Musburger isn’t retiring any time soon: ‘I would be watching them on TV anyway, so why not go out and get paid for it?’

Tuesday, I did a long story in USA Today about the significant number of announcers/analysts still going strong in their 70s, and even 80s, in TV sports at the national and local levels. It is unprecedented.

The list includes Vin Scully, Dick Vitale, Marv Albert, Verne Lundquist, Lee Corso, among others.

I talked to several of the prominent names, except one: Brent Musburger, still going strong at 74.

A little background: My connection with Musburger goes deep into my sports roots. Prior to becoming a big national star at CBS, he was the local sports anchor for WBBM-Ch. 2 during the 70s in Chicago. In the days before ESPN and the Internet, I grew up getting my sports news from Musburger. He was tremendous back then, and it didn’t take long before CBS Sports gave him the keys to the … Continue Reading

Bonnie Bernstein on new role behind the camera: ‘So much more me than the chick you see on the air’

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University is on a career transition for Bonnie Bernstein. After more than two decades as an on-air personality, she is relishing her new behind-the-scenes role in shaping Campus Insiders.

From the column:

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The calendar is turned, and Bonnie Bernstein is gearing up for a busy March. That’s nothing new for the long-time sideline reporter for CBS and ESPN.

Yet this won’t be the usual routine for Bernstein. She is taking a different view these days of “March Madness” and college sports.

Bernstein is an integral part of Campus Insiders. It is a new high-tech, high volume college sports site. Campus Insiders is a big money initiative of IMG and Silver Chalice, a business division of the Chicago White Sox. It has contributing reporters on virtually every campus; … Continue Reading

Still awesome, babeee! Unprecedented era of 70-and-over announcers/analysts working at top of their games

I did a piece for USA Today on a remarkable trend: A huge number of announcers/analysts in their 70s who still are working the big games. It is unprecedented in TV history.

An excerpt from the story.

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Dick Vitale turns 75 in June. He has been around so long that sports viewers born in 1979, when he began at ESPN, are veering toward middle age.

Yet Vitale, the former college and NBA coach, has no intention of getting off the thrill ride that has been his sportscasting career. And why should he? When he walks into arenas, the first sight of the familiar bald head sparks cries of “Awesome, Baby!” and “PTPer” from college kids who still devour his shtick the way their parents did at that age.

Vitale absorbs the energy that comes his way as if … Continue Reading

Jerry Remy to return to Red Sox booth in wake of son being charged with murder; ‘Only thing I know how to do’

You could feel Jerry Remy’s heartbreak and anguish in this story by the Boston Globe’s Chad Finn. He had been on a leave of absence since August when his son, Jared, was charged with murdering his girlfriend.

Finn reports:

Remy, who was solemn and candid during a meeting with a small group of reporters at NESN’s Brighton headquarters, had not spoken publicly since his son’s arrest.

“I felt for a couple of months, for two or three months, that it was over,’’ Remy said. “There’s no way I was coming back. I had two main concerns: What the public would think and whether I could be myself. The answers at that time [in November and December] were no.”

Remy, 61, said he had a circle of three friends and his wife, Phoebe, who urged him to reconsider. But he didn’t

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Not done yet: Tim McCarver to call 30 St. Louis Cardinals games next year

Tim McCarver said he wasn’t retiring. Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he is going back to where it all started.

McCarver, 72, confirmed Thursday night that he has reached an agreement to do about 30 Cardinals games this season for Fox Sports Midwest.

“The deal has not been completed — but it will,’’ he said, adding that the dates he’ll be working still are to be finalized. “We’ll get it straightened out. I know I’ll be doing Cardinal games, I just don’t know the exact situation.’’

FSM general manager Jack Donovan was unavailable for comment.The pending move, which was reported in December in this space as being likely, follows the announcement this week that Cards radio broadcaster Mike Shannon will drop about 50 road games from his workload. FSM analysts Al Hrabosky and Rick Horton are to

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New format reduces odds some announcers will be alive when they get Hall of Fame honor

The Baseball Hall of Fame has enacted a new format for its Ford Frick Award this year. It might not be so good for some of the older candidates.

Put it this way: When their names finally are called for the Frick, they might have been called elsewhere first, if you know what I mean.

The Hall of Fame explained its new format on its site:

The 2014 Frick Award ballot reflects recent changes in the selection process where eligible candidates are grouped together by years of most significant contributions of their broadcasting careers. The new cycle begins with the High Tide Era, which features broadcasters whose main body of work came from the mid-1980s – the start of the regional cable network era – through the present.

The new three-year cycle for the Frick Award will continue in

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Nov. 22, 1963: Lundquist never got to hear Kennedy speak in Austin; his memories

It loomed as a memorable day for Verne Lundquist when he went to work at an Austin, Tex. TV station on Nov. 22, 1963. He was looking forward to seeing President John F. Kennedy speak later that day in town.

Fifty years later, Lundquist remembers vividly how his day and the nation’s suddenly changed.

“I was on an earlier shift, working the board,” Lundquist said. “I had been invited by a good friend of mine to hear Kennedy speak. Her dad was the general manager of the station, and he gave me permission to not do the show that night so I could take her to hear the president’s speech.

“I was on the phone with her 12:25 p.m. (going over the details), when the news anchor broke into the control room and said, ‘Give me the microphone. The President … Continue Reading

Olbermann on impact of Bill Mazer: Sports talk pioneer ‘changed lives of sports fans’

Keith Olbermann opened this piece by saying, “Bill Mazer died today. You probably didn’t know him. Your life as a sports fan, however, was utterly changed by him.”

Find out why from Olbermann, who worked as an intern for Mazer, and others.

Neil Best in Newsday:

Perhaps Mazer’s greatest historical claim to fame was as host of the first regularly scheduled sports call-in show — which premiered on WNBC radio on March 30, 1964.

In what is believed to be his final interview, with Newsday in 2011, Mazer looked back at that day and how it all began.

“The first call was a kid, and he said, ‘I just want to ask you one question,’ ” Mazer said. “I said, ‘OK, go ahead.’ He said, ‘Who’s better: Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle?’ “

It was a question that launched

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Ford Frick candidates: Castiglione, Shannon, Harrelson up for Hall of Fame broadcast honor

Who gets the nod? I’ll have more thoughts on this soon.

From the Hall of Fame:

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Ten of the National Pastime’s iconic voices have been named as the finalists for the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The 10 finalists for the 2014 Frick Award are: Joe Castiglione, Jacques Doucet, Ken Harrelson, Bill King, Duane Kuiper, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete van Wieren. The winner of the 2014 Frick Award will be announced on December 11 at the Baseball Winter Meetings and will be honored during the July 26 Awards Presentation as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2014 in Cooperstown.

The 10 finalists for the 2014 Frick Award include the three fan selections produced from online balloting at the … Continue Reading

New HBO documentary: ‘Glickman’ finally places legendary announcer in national spotlight

My latest National Sports Journalism Center column is on Glickman, the upcoming HBO documentary on Marty Glickman. I had a chance to talk to the film’s producer, James Freedman, who worked for Glickman when he was 17.

For those of you who never heard of his story and his obstacles with Anti-Semitism, read on. And I highly recommend you watch this film.

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When I was coming up as a sports journalist in Chicago during the 80s, I only had a vague notion of Marty Glickman. I always had heard he was an iconic, trend-setting pioneer in sports broadcasting.

Yet in the days before cable and satellite radio, I had no real idea of why New Yorkers held him in the same reverence as they do in Los Angeles for Vin Scully, or why he was considered one of … Continue Reading