People & Personalities: Tirico Hosting NBC's Indy 500 Coverage
In Indianapolis, Jim Ayello reports Mike Tirico officially will "host NBC's coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500" in '19. A source said that IndyCar "learned Tirico would serve as host during the series' annual partner summit a few days before" this year's Indy 500 in May. However, an NBC spokesperson "declined to confirm Tirico's appointment." The naming of "such a notable personality should be viewed by IndyCar and its fans as a strong sign that NBC is dedicated to helping buoy not just the 500 but the series, as well" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/15). SportsBusiness Journal earlier this month reported Tirico was a leading candidate to host NBC's Indy 500 coverage (THE DAILY).
ANTICIPATED DEBUT: On Long Island, Neil Best reported WFAN's Ann Liguori on Sunday at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills will "achieve a first" -- hosting her own golf show on the net. Liguori: "WFAN realized there's so much out there aside from baseball, football and basketball -- sports that I love -- and I think they just realized it's time to do it." Best noted the show will run from 7:00-8:00am ET on Sundays "through Labor Day." Liguori has "covered the past 20 Masters and most of U.S. Opens and PGA Championships during that time" for WFAN (NEWSDAY, 6/14).
BIG SHOES TO FILL: In Houston, David Barron notes Andrew Monaco, the "longtime studio host for Spurs game telecasts" on FS Southwest, was "named recently as Texas A&M's lead play-by-play announcer for football and men's basketball games." He "succeeds the longtime incumbent, Dave South, who will continue to call" A&M baseball games. Learfield Communications VP/Broadcast Operations Tom Boman said that Monaco was "one of 87 candidates who received initial consideration by Learfield, A&M's media partner, for the play-by-play job." Monaco "succeeds arguably the most partisan college announcer to call games for a major Texas college program in South" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/15).
BREW CREW ADDITION: In Milwaukee, Rich Kirchen reported FS Wisconsin sideline reporter Sophia Minnaert has joined the Brewers and will "continue her work on Fox Sports Brewers broadcasts." The Brewers said that they "hired Minnaert to the new position" of Dir of Broadcast & Digital Features Content. Minnaert has worked for FS Wisconsin on Bucks telecasts, and that role "will end with her new Brewers position." Her new duties will "include producing and hosting digital features in both English and Spanish that will be shared on platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Brewers.com" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/13).
TRANSITION PERIOD: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes sports anchor Erica Weston is "set to start Friday" at FS Midwest after previously working in Phoenix. She will be in a "limited role at first as an anchor and reporter." Scott Warmann will "continue to be FSM's primary anchor, with Jim Hayes as the No. 1 backup in addition to remaining as its lead game reporter." Weston is to be on "two or three Cardinals series a month, with a mixture of anchoring and reporting." She will also "contribute to FSM's Blues coverage and is to work" for all three Fox RSNs that are run out of St. Louis (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/15).
KEEPING UP APPEARANCES: Former MLBer Michael Morse said that he will "fill in this weekend" on MASN Nationals broadcasts for F.P. Santangelo, who will be attending his "son's graduation in California." Morse was a "studio fill-in" for MASN Nationals TV analyst Ray Knight a few weeks ago and is "now ready for his second gig" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/15)....Pelicans radio play-by-play voice Sean Kelley grew up in St. Louis, and will return "home to call" Cubs-Cardinals on Friday night as part of his "side work for ESPN Radio" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/15).