40 Years of ESPN's SportsCenter

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This message comes from n._p._r. Sponsor xfinity some things are slow like a snail races. Other things are fast like xfinity x. by get get fast speeds even when everyone is online working to make wifi simple easy awesome more at xfinity dot com restrictions apply. This is one a. I'm joshua johnson in washington. We're just minutes away from the first event on the e._s._p._n. Scheduled that's the nineteen seventy-nine n._c. A college football preview and then we're going to follow that with a double header of games. Two of the professional slow pitch league world series games will be seen tonight now. Softball all is one of those rare sports that everybody knows something about. Why 'cause we all play on sunday when we drink beer very little about the first broadcast day of e._s._p._n. Made did it look like a sure thing leonard. The first anchor of the first program inaugurated the network on september seventh nineteen seventy-nine nothing against pro softball ball but when you're launching the world's first twenty four hour sports network beggars can't be choosers. It was so new that the channels president explained to viewers how satellite t._v. works letting the signal from bristol connecticut reach the entire nation e._s._p._n. And its groundbreaking newscast sportscenter change the business of sports and the live sports fans from its cheeky promos the catchphrases of its anchors the network went through a lot of changes along the way joining us from connecticut is bob lee a former anchor of sports center and the networks daily newsmagazine outside the lines. Lee joined e._s._p._n. In its very first week on the air and he retired this this summer bob welcome to one a. Hi joshua great to be with you and a lot of memories burst out clip that you play. There's more. I'm going to get to some more memories and just a minute but it'll be great joining us from saint. Petersburg florida is n._p._r. Tv critic eric deakins eric welcome back to the program. Thanks for having me. Let's get to some more of those memories bob. You started at e._s._p._n. On on september ninth nine thousand nine hundred seventy nine here is another clip from day. One in fact here is where that first clip will pick up where that left off now. Here's another in innovation. Listen on e._s._p._n. And it's going to be a big part of our future the sportscenter with george grand you'll have the latest on what's happening all around george. Thanks le- and welcome everyone to the e._s._p._n. Sportscenter this very desk in the coming weeks and months will be filling you in on the pulse of sporting activity not only around the country but around the world as well. It takes an interview. We'll do it takes play-by-play. We'll do it if it takes commentary. We'll do that to oh. Bob lead the early days of c._n._n. They called it the chicken noodle network because it just looked so kind of slapdash and thrown together. What do you remember about the early days of e._s._p._n. Well well yeah if if you if you could find the tape machine to play those old formats and play it back you would it would look like flintstones television but at the time it was cutting edge and i think josh will really sustain this is that we were making it up. As we went along <hes> we were there are no rules we had to go on the air the contracts ex-resigned and <hes> you know george grande who remains a dear friend leonard who just passed away in the last year i with first voices and faces and they through a bunch of kids out there until i was twenty four when i got hired and so it was chris berman and tom was just a few years older and we all joined in that first month and we had three shows to do every day right and we had the airtime to fill and we had to do it and the instructions that we had from our initial president chet simmons. Who was there the creation along with bill rasmussen. The founder network shed said talked to sports fans the way you want to be talked to yourself and you know here's a guy who came minutes the president of n._b._c. sports and came over to e._s._p._n. Telling me and i'm twenty four and i'm just tired i was available to relocate and i was ready to work for their money into turning turning loose and it was very invigorating. Remind us what sports television was like when e._s._p._n. Signed on there was a little bit of innovation going on. I mean monday night. Football went on the air in nineteen nineteen seventies so roone arledge was starting to kind of shake up the way. We looked at sports but e._s._p._n. Really was kind of format buster right well sports television television joshua existed and you know i if you're if some if you aren't old enough to remember back to the sixties and the seventies there were three broadcasts networks a._b._c. a._b._c. n._b._c. c._b._s. and they broadcast sports for maybe two to three hour window on saturdays and sundays and that was it that was it and of course your local television sports show would have three or four minutes of sports and through the sixties and seventies and a warner wolfe pioneering the use of highlights. Let's go to the videotape but it was it was segregated