Sunday, August 06, 2000

SPORTS ON TV-RADIO


Johansen passes first test

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Clear Channel and the Bengals took a chance when they put Brad Johansen behind the microphone as the radio play-by-play man on Bengals broadcasts.

        If Johansen weren't the sports director at Channel 12, which Clear Channel owns, he wouldn't have gotten a second look for the job. That's how little play-by-play experience he has.

        But Johansen acquitted himself well on his first night on the job. His call of the Bengals-Buffalo Bills game was crisp and clean with no major faux pas.

        Johansen has done the Bengals preseason games on Channel 12 for the last two years. Radio is a different animal, but Johansen's transition was seamless.

        He and partner Dave Lapham meshed well. They didn't step on one another's words. Johansen left most of the football analysis to Lapham, a holdover from last year when games were on WBOB-AM (1160) and WUBE-FM (105.1).

        Johansen got the play-by-play gig when the games moved to Clear Channel's WCKY-AM (1360) and WOFX-FM (92.5).

        Johansen had a tendency to go overboard on calls when he did the games on 12. There was none of that Friday. There was excitement in his voice when it was warranted. But he didn't scream or cheer.

        He stuck mostly to the basics. He was excellent at keeping listeners aware of the down, the distance, the time remaining and the score. He also criticized when warranted:

        • “(Craig) Yeast just dropped that ball.”

        • “If the Bengals wanted to show something off the bat, that wasn't it.”

        NO BRUCE: Channel 12 and Bengals coach Bruce Coslet have some things to work out. Coslet politely refused to do a sit-down interview with Johansen for the pregame show this week.

        Coslet was paid well by Channel 9 to do a weekly show the last three years. Apparently, he is not getting paid this year.

        A source said Coslet is hopeful about getting something worked out before next week's game.

        IN FOR BENCH: Chris Welsh will be Marty Brennaman's new partner on the daily baseball show at 7:55a.m. on WLW-AM (700). Welsh takes over for Johnny Bench, Brennaman's old partner on Brennaman and Bench on Baseball.

        Bench quit the show in protest over the way he was treated by WLW's talk show hosts. Brennaman did a week's worth of shows without Bench. The station hoped Bench would return, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen now.

        Brennaman and Welsh should get into some lively conversations. The two often debated when they did Reds television together.

        “It'll be good,” Brennaman said. “We'll go at it.”

        SCOOP FOR DJ: Channel 9's Denny Janson was the first to report that Bob Huggins was staying at the University of Cincinnati.

        “I had been talking to Bob's people all day,” Janson said. “He finally called back at 10:30, 10:45.”

        That was just in time for Channel 9 to lead its 11 p.m. news with it.

        ONE WEEK DOWN: Fox Sports Net delivered a good first week of shows on its Regional Sports Report.

        The half-hour shows were exclusively regional every night on the three nights I watched. The look inside the newly renovated Ohio Stadium on Wednesday night was an example of the kind of local feature FSN can deliver.

        Two minor complaints: Co-anchor Damon Andrews tries a little too hard to be funny at times, and there were mistakes Wednesday in two graphics. Co-anchor Dan DeCrow corrected one verbally.

        One major complaint: If someone had been monitoring Channel 9, FSN could have reported by the end of Monday's broadcast that Huggins was staying at UC. FSN led with Huggins still mulling the decision.

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

       



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