Good times are rolling for former 45 cameraman

ON THE AIR

October 31, 1994|By MILTON KENT

Short of hitting the Lotto, things couldn't be going much better for Kevin Frazier.

In the past 14 months, the Columbia native has gotten married, landed a sportscasting job in a major media market and done analysis for one of the nation's most prominent basketball programs.

The good times keep rolling for Frazier, who is getting national exposure as a reporter for Fox's NFL coverage.

"It's been one of those years. I can't say, 'Thank goodness' enough. I must be the luckiest man in America," said Frazier, 30.

Frazier, the sideline reporter for Fox's No. 2 announcing team of Dick Stockton and Matt Millen, has made a habit of being in the right place at the right time.

While working in Charleston, S.C., as a cameraman, Frazier caught the attention of the station's news director, Mark Pimentel, who brought Frazier to Baltimore when he started up Channel 45's new 10 o'clock news operation.

Frazier, the son of former Morgan State men's basketball coach Nat Frazier, worked as a cameraman and occasional on-air contributor in the sports department at Channel 45, but got a call from the Fox and NBC stations in Cincinnati about openings there.

Frazier postponed his honeymoon, then negotiated by phone while in Jamaica on his honeymoon, deciding on the weekend slot with WXIX, the Fox station in Cincinnati, where he has been for the past 14 months.

Then, last fall, Derrick Dickey left the analyst post on University of Cincinnati basketball broadcasts on WXIX. Frazier took over for Dickey, teaming with play-by-play men Thom Brennaman and Joe Buck, who talked him up when each met with Fox officials for similar jobs on the network's NFL coverage.

Frazier knew nothing about this, nor about the WXIX general manager's sending tapes of his work to George Krieger, Fox Sports' executive vice president.

"After the deal was pretty much worked out, then I found out," said Frazier. "My agent was telling me to call this guy George Krieger. I was like, 'Who is he?' My agent said, 'He happens to be the No. 2 guy at Fox Sports.' I said, 'OK, I will call him right now.' "

Frazier fulfills his WXIX duties on Friday and Saturday nights, flies into whichever city Stockton and Millen are on game day and goes to work, returning to Cincinnati in time for the Sunday show.

Because Fox doesn't place as much emphasis on sideline reporting as, say, NBC or TNT, Frazier, who worked the sidelines at Riverfront Stadium yesterday for the Dallas-Cincinnati game, has appeared on the air only twice.

But Frazier isn't complaining.

"Look, this is an incredible opportunity. The whole thing is a mind-blowing experience. The ramifications of the whole situation have not sunken in," said Frazier.

There's no place like . . .

What exactly is the benefit of taking ESPN's "College GameDay" out to the site of big games, such as Saturday's Nebraska-Colorado showdown, especially when the games in question aren't on the network?

Is it to see if Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Craig James can shout over drunken, rowdy college students? Is it to make the weekly hookup with Beano Cook that much more difficult? Or is it just for the frequent-flier points?

It would be far nicer for the viewer if the gang kept it closer to the Bristol, Conn., studios.

Recovering

One of the most interesting aspects of CBS' six-year deal to carry the Cotton Bowl is that the network won't pay a penny in rights fees.

The deal is just part of CBS' bid to bounce back after a series of setbacks, including the loss of the NFL, NBA and baseball, through the acquisition of college properties.

When the Cotton Bowl returns to CBS on Jan. 1, 1996, after three years on NBC, the responsibility for cameras, production trucks and other technical aspects of the broadcast, as well as selling the commercial time, will fall not on CBS, but on Liberty Sports, a syndicator/packager.

After CBS passed on the Gator Bowl, when it failed to land one of the three spots in the forthcoming Bowl Alliance, as well as the Citrus Bowl, Liberty approached the network with an offer to pay $800,000 for the air time to carry the Cotton Bowl, which also failed to gain a slot in the alliance.

CBS, which will provide the director, producers and announcers, gets a lead-in to its Orange and Fiesta bowls -- which could produce national championship contests in four of the six years of the Bowl Alliance -- for nothing.

"Without Liberty, there's no deal here," said Len DeLuca, vice president of programming for CBS Sports.

By DeLuca's reckoning, CBS, which acquired the rights to Southeastern and Big East regular-season games, as well as the Army-Navy game and three bowl games, will pay $55 million for its package.

Meanwhile, ABC will pay $72.5 million for Big Ten, Pac-10, ACC and Big 12 regular-season games, the SEC championship and the Rose, Sugar and Citrus bowls.

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