Wildcats or Cardinals? Your local sports guys are OK with either [Sports]


See that picture? That’s what bias looks like.  In 1998, I was Sports Director for the CBS affiliate in Hazard, KY. UK advanced to the Final Four in San Antonio. The station sent reporter Neil Middleton (on the right) and me (on the left) to cover the event, but not before sending us to Dawahare’s armed with $200 to purchase UK gear to wear ON THE AIR.  No, not one of my finest journalistic moments but management figured since we were there to cover the Kentucky Wildcats, we might as well pander to the 95-107% of the audience that was made up of UK fanatics.

Can you imagine any sportscaster in Louisville wearing that getup and living to see the sun rise after this weekend’s UK-UofL basketball game? 

Some very vocal sports fans in the Louisville viewing audience suspect pretty much every local sports anchor and reporter is secretly wearing a UofL t-shirt under that shirt and tie or UK underwear behind the desk. 

Here’s the truth:  they don’t care who wins this weekend.  Really, they don’t.  Not one of the anchors or reporters you see on any of the four network affiliates in Louisville graduated from either school. Sure, there are fans of both the Cardinals and the Wildcats who never attended those schools but if you think for a second there’s an on-air sports reporter or anchor cheering for or against Red or Blue Saturday, think again.

“We look for good story lines, good highlights, close games (and) great endings,” one television sports anchor told me. “That generates interest and higher ratings in what is already the highest level interest event in our market.”