Richard Giannini began his professional career as a sports information director, first at the University of Florida and later at Duke University, where he produced a weekly sports TV program. That experience landed Giannini a job with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) producing the ABC College Football Highlights show in 1976. In this episode, he recalls those primitive days of sports television production and the grueling schedule he maintained.
Broadcast television afforded college football limited nationwide exposure. Giannini discusses how ESPN changed longstanding gridiron traditions by increasing the amount of primetime coverage available. By offering live college football—first on Thursday nights and later Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well, smaller schools could reach new audiences never before possible. However, these new opportunities came at a cost.
With so many sports networks vying for content, college football teams have more opportunities to be seen on TV than ever. Giannini reflects on the hazards of overexposure versus broadcast revenue. He explains how the trend to schedule more weekday games forces families to watch games instead of attending them. This trend, combined with higher ticket prices and streaming internet access, can mean smaller crowds, even as the number of viewers continues to grow.
Richard Giannini served as the Southern Miss Athletic Director from April 1999 – Dec. 2011.
The Battle for Guadalcanal, known as Operation Watchtower was the first major offensive by Allied Forces against the Nation of Japan during WWII. Willie Hammack served on the crew of the U.S. Navy destroyer Sterett (DD-407) during the Battle for Guadalcanal. In this episode, he recalls their mission to support the Marines on the islands while fighting off the Imperial Japanese Navy.
During the Third Battle for Savo Island in WWII, half of Hammack’s shipmates were killed or injured. As the night battle raged on Hammack describes assisting the ship’s doctor, despite being wounded himself and holding a friend’s hand as he died. He remembers the fierce ship-to-ship fighting and the advantage radar gave the US Navy. After the battle was over he recounts the 20+ burials at sea and the welcome back they received from the Pacific fleet when they reached Pearl Harbor.
PHOTO: By U.S. Navy, photographed from a USS Chenango (CVE-28) aircraft. - Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-321653 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1991079