Wednesday, January 31, 2007

According to Frank..

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Read more by Jim Williams
Jan 31, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 8 of 16,073 articles

WASHINGTON - When I spoke to Frank Robinson earlier this week he was very excited about his part-time role as “special analyst” for ESPN to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

Robinson will provide insight for a variety of studio programs including “SportsCenter,” “Baseball Tonight,” “Cold Pizza” and ESPNEWS. He will also work as an analyst in the booth during select Spring Training telecasts, appear on ESPN Radio shows and chat on Robinson’s stint with ESPN ends April 15th.

As always, talking to Frank was a learning experience. Here are some highlights:

» Robinson on his new role with ESPN: “My goal is to inform people of the significance of Jackie’s accomplishment. Had he not broken the color barrier in 1947, we have no idea how long it would have taken for a black man to play in the major leagues. His role in baseball history has impacted every person of color — black, Hispanic or Asian — that has played this game since Jackie came on the scene in 1947.

Some players today do understand how important Jackie was to baseball, but there are a large number that don’t have a clue about his significance and we hope that through our efforts we can educate them along with the fans.”

» Robinson on the problems he faced early in his career and his time in Baltimore: “It was pretty rough as a kid in the minors in some towns and, of course, in the South. Later in my career, when I was traded to Baltimore, things were much different.

I did have trouble buying my first house but that was an isolated incident. By far the people of Baltimore were great to me and my family and we have many fond memories of our days there.”

» On managing in Washington: “I had two great years in Washington, they were fun years. The fans were wonderful to me and my family and there would be times when the team had lost a few games and I would be out having dinner and fans would come up to me and say how happy they were to have the team in town. I would say, ‘Hey, we just lost three games’ and they would say ‘Hey Frank, don’t worry. We love you and the team and we are just happy that you are here.’ My time in D.C. was just great and I am sorry that my stay ended so soon.”

» On returning to Washington for the planned ‘Frank Robinson Day’ this summer: “Right now, I really don’t know. I have been thinking very hard and long about it. I am really thinking about if it is the right thing for me to do. My wife is in real estate out here in Los Angeles and I need to see how her schedule works out, along with the rest of my family. I will give it some more thought and hopefully I will come to a decision soon and give Jim Bowden a call this week.”

» On his future in baseball: “First of all, I am very happy to be part of ESPN and all that they are doing to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. That will end in mid April, and then I would love to stay in baseball in some capacity either as a broadcaster or as a member of a front office. I still feel that I have plenty to offer an organization and I just love baseball.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Miami bound!
By: Jim Williams
The Examiner/Blog

The Super Bowl countdown has started and football fans will be happy to know that nationally and locally every possible outlet has the big game covered.

On the Washington TV side you will see reports from NBC4, FOX5, ABC7 and CBS9 all week long on the 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11pm newscasts.

Radio wise we have Sports Talk 980AM with The First Team on Fox featuring Steve Czaban, Scott Linn and the rest of the gang are at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas as part of FSR’s fan fest weekend. Meanwhile in Miami The Sports Reporters with Andy Pollin, The Brian Mitchell Show and the John Thompson Show are all on site on radio row.

WTEM and WBAL will air the game on Sunday.

Triple X ESPN will be doing the John Riggins Show Monday-Friday 4-7pm from Miami with all the regular ESPN radio programming live from the sunshine state.

MASN and ESPN 1300AM will be live all week from Miami as The Anita Marks Show 4 to7pm is on the road and it is one of only two local radio shows in the country that will be simulcast. The show can be seen not only in Baltimore but throughout the entire mid Atlantic region. It is a very ambitious and bold move for MASN showing area fans that they are indeed a big time regional sports network.

Also the ESPN 1300AM Mark and the Bulldog Show will have live reports from Miami.

WNST will be live from Miami all week starting with The Morning Show with Drew Forrester and Casey Willett 6am to 10am and there will be plenty of reports and live interviews on all the other programs throughout the day on 1570AM. The rest of the week 4pm till 6pm there is a special from Miami with Forester and Nasty live from Miami.

WBAL is Charm City’s radio home of Super Bowl 41 and sports director Steve Davis and Gerry Sandusky will have plenty on information on the big game.

CSN has a full compliment of reporters in Miami covering the happenings for their Road to Miami features as part of the all the SportsNite Shows.

CN8 will have the Out of Bounds gang reporting from Miami on both the 7pm and 11pm shows. The Out of Bounds team offered up some possible stupid questions:

Andy Pollin, Sportstalk 980:
For Lovie Smith...Have you ever mistakenly been listed in Who's Who among American Women?

Kevin Dupont, Boston Globe: ``So, Rex, with your name, clearly your parents must have been archaeologists or paleontologists....Can you tell us your favorite three scenes from the Original Jurassic Park?''

SIRIUS will have a huge contingent in Miami with total coverage 24/7 on NFL channel 124 and on Super Bowl Sunday they will offer the game in over five languages.

Of course ESPNEWS, ESPN and the NFL Network will have ever possible aspect of the pre game build up covered. They will cover all the official and UN official press conferences, parties and happening from the team camps and the South Beach hot spots. The two networks will offer over 150 hours of coverage from Miami.

CBS is headed for cross promotion as they will have...

Bob Schieffer will host FACE THE NATION from Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., on Super Bowl Sunday. Schieffer will be joined for the broadcast by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as Phil Simms, Jim Nantz and Dan Marino, who will cover Super Bowl XLI for CBS Sports.

Other cross promotions will be Special reports on THE SUPER BOWL TODAY will also include a feature from CBS News’ anchor of THE CBS EVENING NEWS Katie Couric, as well as live reports throughout the pre-game show and game by CBS Sports’ Randy Cross with American soldiers in Iraq. In addition, THE EARLY SHOW’s Hannah Storm will contribute to PHIL SIMMS ALL-IRON TEAM: DIFFERENCE MAKERS.

Following Super Bowl XLI, CBS Sports’ Nantz and Simms make a special appearance on CRIMINAL MINDS.

Monday, January 29, 2007


CBS is headed for cross promotion as they will have...

Bob Schieffer will host FACE THE NATION from Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., on Super Bowl Sunday. Schieffer will be joined for the broadcast by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as Phil Simms, Jim Nantz and Dan Marino, who will cover Super Bowl XLI for CBS Sports.

Other cross promotions will be Special reports on THE SUPER BOWL TODAY will also include a feature from CBS News’ anchor of THE CBS EVENING NEWS Katie Couric, as well as live reports throughout the pre-game show and game by CBS Sports’ Randy Cross with American soldiers in Iraq. In addition, THE EARLY SHOW’s Hannah Storm will contribute to PHIL SIMMS ALL-IRON TEAM: DIFFERENCE MAKERS.

Following Super Bowl XLI, CBS Sports’ Nantz and Simms make a special appearance on CRIMINAL MINDS.

Following is a preliminary schedule of pre-game programming on CBS 9...

