This is a subject that oddly enough I had been giving some thought to due to some issues I have with the way the current group covers our local teams.
Now there will be those who will suggest that I have a desire to have what would be called a "homer" point of view covering our local sports but this is far from the truth.
You see I was brought up with the likes Warner Wolf, Glenn Brenner, Shirley Povich, and saw the rise of George Micheal and his Sports Machine. All three of these guys covered local sports in it's totality. Good, Bad, or Ugly, it did not matter.
Warner Wolf is considered by some the best sportscaster in DC history. He grew up locally attending Calvin Coolidge HS. He began as a radio broadcaster in the 1960's in Kentucky doing news, weather, and sports. He then move on to a job in West Virginia before landing at WTOP-AM radio in Washington DC and then WTOP-TV in 1965.
While at WTOP-TV (now WUSA-9) he became a very popular sports anchor and also did play-by-play of local basketball, football and baseball. He then moved on to a network job with ABC doing some work on Monday Night Baseball and the Olympics getting mixed reviews. He then returned to DC and WTOP to replace Glenn Brenner.
Glenn Brenner had a short but very popular career in Washington before his passing in 1992 His quick wit and comedic delivery and his sharp personality won over almost everyone in Washington.
George Micheal took the vocation of sports anchor to a new level. This disc-jockey turned sports anchor had an incredible run from 1984-2007 with his Sports Machine produced at WRC-TV where he covered everything from the NFL to Jack Russell Terrier races.
I used these three as an example because though they used there own brands of showmanship and bravado they covered every aspect of local sports thoroughly and without bias.
The new breed of Washington sports coverage is more sports-talk radio based than anything The local television news stations seem to have a revolving door of sports anchors. None seeming to be around more than a year if that long.
So Washington DC sports fans are left with tidbits on ESPN or a local radio station formerly known as WTEM-980 AM. Now known as ESPN-980 due to it's recent affiliation with ESPN.
"ESPN 980" is the home of The Sports Reporters with Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, The Doc Walker Show with Kevin Sheehan and The John Thompson Show with Al Koeken and former Redskin Brian Mitchell. Its studios also host Fox Sports Radio's weekday morning shows. and most recently "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd and Mike & Mike in the Morning.
The former covering the full slate of local sports to a adequate lineup of national coverage. The latter "The Herd" as it's known and Mike & Mike are mostly ESPN's national roundup.
There is a very noticeable difference in the two groupings I have used. Even with ESPN's vast network of resources at there disposal the local sports coverage has become a lineup of opinionated rants with sports news used as the ammunition.
The use of local sports celebraties John Thompson, Rick Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell draws on the memories of past success of local teams There has been a serious lack of such as the local teams have been mediocre at best in recent years.
These futile seasons have been the fuel for the fire for the sports talk radio rants. If given the same circumstances the former group while using there own style and catch phrases yes would report the facts and give the background information a teams fans wants to hear.
It is a great loss that today's local sports fans are missing out on the style and substance that was brought to our local sports by the likes of Wolf and Micheals. They did it the old-fashioned way by doing the leg work forming relationships with the people on the teams.
This resulted in the ability to get reliable information from solid sources. Because there was no fear of sensationalism or as my father would say "yeast being added to the story."
It has become more of a confrontation than a relationship like it used to be. You hear statements about the so called veil of secrecy around Redskin Park ( which I'll admit seems to exist). But when they are given an actual statements they are bantered back and forth from every possible angle. The show host say "this is what we do to attract listeners"
Is that what it is all about now? How do we as fans to know what is fact and what is a ploy to attract listeners? I for one do not have some fictional image of my favorite teams that I need my local sportscasters to validate.
I want the real deal if they are bad tell me there bad and why. Give me some Ideas and information to back it up on what they can and should do to improve. If you want people to feel comfortable enough to sit down and tell you whats going on. They have to trust what your motives are. And if they don't trust you than whose fault is that?
They are victims of there own motives and as Mr. Wolf used to say "that gets you the Boo of the Week!"
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