HTS has right angle on coverage


March 06, 1995|By MILTON KENT

ROCK HILL, S.C. — ROCK HILL, S.C -- For the past nine weeks, Home Team Sports producer Joan O'Brien and director Tim Walbert have been cruising up and down Tobacco Road, bringing Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball into your homes. Admittedly, ACC women's basketball isn't the highest-profile HTC sport, even on the channel you cheer for, but O'Brien and Walbert have approached the game with the same intensity and professionalism that HTS has brought to its award-winning Orioles coverage.

"No, you don't have Alonzo Mourning against Shaquille O'Neal, but you do see better playmaking and some really talented athletes here. The game has come a long way in the last five years," said Walbert.

The HTS crew, which telecasts Sunday afternoon and Monday night ACC games, works with four cameras, including two at floor level to capture more of the flavor of the women's game.

"There's no vertical in it. It's all horizontal, and we are able to incorporate that with the floor angles, which I think really add to the telecast," said O'Brien.

Indeed, one HTS floor angle from this weekend repeatedly made the rounds on the sports highlight shows. It was the baseline-angle shot of Duke guard Kira Orr making a mad -- for the basket with time running out at the end of overtime in Saturday's semifinal with Virginia. With the Blue Devils trailing by one with six seconds left, Orr charged up the floor, spun at half-court, then tossed a one-handed flip that settled in the basket as the buzzer sounded, giving Duke an upset win.

HTS' baseline shot, which showed the light on the basket support that is wired into the scoreboard clock, showed that Orr's shot was launched before the light went on, making the basket good.

"There's no doubt about that shot. It was definitely good, and we had it," said Walbert.

Taking a Holliday

Johnny Holliday, the longtime Maryland radio play-by-play man, had been under consideration to do play-by-play for the expansion Carolina Panthers, but he has politely said, thanks, but no thanks.

The reason: The Panthers, who open play in the NFL next September, wanted Holliday to leave his home in Montgomery County and move to Charlotte, N.C., the team's base of operations.

"I was very flattered that they asked, but with all I have to do with Maryland and the other things, plus the fact that my family and I have lived in Maryland for many, many years, made it a real tough go, and I had to bow out," said Holliday.

But that doesn't mean that Holliday is looking to take it easy. If anything, the 16-year veteran of Maryland broadcasts, who also does daily ABC radio reports as well as his HTS work, is looking to broaden his portfolio by adding ESPN or Jefferson-Pilot television games.

"I think they think that I'm too closely identified with Maryland, but I'd certainly like the opportunity," said Holliday.

Big Hoop Brother is watching

The NBA has signed a five-year deal with Nielsen, the ratings people, to receive national and local television audience information. Through the deal, announced late last week, the NBA will receive customized marketing data on broadcast and cable TV, on a national and team-by-team basis.

The Nielsen information will not only allow the league to know which age groups are watching its games, but also give it breakdowns on demographics and consumer attitudes, as well as tell it which visiting teams and players get the biggest audiences.

Twelve NBA teams already get information from Nielsen, which is reportedly talking to the NHL, NFL and the NCAA about similar service.

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