Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
In the world of sports journalism, obtaining that great quote or sound bite isn’t all that easy. You’ve seen and heard them all too often:
“We just have to take it one day at a time.”
“We just have to take it one game at a time.”
“I just tried to help my teammates to the best of my ability.”
“Things just went well for me tonight.”
“I had my confidence.”
“My teammates had confidence in me.”
“We overcame adversity.”
“Oh, this win was very important.”
I covered the 1982 World Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis cardinals for WUWM and National Public Radio. After one of the Brewer victories at Milwaukee County Stadium, I stood with tape recorder and microphone in hand behind a throng of other reporters attempting to get to Brewer Gorman Thomas in front of his locker. As reporters walked away I inched closer and closer. Finally I got to a spot where I could plant my mic in front of his face. A female reporter was posing a question.
Uncharacteristically, Thomas scolded her, saying, and I’ll never forget because I had it on tape, “Honey, “I’ve answered that question three times already,” and he declined to do it a fourth. Thomas didn’t understand or care that there were waves of reporters who didn’t know what had or had not been asked and they needed their own stories.
Needless to say the relationship between the media and athletes and coaches isn’t always warm.
A few years later, major league umpire Ron Luciano, now deceased, came to WUWM on a book tour. The incredibly funny gentleman told me that Mike Schmidt, home run slugger for the Philadelphia Phillies would answer a question about one of his majestic blasts this way:
“I extended my arms over the plate.”
NO, that’s not what a reporter wants!
But Reggie Jackson, now there’s a guy said Luciano who did it right.
“I hit it out for a sick child in the hospital.”
This is all a prelude to what I consider an annoying and worthless practice by the networks to have “sideline” reporters ask coaches, primarily, useless questions.
Usually, the reporter tries in a matter of seconds to verbalize every X and O that Vince Lombardi drew up in his career to try to sound mega intelligent and impress the interviewee. Too many times the response leaves an omelet on the reporter’s face.
The timing is also a factor. Do we really expect a coach to wax poetic and at the same time go into great detail about why his team stunk up the place at halftime when he’s upset and wants nothing more than to get into the locker room to chew out his team and work up a remedy for the second half?
Bo Ryan of Wisconsin was probably thinking, “Lady, just get away from me.” Here’s another example, this time from the NBA.
And one more.
Again, what do the networks and these reporters expect? That the coach is going to divulge for all the world to hear his exact playbook and strategies? I don’t even like Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs but I applaud him for making Doris Burke look stupid.
Let’s dump these reporters. They ask questions that don’t get answers. We learn nothing from these exchanges. I understand that most sports reporters who get these assignments dumped on them are female. But they’re horrible and need to really, really be sent to the sidelines.