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Bias' Death Focus Of ESPN Documentary

By Dave Hughes,

The death of University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias in 1986 is the theme of a documentary getting played on ESPN and according to David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun, Kirk Fraser's "Without Bias” is "the most ambitious, comprehensive and uncompromising account of Bias' life and death ever captured on film."

Zurawik says Fraser seems to have had excellent access to members of Bias' family, teammates, coaches, Washington-area media types who covered Bias and even the athlete's girlfriend.

"But the best even the promotional material can claim is that Fraser 'utilizes dozens of interviews ... in an effort to determine exactly what happened on that fateful night when Bias died after consuming cocaine in a University of Maryland dorm room," according to Zurawik.

“And that is what ‘Without Bias’ comes down to in the end: an ‘effort’ to determine what happened -- not any kind of convincing determination. Like so many before him, Fraser ends up with a raft of unanswered questions. Bias' girlfriend says she never saw him use drugs, while the classmate who was with him in the room and was ultimately acquitted on four cocaine charges says today that he and Bias had used cocaine before.”


The Baltimore Sun was among 60 major newspapers sans reporter at the World Series, even though some of the games were being played in Philadelphia, a two-hour drive from Charm City.

Murray Chass at reports the Sun was among 29 of the 60 newspapers to cover major league teams during the season on the road, but not attend this year’s World Series.

He said: “The World Series offers a startling barometer of how critical the health of the newspaper industry is in this country. It’s not yet on life support, but it’s getting there. The latest bleak picture is exhibited in the number of newspapers that are not covering the World Series.”

The Sun made a big batch of cuts, including within its sports department, last spring.


Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune says the Tribune Company newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, plan to utilize as little content from the Associated Press as practical during the week of Nov. 8. The goal, as the papers review costs and needs, is to see whether severing ties with the news cooperative next fall is a viable option.

The trial is scheduled to be conducted nearly 13 months after the Chicago-based Tribune Company gave the AP a required two-year warning it might drop the news service, effective Oct. 15, 2010. Tribune Company said at the time it was keeping its options open while weighing what role, if any, the AP would play in its future.

According to Rosenthal, some content Tribune papers get from the Associated Press, such as sports statistics, will still be published during the experiment.


Your friendly PressBox sports media columnist got turned down by CBS Radio/Baltimore head Dave Labrozzi on my request to do an interview with 105.7 The Fan's Anita Marks for the November print edition. Labrozzi said he wanted the station's other personalities to be included in the piece.

So, I asked around and found out the other personalities on sports talk WJZ-FM are somewhat jealous of the controversial Marks, who co-hosts the afternoon show with the not-as-controversial Scott Garceau, since she gets almost all the attention from advertisers and the press. And station management is trying to shift the media spotlight away from her and to others at the station (all guys). Good luck!


With all the talk that area cable TV giant Comcast is buying NBC, a deal to be announced any day now, there come rumblings Comcast could consolidate its regional sports networks with the sports departments of local NBC-owned TV stations.

Washington Examiner sports media guru Jim Williams wonders how this could impact Bethesda-based Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and NBC-owned Channel 4/WRC in Washington, D.C. The deal would not impact Baltimore’s NBC station, Channel 11/WBAL, since it isn’t owned by the network.

This is "very much in the talking stages at this point, but [we're in] in a marketplace where TV stations are cutting back on sports or doing away with sports departments,” Williams said.


Ryan O'Halloran of the Washington Times joins the 4 p.m. "Sports Reporters" on WTEM, ESPN 980, on Wednesdays, starting today. As we've already reported, fellow TWT-er, Thom Loverro is heard each weekday during the noon "Sports Fix" on WTEM. Oh, according to the latest radio ratings, D.C.’s WTEM is the second most-listened-to radio sports talker in Baltimore.

Posted: November 5, 2009