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Hamilton Makes the Cut in TV

November 30, 2001|LARRY STEWART

Roy Hamilton was so coveted as a high school basketball player that when he and Verbum Dei teammate David Greenwood announced they were going to UCLA in 1976, it was big news. Channel 4 sportscaster Bryant Gumbel got the exclusive, and his station televised the announcement live.

At UCLA, Hamilton earned some All-American mentions and was first team All-Pacific 10, honors that helped make him an NBA first-round draft pick.

Pretty heady stuff. But Hamilton, who graduated in four years, never lost sight of getting a good education.

It was something his parents always emphasized. They told him he had to be prepared for life after basketball.

It was a good thing they did. Basketball didn't last long.

Hamilton was cut by three NBA teams--Detroit, which was coached by Dick Vitale at the time, Portland and the New Jersey Nets. He played briefly in the Continental Basketball Assn. and then decided enough was enough.

He wasn't going to hang around gyms with hopes of someday hooking on with another NBA team.

"You know what the odds are of a guy who has been cut to come back and have a long career?" Hamilton said. "It must be 1,000 to 1. I didn't want to leave the game of basketball bitter and disappointed."

So he gave up on his dream and pursued another, working in sports television. It was something that drew his interest when he was in high school and would listen to Dick Enberg announce UCLA basketball games.

At first, Hamilton took the route so many former athletes take. He was UCLA's television commentator for the 1982-83 season, when Channel 5 televised most of the games.

But he decided behind-the-camera work was what interested him most.

He started in an entry-level position as a broadcast associate for CBS Sports in New York and ended up becoming one of CBS' top NFL producers. When CBS lost the NFL to Fox in 1993, Fox hired some of CBS' top production people, including Hamilton. Hamilton moved to cable after a year and today, at 43, he is one of the highest-ranking African Americans working on the production side of sports television as Fox Sports Net's coordinating producer of college football and regional NBA coverage.

Hamilton also oversees a new Fox Sports Net property--Atlantic Coast Conference Sunday basketball. The package makes its debut Sunday with a doubleheader--Georgia at North Carolina at 3p.m. followed by Clemson at Duke.

Hamilton and Bill Borson, senior vice president/executive producer, have put together an impressive announcing lineup--Thom Brennaman, Kenny Smith, Bob Neal and Dan Bonner. There also will be a guest commentator, a former ACC player, each game.

First up is Phil Ford on Georgia Tech-North Carolina and Bobby Hurley for Clemson-Duke. Among those coming later are Muggsy Bogues, Ralph Sampson, Mark Price and David Thompson.

It's part of Hamilton's job to recruit the guest commentators. After Hamilton calls, a response could go something like this: "Yeah, Roy, I remember you. What are you doing now?"

Hamilton could tell them: "Hiring you for a national TV gig."

New Radio Duo

Sports talk station KMPC (1540) has finally put together a local show. On Dec. 10, Chris Myers and Bob Golic begin doing their thing every weekday, 3-7 p.m.

Tim Parker, KMPC's new program director, is the one who put them together.

"They were on the top of our list, and they both wanted to work with each other," Parker said. "We're excited. We think this will work really well."

It should. Golic, the former Raider, has the energy and bombastic personality that radio needs, and Myers has the sophistication and professionalism that radio often lacks.

Tim Montemayor, who books guests for "The Last Word With Jim Rome," is leaving Fox Sports Net to produce the new KMPC show.

Word is KMPC, which is owned by Paul Allen's Sporting News radio network, will soon add another local show, 2-3 p.m., as a lead-in to Myers and Golic, and that show will be hosted by another well-known L.A. personality.

Myers last year briefly did a Fox radio network show with Steve Lyons, but it wasn't carried in L.A. But he's not giving up television for radio. He will remain with Fox and continue as the host of Fox Sports Net's "NFL This Morning" and as host of Fox network's NASCAR coverage. He'll continue as an anchor on the "National Sports Report," but his role on that show after the first of the year remains to be determined.

It's apparent the regional news shows have taken precedence over the national show. Three years ago, Keith Olbermann and Myers came in as co-anchors of the "National Sports Report" amid much fanfare. But at Fox Sports Net, nothing seems to stay the same for very long. In a business where continuity counts for a lot, that's not a good thing.

On to Wisconsin

After two years with the Angels, radio announcer Daron Sutton is moving on. He has been hired as a TV play-by-play announcer by the Milwaukee Brewers.

He replaces Matt Vasgersian, who has moved on to the San Diego Padres.

"We made a coast-to-coast swap," Sutton said.

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