Monday, February 22, 1999


Message to Fox Sports Net: Check the map

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If you watched HBO's Real Sports report on the Fox-ESPN battle, you saw Fox Sports czar David Hill declaring that Fox was a local, regional network and ESPN was a national network.

        Then, David, why in the name of Rupert Murdoch did Fox Sports Ohio show 25 minutes of the Roger Clemens introductory news conference with the New York Yankees, instead of the Miami-Bowling Green game?

        The Clemens news conference wasn't even breaking news. A short summary of the the Rocket's revealing remarks: “It's great to be a Yankee. They're a good team. It's going to be fun to play there.”

        Fox Sports Ohio General Manager Steve Liverani said FSO had no choice in the matter.

        “We, as an affiliate, have to honor the request of the network to take a feed when there's breaking news,” he said. “But my question to people in Los Angeles is: Did they have to stay with it so long? A half hour seems a little excessive to me.

        “We had a game with a lot of regional interest versus something that was very much specific to New York.”

        Liverani says when Fox Sports Net decides to break in the same rules apply as would when ABC, for example, wanted to run a news bulletin during a Xavier game.

        The problem here was the Clemens thing had no news value, certainly not 25 minutes worth. If it were an announcement that he had been traded, that would be different.

        Liverani said he'll appeal to the Fox people to give Fox Sports Ohio an out in the future.

        By the way, what was the national network, ESPN, showing during the Clemens news conference? The Xavier-Massachusetts game, which I promptly switched to.

        A RANT: Dave from Fairfield phoned in with this cheery message: “Fay, stop giving Fish and Amazon a free ride. They have no sources. They just have opinions. These guys (stink). How original can you be when you talk UC, Bengals, Reds all day long? There isn't an original thought after maybe 11:30.”

        That came in response to an item about Paul Sturgeon, a.k.a. The Fish, of WBOB. Dave, not wanting to leave anyone out, ripped Sturgeon's competition Marc Amazon of 1360 HOMER and me.

        Dave, radio talkers basically are at the mercy of the callers. When people call about UC, you talk UC.

        Both Sturgeon and Amazon are well-versed in national topics, but Cincinnati people like to talk Cincinnati sports.

        Frankly, I feel for the guys hosting these shows. After awhile that UK-UC debate and talk about what the Bengals need to do to get better is a little like pounding your head against the wall.

        NO GUSHING FOR GORDON: It seems to me that the dislike for Jeff Gordon extends to the TV booth. Sunday during the TNN broadcast of the Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 — love those short, catchy names for races — every time Gordon would be about to lap someone, Buddy Baker would say: “He's not going to get around that old boy. He's a race driver.”

        Baker would finish his commentary just as Gordon sped past the driver Baker was gushing about.

        GOLF, NOT WAR: CBS got a break with Tiger Woods, the ratings giant, atop the leader board for the Nissan Open. But why does Jim Nantz have to make the start of every golf tournament sound as if it's as big as D-Day?


        John Fay covers radio/TV sports for The Enquirer. He can be reached at 768-8445.


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