Viviano adds weekday radio to weekend television duties

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Starting Jan. 24, Mark Viviano's sleeping patterns get thrown for a loop.

That's when Channel 11's weekend sports anchor adds weekday morning sports reporting duties on sister station WBAL (1090 AM) to his job title. The combination of the two appears to be one that could drop a horse, but Viviano is looking forward to taking the ride.

"You're wondering why anyone in his right mind would do this? Well, I don't have a right mind," said Viviano yesterday. "Seriously, if it was work, I would say this is crazy. But this is fun. It's something that I love to do, and I figure that I just want to burn the oil while I have it."

Viviano, 32, who has been in Baltimore for 2 1/2 years after five years in Dayton, Ohio, will take over the morning slot for Pam Ward, who left in November for an anchor gig on ESPNEWS. He got the idea that morning radio could suit him after he filled in for a week after Ward left.

"I hadn't even thought about it until then, but I had so much fun with it that I figured why not. Something about it really bit me that I could do this. It was loose and fun, and I loved working with [anchor Dave] Durian. It's a fun thing to do," said Viviano.

To allay fears of WBAL management that he has overextended himself, Viviano has committed to doing the radio program for at least a year, and has agreed to waive clauses, for a year, in the three-year television contract he signed in July that would allow him to leave early.

"I want them to know that this is something that I want to do. This is an important position for them to fill," Viviano said.

Indeed, with the departure of Ward and Josh Lewin, not to mention Jon Miller's relocation, WBAL's sports department has totally turned over in about two months. Viviano's hiring, over about 200 applicants, gives the station some stability and name recognition at a time when it could really use it.

"He emerged as the best fit," said station manager Jeff Beauchamp. "It's a perfect situation. He knows the market. He broke the Ravens story here and when he covers them on the road for television, he'll be covering them for us. When the Orioles are in spring training, he'll be there for both outlets. It's a good fit for us."

ESPN snags a fox

ESPN has announced that comedian Jeff Foxworthy will be the host of the ESPY Awards show Feb. 10 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Foxworthy, star of an eponymous NBC sitcom, has written nine books and has sold more comedy albums than any other artist in history, but is best known for that incredibly annoying line of jokes that begin, "You might be a redneck if "

The A-list

Need proof that the tail wags the dog in the relationship between sports and television? The evidence is in the Sporting News annual list of the 100 most powerful figures in athletics.

Five of the top seven entries are television executives, and they all come in above the highest ranking official, NBA commissioner David Stern, who ranks eighth.

Ranked as the most powerful figure in sports is NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol. Steve Bornstein, who runs both ABC Sports and ESPN, is third, followed by his boss, Michael Eisner, Walt Disney chairman, who is listed at fifth.

Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch is ranked sixth and Gerald Levin RTC and Ted Turner, who run the Time Warner empire, come in jointly at seventh.

The new addition

Congratulations go out to NBC sportscasters Hannah Storm and Dan Hicks, who are the parents of a baby girl, Hannah Elizabeth, who entered the world Tuesday at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

Young Hannah is the fourth consecutive girl to bear that name on her mother's side of the family.

Pub Date: 1/09/97

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