MASN Sees Michael as A Spark Plug

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, the budding regional cable operation jointly owned by the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, has been seeking to raise its profile in the Washington market by partnering with the Georgetown men's basketball team and simulcasting John Riggins's Redskins radio show. Now it has another scheme for getting instant credibility: It's trying to sign up the dean of Washington sports broadcasting, George Michael.

Michael's last day as sports anchor for WRC (Channel 4) will be March 1, but he's still cagey about what he will do next. "The MASN thing is very nice, very flattering," said the 65-year-old broadcaster.

MASN could use the loyal following Michael has attracted in 27 years on the air as it battles Comcast SportsNet to dominate the Baltimore-Washington market. "George Michael would have obvious appeal," said Todd Webster, a MASN spokesman. "George Michael is a Washington sports institution."

Michael, whose "George Michael Sports Machine" is also going off the WRC schedule in March, is likely to be expensive -- and hard to get.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Michael, who will continue hosting "The Redskins Report" with Sonny Jurgensen and "Full Court Press" with local journalists. "I don't even know what I want to do. But I'm going to have fun."

-- Thomas Heath

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