12:00 Noon, ET: ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL – Edited from over 1000 miles of 16mm film, ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL highlights NFL head coaches and countless players outfitted with NFL Films microphones. The one-hour special features all of the fingertip catches, the diving goal-line plunges and lineman clashes from the 2006 season in NFL Films singular slow-motion cinematography.

1:00 PM, ET: PHIL SIMMS ALL-IRON TEAM: THE DIFFERENCE MAKERS—Throughout the 86 years of the NFL, thousands of players have represented the league, their teams and respective home cities. They have scored touchdowns, kicked field goals, made tackles, blocks and interceptions – but how many of those players made a difference? CBS Sports’ lead NFL analyst and former N.Y. Giants Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms, and his broadcast partner, Jim Nantz, host the selection of 12 players and one coach who best represent the qualities of Iron Men and Difference Makers. Also contributing to the show is THE EARLY SHOW’s Hannah Storm with a special interview of Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams. The All-Iron Team will consist of 12 players who made a difference in their team’s winning or losing a championship, as well as how the game is played today by redefining their position, turning around a franchise and raising a city’s hopes, and making a difference in their community by helping the less fortunate. [The All-Iron Trophy is an old fashioned iron emblematic of Simms’ obsession with ironing. According to his mother, as a child Phil pressed his football and baseball uniforms, and to this day remains committed to creases.]

2:00 PM, ET: THE SUPER BOWL TODAY—James Brown, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe anchor the Network’s pre-game show live from Dolphin Stadium in Miami previewing all the football and excitement leading up to Super Bowl XLI. Special features on the show include Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward, former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, special live reports from Randy Cross with American soldiers in Iraq, and more. Reporters Lesley Visser, Sam Ryan, along with Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots, as well as contributor Dick Enberg, will cover the pre-game activities. Other special contributors include CBS News’ anchor of THE CBS EVENING NEWS Katie Couric and THE EARLY SHOW’s Hannah Storm.

Immediately following Super Bowl XLI:

CRIMINAL MINDS—"The Big Game" – The BAU team is called in to investigate when a wealthy couple is murdered in their home following a Super Bowl party, on CRIMINAL MINDS, Sunday, Feb. 4 immediately following CBS Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl XLI. James van der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”) guest stars with cameo appearances by CBS Sports Announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.

LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON—THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON will broadcast its show live from Miami following Super Bowl XLI, Sunday, February 4 on the CBS Television Network immediately after the 11PM ET/PT local news. This will mark the first time that THE LATE LATE SHOW will go live outside its studio, on the road. The broadcast will emanate from The Colony Theater in Miami and will feature interviews with the players from the game and celebrities in town for the event.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Revealing your non-pigskin diet

Revealing your non-pigskin diet

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 27, 2007 3:00 AM (8 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 4 of 19,685 articles

WASHINGTON - Calm down, you knew this weekend was coming. It is the pro football-less window before the Super Bowl and you simply have to adjust your viewing habits and seek out alternative programming.

No problem. As a public service I have taken the time to do the research for you.

Let’s start with the Australian Open, first grand slam tennis event of the year, which can be found on ESPN2. Set your TiVo for the 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning start then watch it at your leisure. If you have yet to acquire a TiVo or DVR — and that’s another issue, entirely — you can see a replay of the men’s final at noon on Sunday.

» Tiger Woods and golf take center stage this weekend with the Buick Invitational from beautiful Torrey Pines Country Club in La Jolla, Calif. Early rounds are on the Golf Channel and CBS 9 has Saturday and Sunday action starting at 3 p.m.

» FOX 5 and SPEED have The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sportscar race. The start of the race is 1 p.m. Saturday on FOX 5. At 2:30 p.m. the action moves over to SPEED where they carry the race until 6 p.m. Primetime coverage runs from 8-11 p.m. Sunday morning they start bright and early at 6 and carry the rest of the race all the way to the finish at 2 p.m.

» For the litany of college hoops lovers in the area, Georgetown hosts Cincinnati on Saturday at noon on MASN. Later in the day, George Mason is James Madison at 2 on MASN. The Maryland women take on ACC rival North Carolina Sunday night at 7 on ESPN2.

» Alright, if the withdrawl is that painful, there is football on this weekend. The NFL Network will broadcast the Senior Bowl from Mobile, Ala. on Saturday at 4 p.m.

And yes, there will be plenty of Super Bowl stuff on the NFL Network all weekend. So take a deep breath and enjoy.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


Friday, January 26, 2007

TK is loyal, Thorne- MASN talking and Fernandez talks tennis

Few people can pull of the kind of show that Tony Kornheiser does. His mix of sports, pop culture, politics and humor has made him not just a local but a national star and it is on the radio that he excels as a communicator.

"Mr. Tony," is on WTWP because he in the end he is a very loyal guy. He could have gone back to WTEM where he has done all three of his other radio shows and has a huge suport staff that knows him. Or he could have taken a boat load of Dan Snyder's money and been on Triple X ESPN but WTWP a Post station needed him and so being a good company man he will be back February 20th.

His show will air Monday's - Friday's from 8:30am till 12:30pm.

“I’m thrilled to be back on the radio at WTWP AM and FM. I look forward to doing the show I have always done. It will be entertainment and sports based and be about the events of my life that day.” says Kornheiser.

Mr. Tony will have at least one co host and maybe more. According to Bonneville executives they just got the deal done and they will reach out to people that Tony is comfortable with to work with him on his show.

TK said it best himself “I’ve worked at The Washington Post for 30 years and the opportunity to join them in their new radio venture with Bonneville is a natural fit,” stated Kornheiser.

Welcome back TK you have been missed.

Thorne to MASN?

Garry Thorne wants to be the play by play voice of the MASN Baltimore Orioles. He is still under contract to ESPN but he wants the same kind of deal that network allowed Dave O'Brien to have with the Red Sox.

He would be joining an already full TV booth that features Buck Martinez, Jim Palmer,Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra. Both Hunter and Manfra already do radio so the move to add Thorne would not be too off the wall.

MASN and Thorne are still talking and both sides hope they can craft a deal but it will take some work. MASN would like to add Thorne to their O's telecasts to compliment the networks quality crew in Washington where Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton will be doing Nats games this year for the MASN.

Both sides are working to get a deal done soon but nothing is yet signed. MASN is also looking to hire a pre and post game staff complete with anchor and reporters. It will be a busy month for the network as they ramp up to do over 300 games as the rights holder to both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles

ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez talked to me about the Aussie Open Semi Final...

Maria Sharapova and the surprisingly resurgent Serena Williams will meet tonight for the Aussie Open title and here is what Fernandez thinks will happen.

“When these two play, it is all about the heart and the desire. They both go after every shot. You have to think Maria has the edge (because of Serena’s inactivity). On paper, it’s Maria Sharapova, but you can throw out the piece of paper when it comes down to Serena Williams. She’s proven she’s unpredictable. She wants it. She is getting in better shape. She’s playing better. Her serve has been phenomenal. Forget what’s supposed to happen.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Suppose they gave an All Star Game and no one cared?

