WYPR FM's interview with Sun sports media columnist Ray Frager. Originally aired August 26, 2004.

Andy Bienstock, WYPR: Sun sports media columnist Ray Frager has been following the Summer Olympics in Athens along with the rest of us here at home. Frager has taken a short break from the television coverage and the stacks of newspaper and magazine articles to join us today by phone from his office at The Sun. Now that the Olympics are just about done and wrapped up and you've had to watch every darn spare minute of it, how do you think NBC did?

Ray Frager: I think overall they've done a very good job. I guess some of it depends on your perspective and what you want out of the Olympics. If you're a sports fan, I think what you want to see is sports, games, matches. And NBC has given us plenty of that. Not so much the stories of people competing to win a medal for a childhood dog who died right before the games. We're not getting so much of that. But there's been plenty of action.

WYPR: It's been hard in recent Olympics for networks to spread their coverage out. There's the famous "triplecast" disaster of a few Olympics ago. Do you think NBC did a good job of farming stuff out to its affiliates, some of which I didn't even realize belonged to NBC?

Ray Frager: I think they've done a good job. They've designated a couple of channels for certain sports, like boxing goes on Bravo. I was sort of hoping that James Lipton would get punched. The Spanish station, Telemundo, has a lot of boxing and soccer. And I think women's beach volleyball was on every station.

WYPR: The first week was Michael Phelps. Was there a similar story that developed for week two, similar to the Phelps story?

Ray Frager: I don't think anyone of that magnitude developed for the second week. But there were some very compelling stories. The Moroccan runner, Hicham El Gerrouj, ran a fabulous 1500 the other night. That was a great story. But that wasn't something that carries across several nights like Phelps did.

WYPR: During the Olympics we get to see the full panoply of a network's announcers. And afterwards there are those we're sick of, and those that have made a name for themselves. Are there some who've worn out their welcome, and some who have really sparkled and shined during this Olympiad?

Ray Frager: The most important one would be Bob Costas, because he's on in prime time. I happen to be a big fan of him, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. He does not wear out his welcome the way, say, years ago Brent Musburger did. Plus, a lot of people probably haven't seen him in a while unless you get HBO. NBC also brought Pat O'Brien back to be a host on one of their cable channels. So they rescued him from "Access Hollywood." I never saw that show, but I'm sure there are people who did. People may remember O'Brien particularly from the Lillehammer games. He was a big part of the CBS broadcast back then. It was good to see him back again. They used Mary Carillo, who's very entertaining and can do a lot more than tennis. Otherwise, a lot of the play by play people are interchangeable. A few, though, stand out, particularly Al Trautwig on gymnastics who did a terrific job. Again, he had a set of very compelling stories to deal with, but I thought he handled it very well.

Hear conversations with Sun writers covering the Summer Olympics, Monday through Friday at 5:45 p.m. on WYPR FM, 88.1.