basically for sports events and sports news into the weekend and here we were coming on twenty four seven with events and sportscenter numerous. There's times a day with scores and highlights. It was something i remember the reaction to what people couldn't believe what they were seeing would get the clips in from around the country and the reaction to people what they were saying and our mail it was f- we had reinvented fire eric dating one of our listeners called in to share her memory of the first time she heard that at twenty four hour sports network would be coming to cable. Here's what theresa left in our inbox hi. My name is teresa and i'm from old greenwich connecticut and i just wanted to say i've been watching sports center. You're listening to it on my app when i'm walking and <hes> just absolutely love it watch college game day every week. I can't wait to see him. I florida gators are doing and also i just wanted to say i will never forget when i was about fifteen years old and it was the first time the cable man ever came to our house and he told us that they were going to be a channel dedicated to nothing but sports and i still remember it like we lost our minds. We were so excited about it. I can still remember that to that to this day. I can't believe it's been forty years theresa. Thanks very much for sharing your story with us eric. I wonder if he would just kind of add on so what was saying not only because it changed the way we watch sports but it kind of changed the business of sports as well well e._s._p._n. Changed so much coach. I mean e._s._p._n. The weight e._s._p._n. Grew it grew as the cable industry grew. I mean it's hard for people to imagine now but you know c._n._n. Didn't exist. M._t._v. didn't exist. I mean e._s._p._n. Debuted and i think you know the first <hes> broadcast had like thirty thousand thousand viewers <hes> tons of technical problems. I'm sure bobber calls this and and but there was this idea this idea that television could provide hides something <hes> that focused audience wanted you know before then television was a broadcast medium. You put put on stuff to reach the widest array of people possible <hes> e._s._p._n. Was the first big effort to come along and you say you know what we're going to offer something that we know. Only a portion of the audience is going to be interested in but they're really going to be interested in it and we're gonna super serve them. We're going to give them everything they could possibly want <hes> in this area and make a business out of that and as they figured out how to make a business out of that <hes> <hes> cable television figured out how to make a business out of that and ultimately we we got this media universe now where it's all about what the audience dance wants <hes> e._s._p._n. Came along at a time when it was not that at all bob when you retired from e._s._p._n. After hosting your show outside the lines sportscenter center anchor scott van pelt who anchors of the late night editions of sportscenter had a farewell tribute and he talked about one of the many big sports stories that she worked on. Here's part of that tribute in early june of two thousand sixteen the hamad ali passed away at the age of seventy four. The news didn't come as a shock. We knew it was coming. We just weren't certain win. We've we've been preparing to leave for the night. When the news was confirmed. The greatest was gone. It was almost twelve thirty a._m. That's when we all turn back around and went on the air. Our show began then continued without commercial interruption until four fourteen a._m. I was in here with jeremy schaap. John anderson was in the studio as well at one thirty in the morning. Bobby arrived and took a seat at the desk. There's a lot i'll remember about that night. A lot of pride to have been part of something we and only we are wired here to do mostly. I'll remember looking up and seeing bobbly joined the show he and jeremy were still going strong after four a._m. If you're going to go on the air and do almost four hours of unscripted television you need a general we had out that sportscenter anchor scott van pelt and part of his farewell tribute to the bob bob. I wonder what it was like for you particularly in the networks evolution as it became clear that e._s._p._n. Was not just going to be a sports channel but also so a news organization to well. That was very important. I mean we had the scores and highlights <hes> but there are a number of inflection points josh well along the way i think back to the hiring of johnny walsh an incredibly agile mind and his in in in working in collaboration with steve anderson and beginning in the mid to late nineteen eighty s bringing some foreign substance to sportscenter. I think of the watershed year of nineteen eighty nine when we had a leadership position on the pete rose gambling story thirty years now it's hard to remember that how that has galvanized the country for full summer and we were out in front on that breaking being story after story and and and being really on the cutting edge of it and then just several weeks after rose was suspended did and then the commissioner <hes> bartsch amati passed away suddenly being the