Sunday, July 29, 2001

Sports on TV-Radio


Great Outdoors Games a big project

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tina Thorton knows television. She had to learn something about Big Air Dogs and Bass Fishing and Timber Events. Thorton, a graduate of Fairfield High School, is the coordinating producer of the Great Outdoor Games. That means she is responsible for turning countless hours of tape into 40 hours of coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

        Three segments air today: 1:30 p.m. on ABC (Channel 9); 2:30 p.m. on ESPN; and 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

        “We expect really big things,” Thorton said. “We think we can grow it like the X Games. We're trying to have an outdoor version of Tony Hawk.”

        Hawk is the skateboarder who came into prominence largely through the X Games. The Great Outdoor Games is similar to the X Games in that it is an ESPN-created event.

        The games were held in Lake Placid, N.Y., and ended 12 days ago. Thorton and her crew then holed up in Indianapolis to edit all the tape into one-hour shows.

        “We had a 10-day turnaround this year,” she said. “Last year, it was four days. That was really difficult. The extra time will help us a bunch.”

        Still, it was a huge task. They had 250 tapes of bass fishing alone.

        “We try to develop story lines,” Thorton said. “Good production is good production.”

        Thorton, at 29, is a rising star at ESPN. Last year's Great Outdoor Games was her first big project. She had done arena football and volleyball before.

        She'll also do the BASS Masters Classic, fishing tournament, which will air Aug. 2-4.

        Her next big project after that is the women's NCAA basketball tournament.

        Thorton started at ESPN as a production assistant two months after graduating from Wake Forest in 1993. A year later, she was promoted to associate producer.

        From there, she went straight to coordinating producer. Thorton oversees the entire production. She is responsible for hiring, budgets and contracts. The usual route is to spend some time as a producer.

        “The management side interested me more,” she said.

        SOLLY BACK TO 5: Solomon Wilcots will return to Channel 5 as a part-time sports reporter/anchor. Wilcots recently jumped from ESPN to CBS, where he'll work as an analyst on NFL games. Wilcots had worked as the sports weekend anchor at Channel 5 before going to ESPN.

        “Who wouldn't want Solomon?” Channel 5 news director Ken Jobe said. “We knew he'd go far the last time he was here.”

        Channel 12, which has been operating with two on-air people for more than two years, missed an opportunity here. Wilcots would have been perfect for cross promotion with 12's NFL package.

        ROSS TO XU: Betsy Ross, the former Channel 5 news anchor now at ESPN, will be the radio play-by-play person for Xavier women's basketball this season.

        XU has a new package of 12 games, plus postseason, that will air on WVXU-FM (91.7).

        YOUNG AT ESPN: Steve Young, the former San Francisco 49ers great, will be a regular this season on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. Young was an occasional contributor to the show last season.

        NO BROO: WBOB-AM (1160) has changed its lineup. Out is Ken Broo's morning show. In is Game Day Cincinnati from 4 to 6 p.m.

        Greg Waddell, who had been Broo's sidekick, will host Game Day.

        ESPN 1160 did not show up in the latest Arbitron ratings.

        E-mail jfay@enquirer.com
       

       



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