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Without fanfare — or even an official announcement — WMAQ-Channel 5 has added former New York sports and lifestyle personality Siafa Lewis to its daily sports lineup. He’s been working as a freelance reporter and sports anchor at the NBC-owned station since May 19.

The closest thing to a formal introduction was this tweet May 21 from sports anchor Peggy Kusinski: “Welcome #NBC5 Chicago’s newest sportscaster @SiafaLewisNBC to Chicago!”

And this tweet on May 23 from news anchor Rob Elgas: “A big welcome to the @nbcchicago family for @siafalewisnbc, the best dressed sports guy in Chicago! Sorry @MarkGiangreco7 and @RaferWeigel.”

Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, confirmed the new addition on Tuesday, adding that the hiring of Lewis “will mean less use of some of our other freelancers.” He did not say whose work would be cut back.

“I cover sports in one of the world’s best sports towns!!!” Lewis wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “Lucky and BLESSED!”

Lewis, 35, was born in West Germany to Liberian parents who were graduate students. They moved to New Jersey when he was 7. Lewis graduated from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., with a degree in radio, TV and film. After pursuing modeling and acting, he won a contest to report traffic for WCAU-TV, the NBC-owned station in Philadelphia, in 2004.

He shifted to sports as a reporter and pre-game and post-game host for SportsNet New York and later was a host and correspondent for LXTV in New York, the lifestyle and entertainment programming production unit created by NBC Universal. He doubled as a sports anchor and reporter for WNBC-TV, the NBC-owned station in New York.

Lewis most recently worked as an account executive for Isaia men’s fashion and in sales for Boyds, a Philadelphia department store.

Read more at Robert Feder where this story was originally published.

EmrickThe Stanley Cup playoffs are the busiest time of year for Mike Emrick. Yet he added something to his routine this spring that has nothing to do with hockey.

NBC’s lead NHL play-by-play man is writing a letter every day to a person who had an impact on his life. The recipients of the daily notes range from longtime producers and analysts to long-ago high school classmates, neighbors and people from his early jobs in the business.

“There’s so much that people did for you along the way that they probably thought was nothing at all,” Emrick said. “I wanted to tell them what it meant to me. It seemed like something that needed to be done.”
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A boy from Hancock County with a love of nature and wildlife dreamed of one day becoming a sports anchor – and eventually his dream came true. Going by the name of Bill Patrick, Gerry Monteux sat at the anchor desk of some of the most prominent networks in sports television, from ESPN to NBC Sports. But after 37 years, his career ended.

That’s when he decided to return to his roots and bring his passion for nature and photography home.

“I think I was about six or seven years old and my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I said I want to be a retired baseball player so I could be on TV,” said broadcaster and photographer, Gerry Monteux.

While he never played enough ball to become a retired baseball player, Gerry Monteux did live out his childhood dream of being on television as a sports anchor for several top sports networks including NBC Sports. But after 37 years his sportscasting career as Bill Patrick, and his marriage, ended suddenly. So he came home to Maine.

“I looked deep inside myself and I decided that there’s only one place that really makes me feel good, and that’s Maine,” Monteux said.

As a child growing up in Hancock County, when he wasn’t dreaming about being on TV, Monteux was enjoying Maine’s natural environment. For the past six years, he has been developing his passion of nature and wildlife photography into a profession. Now he’s re-discovered his love for the outdoors through the lens of a camera.

“I am addicted to moose, I am addicted to harbor seals, I am addicted to loons, do you want me to keep going? The list is endless!” he said.

In fact, when he’s alone in the woods surrounded by the sights and sounds of Maine’s wildlife, Monteux says there is only one way to describe what he feels…

“Rapture. That’s my cathedral. Some people go to church for that feeling. I go to the woods for that feeling.”

In May, Monteux opened his own gallery in Ellsworth. After months of struggling with his personal trials , he finally feels at peace and now believes that all dreams are possible if you really want them to come true.

“Ask yourself what is it that floats your boat? What pulls your socks up and down every day? What makes you happy? And damn it, do it!” said Monteux.

Read more at WCSH 6 where this story was originally published.

Rogers-sportsnetJim Hughson, Dave Randorf, Paul Romanuk and Bob Cole have been revealed as the Rogers play-by-play team for the 2014-15 NHL season.

