SBD/March 21, 2014/Media

People & Personalities: For World Cup, ESPN Adds Another British Commentator In Champion

Champion is heard regularly on world feed coverage used by NBC's networks
The AP's Ronald Blum reported announcer Jon Champion "has been hired by ESPN for its World Cup coverage," making him the "fifth British play-by-play commentator among the six for its telecasts from Brazil." Champion broadcast the EPL’s Saturday afternoon matches for ESPN UK from '09-13 and "is heard regularly on world feed coverage used by NBC’s networks this season." Ian Darke, Adrian Healy and Derek Rae "return from ESPN’s coverage four years ago, when four broadcast crews were used in South Africa." They "will be joined by Daniel Mann, who called ESPN’s 3-D World Cup broadcasts" in '10. The non-British play-by-play man is Fernando Palomo, who "was born in El Salvador and is ESPN’s lead announcer for Mexican national team matches" (AP, 3/19).

WE'RE ALL DAY TO DAY: Keith Olbermann on Thursday night took a moment during his nightly ESPN2 talk show to thank the various network personalities who have filled in for him as he has been battling a case of shingles in recent weeks. Olbermann said, "I imagine this is getting confusing to you. I'm here, I'm not here, you hear I'm sick then you tune in and I am here, then the next night I'm not here. So let me tell you about shingles. Not the gross part, after the gross part where it feels like you fell out of an airplane onto pointy poison ivy that then catches fire." He said to medicate the pain, "they start you off on Vicadin and then they work you up to the heavy stuff." Olbermann: "So my appearances here are about pain management. I can play through the pain, I can play through the drugs, I can play through the limp ... but mix in one thing like the drugs messing with sleep and on TV I become a danger to humanity. So I'll do this when I can" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/20).

ROSE BUDS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Debbie Emery noted ESPN's Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons on Wednesday "took to the broadcasting booth at the Staples Center" to announce Spurs-Lakers. Rose prior to the game said, "Our fan base is underground and those people appreciate us, but this is going to capture a whole different audience." He said of collaborating with Simmons, "What makes our relationship work is that we come from different backgrounds. We don't agree on everything, we have strong opinions and we are knowledgeable about what we see. But most importantly, we open up doors to a different audience for each other, whether it is through race or gender" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 3/19).

SO FAR, SO GOOD: In Illinois, Mike Imrem wrote Cubs analyst Ron Coomer has "passed the first ear test as ... Pat Hughes' new radio partner" for Cubs games on WGN-AM. Imrem noted this opinion is "based on only one sampling of a Cubs game last weekend." However, first impressions of Coomer "were that the Cubs and WGN-AM just might have gotten this one right after Keith Moreland’s drab tenure in the booth." One "positive was that Coomer always seemed a word away from a chuckle" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 3/20).

NOTES: Former NFL Network reporter Kara Henderson Snead "will join" St-Louis-based KTRS-AM "next month to be a co-host on 'The John Carney Show.'" Snead is the wife of Rams GM Les Snead (STLTODAY.com, 3/18)....MASN on Wednesday announced that MASNSports.com Nationals beat reporter Dan Kolko "will serve as the network's sideline reporter" for the team's games this season. He becomes "the fourth Nationals sideline reporter in four years" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 3/19).
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