Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Broadcast Team Needs Some Diversity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Broadcast Team Needs Some Diversity

Article excerpt

Call them the Snow-whites broadcast team.

Nine days ago, KSD radio named its broadcast team for the Rams first season in St. Louis. That team consisted of Gary Bender, Jack Snow, Howard Balzer, Pete Peterson, Mike Bush, Jim Thomas, Steve Schlanger, Frank Cusumano, Jackie Smith, Keith Wortman. Ten white guys.

A case, no doubt, can be made by KSD and broadcast producer Bud Sports for every member of the team. Bender's a veteran broadcaster. Snow's a former Rams player and did the broadcasts last year. Balzer's a big-time sports reporter. Bush rates high with the television audience in this market. One member of the team works for KSD. . . Can't quibble with those credentials.

But the broadcast bunch stands out just as remarkably for its lack of diversity. Where are the African Americans, or women for that matter?

The Rams' new domed stadium is being built in a city in which nearly half the population is African American, in a metropolitan area that is 17 percent African American.

Sixty-eight percent - 36 of 53 players on the Rams roster last season - were African American. That's also the National Football League-wide average.

Smokey Rivers, the station's operations and programming director, said KSD ruled out radio competitors. KSDK's Malcolm Briggs, a logical choice, entered the derby late. But KSD already had two of that television station's staffers lined up. Rivers said Briggs' weekend anchor duties would tie him up. (Briggs denies a real conflict.)

The station announced Friday the Rams No. 1 draft pick Kevin Carter (a defensive end out of Florida) had been enlisted to do a morning show on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays (on Y98). Carter is an African American.

The broadcast team "isn't complete by any means," Rivers said, adding that another person would be added to its postgame call-in show. "We're still in recruitment right now. The team is not yet complete."

KSD and Bud Sports had "wanted the best broadcast team we could find" when they made their selections "qualitatively. …

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