A recent e-mail: How can Messrs. Phil Aldridge and Mike Max get regular airtime on local television?


Russell Shimooka, Hawaii

Russell - Your email is much appreciated. Let's take a break from trying to decide who's a better catch for Brody Jenner - Jayde Nicole or Audrina Patridge - and investigate.
We'll do our best to impersonate Frank Magid, the consultant who advises KSTP TV on hires, but we'll attempt to swing and miss a lot less.

The Best Twin Cities TV Sports Anchors/Reporters

  1. Mark Rosen, WCCO Channel 4: The prototypical Twin Cities sports anchor, mainly because of his affection for the local squads. He raises the bar. His writing and delivery are solid. He has a warmness about him. His Sunday night show is must-see TV. His two negatives: He rarely breaks a story and he doesn't get out and about nearly as often as he should. 
  2. Anthony LaPanta, FSN North: Is hands down the best ad-libber. His versatility deserves attention - can fill in for Dick Bremer on short notice and do easily as good a job. His work ethic is another characteristic that makes him stand out. He's on all the time. In this case, quantity equals quality.
  3. Kevin Gorg, FSN North: Is used way more often in the analyst chair, but when he's given an opportunity to steer, seems very comfortable. In fact, he should be used more away from the hockey season.
  4. Jim Rich, KMSP Channel 9: Full disclosure: I have collected a paycheck from KMSP in the past, but not for six months. Rich is charming in a goofy way. For example, while working on the Twins broadcast on Mother's Day, he drew attention to breast cancer awareness day, but forgot to say "cancer". His hockey knowledge is second to none in a market where many local sportscasters know very little about the sport. His play-by-play is also very good.
Honorable mention: Marney Gellner, FSN North; Dawn Mitchell, KMSP Channel 9; David Watkins, KARE Channel 11;

Bottom Few

  1. Phil Aldridge, KSTP Channel 5: KSTP news director Lindsay Radford last June: " We looked at about 100 tapes and the one thing that made Phil stand out is that he's a smart, creative writer." Huh? She added, his presence will "change the tone of the department," when it comes to storytelling and covering events. Those lines remind me of the line from Billy Madison, "What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it." We've given him numerous chances to impress us, yet he hasn't. Watching him last August front the Vikings pregame shows, he was the deer and the headlights were shining right at him. He's a teleprompter reader, not a reporter. Quite frankly, we badly miss Ryan Kibbe.
  2. Mike Max, WCCO Channel 4: There is a wide gap between Aldridge and Max, that being said he makes the list. Unlike LaPanta, quantity doesn't fully equal quality. He does deserve points for being everywhere. His connections, for the most part, are good. His on-air presence is bothersome.
  3. Randy Shaver, KARE Channel 11: In recent years, comes across as bored. He must write his scripts ten minutes before airtime. Personality and creativity are lacking. Gets props for his high school coverage, but that goes back many, many years.
  4. Robby Incmikoski, FSN North: Asks the obvious question far too often. For example, he recently asked Twins manager Ron Gardenhire if it felt good to lead a game from start to finish. He also threw an odd one at third baseman Joe Crede, after a mid-April game, wondering if the win could be season changing. We can safely say he's better than Telly Hughes, but that's like uttering, Tim Brewster is a better head coach than Greg Robinson.
It's too bad that Judd Zulgad's Friday media column no longer exists. Some opinion on local TV sports coverage is warranted. Chime in with your thoughts on the best and worst of local TV sports presentations.

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