Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mark Giangreco

Mark Giangreco appears every week on the Waddle & Silvy show on ESPN Radio AM 1000. He's also the ABC 7 Chicago sports director and primary sports anchor for the number-one-rated 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, and is one of the most recognizable faces in Chicago television. I interviewed him this summer for Shore Magazine, and an edited version of that interview appeared in the magazine. The unedited version is below.

Rick: What's more fun? TV or Radio?

Mark: Radio! I love the freedom to rant and rave and be an idiot without the time constraints and more rigid P-C rules of TV.

Rick: What is the biggest story you've covered?

Mark: I’d say chasing the ‘85 Bears as they terrorized New Orleans before Super Bowl XX…(with going live in a jam-packed closet of a locker room out in L.A. as the Bulls celebrated their 1st NBA Title a close second)

Rick: Of all the people you've met covering sports, who has impressed you the most?

Mark: Muhammad Ali (of course) and former Blackhawk, actor, golf pro and ski instructor Eric Nesterenko. He could be ”The most interesting man in world.”

Rick: How has technology changed your job since you started in this business?

Mark: When I broke in, we were making the transition from film to video tape (Man, I’m old!) Now, it’s all about the internet. If you have a phone you know everything. That’s why local news has to bring something else to the table like real human beings with intellect, presence and personality.

Rick: What is the biggest misconception about television sportscasters?

Mark: We don’t just roll in and read a teleprompter. We actually work long days…and while many anchor teams try to CREATE a sense of family...very few actually have real off-air relationships with one another. I’m lucky to have genuine, 25 year friendships with my colleagues and I think it shows.

Rick: What do you consider the most embarrassing moment of your TV career?

Mark: I don’t know if embarrassed is the word but I’ve been suspended for everything from making fun of downtown Detroit, to calling Don King a murderer, and inferring that the NBA playoffs are fixed.

Rick: Every TV person has a good answer to this one--What is the most unusual place you've been recognized?

Mark: I was in Rome , sitting at a sidewalk trattoria when as bus load of tourists pulled up and a bunch of elderly women poured out screaming “Oh my God, everybody over here looks like Mark Giangreco!”

Rick: Tell us something about you that your viewers would be surprised to learn.

Mark: I went to art school as a kid and worked a lot with pen and ink, charcoal and watercolors. I’ve designed sports logos and had a few cartoons published.

Rick: What is your favorite and least favorite part of the job?

Mark: My favorite part of the job is putting the shows together. My least favorite part is being blown off by some moody diva 2 hours after he agreed to do an interview.