People & Personalities: 49ers Announcer Ted Robinson Gets Five-Year Extension
The 49ers on Thursday announced that radio play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson has received a five-year extension and will remain with the club through at least the '18 season. In San Jose, Cam Inman noted Robinson has "handled play-by-play duties" since '09. Beside radio calls, Robinson will "contribute to the 49ers’ Website and television productions" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 5/23).
FOX TROT: In Detroit, Tony Paul notes recent Fox Sports 1 hire Ryan Field will join the net on July 1, "well before the launch" on Aug. 17. Viewers will get to see "what Detroit brass has seen for years: an absolute professional on camera ... who almost always is prepared and on point with questions and commentary." Field's last day at FS Detroit will be June 14 (DETROIT NEWS, 5/24). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote FS1's hiring of Andy Roddick as an anchor for "Fox Sports Live" "felt like a gimmick," but it will be "viewed a gimmick only if he fails." If he is "any good, as Fox executives think he is, then they can take bows for seeing his potential for such a role." Wolfley: "If he tanks, so what? There is no devastating downside here." Former NFLer Tiki Barber was "going to be the next big thing for NBC’s 'Today' show until he wasn’t. Next up" (JSONLINE.com, 5/23).
NATIONAL APPEAL? SPORTS ON EARTH's Tommy Tomlinson wrote ESPN's hiring of radio host Paul Finebaum for the new SEC Network "makes perfect sense" for both parties. Finebaum gets a "wider audience and more money," while ESPN gets an "innings-eater to fill weekday afternoons on its new network." Tomlinson: "I'm just not sure that the specific genius of that show in Alabama can scale. ... I wonder if Paul Finebaum's sauce will taste as good to people all over the South" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 5/23). In Charlotte, Mark Washburn wrote Finebaum, whose five-year deal with ESPN includes "radio and 100 televised appearances annually," is "one of those love-him-or-hate-him voices familiar to SEC fans, particularly the opposing forces of Alabama and Auburn" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 5/23).
KNOW YOUR ROLE: ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy said of possibly coaching again, "I enjoy what I do right now and trying to do it as well as I can. I was in San Antonio the other night and San Antonio fans were killing me saying I was pro-Memphis. And I’m sure when I get to Memphis, they’ll say I’m pro-San Antonio. That’s how I judge how I’m doing: If everyone hates me, then I’m doing fine" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/24).
ON THE INSIDE: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic announced former Sporting News columnist Clifton Brown will join the net as its Ravens insider. Brown will provide analysis and features for CSNBaltimore.com and the net's mobile and social media platforms. He also will make regular appearances on CSN Mid-Atlantic's "Geico SportsNet Central," and contribute to the Ravens' pre- and postgame shows (CSN Mid-Atlantic).
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: In Des Moines, Fuson & Logue report former Univ. of Iowa broadcaster Jim Zabel, who "entertained radio listeners for more than half a century, died Thursday at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home." He was 91. Zabel in the booth was "more Harry Caray than Vin Scully, more passionate fan than indifferent reporter." But those qualities "made him one of those most popular media personalities in the state" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 5/24).