By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

Well last night in Dallas the NHL had their annual All Star extravaganza. Perhaps you were one of the hundreds who tuned in? I did and it was a very entertaining game that saw the West defeat the East 12-9.

Local hero Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and it was fun to watch the wide open game.

Versus was home to the telecast and produced a top quality telecast. Something they have been doing week in and week out ever since they took over the contract from ESPN.

The question remains: Why have the game on Wednesday night? What about a more traditional slot like say Sunday on NBC?

This is the first non NFL weekend in almost 6 months with very little competition on the tube. The NHL and their partner NBC really missed a chance to shine on an almost empty stage.

I know having the game on Sunday would have put NBC up against Tiger Woods return to golf for the 2007 on CBS. But my goodness was return of Tiger such a daunting concept? You have to wonder just what the NHL was thinking having an All Star game on a Wednesday night during a ratings sweep.

On the sports side ESPN had college basketball and the Aussie Open up against the game.

Over on the networks they faced three of the top 20 shows on broadcast TV with CBS - Criminal Minds, FOX – American Idol and the NBC cash cow Deal or No Deal on up against the game.

Look for the NHL All Star numbers will be an all time low.

Keep that forward thinking up and next year the games will be on the Home Shopping Network.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tony Kornheiser to return to radio on WTWP

By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

Yesterday in this column I told you that Tony Kornheiser would return to radio on either WTEM or WTWP and that he would do so in February.

Well yesterday the winner of the “Mr. Tony Sweepstakes,” was WTWP-AM and FM and starting February 20th he will be back on the air on a station that will give him an audience that reaches from Pennsylvania to Virginia.

His return to radio was met with joy from Washington all the way up to Baltimore where fans called and emailed about Kornheiser’s return and how excited they were that he could be heard up the road in Charm City.

“The Tony Kornheiser Show” will air on 1500AM – 107.7FM live weekday mornings from 8:30 – 10:30, and will be rebroadcast daily from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (with the exception of the Politics Program airing Fridays at noon).

Few people can pull of the kind of show that Kornheiser does. His mix of sports, pop culture, politics and humor has made him not just a local but a national star and it is on the radio that he excels as a communicator.

If there is breaking news I can even see Kornheiser working along with other anchors and reporters to get to the bottom of the story. He proved on Monday Night Football that he still has his reporting skills.

On WTWP he will no doubt have access to an “A guest list.” He will draw from sports, politics and the news of the day. In short Tony will do the kind of show that he has always done.

Jim Farley, WTOP's vice president of news and programming told me “It’s a great fit. He'll be on two big signals, on a radio station with both news and sports resources have a much shorter commute and we'll buy bagels everyday. What's not to like?”

Kornheiser is one of ESPN’s most popular on-air personalities as co-host of Pardon the Interruption (PTI). He just finished his first season as an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Tony Kornheiser joined ESPN Radio in November 1997 as host of The Tony Kornheiser Show, which premiered in January of 1998. Previously, stated earlier his show aired on WTEM-AM here in D.C. He has also appeared frequently on ESPN’s Sunday-morning roundtable program, The Sports Reporters.

“I’m thrilled to be back on the radio at WTWP AM and FM. I look forward to doing the show I have always done. It will be entertainment and sports based and be about the events of my life that day.” says Kornheiser.

Mr. Tony will have at least one co host and maybe more. According to Bonneville executives they just got the deal done and they will reach out to people that Tony is comfortable with to work with him on his show.

One person that won’t be the co-host will be his long time radio partner WTEM Sports Director Andy Pollin. But I am sure that WTWP will find an ensemble cast that will fit both Tony’s personality as well as his comfort level.

The biggest reason that Kornheiser is at WTWP is his loyalty to his long time employer the Washington Post and yesterday he said it best himself “I’ve worked at The Washington Post for 30 years and the opportunity to join them in their new radio venture with Bonneville is a natural fit,” stated Kornheiser.

So as a long time fan of Kornheiser I wish him well at WTWP and I am sure his audience throughout the mid Atlantic is marking their calendars for February 20th.

Here is the new line up coming on WTWP - David Burd and Jessica Doyle mornings from 5:30 – 8:30, The Tony Kornheiser Show from 8:30am -12:30pm, Sam Litzinger from 12:30 – 3 pm, and Bob Kur and Hillary Howard from 3 – 7 pm.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Catching the area buzz

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Read more by Jim Williams
Jan 23, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 14,470 articles

WASHINGTON - What are people in our local sports media scene talking about these days? I’m glad you asked. After working the phones and chatting with sources, here are a few things to keep your eye on:

» Triple X ESPN has reeled in Tony Kornheiser.

Now that I have your attention, Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon will be heard every night at 7 p.m. and every morning at 5 a.m. as Triple X ESPN airs “Pardon the Interruption.”

Look for Kornheiser to be back on WTEM’s air by the first or second week of February. He will rejoin sidekick Andy Pollin in the morning block. How about 8-10 a.m. shift with “The Sports Reporters” following from 10-noon? That schedule is not locked down but makes the most sense.

» Word out of New York is that MASN’s Amber Theoharis is being courted by a major New York City TV station to be a weekend sports anchor and reporter. At this point, MASN wants her to be the in-game reporter on Orioles telecasts. The question is: Will MASN make Theoharis an offer she can’t refuse or will the lure of the Big Apple be too much?

» Speaking of MASN, the network will officially announce this week what we told you over three weeks ago: Former catcher Rick Dempsey will be a part of their pre- and postgame team for O’s games this season. MASN still needs an anchor and several field reporters to staff the shows. Look for the network to have a very busy January.

» Don’t look for CSN to hide during the summer. They will continue to give plenty of Nationals and Orioles coverage on all three of their newscasts at 6:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. The SportsNite gang is banking on the fact they have viewers accustomed to watching their high-quality news product and they can provide solid baseball coverage even if they don’t broadcast the games.

» Lastly, we wish a fond farewell to Sage Steele who has been a mainstay behind CSN’s desk. She is headed to ESPN as an anchor on ESPNEWS as well as SportsCenter. It is a well-deserved step up for Steele, who has proven to be a talented reporter and anchor.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

Things you need to know about local media ...

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Read more by Jim Williams
Jan 23, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 14,470 articles

BALTIMORE - Word out of New York City has Amber Theoharis in talks with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network about being an in-game reporter on Baltimore Orioles telecasts. But she also has a lucrative offer from a New York television station. So, will MASN make her an offer she can't refuse, or is she headed to the Big Apple?

Speaking of MASN, look for it to officially name Rick Dempsey as part of its pre- and post-game show sometime this week. The host and reporter spots still remain open. The host of the shows will be the face of MASN, so the network needs to choose wisely and pick someone who is known in the mid-Atlantic market. January should be a busy month for the MASN gang at both the Camden Yards warehouse and their Hunt Valley studios.

MASN has plenty of in-game enhancements planed for both O's and Nationals telecasts. Stay tuned as the network fills out a talent roster that already includes two Hall of Fame pitchers — Jim Palmer (Orioles games) and Don Sutton (Nationals).