earthquake <hes> the world series. I should say where the earthquake occurred in e._s._p._n. <hes> we were the first on the air with news from the san francisco area national television what happened then and you look back at it confluence of events such as that and seriously we placed a a flag in the sand of journalism and we had done that before <hes> and then the next year nineteen ninety upside the lines debuted as a as an episodic shot show and eventually would become a daily or nightly show right but it was always very important for us to do more than just the scores and the highlights and oh. I think we expanded that over subsequent decades. We'll certainly highlights the one of the things that people know e._s._p._n. And sportscenter four we will add current sportscenter anchor to the conversation as we continue continue with e._s._p._n. Veteran bob lee an n._p._r. Tv critic eric decades. I'm joshua johnson glad to be with. You and you are getting not just the highlights but the full play by. I play with one a from w._m._u. and n._p._r. Support for n._p._r. And the following message come from carmax for more than twenty five years carmax has made it easy to sell your car dr they provide free appraisals and offers on the spot carmax will buy your car even if you don't buy there's in fact carmax has bought more than eight eight million vehicles to learn more and schedule your free appraisal visit carmax dot com starting college can be overwhelming everyone from almost every every background. Has that fear that they got in here by accident. That's scary. N._p._r.'s kit is here to help. Make your freshman year a little easier. Listen to n._p._r. Life kids new guide ride on college or subscribed to life kit all guides for all the episodes all in one place. This is one a. I'm joshua johnson reflecting on forty years of e._s._p._n. E._s._p._n. eric duggan's let me come to you for a second before we dig into much deeper. Can you just contextualized for us a little bit more about e._s._p._n. In the larger larger scheme of television i think will be easy to hear this conversation think oh you're just geeking out over something. That's just for those sports fans. Why do i care how big is e._s._p._n. Really oh e._s._p._n. Is huge and it it embodies a lot of different contrasting elements elements as well so as e._s._p._n. Grew it became the fulcrum that sorta grew the cable t._v. Industry <hes> but it also commanded a a greater share of the revenue that comes from that industry which helped push up the everyone's cable bills and also created this backlash <hes> it became this huge programmer <hes> but there was always this culture inside the company of trying to make it more about the product unless about the personalities so so you had great people like chris berman and keith olbermann and dan patrick who were doing this very individualized wonderful work but also have this sense. The company was always trying to keep them in check. You had a company that was doing great. <hes> journalism as bob pointed out <hes> and doing a great journalistic service <hes> but also constricted by some of the contracts that had had with sports teams that it was presenting and in fact. You know one reason why he's p._e. E._s._p._n. Survived was because it began televising n._f._l. Football games and now that's a blueprint for every sports network. That's out there to try. Try and get a piece of the n._f._l. And also have these very lucrative contracts with these <hes> sports teams in sports leagues but then it makes it tough to cover them journalistically and then finally i just say sportscenter as had such an incredible impact on the t._v. Industry because it it started out with chris berman being sort of the ultimate fan and then when you had overman and dan patrick on what they call the big show <hes> sorta satirizing sports television while they were also moving forward forward <hes> it it it created sort of a template that we see in places like the daily show <hes> in in in non sports programming to sort of celebrate t._v. but also satirize it so it was interesting to see e._s._p._n. Change as people who grew up with television <hes> and respected some of its institutions but when it's wanted to subvert other ones <hes> began to run the channel would you just in a very interesting which clarify eric one piece of what you said in terms of e._s._p._n. And the impact impact on cable bills how does that work. Why is it that e._s._p._n. Success affects what we pay for cable. Would you just explain that sure sure so so e._s._p._n. P._i._n. <hes> will will charge a cable systems to to have the channel and because e._s._p._n. <hes> has been so popular for so long they they <hes> grooved to charge larger and larger amounts to cable systems like comcast and spectrum to carry the channel hanno and some economic analysis was were coming out. You know a few years ago to to show that they were taking up. Something like five or six dollars of of every subscriber's cable bill was going to <hes> pay for <hes> e._s._p._n. And it suite of channels <hes> and you know i'm sure <music> <hes> the executives of e._s._p._n. Say you know we'll people love us and they watch our channels and so we should be <hes> you know we we we should be <hes> compensated for that which makes sense but it it also helped drive up cable bills in the aggregate and made people question how much they were spending on cable then we started to see this cord cutting which has impacted e._s._p._n. And has impacted <hes> the cable business as a whole kind of began to substantiate like which channels <music> are are essential for cable owners and then also allowed services like e._s._p._n. To also offer service for cord cutters you mentioned dan patrick and keith olbermann and bob. I'd like to get your sense on the style of e._s._p._n. Before we add one more voice to the conversation here's a quick clip from april of nineteen eighty-five where keith he's olbermann is doing some n._b._a. Play by play does a little ironing arrives strickland again. Perhaps this is what the fight is about. It does not fall indiana means. I am the other good read by reggie miller from way downtown and mark jackson stern also from three point it lands jacket again. Circus move tasers run. Just walk away p._j. The blazers lost six or seven. This one one came after a team meeting to discuss friday's strickland to do strickland with twenty points eleven assists nineteen points ten boards for miller charlotte took the court three buying the pacers dell curry michael adams just injured orange work the pick and roll larry johnson did it so well keith olbermann doing play by play back in april of one thousand nine hundred five bobbly what was behind that kind of playful kitschy energy was that the spirit of the company then was just marketing as it just dan dan and keith come from it was organic joshua. It was keith's creativity his partnership with dan in the micro of those two guys on the big show but it was always the spirit of the company to <hes> and i mentioned at the beginning we were making it up as we went along there was more substance management and oversight certainly by the mid nineties but <hes> <hes> have fun for crying out loud plus. I'll tell you having done decades of sports center. We have this little phrase among that was originated by i think it was <hes> doug myers and originals in p._a. Years ago cabs mavs jazz like they're all playing each other one game on the sheet and the highlight never ends be the point being. You'll do so many highlights lights in the course of an n._b._a. Season your brain will go numb so you have to make it fun. You have to make it fun for the viewers. If you're gonna sit you're gonna strap. Strap it and sit down open a beer and watch a full our sports center in the middle of the winter. You're going to see so many damn highlights they have you got to do something to distinguish them and have fun with it and the amazing thing about kief. There are many any amazing things about keith. Who's who's a good buddy. He would type those out verbatim. No we all didn't do that. He would sit down and type that out and he would type it out early. In the evening i mean that's just a remarkable marketable. I under his creativity. Everybody did it differently. You have to be yourself. You're on television so much. You can't fool people you know if it's an act truly enact you'll be found out have fun. That's the key. Let's hear from somebody who's having fun in this particular sandbox these days joining us now from e._s._p._n. Radio oh in bristol connecticut is zubin mohanty. He joined the team in twenty eleven. As an anchor he currently hosts sportscenter on week nights and weekends soup and welcome to one a. daggs for having having me zubin explain how you do highlights you know bob said that keith olbermann used to write them out verbatim. Are you working from verbatim script. You have bullet points. How do you know what place to highlight. How do you keep the detail straight. Walk us through that process. I think the biggest thing is highlights our bread and butter so there's nothing more important than doing that right and i think if you i would ask van pelt who comes on at midnight or crew that comes on before everybody's got a different style of doing them. I don't think it says wrote is saying being a white house correspondent in right where you want to just be square-jawed as a man or a woman stand there delivered the facts and ended in throat back to new york. I think in sports it's a lot different. I would give you a couple of examples samples and this is why highlight to the bread and butter of what we do. If you've ever seen somebody watch like a rom com or a movie. I know the only make superhero movies now but if you think back to like around common those those things got green lit you'd sit there and somebody would laugh at the same joke seven times or if you've seen hamilton on broadway. Let's say five or six times you go back the six time in in your life. I didn't realize the nuance of that quote the first five times that's the way highlights are if klay thompson hits fourteen three pointers in an n._b._a. Game which actually happened last season people are going to wanna watch that ad nauseam now the twelve year old might be watching because he loves klay thompson kicks his sneakers right other people might be watching because they think you're watching one of the