Sunday, March 25, 2001

Sports on TV-Radio

WLW pulls off Reds coup

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Andy Furman had Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin on SportsTalk Thursday night. He followed it with John Allen and Jim Bowden on Friday night.

        So can we expect Carl Lindner on Monday? Probably not. But Furman wrapped up a great week in Sarasota, Fla.

        Griffey and Larkin don't do a lot of talk radio, so to get both on the same night is huge.

        “Barry said he'd do it if Junior did,” Furman said. “Junior said he'd do it if Barry did.”

        Furman wasn't sure he'd get them until Griffey and Larkin walked into Beef O'Brady's, where they were doing the show.

        “Barry said, "Let's get it on,' ” Furman said. “It was good.”

        WLW-AM (700) made a smart move by going from 7 to 7:40 p.m. commercial-free to take advantage of the the coup.

        Credit goes to Bill “Seg” Dennison. Seg is best known for being Bill Cunningham's straightman and his auto racing show, but healso works the Reds clubhouse after every game. So he's invaluable at pulling guests.

        “We asked (Griffey and Larkin) for four days,” Dennison said. “They finally showed up.”

        Dmitri Young and Pokey Reese, who were there as backups, were pushed back to 7:40 to 8 p.m. Pete Harnisch and Danny Graves went from 8 to 9 p.m.

        Six stars for one night — not bad.

        “The best thing is it's a great resume tape,” Furman said. “Now, I can get another job.”

        He was kidding, but he'll have a hard time topping Thursday's show on WLW — unless he gets Lindner.

        MISSING DATES: There are two dates missing from the Reds lineup on Fox Sports Net that would have been nice to have: Friday, April 6, in Milwaukee, and Monday, April 9, in Pittsburgh.

        The Reds play the first game in Milwaukee's Miller Park and the first game in PNC Park in Pittsburgh on those dates.

        FSN RATES: Fox Sports Net is getting huge numbers in Cincinnati with its NASCAR shows. NASCAR This Morning has averaged a 1.17 rating in Cincinnati. That's No.3 nationally. NASCAR Victory Lane is averaging 1.67 in Cincinnati. That's second nationally (to Charlotte, N.C.).

        IN FOR RICK: CBS had a pretty good idea Rick Pitino might bolt before his duties with NCAA Tournament coverage were up.

        “Rick warned us,” CBS executive producer Terry Ewert said.

        CBS has added Bill Walton to the studio lineup for the Final Four. Billy Packer will work in the studio today.

        “We're in the process of adding a coach for the Final Four,” Ewert said.

        ROOTING FOR UK: CBS was nearly as disappointed as Kentucky fans that Southern Cal upset UK, derailing a Duke-UK regional final in Philadelphia. Duke-UK in the 1992 regional final in Philadelphia may have been the best college game ever.

        “Obviously Duke-Kentucky would have been big for us,” said CBS Sports president Sean McManus. “But even after paying $6 billion (for the NCAA rights), they don't let us set the games.”

        The absence of ideal matchups probably means CBS won't be able to match its ratings from last year.

        MORE CBS: CBS extended the Greg Gumbel's contract for three more years.

        “I've never been happier,” Gumbel said. “There are a lot of sportscasters who would give their right arm to do NFL football, the Final Four and the College World Series.”

        FISH: Paul “The Fish” Sturgeon filling in for Lance McAlister on WCKY-AM (1360) last week made me wonder why someone as talented as Sturgeon isn't on the air on a regular basis.

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