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The Sacramento Report: Thursday Night Games Are Weird

As far as I'm concerned, there's exactly one good thing about Cal playing Oregon and USC on Thursday night, and that's that every Cal fan in the country can watch the Bears play if they so desire (everybody gets ESPN on their TVs these days, right?).  Beyond that?  All bad.  Players have to juggle an already jumbled academic schedule, fans have to figure out how to get to a football game on a work night.  Inconvenient for everybody!  But don't worry everybody, I'm sure the NCAA is busy coming up with a solution that will reasonably balance the needs of TV executives and student athletes.  What's that?  Taking three days out of the week in the middle of a semester isn't a need?

For the Grid Club, it means no coach is available to call in to our Wednesday meeting because, quite understandably, everybody associated with the football team was busy flying to Eugene!  Thus our program was a bit shorter than usual.  Luckily we compensated with an excellent guest speaker in Kate Scott, omnipresent Cal media personality!  You might remember Kate from her famed stint as a yell leader, from her time as a correspondent on the Cal Sports Report, as the current co-host of the Cal post-game show on KGO, or as the weekday morning sports anchor on KNBR.  And long-time CGB readers may remember the three part interview (1, 2, 3) she did with CGB back in the blogsome days.

Thanks to the wonderful CalBear81 for her excellent notes, allowing me to better paraphrase our speaker(s)!

Kate Scott

I got into broadcasting while I was a yell leader, by bugging a guy with the Cal Sports Report.  I asked him if they needed an intern and he said 'no, but would you like to host a segment on the show?'  While at Cal I did the Sports Report with Mike Pawlawski and wrote for Bear Insider.

After graduating I did a radio internship and really liked it.  My first radio job interview was with metro traffic.  At the interview he said 'you look familiar . . . you were that really annoying girl on the mic at Cal basketball games!'  My interviewer had been the Cal women's basketball announcer.  Once again the Cal connection help me get the job.

At one point I interviewed for a position with the flagship radio station for the Falcons and Braves out in Atlanta, which is owned by the same company that owns KNBR, but the morning sports anchor job at KNBR was about to come open, so I ended up getting that one.  Now I get up at 3:00 am, arrive at KNBR at 4:00 to prepare, and stay on the air from 5:00 am until noon, working with Brian Murphy and Paul MacCaffrey, then Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger.

What influence did your dad have on you growing up?

I was born in Fresno, grew up in Clovis, and my dad raised me as a Bay Area Sports fan.  When I was a kid at one point while my dad was working my job was to watch games, and when good things happen relay the information to him, which was my first experience with play-by-play!

How do you communicate while on the air on KNBR?

I'm not in the same studio as the anchors - I try to raise my hand when I want to talk, or make eye contact.  Gary Radnich tends to just ask me stuff when I might not be paying attention, so I have to stay on my toes when I'm doing that show.  (A grid club member points out that you can watch a one hour highlight of the KNBR show on comcast.)  Yeah, that was annoying, because the best part about radio is that you don't have to dress up.  But then they told me, hey, you're going to be on TV for an hour, so now I have to get dressed up and wear make-up!

What does Lee Grosscup think of Zach Maynard?

The Cupper likes him a lot.  He thinks he's still pretty raw, but he's really good on the run, which is something Cal hasn't had in a long time.  Lee would really like to see Cal use him more as a running quarterback.

How do you keep your voice going as a yell leader for a three hour game?

I had to train my voice - you have to learn that, because you have a microphone, you don't need to yell.  Luckily for me, I don't ever really lose my voice - it just keeps getting lower.  After the 2003 USC game, I called my mom and she hung up on me because my voice was so low and she didn't recognize me!

Access to practices - is that an issue for you as a reporter?

I personally don't have time to go, but I've talked to a few beat writers around the Bay Area for different teams and it makes it hard for them.  The 49ers are doing the same thing now, where they only open up their practice for 15 minutes, and nothing happens during that time.  It makes it hard to cover the team well.

When prompted about her history as a high school athlete:

At Clovis High I was the #1 tennis player in the valley, but soccer was my game.  I was planning to play soccer in college, but I tore my meniscus my senior year and had it diagnosed as a sprain, so I kept playing on it through tennis season.  Then, while playing basketball the knee gave, and it's never quite been the same since.  But it actually turned out OK, because playing a sport in college is like an extra job, and not having that allowed me to focus on broadcasting, which has turned out pretty well.

Can you enjoy a game, or are you too busy working?

At first Cal games were difficult, but I've gotten better about enjoying Cal games as a fan.  Generally, it can be a challenge because you find yourself watching so much stuff because you have to know about everything as a radio host.

During the post-game show, are there any topics that are off limits?

Well, Cal does essentially pay my salary, but it's just about being reasonable.  Like after the Washington game, you can't not talk about the last four plays on the goal line.  Sometimes we do forget that these players are just kids.  The best advice I've been given is that it's Ok to be critical of the play, but not the person

With decreased access to practices, is it harder to get to know players?

Athletes these days are coached at a very young age how to get around the media, so it's hard to get good interviews.  Zack Follett was a great interview, because he'd just tell you exactly what he was thinking.  That's rare.  Athletes these days seem more available because of social media, but in reality they're not.


Note: We invited Takimoto from Addicted To Quake to answer questions from the Grid Club about the Ducks, but thanks to some inopportune technical difficulties, we were unable to conduct a solid Q&A.  Luckily, loyal CGB readers have the option of reading his take on the Cal/Oregon game already!