greatest shooters that's ever picked up a basketball and i know bob worked for former vice president here that i worked for as well and he said and sort of a grandiose way a little facetious way he said the minute. Somebody starts doing highlights better than e._s._p._n. Is when e._s._p._n. Is quote unquote out of business. Of of course he was joking but what he said was what he meant was e._s._p._n. Sweet spot on sportscenter is highlights so we have to be leading the way it's a point of pride died when you watch another network like fox or c._b._s. And let's say you're targeting a fifteen or twenty year old person. That doesn't know who boomer esiason is right right where they don't know who chris collins is you'll see a little box pop up on the screen and it'll say chris collins word cincinnati bengals wide receiver nineteen eighty two whatever and that's something that was popularized by e._s._p._n. And it's a point of pride when you watch all of our other competing networks and you see some of the things the tools applications the graphics that we're using that are everywhere there and it's not just e._s._p._n. Telling somebody this story this morning. Steve levy is going to be calling our monday night. Football game a dream assignment for him on monday between the broncos and the raiders. He took his nine year roll daughter to a game a few years ago and she said to him dad. Where's the yellow line you know so it's one of those things where you think about and you say all right yeah. Actually that's that's just on television. You not not painted on the yellow line the kind of augmented reality line. It shows you where the first noun is. We're gonna have to get through to get a first-hand correct and so those evolutions. Many of those have been started by e._s._p._n. Fox and ninety four was the first to put the score on the screen. Can you imagine to all three of you. Can you imagine watching television event right now where you don't know the score where you i don't know if it's thirty fifteen in tennis match for one game or brooks kept goes nine under par. Can you imagine watching a sporting event today without that information well in one of the other innovations and i i do want to get to some more questions for our listeners but one of the other innovations is just some of those catch phrases we heard keith olbermann do some of them another one of the luminaries of e._s._p._n. Who we really can't do this conversation without at least calling out with stuart scott. He began at e._s._p._n. In nineteen ninety-three and kinda pushed the sound of the network further into new territory especially with his play by play call canonical buddah because he is on alone wasn't the only one tonight sports stars time time 'bout derek jeter and i know this kid is as tall as the other side of the pillow shot to let some of the legendary play-by-play from the late stuart scott. Probably one of the reasons that tom was a fan. Tom emailed. I had to use my imagination when i started listening to the university of kentucky in the forties sports center brought games and stories to life for me. Thank you sportscenter for all. You've done for sports fans everywhere. I wanna talk more about the evolution of e._s._p._n. P._i._n. When we continue lewis emailed i was born in eighty three and since then i was never into sports but i've always been a geek so video games have been my thing. I was very a happy and proud to learn e._s._p._n. Began showing video games as e. sports. I never would have thought that would happen if you told me when i was a kid because video games had bad stigma back then and wasn't as mainstream as it is now. We'll discuss the evolution of sports television when we continue with anchors zubin mohanty veteran anchor bob lee and n._p._r. R._t._d. critic eric duggan's. We'll also hear from an e._s._p._n. Correspondent who is covering the beginning of the n._f._l. Regular season right now and we'll get some more of your questions and comments to stay close close his support for this podcast and the following message come from google from connecticut to california from mississippi to minnesota millions of american businesses are using google tools to grow online the grow with google google initiative supports small businesses by providing free digital skills workshops and one on one coaching and all fifty states helping businesses get online connect with new customers and and work more productively learn more at google dot com slash growl. Hey there it's joshua. Thanks for listening to the one a podcast. Please take a moment to subscribe and leave us a rating that helps other the people find the show and don't forget you can catch the news roundup at the end of every week. What do all of these people have in common. Comma harris keep food adjudge and bernie sanders unders. They're all running for president and they've all sat down with us on the n._p._r. Politics podcast appeals gonna drive me crazy. We are going out on the trail l. with as many of the democratic presidential candidates as can and bringing you in depth interviews with them come along by subscribing to the n._p._r. Politics podcast back now to our conversation with eric duggan's bobbly zubin mohanty