analyst Ken Singleton, also chatted with assistant general manager Frank Robinson, who said he would consider a post with another club if he does not, as has been expected, become the Orioles' next general manager.

"We'll give credit to 'MAR for being first, but in the final analysis, we believe we had the most complete coverage, reaction and comprehensive analysis," said David Roberts, Channel 11's news director.

Like Channel 2, Channel 11 interrupted programming to carry the 3 p.m. Orioles news conference to introduce Regan.

Channel 45 (WBFF) ran a crawl across the bottom of the screen during football to announce Regan's hiring, but was hurt because its reporters and crew don't report for work for its 10 p.m. newscast -- its only evening news program -- until about 3 p.m., making it nearly im possible to interrupt coverage.

And where was Channel 13 (WJZ), the nightly news ratings leader and the Orioles' rights-holder, during all of this? Good question.

Gail Bending, Channel 13's news director, said the station got the information about the same time it was disseminated by the Orioles and dispatched weekend anchor Chris Ely to the news conference.

Bending said Channel 13 ran a crawl as the announcement was made and got Regan on its early news Sunday and again with Flanagan last night, but didn't break into its programming Sunday because the station didn't send a transmission truck that would have allowed it to carry the news conference live.

"We got the information out, but we missed an opportunity that I wish we hadn't missed, because we weren't set up to do it," Bending said.

Warring factions

As Nancy Kerrigan walked into a CBS studio in New York yesterday to promote a two-day, prime-time, team skating competition, she said she was a little surprised to see the words "Ice Wars" attached to the title of the program.

"I thought it was just going to be 'The United States Against the World.' I didn't know that it was 'Ice Wars' until I walked in here," Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan was whacked on the knee during the 1994 U.S. championships and is just a little leery of something with "war" in its title.

"Just because of some of the things that have happened to me, it is a little much," Kerrigan said.

The program airs Nov. 9 and 12 on CBS.

Negro leagues special

ESPN's usually brilliant "Outside the Lines" documentary series returns tonight with a historical look at Negro leagues baseball, titled "A League Second to None," airing at 7:30 p.m.

The special, with host Bob Ley and featuring contributions from Robin Roberts, includes features on Negro league players, such as Baltimore's Leon Day, whose statistics are comparable to members of the Hall of Fame, but are still not enshrined.

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