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January 27, 2005
John Molori's Media Blitz
BY: John Molori

THIS WEEK:

- Class action in media
- Shame on Shannon
- WEEI does it again

BU's Sports Institute embarks on 2005 curriculum

The Sports Institute at Boston University has added another jewel to its faculty crown. Olympic rower Dr. Amy Baltzell will join the award winning staff for the summer of 2005 session beginning June 6. Baltzell will teach "Sport and Society," the first time such a course has been offered by the Institute.

"Amy brings tremendous experience and has an outstanding understanding of how sports and society interact," says Sports Institute Founder Frank H. Shorr. Baltzell and Shorr are joined by noted author Jack Falla, returning for his fourth year.

The Sports Institute at Boston University offers an intensive four-week program of study focusing on sports journalism from a variety of perspectives. In 2004, guest lecturers included Michael Holley, Gil Santos, Jackie MacMullan, Leigh Montville, Dan Shaughnessy, Cedric Maxwell and Glenn Ordway.

Subjects include sports journalism, television sports, gender issues, fan behavior, media criticism and sports talk radio. Shorr, best known as the longtime sports producer at Channel 7 in Boston, has been in the media field for 30 years and has won 8 Emmy Awards.

Not too Sharpe

CBS' Shannon Sharpe is, without a doubt, the worst studio analyst that these eyes and ears have ever had the displeasure of seeing and hearing. He is obnoxious, self-centered and completely ineffective as a commentator. This past week, on "The NFL Today" pregame show for the Pats-Steelers AFC Title game, Sharpe reached a new low in broadcasting.

His idiotic Terrible Towel waving and unmitigated rooting for the Steelers was atrocious. Moreover, Sharpe is quite inarticulate and talks too fast. The ex-All-Pro tight end must learn the difference between trash talking on the field and clearly communicating on the set.

Sharpe should take a lesson from ESPN's Michael Irvin. The ex-Cowboy has managed to develop from a loud mouth yeller on Fox's football roster to a charismatic yet understandable member of ESPN's studio team.

On Monday, Sharpe further cemented his lowly position on the commentator food chain by literally begging the Philadelphia Eagles to sign him as a replacement for injured tight end Greg Lewis.

On Sirius radio, he stated, "Tell Andy (Reid) to call my people. We'll talk. How despised would I be if I went back to Philly this week, practiced this week, played next week and the Eagles won the Super Bowl? How despised would I be?" Not much more despised than you are right now in this corner, Shannon.

A-Team

He is outspoken and outlandish, stylish and substantive. He is Stephen A. Smith and his provocative and candid comments as an ESPN NBA analyst have been deservedly rewarded.

Beginning in June, Smith will host ESPN2's "Quite Frankly," an hour-long program featuring news, opinions, issues and headlines, weekdays at 6:30 p.m. The show will also have a live studio audience and a wide variety of guests. Smith's pointed personality pierces the television screen. He has the best on-air presence in sports television.

"I hope people will hold me in as high regard as ESPN does, because I do not plan on changing," says Smith. "Hard work, commitment to excellence and honesty is what I've always been about and that's exactly what everyone will see in the months to follow, quite frankly."

Box and one

Earlier this month, AM 1510's "New England Ringside Boxing Radio Show" celebrated its first anniversary. Despite constant rumors of a station sale and regular personnel changes at WWZN, the program has become a consistent niche success for "The Zone."

The show airs Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. and is also streamed on the web at newenglandringside.com. The strength of the show is its hosts, Ted Bodenrader, Anthony Pepe, Rick Brutti and Joe Bills. Bodenrader, especially, has distinguished himself with his knowledge of the fight game and his ability to communicate this knowledge to listeners.

Noted guests have included Bernard Taylor, Arturo Gatti, John Ruiz, Micky Ward, Jim Lampley, Michael Buffer, Larry Merchant, Sugar Ray Leonard and Lou Duva.

Ratings roar

It's no surprise that Sports Radio 850 WEEI posted its highest ratings ever in the fall of 2004. The station continues to hold the pulse beat of the New England sports scene like no media entity ever has.

Riding the wings of a Red Sox title run, "The Dennis & Callahan Show" took the top spot among men ages 25-54 with their highest morning share ever of 14.6. The duo once again beat out Howard Stern (10.2). WBZ was third with a 7.6 share.

WEEI also made sports radio history by ranking first among men 25-54, and overall adults 25-54 in all three day parts, morning, mid-day and afternoon.

The ever-improving "Dale & Neumy" posted a 13.5 share among men 25-54 and a 7.8 among overall adults while the drive time "Big Show with Glenn Ordway" posted a 15.0 share among men 25-54 and a 9.0 among overall adults.

"The numbers are phenomenal and they speak for themselves," says WEEI director of programming and operations Jason Wolfe. "It was a tremendous fall between the Red Sox and the Patriots, and sports fans turned to WEEI for the best and most insightful commentary."

Elsewhere at WEEI, the third annual Whiney Awards with Glenn Ordway are scheduled for February 17 at 6:00 p.m. at the Boston Copley Marriott Hotel. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the American Heart Association. In addition, creative services director Pete Gustin has compiled many of his funny show segments at petesbits.com. He states, "The response has been amazing. I had no idea people would be that interested in those silly things, but they are."

Gustin's site received 200,000 hits in the first four days it was launched. Several WEEI personalities have mentioned the site on the air. Gustin estimates that it will cost over $5000 a year to host the site. He is seeking banner ads to defray the cost and keep the site free.

Segments like "I, Buckley," "Butch Slap," and "Yankees Talk" show once again that Gustin is one of the many talented people at WEEI who deserve as much, if not more fanfare than the on-air "stars."

In Memoriam

The recent passing of Norm Resha marks the end of a true Boston sports media success story. Resha, an accomplished businessman with a love of sports, was a familiar, articulate and knowledgeable voice in Boston sports media.

His love and passion for sports collectibles led Resha to "Forever Baseball," a weekly baseball show on Continental Cablevision and MediaOne (now Comcast).

Red Sox Spanish Baseball owner Bill Kulik, WBZ's Dan Roche, WEEI's Mike Adams, MLB.com's Mike Petraglia and yours truly are some of the many people who had the pleasure of working with Norm on "Forever Baseball."

He also had his own popular sports collectibles program on NECN and was the driving force behind WBZ's "Calling All Sports" radio program. It was Boston media legend Mike Shalin who named Resha "The Doctor of Cardology."

"Norm took that name proudly with him through the rest of his life," says Shalin. "We all worked together on Forever Baseball. Norm was a voice of the fans on radio and TV and we'll all miss him."

John Molori's Media Blitz column is published in The Providence Journal, The Boston Metro, The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, The Salem Evening News, The Newburyport Daily News, The Gloucester Times, The Lowell Sun, Patriots Football Weekly, PatsFans.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, RedSoxNation.net and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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