Rogers made the announcement Tuesday as it unveiled its fall schedule.

Gemini Award winner Hughson will be the lead commentator when the puck drops Oct. 8.

Randorf has been the full-time regional voice of the Montreal Canadiens for the last four seasons

Romanuk is also a former voice of the Habs and has called several world junior championships.

Cole is known to fans for his longtime presence on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, which he joined in 1973.

It was announced Sunday that Cole would continue calling games for at least one more season.

In November, Rogers secured a blockbuster $5.2-billion deal for NHL rights.

Read more at CBC Sports where this story was originally published.

Mack Brown joining ESPN

June 3, 2014
Courtesy of Yahoo! Sports

Six months after coaching his final game at Texas, Mack Brown reportedly has a new gig for the 2014 season.

Instead of returning to the sideline, the 62-year-old Brown will still be around the game working as a national college football analyst for ESPN, according to the Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls.

Bohls, citing Texas athletic director Steve Patterson as one of his two sources, is reporting that Brown’s exact role with the network has not been specifically defined yet, but that “it’s more likely he will operate in a studio role.”

Brown is expected to sign a deal soon and “the job could be announced as early as this week,” Bohls writes.

Brown took over as head coach of the Longhorns in 1998 after a nine-year stint as head coach at North Carolina. He spent 16 seasons at the helm in Austin, compiling a 158-48 overall record, including going undefeated in 2005 and winning the BCS National Championship.

After making another BCS National Championship appearance after the 2009 season, the Longhorns went 5-7, the team’s first losing season under Brown, in 2010. The Longhorns won eight games in 2011, nine games in 2012 and eight games in 2013 before Brown announced that he would resign in December.

Brown, who was succeeded at Texas by former Louisville coach Charlie Strong, has always been known as a sharp guy, and his success at Texas shows that he’ll be a valuable asset to ESPN’s college football coverage.

Read more at Yahoo! Sports where this story was originally published.

Fox-Sports-1One of the biggest blowouts of last year’s college football season was the viewership battle between ESPN’s College GameDay and Fox Sports 1′s Fox College Saturday. The final numbers: Game Day averaged 1,830,000 viewers while FCS averaged 73,000. ESPN said GameDay’s least-viewed episodes had more viewers than all but three of FS1′s game telecasts. Fox College Saturday also had another bad trend: The show opened with 107,000 viewers and sank to 44,000 viewers on Nov. 23.

If you ask people at competing sports networks how to attack a dominant show, they’ll tell you that you have to do something totally different than the prevailing leader — and FS1 appears to be heading in that direction. Multiple sources have told SI.com that Fox Sports management is considering moving Fox College Saturday to Friday night and changing up some of the staffing. There is also talk of starting a new college football show on Saturday that will be gambling-centric, similar to what Fox Sports Live did during the NCAA basketball tournament when it did live remotes from Las Vegas. Nothing is finalized as of yet.

“Like we do after every one of our sports properties’ season concludes, we discuss and evaluate how we can make our coverage better for the viewers,” said Fox Sports spokesperson Dan Bell on Sunday. “That process and those discussions are still ongoing regarding our college football production plans.”

Of course no matter the format or content play, or even staying at status quo, Fox Sports 1 is going to struggle to siphon viewers from GameDay given ESPN’s dominant position and standing with viewers on Saturday mornings. But there is more trouble for FS1 on the horizon — ESPN’s upcoming SEC Network. The new network’s pregame show (“SEC Nation”) debuts August 28 at Columbia, S.C. That show will air every Saturday from 10-noon ET and features known broadcasting talent (see below). It will also have the benefit of being onsite at some of college football’s great venues. There’s also NBCSN’s Saturday coverage of Premier League soccer, a property that gained a healthy amount of sports viewers last year. It’s a killer timeslot.

Interestingly, Fox Sports 1 is clearly considering pushing gaming as an element of its coverage and that play has potential — as well as some downside. Smart gambling segments are interesting and it’s an untapped market in sports television. But such segments can also quickly become little more than a hot takes personality screaming out picks and praising himself (it’s always a dude) when a pick hits the previous week. Gambling is also something that makes the NCAA queasy. It’s going to be interesting to see where Fox Sports lands here — it’ll be tough to top the existing leader.

