Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2013 Inductees
The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2013 and will induct seven industry leaders on Dec. 17 during its annual Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Ceremony, to be held at the New York Hilton Hotel.
This year’s class comprises former ESPN VP and COO Scotty Connal; Managing Director for CTV Outside Broadcasts Barry Johnstone; NFL SVP of Broadcasting and Media Operations Howard Katz; NBC Sports broadcaster Al Michaels; ESPN EVP of Technology and CTO Chuck Pagano; YES Network Technical Manager Joe Schiavo; and the “Father of Sports Aerial Broadcasting,” Mickey Wittman.
Ken Aagaard, chairman, Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, announced this year’s class of distinguished inductees at the SVG/Variety Sports Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles. “Year after year, the Hall of Fame class surprises us in terms of the quality of the inductees and their importance to the entire sports-broadcasting community. This year’s is no exception, and December 17 promises to be a wonderful evening of celebration and remembrance.”
The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame honors excellence and lifetime achievement in these industry categories: management, production, technical operations, leagues/teams, manufacturers/vendors, engineering, and on-air talent.
Allan B. (Scotty) Connal’s career in sports production spanned nearly five decades until his death in 1996 at 68. He began his career as an NBC page in 1947 and was VP of NBC Sports when he left in 1979 to join a fledgling network in Bristol, CT, called ESPN. As EVP and COO there, he played a vital role alongside Chet Simmons in giving the network much-needed executive experience and credibility and also created a vision that permeates the network to this day.
Barry Johnstone, currently CEO and managing director for CTV Outside Broadcasts in the UK, has played a key role in driving technology innovation in Europe for 30 years. Appointed CEO of CTV in 1983, he began changing the industry in 1996 when the company signed a five-year agreement with European Tour Productions. The exclusive contract called for travel to 20 countries and the construction of nine OB and support units that are all branded for the Tour. Other highlights of his career include the launch of Europe’s first mobile edit suite in 1980 and the first UK live HD sports broadcast in 2006 for Sky Sports.
As NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations, Howard Katz is one of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s most trusted advisors. His long career in sports TV began at ABC Sports in 1971 and includes a move to TWI, where he was VP of TV production and program development from 1974 to ’83; a decade at Ohlmeyer Communications; and a stint at ESPN, beginning as SVP, production, in 1993. While there, he played a key role in the launch of ESPN2 and ESPNEWS and the expansion of the SportsCenter franchise. He later was promoted to EVP, overseeing all remote and studio productions for ESPN’s activities. One of the industry’s consummate dealmakers, he was named president of ABC Sports in 1999 and subsequently inked deals with the NBA and kept properties like the Indy 500, Bowl Championship Series, and British Open on the network. He also signed John Madden to join ABC’s Monday Night Football.
Al Michaels has covered more major sports events than any other sportscaster and has appeared on live primetime broadcast-network television more than any person in history. He is the only play-by-play commentator/host to cover the four major sports championships: the Super Bowl (eight times), World Series (eight), NBA Finals (two), and the Stanley Cup Final (three). Michaels garnered his first Sportscaster of the Year award in 1980, the year he made his memorable call of the U.S. men’s hockey team’s dramatic upset victory over the USSR at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Today, he can be heard Sunday evenings on NBC during the NFL season, working alongside Cris Collinsworth.
ESPN’s growth into a multiplatform global powerhouse has relied heavily on embracing new technologies, and at the center of many of those efforts is Chuck Pagano, currently EVP of technology and CTO. He joined ESPN as a technical director prior to its debut in 1979 and eventually served as SVP, technology, engineering, and operations, from 1999 to 2005, leading his department and overseeing engineering, operations, facilities, and new technology. His efforts behind the scenes improved digital workflows and transmission systems and today allow sports fans to get their content more quickly and on more platforms than were believed possible in 1979.
At the center of every great sports broadcast sits a great technical director and technical leader, and Joe Schiavo, currently senior technical manager for the YES Network, has exemplified that during his 40-year career. For 22 years, he was technical director on ABC’s Monday Night Football, the Olympics, and five Super Bowls. He also worked all three Triple Crown events for 16 consecutive years before joining the YES Network as technical director in 2002. Promoted to senior technical manager in 2005, he is responsible for on-site technical operations for such events as Yankee baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball.
Affectionately known as the “father of sports aerial broadcasting,” Mickey Wittman spent 42 years in sports broadcasting and spanned an era beginning with Frank Chirkinian and Harry Coyle and ending with the 2009 World Series on Fox with Bill Webb. Although Chirkinian was the first director to put a camera in a blimp, Wittman took that idea and refined it to where it is now a staple of nearly every major sportscast. He covered 30 World Series, 24 Super Bowls, five Olympics, 17 Orange Bowls, every major golf tournament except the Masters, more than 200 PGA events, 22 years of Monday Night Football, 26 All-Star Games, eight Cotton Bowls, seven Rose Bowls, 28 Indy 500s, 22 Daytona 500s, 18 years of the Triple Crown, Wimbledon, French Open, 13 US Open tennis tournaments, 20 heavyweight championships, Tour de France, Premier and Bundesliga football, 300 college football games, NHL Finals, 12 NCAA Final Four tourneys, 240 NASCAR races, LeMans, Sebring, beach volleyball, and hundreds of sports-related entertainment shows. Wittman stayed up for 60 consecutive hours while covering the 1989 Earthquake in San Francisco and also provided the first pictures of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing.
All table sales from the annual Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame celebration are donated to the Sports Broadcasting Fund, which supports industry members in times of need.
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To reserve your table for this year’s event, contact Carrie Bowden at email@example.com.