Those who feel that not having baseball will hurt Comcast SportsNet are wrong. Look for the network to use its early- and late-evening “SportsNite” programs, complete with interviews and highlights, to compete with the MASN pre- and post-game shows. Baltimore native Brent Harris is likely to keep a very high profile at Oriole Park.

WBAL/98 Rock’s Ravens coverage was a success in many ways this season. The broadcast team of Gerry Sandusky, Rob Burnett and Stan White deserve a solid C+ in their first year together in the booth. The ratings were huge compared to the 2005 season, but then again, the team went 13-3.

Burnett came out of the group as a rising star, speaking with refreshing candor. Sandusky was even-keeled and kept the listeners well aware of the key points of the game while making sure he included his partners. White was at his best using his folksy style to bring out a point.

Just one suggestion: No more guest sideline reporters. That was the biggest downer to an otherwise strong broadcast. Put Keith Mills or a former player on the sidelines next year, and maybe you will get an A.

Let's hope next season will feature a full season of “Ravens Xtra” on MASN. It was a quality show that gave fans plenty of good, instantaneous, post-game information. But there has to be a commitment to do the show both at home and on the road in 2007.

Lastly, it’s time to say so long to a real pro. Sage Steele, a star for the deeply talented CSN team, is heading to ESPN next month. We wish her well.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gary Thorne To MASN ?

Some highly placed sources tell me that veteran ESPN baseball commentator Gary Thorne is in talks with MASN. He could be part of the Baltimore Orioles broadcast team along with, Buck Martinez, Jim Palmer, and Jim Hunter.

Thorne has been looking for a full time baseball gig since ESPN cut back on baseball and he lost the NHL gig to Versus.

MASN and Thorne are looking long term as the network builds it bench. That includes the Nationals broadcast team of Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton and the crowded O's booth.

Both sides are working to get a deal done soon but nothing is yet signed. MASN is also looking to hire a pre and post game staff complete with anchor and reporters. It will be a busy month for the network as they ramp up to do over 300 games as the rights holder to both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Classic and I was wrong

What a AFC Championship Game!! Lance Barrow my old friend directed a
masterpiece. He had all the shots, all the replays and Jim and Phil were
flawless. Colts come from behind win was handled like a Hollywood
ending. What a classic game and what a total production job done by CBS.
It was one for ages!!!!
From Jim Williams sent via T-Mobile Blackberry

VT win over MD Lost

A great game between VT and MD seen nationally on FSN with a great job
of CSN doing local cut ins was lost due to the great AFC Chapionship
game. The VT win in OT was covered in a great post game done by Keli
Johnson and Russ T. Nice stuf too bad no one saw it.
From Jim Williams sent via T-Mobile Blackberry

Ugly 1st half...

The Pats have proved that they are in Payton Manning's head. They have
out played the Colts from the get go. The CBS crew of Jim N. and Phil S.
Have done a good job of keeping the storyine on point. Big non call that
Sims was all over. Let's hope the 2nd half is better.
From Jim Williams sent via T-Mobile Blackberry

Doc Gets It Right Again

John Dockery the dean of sideline reporters came thru again. He reported
that the Colts front office talked to the NFL about how the bumping of
WR was not being called as close as in the reg season.

It looks like is is paying off. Good job Doc!
From Jim Williams sent via T-Mobile Blackberry

FOX Scores Big In Bears Win

When it really counted Troy Aikman and Joe Buck brought their A game to
Chicago. The duo did not miss a beat and the production crew did a great
job in rough weather. Give the FOX crew a B + for their efforts.

On radio Dave Sims and Bob Truphy also put in a super performance. The
Westwood One team also earned B on the game.

Let's see how CBS does with Pats-Colts game.
From Jim Williams sent via T-Mobile Blackberry

Friday, January 19, 2007

"BP” was a one of a kind

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 19, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hours ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 12,452 articles

Baltimore: Broadcasting and racing lost a great man Tuesday when Benny Parsons died at the age of 65 from complications due to a long battle with lung cancer.

The last time I spoke to the TNT racing analyst was right before the final NEXTEL Cup race in Homestead. As always a conversation with Benny began with food and in particular he wanted to know how the Chesapeake Bay crabs were doing. Benny loved the crabs from this area and he made it a point to do his share for the local economy when coming to the races at Dover, Benny would eat as many crabs as he could and then take some home.

I don’t I ever recall interviewing Benny I simply said hi and after about a 45 minute conversation I had a story. It might not have been the one I set out to write but it was always a good one.

Benny was a real person, he was the regular guy you saw on TV always having time to talk to people, sign autographs and be friends to so many fans, drivers, and crew members. He was a great ambassador for his sport just like Dick Vitale is to college basketball and John Madden is for NFL Football.

Named one of the 50 greatest drivers by NASCAR, Benny’s biggest thrill was winning the 1975 Daytona 500.

For the past few days race fans have been keeping the phone lines jammed at SIRIUS NASCAR Ch. 128 where they have been paying homage to Benny. I spoke to Marty Snider the host of The Morning Drive on SIRIUS about Benny, the two worked together for 15 years. I asked him about the outpouring of love coming from the racing community.

Snyder on the reaction to Benny’s death: “We have had hundreds of calls from all over the country call and each person had a story about Benny. Some talked about meeting him at a race track or others at restaurant they all wanted to say what a nice guy he was. Still others just watched him on TV and never met him but felt they knew him from his work and wanted us to know how he will be missed. We got many calls from some of the top drivers who wanted to share Benny stories with us. He is a man who touched so many lives. ”

Snyder on the racing community’s loss: “Benny was a natural for TV; we called him the “professor,” because he could explain racing in a way that everyone could understand. That is a talent that can’t be replaced.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sutton officially joins Nationals broadcast booth - MASN looks to nab King George and will ink Dempsey this week

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 16, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 8 of 13,037 articles

WASHINGTON - As we first reported in this space over two weeks ago, the Washington Nationals and MASN will add Hall-of-Fame pitcher and veteran color analyst Don Sutton to their TV booth. Sutton will join the play-by-play voice Bob Carpenter to give the Nats one of baseball’s best broadcast duos.

“Don’s Hall-of-Fame credentials coupled with a special ability to communicate the inner workings of the game in an easy-going manner will greatly enhance the viewing experience for our MASN audience,” said Nationals President Stan Kasten. “His presence will also benefit our players, coaching staff and front office as we build and develop our future around young pitching.”

Sutton retired from baseball in 1988 before making a successful transition to the booth. He provided color commentary for Atlanta Braves games on TBS until last season.

“Coming to Washington was an easy choice for me,” said Sutton. “This is the beginning of what is going to be an exciting era in Washington baseball history and MASN puts on a first-class broadcast. The only catch was the list of conditions from my 10-year old daughter, who wants to meet Gilbert Arenas, play catch with Nick Johnson and wear her hat like Chad Cordero.

“In all seriousness, I am looking forward to being in Washington, to working with the Nationals and to being part of MASN.”

Also, MASN has made a run at NBC-4’s George Michael. The goal is land King George for a weekly show of his own.

