My Hemingway fling is coming to an end. I’m halfway through The Old Man and the Sea, and though I’m enjoying it, I’m looking forward to my next read.
It’s an oral history of our neighbor in Bristol, ESPN, written by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller. I recently read their oral history of Saturday Night Live, and if their ESPN effort is half as good, I’ll be more than pleased.
Dirt will be dished, but apparently the biggest beating goes to poor Bristol, according to this preview, from Entertainment Weekly’s website:
The biggest villain in the book? Quite possibly the town of Bristol, Conn., which is apparently so isolated and dull that it drives ESPN execs who work there to all sorts of boorish behavior. “I think part of the sexual harassment stuff was location,” says former ESPN chairman Steve Bornstein. “It’s one hundred miles from real civilization, and you got the kind of testosterone, jock mentality, frat house approach that’s pretty much a recipe for stupid decisions being made.” Or as another exec, Bill Creasy, puts it, “What a s—hole. I mean, what were they thinking [locating ESPN HQ there]?”
Memo to Steve Bornstein from all of us who like Bristol and live within one hundred miles of it: SCREW YOU.
Well before ESPN’s launch in September, 1979, I was called to interview for a job. I had been the sports director (in charge of a department of one) at WPOP radio, and had been weekend sports anchor at Channel 30, earning the princely sum of $18.50 a night.
I remember sitting in a drafty trailer, being told “You’re young. We’re thinking of you for the 2am highlights show we’re gonna call ‘Sportscenter.’ Don’t forget, that’s 11pm on the west coast.”
I appreciated the interview, but I didn’t pursue the job. (I’m not a visionary, OK???) If I recall correctly, the fledgling network then turned to an even younger sportscaster named Chris Berman.
He did well. So did I. And we still are. No regrets.
But just for the record??? I would have been fine working in Bristol.