After a spin around dials, time to channel opinions

ON MEDIA

June 30, 2006|By RAY FRAGER

Normally, I don't do impressions - though I have a colleague who does a great one of Kimmie Meissner in her "Eat fresh" commercial - but today seems like a good day to run through some:

One of the best things about ESPN's NBA draft presentation Wednesday night was the way the more modulated approaches of the other commentators made Stephen A. Smith's spirited style go down easier. Smith could say of the Portland Trail Blazers' multi-move performance: "At the moment, it appears absolutely inept." Greg Anthony could agree with: "They made moves that didn't have to be made to get players they would have gotten anyway."

Maybe it was my imagination, but did Dick Vitale not appear until after the first Duke player was chosen?

And maybe it was my eyes, but wasn't Dan Patrick wearing way too much makeup?

CBS' Lesley Visser yesterday was named as this year's recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. The Hall gives the award for longtime contributions while working in the medium. As a TV and print reporter combined, Visser has covered the NFL for 33 years. CBS says she is the first woman to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For some reason, Tommy Smyth's brogue seems to lend his World Cup analysis on ESPN a certain air of authority. Just don't ask me to repeat anything he has said.

And speaking of World Cup commentators, doesn't Giorgio Chinaglia look like he could be Chris Berman's older brother?

Judging from some e-mails I receive, many of you feel Jim Palmer spends too much time during Orioles telecasts talking about himself. In the right doses, however - and it could be that I'm spending more time flipping the channels during games than some of you - Palmer's asides about facing the likes of Gates Brown and Oscar Gamble are a pleasant diversion. Maybe it is just that he is taking us back to a time in baseball when the only thing that seemed to be juiced was Gamble's hair.

A suggestion for ESPN: more Mark Schlereth, less Sean Salisbury.

You want only a short sports fix in the morning? Will Selva on Headline News' Robin & Co.

Uh-oh, that previous item was positively Larry King-esque. You say sandwich, I say pastrami.

I'm not much for sideline reporters, but Bonnie Bernstein is back at ESPN. According to the Los Angeles Times, a spot opened when Sam Ryan left for a job with a New York station.

Now, I've never worked in public relations, so maybe I just don't get this. A PR representative for the Orioles' Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, still embroiled in a dispute with Comcast, sent out a link to the video clip of a Comcast employee who fell asleep on a customer's couch during a service call. What was it Ron Burgundy said in Anchorman? Stay classy.

Along with its wearing white mandate, Wimbledon continues with a much more serious anachronism of not paying equal prize money to men and women. Part of the specious argument has been that the men play best-of-five sets and the women play best-of-three. NBC's Mary Carillo pointed out during a conference call this week that last year's women's final was 45 minutes longer than the men's.

If Anita Marks of WJFK (1300 AM) needs a model for the way to combine local with national focus, she could do worse than to listen to Bob Haynie on WNST (1570 AM). A regular listener to his show won't feel shortchanged.

Patrick and Keith Olbermann hurled crude insults at Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. - he moved the team from Hartford, Conn. - last week on Patrick's ESPN Radio show, and published reports raised the possibility ESPN management could have disciplined them in some way. It's unfortunate that the pair - normally such an engaging listen - lowered themselves to name-calling.

That whole Barry Bonds "reality" thing didn't go too well, so now ESPN is trying again, with ESPNU Summer House. Six top college football recruits will be living together in a house in Chicago, overseen by "House Dad" Chris Spielman. The six will compete to be named "Big Man on Campus." The series airs on ESPN2 Wednesdays at midnight, starting July 26. (For those who get ESPNU, it will be televised Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.)

ray.frager@baltsun.com

Read Ray Frager's blog at baltimoresun.com/mediumwell

TV HIGHLIGHTS

Golf: Maybe you just caught your breath from the LPGA Championship in Havre de Grace, but the next women's major is this weekend. NBC has the last three rounds of the U.S. Women's Open tomorrow and Sunday (3 p.m., WBAL/Channel 11 and WRC/Channel 4). And don't think that Johnny Miller is ready to turn the hype on Michelle Wie, who he says "has more shots than anyone in golf other than Tiger [Woods] or Phil [Mickelson]."

Cycling: The Tour de France kicks off - rolls off? - tomorrow morning at 8 on OLN. Daily live coverage generally will run each morning from 8:30 to 11:30.

Baseball: Who's coming to Pittsburgh for the All-Star Game? ESPN has the announcement Sunday at 7 p.m.

[Compiled by Ray Frager]

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