They want Michael for a weekly interview show and also to do a possible Redskins show in the fall. He might do a "Best of the Sports Machine Show," that would have his best interviews.

The two sides are in talks as Michael gets ready to end his long time run at NBC.

Look for MASN to ink Rick Depmpsey this week as their in studio baseball expert. I reported that he was their number one chioice and the should be able to sign him later this wee. A studio host has yet to be chosen and talks with Amber Theoharis who would serve as a reporter and partt time anchor continue.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


Monday, January 15, 2007

MNF crew likely to return intact

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 15, 2007 3:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 7 of 11,812 articles

WASHINGTON - Monday Night Football was a success in season one for ESPN. Not surprisingly, it was the most-watched series in cable television history.

Does that mean the first-year booth trio of Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser will return intact.

It appears that way.

Kornheiser said in an interview with the Miami Herald last week he wants to return. It sounds like the feeling is mutual.

“Tony’s one-of-a-kind perspective was an integral part of our record-setting inaugural ‘Monday Night Football’ season,” said ESPN executive V.P. Norby Williamson. “We are absolutely looking forward to his return.”

Jed Drake, senior vice president for remote production for ESPN and ABC, echoed those sentiments.

“We were very pleased with all of our talent,” Drake said, “and of course Tony was a big part of the success of our first year.”

So does that mean the booth and sideline talent — Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya — and the producer-director duo of Jay Rothman and Chip Dean will be back?

“That would be a fair assumption,” Drake said. “We have a great deal on our plate at the moment ... I think we just need a little time to relax and a MNF announcement will be coming in due time.”

Translation: It will be made official sometime around the Super Bowl when the talent will be together and the stage is biggest.

Air Kornheiser in demand

On the local side, Kornheiser is eyeing a return to Washington radio. So where will he end up?

Bonneville-owned WTWP-AM and FM would love to have him as a morning host from 8-10 a.m. Word from station execs is they are “moving heaven and earth” to get Kornheiser on their air.

The problem is WTWP does not employ the key people that have been part of Kornheiser’s shows in the past. His ensemble cast was a large part of his radio success.

SportsTalk 980-AM, with the presence of usual Kornheiser sidekick Andy Pollin and former producer Marc Sterne, is the frontrunner. But WTEM is now part of FOX Sports Radio and at the very least, that may present difficulties when trying to book Kornheiser’s ESPN brethren as guests. ESPN prohibits its talent from appearing on competitor’s air.

Throw in Triple X ESPN and D.C.-based XM as suitors and Kornheiser is in the middle of his own radio soap opera.

But there’s no cliffhanger. Kornheiser will be back on the air soon — somewhere — which makes for a happy ending.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Dierdorf Talks Colts-Ravens playoff game and more

The Ravens are ready for the spotlight
By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

For the entire 2006 season the Baltimore Ravens have quietly became one of the best teams in the NFL and they have done so without much national attention. Well that all ends this weekend.

The Ravens entertain the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s AFC Playoff’s there are crews from ESPN, FOX, HBO,NFL Network and of course CBS already in town. The fact that the Ravens defense is the best in the NFL, that Steve McNair has revived his career as the teams QB and oh yes the small matter of the Colts formally being part of the Baltimore community are only a few of the dozens of storylines that will be explored on the network pre game shows.

Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be calling Saturday’s game for CBS, the first of the weekend’s four playoff games. I had a chance to talk to Dierdorf about his take on the Ravens this season and the game against the Colts.

Dierdorf on the Ravens defense against the Colts offense: “It’s never pretty playing Baltimore. A lot of times it’s downright ugly because you’re getting your nose rubbed in it. This is a team that prides itself on pressure that they can get to the quarterback, that they can rattle the quarterback. When they operate out of that 3-4 front of theirs and they’re able to put such pressure on the edges, that kind of pressure has bothered Peyton Manning before”

Dierdorf on the On Colts returning to play in Baltimore in playoffs for first time in 30 years: “ Tony Dungy said this week, he wonders how many players on his team even know who Johnny Unitas is, or was. He ventured that the vast majority of his team, if they had to take a quiz, think that the Colts have always been in Indianapolis. This is going to be a big deal to Baltimore fans above a certain age who really were strong Colts fans before they left (Baltimore) in 1984. To the players on the field, going back to Baltimore – they may as well be going to New York, Washington or Croatia. I don’t think it makes much difference.”

Locally the Ravens coverage will start on Friday night on WMAR-TV2 will have a special from 8pm till 9pm called Festivus Maximus. WJZ, WBAL and WBFF all plan on will have plenty Saturday coverage on their newscasts.

CSN will have plenty of pre and post-game coverage on SportsNite.

Live post game will be on MASN right after the game Ravens Xtra will be live followed by a special edition of Playmakers Live giving fans live coverage from around 8pm till 10pm.

Radio as always there will be all day coverage on WBAL/98 Rock and extensive pre game show starting at 1pm and lots of post game coverage anchored by Steve Davis.

ESPN 1300AM offers their entertaining pre and post game show as alternative. It all starts at 1pm.

So, no longer will the Ravens be flying under the radar, now its lights, camera and lots of action.

’91 Skins earn spot in all-time Super Bowl lineup

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 12, 2007 3:00 AM (5 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 8 of 11,694 articles

WASHINGTON - This just in: The Redskins are not going to the Super Bowl this season.

But trust me, there was time when the postseason was colored burgundy and gold. And now we can relive the glory of Joe Gibbs’ 1991 team that won it all, dispatching the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24, in Minneapolis.

Tonight at 8, that Redskins team will be honored as part of the NFL Network’s series, “America’s Game: The Super Bowl Champions.” It counts down the top 20 Super Bowl-winning teams of all time.

It was a Redskins team rife with talent and personality and the show answers some intriguing questions about the cast: Why did Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke tell Gibbs his roster had too many “old guys” on it? What happened during Gibbs’ first run-in with a fan after winning Super Bowl XXVI? You will have to wait until tonight for the answers.

The story of the ’91 Redskins — ranked 14th among all Super Bowl winners by a 53-member blue ribbon panel of NFL experts — is told through the eyes of Gibbs, defensive end Charles Mann and quarterback Mark Rypien.

“The star of this show is Joe Gibbs,” said NFL Films President Steve Sabol. “He is very animated and candid in this show. He tells some wonderful Jack Kent Cooke stories and does a pretty good impression of the former Washington owner. The ’91 Redskins might have been his best job as a coach because there were no real stars on the team. It was in many ways like the Patriots of this era.”

Like every Super Bowl winner in the network’s countdown, there is some post-panel debate over the ’91 Redskins ranking.

“I really thought that this team deserved to be ranked in the top 10, perhaps in the top five,” Sabol said. “They were as dominant a team as there ever was in football. Some people forget that they went 11-0 and looked like they might go undefeated. I really think that the lack of a marquee player hurt the all-time rankings of what was a truly great team.”

This is an awesome show for any Redskins fan. Especially the ones who are beginning to forget just how good things were the first time around with Coach Joe.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

O's Move to WHFS- A GOOD MOVE!

