One of the more memorable moments in Kristian Read’s broadcasting career came when he was sports director at a television station in Missoula, Mont.
Read interviewed Ultimate Fighter Mike Brown, and he decided to find out what it was like to be a UFC fighter. Big mistake. He nearly suffered a broken larynx.
If Read can handle being in the octagon with a UFC fighter, then he should be up to the pressure of taking over as sports director at FOX23 (WXXA).
Read, who came to FOX23 from FOX44 in Burlington, Vt., made his debut Monday. He takes over as sports director for Rich Becker, who left the station in March to take a job at Albany Medical Hospital.
“You’ve got to try to do new things,” Read said. “I think he was the lightweight champion of UFC, and he knew someone at the station. So I said, ‘Let’s fight.’
“I thought he would take it easy on me, and he definitely took it easy on me. But when he took me down to the ground, he hit a little harder than I thought he would. It’s the price you pay for a story.”
Becker did an outstanding job during his 13 years at FOX23, the last nine as sports director. Following in Becker’s footsteps will be tough, but Read is ready for the challenge.
“I definitely don’t feel pressure because I just don’t think that’s a good way to go about it,” Read said. “If I start feeling pressure and saying, ‘I have to do this, this and this and be like Rich,’ I won’t relax. Being relaxed and productive is important.
“That being said, I do want to try and build and keep up what Rich has done throughout. The goal isn’t to take away from Rich did. It’s to keep going with what he did and, hopefully, add to it.”
NBC has the Kentucky Derby today at 4 p.m. It will be seen on NBC13 and NBC13 HD.
“This is one of the events that you look when the schedule comes out to see what day it lands on and you make your plans around it,” Tom Hammond, who will host NBC’s coverage, said on a conference call Thursday. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, it’s just two minutes,’ but there’s so much more that goes with it. Horse racing has more stories than any other sport, all compelling stories, all interesting. We hope to capture the flavor of what the Derby really is. The crowd keeps getting bigger, that’s for sure.”
A field of 20 horses will compete and get a leg up on the Triple Crown. Bodemeister is the favorite to win.
“There are literally eight or 10 horses that could win the race,” Hammond said. “This year has the opportunity to be one of the classic Derbies because of a depth of talent unlike any I can remember in the last 10 years. A very talented field, a good mix of horses. All the ingredients are there for what could be a classic Kentucky Derby.”
NBC Sports Network will have the Kentucky Derby undercard at 11 a.m.
The NHL Stanley Cup conference quarterfinals were violent, dramatic and exciting. It was a hit with the viewers.
Thanks to having every game televised for the first time in the league’s history, NBC Sports Group did very well, according to the data released today by The Nielsen Company.
Here are the numbers:
u There was an average of 929,000 viewers across NBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and CNBC, making them the most-watched first round on record. Note that cable data is not available prior to 1994.
u NBCSN, the network formerly known as Versus, averaged 744,000 viewers, making the games the most-watched in NBCSN history. That’s up 16 percent from last year (642,000), and the highest on a cable channel in 11 years (ESPN, 745,000 in 2001).
u NBC Averaged 2.57 million viewers on CNBC for six broadcasts, up 39 percent compared to last year (1.85 million, four games), and making them the most-watched on a broadcast network in 14 years, since Fox averaged 2.76 million viewers in 1998 (two games).
u Finally, the games reached 30.9 million total viewers across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC, up 29 percent from last year (23.9 million).
There are three conference semifinal games on TV this weekend. NBC13 and NBC13 HD have Game 4 of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals Eastern Conference series today at 12:30 p.m., and Game 4 of the St. Louis Blues-Los Angeles Kings Western Conference matchup at 3 p.m. Sunday.
NBCSN and NBCSN HD have Game 4 of the Eastern Conference series between the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils at
7:30 p.m. Sunday.
FOX Sports (FOX23 and FOX23 HD) has the New York Mets hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks today at 4 p.m. The game will also be on the radio in the Johnstown/Gloversville area on WENT-AM (1340) and WENT-FM (105.1). Also, the Mets are on in the Glens Falls area on WMML-AM (1230). . . .
FOX Sports will be busy today. In addition to the baseball game, it will televise four Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts tonight at 8. Pat Barry takes on Lavar Johnson in a heavyweight bout, Josh Koscheck battles Johny Hendricks in a welterweight contest, Rousimar Palhares meets Alan Belcher in a middleweight fight and Nate Diaz faces Jim Miller in a lightweight fight. . . .
There are two Major League Soccer games on TV today. NBCSN and NBCSN HD have Philadelphia at Seattle at 4 p.m. ESPN and ESPN HD televise New York at Los Angeles at 8 p.m. . . .
Time Warner Cable Sports-3 and TWCS-3 HD have the Maryland-Colgate men’s lacrosse game at 1 p.m. today.