Read more at Sports Illustrated where this story was originally published.

georgia-techGeorgia Tech has switched its flagship radio station to 680 the Fan, signing a three-year agreement with the sports-talk station to carry all broadcasts of Yellow Jackets football and men’s basketball games.

Tech’s contract with WYAY-FM News Radio 106.7, a news and talk station that had been Tech’s FM flagship since 2008, ran out at the end of this past academic year. Rick Thorpe, Tech’s associate athletic director for sales and fan experience, said that the athletic department had conversations with “every major player in the marketplace” to become the Tech flagship and received significant interest before settling on 680.

“The opportunity for us to be able to align ourselves with the top college sports station in the South was one that we certainly welcomed the opportunity to be able to enter into,” Thorpe said.

The three-year deal also has opportunities for extensions, Thorpe said. This will be the second consecutive year that Tech’s radio rights have shifted. After 12 years as Tech’s flagship, 790 the Zone and the athletic department mutually agreed to end their flagship deal last June, leaving 106.7 as Tech’s sole flagship for 2013-14.

The sports radio station will continue to carry football coach Paul Johnson and basketball coach Brian Gregory’s shows, which it began broadcasting last season. The shows, as well as the games, will be simulcast on 680’s FM signal, 93.7. Athletic director Mike Bobinski also has a weekly segment on the Chuck and Chernoff show that will continue.

One potential benefit of moving the flagship from an all-news station to 680 is that, as a partner with the station, Tech may be more likely to be a topic of discussion before and after broadcasts and throughout the week. For various reasons, particularly in recent years, Tech athletics has not been a terribly popular subject on local sports radio talk.

Thorpe said the new arrangement places Tech in “as strong of a position as we’ve been in in a long time.”

Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution where this story was originally published.

bob-coleIt was the voice, always the voice. Not the vocabulary, which in this country belonged to Danny Gallivan; Gallivan would play the piano’s minor keys, make harmonies, tinkle up and down. In the 1970s Gallivan would describe “cannonading shots” and describe Guy Lafleur as “coming out rather gingerly on the right side.” Doc Emrick remembers going out of his way as a young man to listen to Danny Gallivan, and still knows many of the signature calls by heart.

Bob Cole, though: He has never wandered to the far ends of the piano, preferring to strike the major chords. On Wednesday night Cole called Game 5 between Chicago and Los Angeles for Hockey Night in Canada, and the thing took off. The first overtime took just 26 minutes of real time to play; there was a span of eight and a half minutes between whistles. It was breathtaking, so fast, and Bob carried right along with it.
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Now that Tribune Co. is becoming a big, national broadcast company, airing Chicago sports is a bit small-time.

At least that’s Tribune CEO Peter Liguori’s thinking. He’s in the process of converting the company’s national broadcast channel, WGN America, from a superstation into a basic cable channel, which is mainly a technical transition, except that it will require dumping Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox game broadcasts. He doesn’t mind, because that programming hasn’t been paying off anyway, and besides — he’s a New York Mets fan.

“If the Cubs continue on this path to virtual irrelevancy, it’s really not going to matter,” he said at a recent New York media conference in a tongue-in-cheek preamble to his bottom-line reasoning: “When you look at the Bulls, the White Sox, the Cubs and the Blackhawks, outside of the greater Chicago (designated market area), they really do lose their attraction.”
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bob-coleOh, baby!

Fans of Hockey Night in Canada play-by-play announcer Bob Cole will be pleased to know that Sunday’s Game 7 of the Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks apparently won’t be his last.

According to Sportsnet’s Damien Cox, the iconic commentator is close to signing a deal with Rogers. In November, Rogers struck a 12-year national broadcast deal with the NHL that begins next season. The deal includes editorial control over CBC’s weekly Hockey Night in Canada programming. The telecom company also owns Sportsnet.

Cole, 80, began broadcasting hockey on CBC Radio in 1969 and moved to television in 1973. He was Hockey Night in Canada’s primary play-by-play announcer from 1980-2008, usually working Toronto Maple Leafs games. He has since worked as the No. 2 announcer behind Jim Hughson and announced Montreal Canadiens broadcasts.

Read more at the St. Catharines Standard where this story was originally published.

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