The news that ISP Sports gets control of the UGA coaches’ TV shows as part of its $92.8 media rights deal has me hopeful that Mark Richt’s weekly program during the football season finally will get a much needed upgrade.
I don’t know if ISP can do anything about improving the time slot when the show is shown locally in Atlanta (midnight), but certainly they can revamp the content and improve the program’s currently second-rate production values.
If you watched “The Mark Richt Show” last season on cable/satellite channel SportSouth (seen in six Southeastern states), the comparison with some other SEC coaches’ shows wasn’t flattering. First of all there was the amateurish sound. I don’t know whether they taped the Richt show in a lobby at Butts-Mehre, but it had the echoey sound of a gymnasium. What, none of the TV studios at UGA are available on Sunday mornings?
Then there’s the content. OK, I know the co-host of a coach’s show is traditionally a shill for the school, but WSB’s Chuck Dowdle takes softball to slow-pitch senior league extremes. Dowdle is, after all, the sports director of WSB. A bit more journalism and bit less puffery would make his conversations with Richt a lot more palatable.
And because the Richt show was also just a half-hour long and they wanted to include warm and fuzzy features about student athletes and UGA programs, very little time actually was devoted to the coach showing and discussing plays from the previous day’s game. That’s what fans really tune in for.
Other coaches, including Phil Fulmer, had a full hour for their shows. There was a time when UGA’s coach’s show ran an hour (back in the Dooley days) and if ISP could work that kind of deal for Richt, it’d make the program more worthwhile.
As for Katharine Richt’s “Water Girl Wants to Know” feature, I thought it served a purpose early on when she actually asked things fans might want to know about some of her husband’s decisions, but last season the queries were pretty much a waste of time and the two of them calling each other “Honey” was just too cutesy.
Richt is an engaging, intelligent and articulate guy and he has a fan base eager to hear what he has to say about his team’s play. His TV show should give us more of that in a high-quality presentation that matches the rest of the school’s football program.