O’s moving to WHFS FM benefits everyone
Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 10, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 12,438 articles

BALTIMORE - As discussed in this space before Christmas, the Baltimore Orioles have left their partner of 19 years, WBAL-AM, for WHFS-FM, a move that was announced Monday.

Turn the dial to 105.7 FM for all things Orioles for many years to come. In less than two months, all 162 regular season games and more than a dozen spring training broadcasts will air live on the FM powerhouse. Also, the broadcast team of Jim Hunter, Fred Manfra and Joe Angel will be back in 2007.

Radio has become one of the best and most important ways for baseball teams to promote their product. The team made a very smart business move by switching to WHFS for games and making ESPN 1300 AM part of the package. The duo offers the team great promotional options that it hasn’t had in years past.

WBAL is Maryland’s most successful station due, in large part, because of its popular and very tight talk/news format, which generates millions of dollars a year for the station. Airing the O’s games would not be a problem, but adding O’s-related programming would not only be difficult, it would not be profitable.

Meanwhile, WHFS offers a clear signal and a more flexible format, and ESPN 1300 offers hours of sports talk that will allow the O’s players, coaches and management to be on the air promoting the team all year round.

Let’s not forget the relationship that the O’s new TV home, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, has with ESPN 1300. The synergy between the team’s two broadcast partners is a stroke of broadcasting genius. With the radio and the TV sides working together, they have the best of both worlds, giving fans a lot of easy access to the team.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Coverage ready and waiting

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 9, 2007 3:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 8 of 12,512 articles

WASHINGTON - These things are inevitable: death, taxes and Cal Ripken, Jr.’s invitation to Cooperstown.

Around 2 this afternoon, Ripken will be named to the 2007 Hall of Fame class. You can rest assured local media will be all over it.

Although Ripken played his entire career in Baltimore, he has many Washington fans that called the Orioles their own during his tenure.

CSN and MASN — along with NBC-4, FOX-5, ABC-7, CBS-9 and Newschannel 8 — have extensive coverage planned for the big day.

SportsTalk 980-AM and Triple X ESPN radio will also devote considerable air time to the announcement, with Ripken’s press conference scheduled for around 4:30 p.m.

CSN and MASN will carry the press conference live and all local news outlets plan coverage and interviews with Ripken on their nightly newscasts.

Today at noon, MASN will air Cal’s final game (Orioles vs. Boston from Oct. 6, 2001) before carrying his press conference.

At 7 p.m., MASN shows the rerun of all reruns: Cal’s record-breaking 2,131st game played on Sept. 6, 1995 against the Angels.

Ripken will also join CN8’s Gregg Murphy as part of a special live “Out of Bounds” broadcast from the Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore. In addition, the early edition of “Out of Bounds” will feature a number of special guests, including Mike Flanagan, Orioles general manager and former Ripken teammate.

Nationally, ESPN plans coverage starting at 6 a.m. with the “Mike and Mike in the Morning” radio show. Special editions of the Hot List on ESPNews along with “PTI” and “SportsCenter” will have features on all the class of 2007 inductees.

Leave it to the Iron Man to steal the spotlight from the NFL playoffs for at least one day.

Then again, how often does a true local hero earn a well-deserved spot in Cooperstown?

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Big East Voice Dave Sims Headed West

By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

Saturday January 6, 2007

Washington – Dave Sims who for over a decade has been the immensely popular voice of Big East sports is headed west to join the Seattle Mariners broadcast team.

A number of sources out of Seattle confirmed that Sims has been chosen to fill the void left by the retirement of former M’s broadcaster Ron Fairly. Although how he will be used is not yet clear.

The team is expected to make the announcement sometime this week and at that point we should know more about Sims role.

Sims has made it very clear that he wanted a full time job in Major League Baseball and came very close to getting it last season here in Washington losing out to his long time friend and former ESPN colleague Bob Carpenter.

They were both ESPN baseball announcers most of the ‘90’s before the big staff cutback came before the 2002 season.

He will also continue to be a featured voice on the CBS Radio/Westwood One NCAA National College Basketball Tournament team. His calls of the George Mason victories leading up the Final Four have been worn out in the Washington, DC area.

So what kind of broadcaster can M’s fans expect?

Sims is an “old school guy,” he is a wordsmith who can make a 25 point blow out as interesting as down to the wire nail bitter.

In short the reason he is so well liked is because of his passion for broadcasting and his ability to really tell a story.

The Mariners fans will learn to love him as much I am sure as those of here in the Big East.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail

Friday, January 05, 2007

Madden and Collinsworth Talk Playoffs

I caught up with the NBC duo of John Madden and Cris Collinsorth for some playoff talk.

They were both very chatty.

Tom Hammond and Cris will do the Chiefs-Colts game and John Madden and Al Michaels will handle the Cowboys-Seahawks.

The Saturday double header starts at 4:30pm on NBC.

"This is always a great time of year, the end of the season, seeing who is going to get into the playoffs and then the start of the playoffs. At one time they used to say, 'well, wild card weekend, that's not the best teams, the best teams are not playing, they have a bye' and record-wise that has been true. When you look at history and you just look at last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers came from the wild card and went on to win the Super Bowl. I think everyone that is in the wild card kind of has that as their cry: 'Pittsburgh did it a year ago, if they can do it a year ago, we can do it now.'"

"It has just been impossible this year. The streaks that these teams have gone on have just been dumbfounding. It just absolute craziness this season with the ups and downs and I think its going to continue. Because when you look at the playoff scenario now, you have the two unquestioned top seeds in San Diego and Chicago, but you have very young, very inexperienced quarterbacks leading those teams. You know that if Bill Belichick gets a shot at Philip Rivers that is going to be one of those crazy kind of scenarios. The Chicago Bears quarterback situation could change by the end of the first quarter of the first game depending on what happens there. Whatever craziness you thought you saw in the regular season, I think it's going to be even crazier in the playoffs."

NO. 6 CHIEFS (9-7) AT NO. 3 COLTS (12-4), SATURDAY, 4:30 PM ET ON NBC :

"We're excited about this one. I don't think you can get a more pure matchup than what we have with this game. There is no mystery, everybody knows exactly what's going to happen here. You've got a pretty porous run defense for the Indianapolis Colts and one of the really incredible running backs in the NFL in Larry Johnson."

"You have probably the most exciting offensive football team going in the game right now led by Peyton Manning. It's one of the few times that you sit out there with your eyes wide open and your ears open and enjoy listening to the show of Peyton Manning and what he is trying to do with this offense and manipulating the defense."

"Maybe the untold story of this game is just how much improved the Kansas City defense has been under Herm Edwards. It's been something that he has intentionally tried to do, which is pare back this offense a little bit and make them a little more conservative, maybe take some numbers away from Trent Green and these receivers and not allow the defense to be on the field as much as they have been in prior regimes. This a defense that for the first time in quite a number of years has been giving up less than 20 points a game and they are going to be competitive in this one, even with this great offense of the Indianapolis Colts."

