Tuesday, January 23, 2007

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 jwilliamsexaminer@gmail.com.

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