WYPR FM's interview with Sun sports media columnist Ray Frager. Originallyaired August 26, 2004.
Andy Bienstock, WYPR: Sun sports media columnist Ray Frager has beenfollowing the Summer Olympics in Athens along with the rest of us here athome. Frager has taken a short break from the television coverage and thestacks of newspaper and magazine articles to join us today by phone fromhis office at The Sun. Now that the Olympics are just about done andwrapped up and you've had to watch every darn spare minute of it, how doyou think NBC did?
Ray Frager: I think overall they've done a very good job. I guess some ofit depends on your perspective and what you want out of the Olympics. Ifyou'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 ofpeople competing to win a medal for a childhood dog who died right beforethe games. We're not getting so much of that. But there's been plenty ofaction.
WYPR: It's been hard in recent Olympics for networks to spread theircoverage out. There's the famous "triplecast" disaster of a few Olympicsago. Do you think NBC did a good job of farming stuff out to itsaffiliates, 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 coupleof channels for certain sports, like boxing goes on Bravo. I was sort ofhoping that James Lipton would get punched. The Spanish station,Telemundo, has a lot of boxing and soccer. And I think women's beachvolleyball was on every station.
WYPR: The first week was Michael Phelps. Was there a similar story thatdeveloped for week two, similar to the Phelps story?
Ray Frager: I don't think anyone of that magnitude developed for thesecond week. But there were some very compelling stories. The Moroccanrunner, Hicham El Gerrouj, ran a fabulous 1500 the other night. That was agreat story. But that wasn't something that carries across several nightslike Phelps did.
WYPR: During the Olympics we get to see the full panoply of a network'sannouncers. And afterwards there are those we're sick of, and those thathave made a name for themselves. Are there some who've worn out theirwelcome, 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 inprime time. I happen to be a big fan of him, and I'm sure I'm not alone inthat. He does not wear out his welcome the way, say, years ago BrentMusburger did. Plus, a lot of people probably haven't seen him in a whileunless you get HBO. NBC also brought Pat O'Brien back to be a host on oneof their cable channels. So they rescued him from "Access Hollywood." Inever saw that show, but I'm sure there are people who did. People mayremember O'Brien particularly from the Lillehammer games. He was a bigpart 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 thantennis. Otherwise, a lot of the play by play people are interchangeable.A few, though, stand out, particularly Al Trautwig on gymnastics who did aterrific 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, Mondaythrough Friday at 5:45 p.m. on WYPR FM, 88.1.