For Channel 2, a tip of the hat for enlightened view on locals

Media Watch

September 03, 1998|By MILTON KENT

In an era when big and glitzy rules the roost in television, it's interesting to find someone willing to try small and has the patience to build a nest that is sturdy, if not so showy.

That seems to be Channel 2's thinking in creating a series of telecasts involving local college teams in a number of sports, including tonight's Morgan-Towson football game from Minnegan Stadium at 8.

The series began last November with a telecast of the Towson-Michigan men's basketball game, and continued last spring with the airing of three lacrosse games.

Channel 2 general manager Steve Gigliotti said the idea for going more intensely local was a twofold one.

First, because Channel 2 was unable to get Orioles rights, and was out of the game for Ravens telecasts because it is an ABC affiliate, Gigliotti, a Philadelphia native, wanted to bring a piece of the local action to the station a la Philadelphia's Big Five college basketball teams.

Second, Gigliotti thought that getting some games would boost the morale of the station's cameramen, who had shot Orioles games in the 1980s, when Channel 2 had the contract.

The schools and programs involved have gotten much more attention than they otherwise might have expected, and Channel 2 engendered a fair amount of community goodwill, not to mention a franchise it can call its own.

There was also an unexpected ratings benefit. The basketball game pulled in a 13 rating in the coveted 18-34 adult male demographic, the highest rating in that category among any program during the November sweeps.

"I'm not a religious man, but I have enough religion in me to think that, sometimes, if you do the right things, good things will happen to you," said Gigliotti.

As for tonight, Gigliotti said Channel 2 will be "lucky" to break even on the game, because the cost of televising football is substantially higher than for other sports, but that doesn't matter.

"We might not make a lot of money on this, but the important thing is that we're showing a game between two longtime rivals that haven't played each other a lot. The players and coaches are excited, and we're excited to carry it," said Gigliotti.

Scott Garceau, Channel 2's sports director, will call the action, with weekend sports anchor Keith Mills doing color.

Three more on the mark

Fox has added potentially three more TV games to the Roger Maris chase. Assuming St. Louis' Mark McGwire has 60 or 61 home runs through Saturday, Fox will carry Sunday's Cincinnati-St. Louis game at 4 p.m. In addition, should either McGwire or the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa reach 60 or 61 homers through Monday, Fox would carry the Cardinals-Cubs game Tuesday night at 8.

Finally, no matter how many home runs Sosa accumulates, the network has added Sept. 12's Milwaukee-Cubs game to its schedule.

Preparing for kickoff

John Buren and Marty Bass will be hosts of a 30-minute Ravens preview special, "Touchdown Baltimore," tonight at 7: 30 on Channel 13, with scheduled interviews with team owner Art Modell, coach Ted Marchibroda and selected players, as well as a tour of the new stadium and a special look at the giant scoreboard therein. The show re-airs Friday night at 1: 07 a.m.

Also, Channel 13 news anchor Denise Koch will begin a seven-part series called "Football 101" on the 6 p.m. news. Koch will talk with players and coaches to explain the game to the viewers, with her first interview this week with Ozzie Newsome, Ravens director of player personnel.

By the way, Ravens preseason ratings this year were more than double last year's numbers. The four games that aired on Channel 13 drew a 12.0 rating and a 22 share, up from the 5.2/10 for the four games on Channel 45 last year.

The 'Inside' game

HBO's "Inside the NFL" returns for its 22nd season, starting tonight at 11, with re-airs on Fridays at 7 p.m. and on Saturdays at 11 a.m.

The show features hosts Len Dawson, former Kansas City quarterback, and former Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, along with analysts Cris Collinsworth and the comic relief that is Jerry Glanville. This week's show will look back at last season, with an extended examination of Denver's Super Bowl win over Green Bay.

Week's ratings

The ratings for the top 10 most-watched sporting events on broadcast television in Baltimore last week:

Event, Day, Ch., R/S

Ravens-Giants, Fri., 13, 9.9/17

O's-W. Sox, Thu., 13, 9.0/14

O's-Royals, Sat., 13, 8.6/18

O's-Royals, Sun., 13, 8.4/19

Ravens pre-game, Fri., 13, 7.9/15

FSU-Tex. A&M, Mon., 2, 6.2/10

Golf, Sun., 13 5.5/12

Little League, Sat., 2, 4.5/11

WNBA finals, Sat., 11, 3.1/8

U.S. Amateur, Sat., 11, 3.0/8

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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