Behind the Broadcast: NFL Network program keeps Dukes in game
At the age of 43, Jamie Dukes is still carving out a living in the game of football. Instead of playing or coaching, though, he’s in front of the television cameras.
Dukes, who was born in Albany and resided for some time in Schenectady, is the host of “Put Up Your Dukes” on the NFL Network. The show airs Tuesday through Fridays at 6:30 p.m., and is repeated at 12:30 a.m.
Dukes lived in Schenectady until age 12. He moved to Orlando, Fla., in 1976.
“I lived on Strong Street, Paige Street at one point in time, and
Albany [Street],” Dukes said during a telephone interview last Friday from Los Angeles, where he was getting ready to tape his show. “I went to Horace Mann [elementary school].”
Dukes was a four-year starter at Florida State, where he was an All-America offensive guard in 1985, and is enshrined in the Seminoles’ athletic hall of fame.
He signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent, where he became a center. He went to the Green Bay Packers in 1994, and then finished his career the following year with the Arizona Cardinals.
After retiring, Dukes began his broadcasting career in Atlanta, hosting a radio sports talkshow and a television show for Comcast cable. Former Florida State great and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders saw Dukes’ show, and told NFL Network producers to check it out.
“Long story short, I did an
audition a couple of years ago, and joined the NFL Network,” Dukes said.
Dukes describes his show as one that is out of the ordinary for NFL Network.
“It’s a little more tabloid than every other show that’s on the network,” Dukes said. “We get into hardnose sports talk kinds of things and conversation. It’s issue- oriented. It’s the world according to James, so to speak. We have a lot of fun. We take a lot of e-mails, and there’s a lot of interaction from that standpoint. It’s a high-energy kind of a show. It’s a keeping-it-real kind of situation.”
Dukes was a communications major at Florida State, so the transition from player to broadcaster was easy.
“It’s something I knew I wanted to do,” Dukes said. “It was all about reps.”
Since Time Warner Cable doesn’t carry NFL Network, the only way to watch “Put Up Your Dukes” in its entirety is if you have DirecTV or Dish Network. But you can view clips of the show at www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/shows, and click on the show link.
With the combination of the New England Patriots chasing history, and two major television markets (New York and Boston), you would think Sunday’s Super Bowl XLII would get a 50 rating.
But during a conference call Tuesday to promote Fox’s coverage of the game, executive producer Ed Goren downplayed the chances of that happening.
“In today’s world, I don’t think you can get a rating of 50,” Goren said. “But if the game is competitive, it will be one of the most watched television shows ever. Viewership could be right up there in the top five of all-time shows. But from your lips to Nielsen’s ears, we’ll take the 50.”
The closest a Super Bowl came to getting a 50 rating was in 1982, when CBS got a 49.1 for the game between Cincinnati and San Francisco.
It was either a good week, or a bad week to be a local sportscaster.
I’ll start with the good. Brent Martineau is moving up. The weekend sports anchor at WXXA
(Ch. 23) is leaving the station after five years to take a similar position with Jacksonville, Fla., television stations WAWS and WTEV, he said Thursday. He will remain with WXXA through the February ratings period before beginning his new job March 1.
“It just gave me some more opportunities maybe that [being] here didn’t, in terms of covering bigger things,” Martineau said. “But we’re excited. There are so many unknowns when you make a move, and there were a lot of unknowns when we came from Providence five years ago. But this worked out wonderfully. Hopefully, the next five years are just as good as the last five.”
It’s a good move for him. He has worked hard to earn this chance. He’ll help cover the NFL’s Jaguars, the University of Florida and
NASCAR races at Daytona. Plus, he will be involved in covering high school sports, particularly football, which is a huge deal there.
And now, the bad. WTEN
(Ch. 10) sports director Brian Sinkoff was one of several staffers laid off by Young Broadcasting, owner of the station.
The move leaves WTEN with one sportscaster, Jamie Seh.
Sinkoff was placed in an awkward situation when he joined WTEN in September 2005. First, he was replacing sports director Dan Murphy, whose contract wasn’t being renewed after 16 years at the station. Second, WTEN was experimenting with doing sports features, and not the traditional three-minute sportscast.
To his credit, he did get WTEN to restore the regular sportscasts, and he helped start “Friday Night Frenzy,” the high school basketball highlight show.
The timing of letting Sinkoff go is bad. It’s the middle of the high school basketball season, and the Giants are getting ready to play in the Super Bowl.
Now, with Martineau’s departure at the end of this month’s ratings period, Sinkoff could apply for the opening at WXXA. Or, Murphy may want to get back into TV after his WOFX-AM (980) radio show was canceled in December.
I hope that WXXA gives
reporter/producer Scott Morlock a shot at the job. Morlock anchors WXXA’s “Fox Fast Track.”
ESPN2 carries today’s Rider-Siena men’s basketball game from the Times Union Center at 2 p.m. Bob Wischusen will call the play-by-play, and Mike Kelley is the analyst. . . .
Time Warner Cable was unable to reach an agreement with NESN to broadcast the Beanpot hockey tournament. The first round takes place Monday, with Harvard playing Northeastern and Boston College taking on Boston University. The championship and consolation games are next Monday.