A nasally, gravelly voice pushed Bill Dallman from one side of the TV camera to the other.
Being behind the camera has turned out nicely for Dallman, who on Tuesday leaves the Eden Prairie office of vice president and news director at Fox 9 for a dream job in Los Angeles. He’s been named vice president/news director for Fox Sports 1, “America’s new sports network, coming Aug. 17,” as it’s being promo’d.
Dallman is going to L.A. with his wife of 21 years, Angela, executive producer of DIY’s “Bath Crashers,” and their two kids.
Although this being the boss thing is working for Dallman, I’m looking forward to his making an unexpected appearance on Fox Sports 1, like the one he made when the Dome collapsed in 2010. His appearance on Fox 9 might not have caused the casual viewer pause, but it riveted me to the screen.
“We had that big snowstorm on Saturday, and so I was here relieving the manager on call, [exec producer] Lori Fisher. She was pregnant,” Dallman told me last week. “I called her and said, ‘I’m going to come in and oversee the morning news.’ I’m here at 4 in the morning, whatever, and all of a sudden we hear the Dome went down. There was no way we’re getting any [reporters] in at that time. I looked at [photog] Brian Wiedeke and said, ‘Let’s go.’”
Q In fewer than 25 words, how will what Fox Sports 1 does be different from ESPN?
A Fox Sports 1 is going to be fun. We say: Sports is fun. Not taking away anything from ESPN, which is a great organization, but we’re going to be fun, dynamic, interesting and take some chances.
Q Where is the sports coverage saturation point?
A It seems unlimited at this point. Live sports is absolutely amazing in its capacity to draw an audience. People don’t like to DVR it as much as they like to DVR other programs. They like to be in front of their TV while it’s happening. It’s an exciting time to be part of that growing phenomenon.
Q Which on-air person at Channel 9 will you miss the most?
A I’ll miss C.J. the most, of course. No. I’ll miss everybody. The thing about it is that I came into a great organization in 2006 and I added some great people as well. The people I feel the worst for are the people I just hired. I did not know this opportunity was going to come for me. There are some new people who came on who I have hardly had the chance to get to know.
Q If you had been the judge presiding over Chad Ochoidiot’s [better known as Chad Ochocinco] domestic head-butting case, would you have tossed the knucklehead into jail for slapping his attorney on the behind?
A [Laugh] Luckily, I’m not a judge, but I would have had a stern conversation with him for certain. He would be a challenge to manage, that’s for sure. But I’ve got to say, when he was in the Twin Cities for a game, when he was with the Bengals, he was a great guy.
Q I notice that most of the local sports anchors made a point of congratulating you on Twitter. That their way of saying, “Take me with you to L.A.”?
A [Laugh] I don’t know. Who wouldn’t want to be part of an all-sports network for Fox Sports, that’s a start-up, where we’re saying: “We want to be the best. We want the best people.” I can understand why they want to be part of it.
Q Are you going to steal any talent from the Twin Cities?
A I’m not planning on it, no.
Q I think because Keith Olbermann is brilliant, he must by now look back on his career and know he’s been a pain. Do you think you’d be interested in managing that ego?
A I always like a challenge, and I have never met Keith Olbermann. Some people just are determined, I think, to do things their own way, and they have such difficulty in adjusting to understanding how they fit in an organization. He obviously has a track record of wearing out his welcome. You’re right, he is brilliant, and I used to watch every night: Olbermann and Patrick [Dan Patrick]. Loved them. Our opportunity is to get someone along those lines, hopefully not so challenging.
Q You’re a guy who loves hockey so much you wear a goatee during hockey season. Is there a rink in California where you can go blow off steam, check somebody?
A The last sentence in the e-mail when Scott Ackerson was offering me the job was: And remember, we have hockey leagues here. So yes, there are, and my kids can play there, too. And there’s roller hockey. Little known fact: When I was in Sacramento, I was there for five years, they started a team called the River Rats. The coach asked me to try out for the Sacramento River Rats. I said no thanks, I have a day job.
Q How many seconds could you skate in a championship hockey game on a broken fibula?
A [Laughter] Never broken my fibula, but I sure as hell would skate as many seconds as they would let me out there. Until they told me to get off the ice, I’d skate.
Q As a result of working for you at Fox 9, I know that you are not somebody who is especially enamored about meeting celebrities?
Q You do know that this job means you’ll be swimming in famous faces?
A Right. When I went for my interview, Curt Menefee, from the pregame show, was in there getting a suit delivered. They are people just like you and me. One of my best friends in Edina is Brian Bellows, an unbelievably great hockey player and great a North Star. We just talk about kids and families and go have a good time together.
Q You like grounded people, people who don’t expect adulation because they walk in a room.
A Well, they don’t get it from me.
Q We are living in the confluence of gossip, sports and news. If I write about Lindsey Vonn being seen going to Tiger Woods yacht, it gets dismissed as gossip. If Tiger issues a statement that he’s dating Vonn, suddenly it’s front page and nightly news about sports figures. What’s up with that?
A Interesting to me, people say that they don’t like gossip. Well, sure they do. That’s why you’ve been here as long as you have and get read first thing — you and Sid, of course.
Interviews are edited. E-mail C.J. at firstname.lastname@example.org and watch her on Fox 9’s “Buzz.”