"The teams that we've seen have success doing that are built exactly like the Kansas City Chiefs, teams that can run the football, play keep-away from this offense and I can tell you, the most frustrating thing in the world for a good offense is to sit over on the bench and watch that clock tick down and all of a sudden you realize you're going to be in one of those 17-14 kind of games and you're uncomfortable. It's like they do in basketball sometimes, where if they play it at this tempo, it favors the Lakers and if it's play at this tempo it favors the Bulls or whatever the case may be. I think that's true in this game too. If it's played at Peyton's pace, up-tempo, fast, a lot of points, there's no question it favors the Colts. If the Chiefs can slow it down with Larry Johnson and kill that clock, the way that some teams have been able to against the Colts this year, then they have a real shot at this one."

"Both teams have to show a little life. You don't want to be going into the playoffs not playing your best, although, Seattle played pretty well in their second to last game against the San Diego Chargers. The Cowboys have been struggling. The Cowboys have been struggling with their defense, they had a big loss to New Orleans followed by one by Philly and then, of course, they probably hit rock bottom when they lost to the Detroit Lions. They knew that they were in the playoffs and now they have to play like a playoff team."

"You look at Seattle and they have lost their corners. They have a rookie, Kelly Jennings, playing one corner and Jordan Babineaux, who was the safety, playing the other corner. You have to throw against that, you can't let that off the hook. Tony Romo has to take care of the ball. I kind of agree with Bill Parcells, he was talking a week ago that it's not that Tony Romo doesn't have confidence, it's maybe he's overconfident and he thinks that he can do things that he can't do. The longer he has played, his mechanics have really gotten sloppy. Seattle still has Matt Hasselbeck and he is healthy now and we know that he led them to the Super Bowl last year."

"Playing here in Seattle at Qwest Field, they call that the 12th man. It's going to be a great scene and a pretty tough place for the Cowboys to play."

"I never enjoyed the hunt and the kill of a coach. You look and you say, 'if not him, then who?' It's not like there are a lot of Knute Rocknes out there hanging around."

"Knowing Bill Parcells, he's used to it. There's always been stuff flying around him, whether he's at the Giants or at the Patriots or at the Jets or with the Cowboys. And if it's not T.O. and that situation, it's changing the quarterback from Bledsoe to Romo, it's a situation with Jerry Jones, although that's been very calm and worked very well. It's just Bill Parcells being Bill Parcells and that's who he is. He's going to do what he wants to do and maybe more importantly what he feels he can do. This is just normal for Bill Parcells. He's got a lot of fires around him but a win puts those fires out. He'll go from a guy that you don't know what he's going to do, is he tired, is he finished, if he beats Seattle and goes on to the next round and maybe wins in the next round, they'll be giving him a parade."


"Just give him some balance and get ahead and give him confidence. I've always said that the best friend of a quarterback is a good running game until he really gets developed and feels real comfortable. I like Eli Manning, I think he's the real deal and he is going to be a top quarterback. He's not going to be Peyton Manning but I think he is going to be a top quarterback. Right now it looks like his confidence level isn't up, he is not reading and getting the ball out of there quickly and his decisions aren't real sharp. Right now he needs Tiki Barber."

"I'll quote the great philosopher Terry Bradshaw when he used to tell me these guys are just babies and they're just trying to figure the whole thing out. It's so easy to watch Peyton and to understand how much time and effort that he has put into mastering this craft. But you also have to understand that Peyton Manning is a completely different personality than Eli. You can barely believe they are brothers, other than they look alike and they throw through a brick wall. Peyton, if there are two clocks in the locker room and one of them is a minute off, Peyton can't handle that. You've got to adjust one of the clocks so they say the same thing. He is that kind of 'type A' personality. And Eli is more of a laidback type of personality and it's not that one is right and one is wrong. They're just completely different personalities and I think he'll grow into it. But one of the really unfortunate things for Eli is that his brother is Peyton, and I think so many times he is held to that standard. Let's face it, there are not many people in the history of the game that we can hold to that standard and say they are comparable."


"I think the Jets are one of those teams that nobody wants to play against because they can dictate to an opposing defense. With the style of play the Jets have, with the quick throws, the quick sets, the not holding the ball, you're basically telling the defense you can't blitz, and if you are going to blitz you better be solid in man coverage all the way across the board."


"The guy has been short all of his life, so he has dealt with it. He was the number one draft choice and he has dealt with it. It is a vision problem, he's not only short but he plays short. Jeff Garcia is shorter but he plays up on his toes a lot. Rex Grossman tends to widen his base and even drop a little and that's his problem. He has to find lanes and he has to be able to see and move around to be able to find that lane to see through. He's not going to see over anyone and he's obviously not going to throw over anyone. To me, it just looks like he's not playing with a heck of a lot of confidence and he either has to get it or you're going to have to make a change. I think it's hard to say, 'well, he plays like that but we'll be okay.' Most importantly, I don't know if he believes it and at some point you have to have that confidence and it has to be real and I don't know if he has it now."


"I think they have everything. The thing that would scare me about the Chargers is a young quarterback. When you play with a young quarterback, you know somewhere along the way, maybe the wheels aren't going to fall off but they're going to get loose and you just hope that it doesn't happen in the biggest part of one of these playoff games. They have all the parts and now to get to the Super Bowl they just have to put two games together but wild stuff happens during the playoffs."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vote Modell or bust (in Canton)

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 4, 2007 3:00 AM (4 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 5 of 17,180 articles

BALTIMORE - The NFL Hall of Fame should have inducted Art Modell years ago.

Next month, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s selection committee will meet to elect this year’s inductees. Per the Hall of Fame bylaws, three to six new members are selected each year, and Baltimore Ravens fans are hopeful that Modell will be one of the inductees in 2007.

This Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the “Mark Viviano Show” with “The Bulldog” Damon Yaffe will pay tribute to Modell. The program will include surprise guest appearances by many familiar sports personalities and football legends — current and past. Ravens head coach Brian Billick, team owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome (himself a Hall of Famer).

Why does Modell belong in the Hall of Fame? Today’s billion-dollar TV contracts — the life blood of the NFL — all can be traced back to the hard work of Modell.

It started in the 1960s, when Modell, then the brash young owner of the Cleveland Browns, and his good friend, late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, worked tirelessly together to keep the league’s TV revenues growing.

Many NFL historians and TV broadcast executives would tell you that without Modell, there might never have been a Monday Night Football. He used his clout as the head of the TV committee to convince the other owners to play games in Monday prime-time in hopes of expanding the league’s popularity among casual fans.

“The people and the media of Cleveland look at Art as the people and media of Baltimore look at Robert Irsay,” said Tom Wilson, the president of Cleveland-based Sports Marketing, Inc., who worked closely with Modell for more than a decade. “He is the man that took the most prized sports possession from this city, and for that, he is a villain. But those of us who know Art know his move was all about business. The Indians and the Cavs got new homes, but the Browns could not get a favorable new stadium deal. The Baltimore offer was one of the greatest deals in the history of sports, and Art would have been a fool not to have taken it.”