before we get back to them and to some of your comments. Let's speak to someone who is actually on the job right now. No not in e._s._p._n. Studios but on the sidelines at soldier field in chicago joining us now on the line is michelle steele. She's covering the beginning of the n._f._l. Regular regular season michelle welcome to the program great to be here joshua. You're from chicago as i understand it. You started at e._s._p._n. Late in twenty eleven in boston and then moved back to your your hometown at twenty sixteen. Give us a sense of what it was like working for e._s._p._n. In such a very heavily sports devoted the town like chicago chicago and i would include boston in that you know i started with e._s._p._n. Studio based. I it was more on the digital side where they were expanding so much of what we were doing on mobile as well as web. When there was an opening there was an opening being in the boston bureau and <hes> chicago and boston might be to the biggest sports towns that i've ever been in and and i went for it you you know i auditioned for the job. I showed my reporting chop them. Knowing that i had reported before i came to e._s._p._n. Was really important and like so many things in journalism timing is eighty percent of everything and when i had gone to boston and this is still in sort of the audition in stage <hes> i've gone to boston to cover an n._f._l. Player that the police were <hes> surveying at the time and his name was aaron hernandez and they assigned me to sort of watch his house and see what was happening and keep tabs on what the patriots organization was doing and and that story became the most significant one. Perhaps i've covered thus far in my career diest beyond i followed it all the way until his conviction <hes> <hes> in in new england <hes> four first degree murder and that was the first first story i did. I'm glad i had my reporting shops and it just showed me how important it journalism is and was e._s._p._n. In addition to that you've also been on the investigative beat e._s._p._n. Is that right yeah. I've done pieces for outside sidelines. It's sort of the journalistic standard bearer idea and talk about. I'm sorry to interrupt you michelle. I'm curious knowing kind of back to the question. We asked earlier earlier in terms of being part of a network that is both a programmer and a news organization that covers the sports that programs. How do you manage that balance. Yeah i the way i look at it is like a newspaper or a radio station. That may be business partners with the team that it covers. There's always going to be that wall that editorial wall between the reporters and the analysts and the anchors who are in the trenches so to speak and the people who are on the business side and the advertising side you know when i was <hes> at bloomberg news which is where i sort of cut my journalistic chops just before he s._p._n. I would watch sports center and think to myself. This is a company that is number one in the the business eight hundred eight hundred pound gorilla so to speak of sports programming in sports journalism and they're still pushing the envelope. I never got the sense they were leading up because of the position that they were in the market on the contrary they sort of leverage that position to be able to push harder <hes> <hes> <hes> cover the news as it should be covered and not shortchange viewers. I know there are plenty of people who have complained over the years at various times. We just want to watch the game. Stop making it about politics and culture and all these other things. Just give me the highlights. Let me enjoy the sports. It's nice that there's all this visibility for various people. That's cool by just want to watch. That's the game michael e mail. Do you think e._s._p._n. Seemingly greater willingness to discuss politics and it's linked to sports help or hurt its popularity before i let you go michelle. Oh how do you strike that balance between just talking about the game and what the game might mean in a larger sense yeah you know i've been covering the n._f._l. For e._s._p._n. Since twenty thirteen thirteen some of the most eventful years for this league and certainly that includes when colin kaepernick kneeling. I'm not someone who believes that we <hes> covered it in a way that maybe over amplified the message of politics or polarization. We were covering it in a way that players spoke to us about or that coaches spoke to us about or in my case i was at the <hes> cowboys cardinals game where jerry jones took a knee and talked to him before the anthem and talked to him after the game about why that was significant. I think that if your job is to cover sports and do it and doing the cerebral way and do it in a way that that <hes> that players are experiencing it. You know you need to talk about everything that they're experiencing is experiencing this game and that's one of the ways that they are. They are <hes> that they're experiencing it. I hate to overuse that that word experience but that's that's what we're trying to bring the honest experienced all playing a game of being professional athletes to viewers into readers and if you don't talk about what they're experiencing on