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Behind the Broadcast: Morlock worthy pick for anchor

Saturday, June 28, 2008
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You like to see people who work hard, do the little things that are necessary to complete a job and don’t promote themselves get

rewarded.

That has happened to WXXA (Ch. 23) sportscaster Scott Morlock.

Morlock, a 1989 graduate of Scotia-Glenville High school, was named the weekend sports anchor for “Fox 23 News at 10” on Monday. He had been the interim weekend sports anchor while the station conducted a search to replace Brent Martineau, who left in February for a similar job in Jacksonville, Fla.

There were some anxious mom­ents for Morlock. The stat­ion changed owners, from Clear Channel Television to Newport Telev­ision. And last week, the new owner laid off 11 employees.

Fortunately, Morlock wasn’t one of those let go.

“It was more of a relief,” Morlock said. “It’s fun. It’s a good thing for the station because it gives our department continuity. With Rich [Becker, the sports director] and I being local guys, that lends a lot of credibility to the department.”

Morlock has been with WXXA since 1996, when he started as an intern. He did every assignment he was given. But what got Morlock noticed was his willingness to do whatever was necessary to help make the sportscast successful.

“I came here as an intern and worked my way up, so we can say I’m not vested in the company,” Morlock said. “I remember being here and, as an intern, we didn’t have enough videographers. I would go out and shoot [video], so I got a break off of that.”

He went on to produce, and eventually anchor, the station’s Sunday night auto racing show, “Fox Fast Track.” He will co-anchor the “High School Sports Show” when the program begins at the end of August.

“He’s absolutely earned it,” said Becker, a Rotterdam native. “He’s done everything there is to do in the room, and he’s done it well. Like hockey, you want to have good character guys in your room. He’s a good character guy. He works his tail off. He has improved greatly as an anchor and reporter over time, and has certainly earned this job.”

GRANEY MOVES

Longtime Capital Region sportstalk show host John Graney is changing radio stations.

Graney, who resigned from his Sunday night WROW-AM (590) show on Father’s Day, will make his debut on WGDJ-AM (1300) on Sunday at 6 p.m.

It’s a return home to the AM 1300 signal for Graney. He had a sportstalk show on the frequency, when it was known as WQBK.

“John has been the premiere sportstalk show host in the Cap­ital District for over 30 years, and we’re proud to have him with us on Talk1300,” said Paul Vandenburgh, president of Capital Broadcasting.

WHO REPLACES MELROSE?

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s gain is a big loss for hockey viewers.

Barry Melrose’s decision to leave ESPN as its hockey analyst Tuesday to become coach of the Lightning created a void that I’m not sure anyone can fill. When the Queensbury resident first started at ESPN in 1996, after he had been fired by as coach of the Los Angeles Kings, Melrose was understandably nervous because it was his first broadcasting job and he didn’t want to be critical of the players and coaches, especially if he wanted to get back into coaching right away.

But Melrose grew into the role. He became outspoken. He was also funny. And he was a sharp dresser.

Even though ESPN decided not to pick up its option of televising the NHL after the lockout, it knew it had a good thing with Melrose. ESPN signed Melrose to a new contract to be its NHL analyst on “SportsCenter” and ESPNEWS.

Now, it will be interesting to see if ESPN decides whether or not to replace Melrose. The NHL had good ratings this season, espec­ially in the playoffs, and I think it would be a mistake by ESPN not to replace Melrose. Plus, I truly believe ESPN wants to get back into televising the NHL.

Bill Clement, who was ESPN’s lead game analyst and struggled as studio host for Versus and NBC before being let go last summer, would be an obvious choice to replace Melrose. Or, ESPN could make it a “trade” with the Lightning by hiring the man Melrose replaced, John Tortorella. He displayed a fiery passion behind the bench, and he wasn’t afraid to crit­icize his players.

STRAHAN TO FOX

It didn’t take long for former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan to find a TV job.

Strahan, who recently retired after 15 years, has joined Fox Sports, “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show and “The OT” postgame show, it was announced Tuesday. He joins Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson on the set.

Strahan said during a conference call Tuesday that he won’t be afraid to criticize his former teammates. It will be interesting to see if he takes shots at coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning, much like NBC analyst and former

Giants running back Tiki Barber did last year.

“Completing my career as a world champion and joining the best NFL studio shows in telev­ision is a dream come true,” said

Strahan. “I enjoy Fox’s fun approach to sports, and experienced it first-hand when I appeared on ‘Fox NFL Sunday’ during my playing days. The camaraderie between Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Curt is obvious. They have as much fun together off the set as they do on air talking football, so I knew this would be the perfect place for me.”

 
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