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?
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.