NFL Films boss Steve Sabol said, “You really can’t deny the contributions that Art has made to the NFL. He should be in the Hall of Fame.”

The media in Cleveland needs to leave the past behind. Modell deserves a place in Canton while he’s still alive. It’s just the right thing to do.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sims to the M’s?

By: Jim Williams
The Examiner

Many fans in Big East country are hearing that long time and popular broadcaster Dave Sims could be headed west.

As soon as this week Sims could be announced as a member of the Seattle M’s broadcast crew.

If Sims does indeed get the job he will become the only black play by play man in Major League Baseball but most of all he will be most qualified.

Sims has done a great job on Westwood One/CBS Radio for years as one of their premier NFL and college basketball broadcasters.

He is no stranger to baseball after working games for most of the 90’s as part of the ESPN broadcast crew.

Recently I ask Sims about working for the M’s “I would love the chance to work with Dave Niehaus he is a living legend, a great broadcaster, and a true Seattle treasure. Rick Rizzs, like Dave is so much a part of the M’s family that working with him would be a real treat. The M’s are a true first class organization. The city of Seattle is one of the counties most beautiful so what’s not to like? Right now I am just happy to be in the mix. If it does happen it would be an honor and I look forward to moving to Seattle and becoming a part of the community.”

So it seems like a deal is close but certainly not yet done so we will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Your 2007 sports TV guide

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 2, 2007 3:00 AM (11 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 12,940 articles

BALTIMORE - With big changes coming to TV in 2007, here’s a handy guide to keep track of where to watch your favorite sports.

We begin with the PGA Tour. All early rounds and some big early tournaments are now on The Golf Channel. TGC is now the cable home to almost every PGA/LPGA/Nationwide and European tournament. The only two early PGA Tour events that TGC won’t air are the British and U.S. opens, which both have a couple of years left on their ESPN/ABC contracts.

The PGA network partners will be NBC and CBS, which will split up the season. ESPN/ABC will have only The Open, along with a few LPGA events in 2007.

Local Major League Baseball will now be seen on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which will air Nationals and Orioles games. National MLB telecasts will be well-covered, too, with ESPN covering 26 weeks of Sunday games. TBS will join in on Sundays starting in 2008 with a national afternoon game of the week. The Monday and Wednesday night games of the week also return to ESPN. The folks at FOX have expanded their roll to have a complete season of Saturday game of the week telecasts.

The MLB postseason will be shown on TBS and FOX. TBS will have the early-round games and the NLCS, while FOX will have the ALCS and the World Series.

In NASCAR, the Craftsman Truck Series will air on Speed, the Busch Series now belongs to ESPN and the NEXTEL big boys will air on FOX for the first part of the year. TNT takes over with a summer package, and ESPN/ABC will bring The Chase for the Cup home in the late summer and fall.

Tennis remains on ESPN2 for most of the year, with NBC keeping the French Open and Wimbledon, while CBS will air the U.S. Open.

The NBA will stay put on ESPN/ABC, TNT and NBA-TV, while the NHL will continue on VERSUS and NBC. Locally, the Caps and the Wiz are on Comcast SportsNet.

Major League Soccer is now on ESPN2/ABC and FOX Soccer Channel exclusively. D.C. United will be on Comcast.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at


Change on the air and local media wishes

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jan 1, 2007 3:00 AM (1 day ago)
Current rank: # 6 of 12,940 articles

WASHINGTON - Some big changes are headed our way now that 2007 is upon us. You may catch yourself shooting an incredulous glance at the trusty remote control when the channel you land on does not feature what you’re accustomed to.

But never fear. Here is a guide to the changes with time to spare.

» When it comes to the PGA Tour, all early rounds and some major early tournaments are on The Golf Channel, now the cable home to almost every PGA/LPGA/Nationwide and European tour event.

The Golf Channel is the cable home to all early round PGA events except for two: the British and U.S. opens. Both of those biggies have a couple of years left on their ESPN/ABC contracts.

The PGA’s network partners will be NBC and CBS, who will split the season. Gone is ESPN/ABC, which only has the British Open left along with a few LPGA events.

» Can’t wait for another discussion of where the Nationals games will be shown? Thankfully, what was an endless rigmarole is over. Both the Nats and Orioles are now on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

On the national side, there will be 26 weeks of Sunday doubleheaders: the Sunday Afternoon Game of the Week on TBS followed by Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The Monday and Wednesday night games of the week also return to ESPN.

And the folks at FOX have a complete season of Game of the Week telecasts on Saturdays.

The postseason will be seen on TBS and FOX. Early-round games and the NLCS are bound for TBS while FOX will have the ALCS and World Series.

» NASCAR is also signaling for a lane change. The Craftsman Truck Series will be on SPEED, the Busch Series now belongs to ESPN and the Nextel big boys will air on FOX for the first part of the year. TNT then takes over with a summer package and ESPN/ABC will bring The Chase for the Cup home in the late summer and fall.

» Tennis remains on ESPN2 for most of the year while NBC keeps the French Open and Wimbledon. CBS will air the U.S. Open with USA keeping the early rounds.

» The NBA stays put on ESPN/ABC, TNT and NBA-TV, while the NHL will continue on VERSUS and NBC. Locally, the Caps and Wiz are on CSN.

» MLS is now on ESPN2/ABC and FOX Soccer Channel exclusively. D.C. United will be on CSN.

New Year’s wishes for local sports media

» NBC 4 should make a bold move. When King George Michael steps aside in March, the station should name Lindsay Czarniak as his replacement. Making her the first-ever woman sports director in the Washington market is the smart thing to do.

» ABC 7’s Tim Brant and FOX 5’s Dave Feldman are primed to succeed Michael as the No. 1 sportscaster in town. Both have the talent. They simply need more air time. CBS 9’s Brett Haber is a gifted writer but ratings keep him out of the picture for now.

» MASN should hire Phil Wood to be part of their pre- and post-game shows. No one has a better knowledge of baseball than Wood. If you put Wood on the air with Rick Dempsey and Amber Theoharis or whomever is the anchor, MASN would have a solid baseball show.

» CSN should have playoffs for both the Caps and Wiz in 2007. We are lucky to have to have such talented production and broadcast teams. Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier with the Wiz and the Caps trio of Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin and Al Koken are two quality teams.

» On radio, Sports Talk 980-AM has proven you can be all local and successful. It was a great risk but there was a wonderful reward with fans getting in more calls to The First Team, The Sports Reporters, Brian Mitchell and John Thompson shows.

Triple X ESPN showed it could provide quality Redskins coverage without forgetting how to be objective ... usually. Larry Michael and Bram Weinstein did a fine lunchtime show and John Riggins proved to be a force in afternoon drive.

Now, about the station’s paltry signal. The issue will be addressed by either buying WGMS or if that fails, some Clear Channel FMs are for sale and maybe WAVA-FM could enter the mix.

So a better signal will come in 2007, making for happy Redskins fans. Then again, about that defense …

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.