Airwaves: NBC is at its best during the Olympics 

With all the hype and follow-up from last week’s Super Bowl, few humans realized that the 2010 Winter Olympics were getting ready to tee it up. Friday night was the Opening Ceremony, and as usual, it was spectacular, with NBC doing another bang-up job with the broadcast. Nothing will ever equal the past Summer Olympics, but hopefully these Games will produce some magical moments.

Once again, NBC has put together an all-star team of broadcasters. Bob Costas will be the prime-time host for the eighth time. As we have mentioned here numerous times, Costas is great and this anchor job was made for him. Al Michaels will be the host during the weekend and weekday day-time slots. Talk about fire power in one studio chair. NBC has outdone itself. Versatile football analyst, Cris Collinsworth, will be a correspondent, and will be where the action is. Collinsworth, the man who took over for John Madden, is talented and not just limited to the gridiron.

Niners radio play-by-play man Ted Robinson will be the play-by-play guy for “short track.” Now, I had no idea what “short track” was, so I looked it up. For those of you like me, it is speedskating, d-uh! This is the seventh time Robinson will do the Olympics, and the sixth time with NBC.

- The production quality by NBC will be first rate with many new technical outlets. Since I am not a techie, forgive me if explanations are very general. NBC Universal, the parent company, will provide numerous digital offerings. Everything you could possibly want is available on They will provide 400 hours of live streaming video and 1,000 hours of replay. This is obviously in addition to the many hours of live network coverage. In addition, they have instituted a couple of cool new things. One is where you can be the judge in figure skating. Another is replays on demand, as well as the availability to search individual Olympian profiles and team history.

- Not that anyone cares, because I don’t, the NFL Network this week announced that beginning in April they will televise the newly structured arena football league, Arena Football One, once a week. I guess the NFL Network is really hard up for programming. The revised league will feature 15 teams in smaller markets around the country. Wow, I can’t wait!


Adding Lurie a smart move by KNBR brass

It was wonderful radio and easy listening Wednesday with KNBR (680 AM) megahost Gary Radnich, who was “on fire” with a variety of subjects.

Two subjects stand out to me. One was the topic of how much a win like the New Orleans Saints had in the Super Bowl helps people take their minds off problems in troubled times. It is a fascinating topic that Radnich makes a great point about.

If you are financially broke and suffering through a horrible time in your life, does a Drew Brees touchdown really make you forget these issues and make you feel better? There is no right answer, but I agree with the Big Dog, and I have been there, it would not do much for me. At the very least, it is a very small moment of gratification. Second, Gary had an insightful interview with Marty Lurie. Marty is leaving his position as an A’s pregame host, a gig he has had since 1998, to transfer to San Francisco to become part of the KNBR pregame and postgame radio programming for the Giants.

Honestly, I had never heard a personal interview with Marty before. I have listened to him on KTRB (860 AM) on his pregame and postgame shows. I had no idea he is a lawyer and so well-spoken off the topic of baseball.

What has happened at KTRB? They do not have enough time for his shows because of other programming? Lee Hammer, the KNBR program director, very wisely jumped at the opportunity to secure Lurie as part of his programming.

It is my understanding he will air pregame and postgame Giants shows on the weekends. Details are expected to be announced this week.

The bottom line is that this is a win-win for Giants fans and KNBR. Although he will not take the place of Kruk (Mike Krukow) and Kuip (Duane Kuiper), it will be an added element to help give the great Giants fans more inside info. After all, baseball is a radio sport. The A’s and their loyal fan base will miss him, but this is the radio programming business of baseball. It was a good move for the A’s to move to KTRB, but it is a bad move for the station to lose Lurie’s “Right Off the Bat” show.

Gary gets it, as he always says, because he is way ahead of everyone else in the market in terms of what is really going on in the airwaves, and in print.


On target

What’s totally on target is the hiring of Kevin Weiberg to be the deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the Pac-10 Conference. Weiberg comes in with great credentials and a very impressive background. This former commissioner of the Big 12 Conference was very influential in the expansion of the Big 12 and the launching of the Big Ten Network. I have said for five years the Pac-10 needs to expand and get its own TV network. Kevin is a great hire!


Who said it

Drew Brees
“How’s the ‘Who Dat’ nation feeling tonight? This toast goes out to you. We love you and won the championship for you,” the New Orleans Saints quarterback and savior of the Big Easy shouted into a mic during the Mardi Gras-type celebration Tuesday in New Orleans. It was on national TV. Awesome stuff! Enough said.

Marty Lurie
“In my 11 years with the A’s, Art Howe taught me the most about the game of baseball. He always emphasized the flow of the season and always being consistent,” the new pregame host for Giants games on KNBR said. Good call by the very smart and well-spoken man. This is a major addition for the KNBR coverage of the Giants.


One to watch

The biggest and brightest basketball stars will gather for the annual NBA All-Star Game today. This year’s game is being held at Jerry Jones’ massive Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas. It should be quite the spectacle to watch LeBron James and all the other stars compete with the gigantic TV screen above them. TNT will carry the action at 5:30 p.m.


Sports by numbers

106.5 million Viewers that watched this year’s Super Bowl, an all-time TV record

106 million Viewers that watched the final episode of “M*A*S*H,” the previous record holder

45 percent U.S. households that watched this year’s Super Bowl. What was everyone else doing?

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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