the field and then you are not telling the full all story. That's e._s._p._n.'s michelle steel joining us from soldier field in chicago michelle. Thanks for talking to us zuma nor thomas tight but it's interesting how sports is often kind of a lens for the way we view the world. It's one of those things that people have always are often said is just our escape from the rest of the world but whether it's jackie jackie robinson joining the majors or the you know the black power at the nineteen sixty eight olympics or the terrorist attack of the nine hundred seventy two olympics or nine eleven in the way that sport's responded to so it. It's kind of inextricable. How do you just manage that as someone who's doing highlights when you know that sooner or later real-life is going to creep we've been i think he just accepted in. Take it for what it is. I mean i think sports has always been a forerunner when it comes to these issues and i think this is something that sports has gotten the short shrift on you. You mentioned jackie robinson breaking the color barrier in one thousand nine hundred eighty seven. I mean that was way ahead of this country was doing if you consider what was happening in the nineteen sixties in the south so sports ahead there you you go into any locker room. You go and do an n._f._l. Locker room he got fifty three guys with fifty three stories and fifty-three backgrounds and they're all they're working together. They've all took took different paths to get their part of what they did to get there has fueled their ability to move on and be better at what they do so i think a lot of it is just simply. Accepting the fact that that is real life when i worked in local sports they used to call the sports department the toy department because that's how they looked at his vis-a-vis news and weather but sports is a serious serious this business both financially and socially and i think in many many ways you mentioned the mexico city olympics. You mentioned jackie robinson in many many ways countless ways. Historians orients like bob and others can tell you that sports has been ahead of society in a lot of ways and a lot of the issues. We're dealing with today bob. I don't know if you know the answer to this but you have the most experienced. Is it e._s._p._n. So i figured i put it to you. Craig asked a question that i would have asked also craig emailed. I always wondered about e._s._p._n. Broadcasting the scripps national national spelling bee. How did that come about. I don't know how they came about. I mean yeah. I is it an athletic event <hes> you. You certainly works your brain way. Those kids sweat it might as well be exactly. Is it something to be celebrated. Absolutely i mean what's the subtext so much that we talk about. This is the social impact of sports and we talk about you know amateurism in college. Athletics is education even a factor in in the lives absorb any college athletes who simply go for a scholarship for a chance to play the pros blah blah blah and all of the values and the hypocrisy that may be played and here is the purest example sample of of of of education of young kids applying themselves. I i don't know who thank for it but it's it's become a signature event for forrest. I think it's tremendous one last thing bob before we wrap up. I know that you are just beginning your retirement after forty years at e._s._p._n. Where would you like to see the business business of sports television. Go from here whether e._s._p._n. Or elsewhere before we go wow it's changing as we mentioned in this hour the platforms changing <hes> i'd right like the seat embrace what are many changes that are approaching in this country. I think new platforms will emerge but i tell you at the end of the day and it's been proven time and time time again over the past forty years whenever these questions have been on the table the one sure thing is the winner is the viewer because the american capitalist system figures it out through the competition and innovation and technology and and you know you might pay a little bit more than you want to at the beginning of it costs will come down. You're going to be the winner at home. I promise him bob lee a former host of e._s._p._n.'s outside the lines and one of the original anchors of sports center one of the first employees of e._s._p._n. Back in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine bob. It's been a pleasure thanks. Thanks very much for talking to us joy to be your thank you zubin mohanty one of the current anchors sportscenter zubin. Thank you appreciate it. One of the biggest fans of up first so please pass asked out along. We'll do an n._p._r. Critic eric eric. Would you pass that onto the teaming up. I believe i will happily do that. Please do thank you eric. Today's conversation asian was produced by statia brown and edited by miranda full more. You can learn more about them and the rest of the team online at the one a. dot org slash staff. This program comes to you from w. a._m._u. Part of american university in washington distributed by n._p._r. Until we meet again i'm joshua johnson. Thank you so much for listening. This is one.

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