ESPN Radio has won the 2009 media Eclipse Award in the audio/multi-media Internet category for its live coverage of last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“We’re thrilled and gratified to win the Eclipse Award,” said John Martin, senior director and executive producer of ESPN Radio Event Production, in a release. “It’s a tremendous honor for ESPN radio and everyone who worked on the broadcast. “Radio is theatre of the mind. What we try to do with the Derby is place the listener there in the middle of the tremendous excitement and ambient sound of the jockeys, trainers, and the fans.”
For its two-hour live broadcast of the Derby, ESPN Radio reporters and analysts covered a wide range of news and feature topics surrounding the event, including the scratch of morning line favorite I Want Revenge; an examination of racing surfaces and safety measures in horse racing one year after the fatal injury to 2008 Derby runner up Eight Belles; and a feature on 75-year-old local trainer Tom McCarthy.
The Kentucky Derby broadcast was hosted by Rece Davis, who was joined by analyst Jerry Bailey, reporters Bob Valvano, Ron Flatter, and handicapper Jody McDonald.
Martin, who produced the broadcast, described the victory of 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird as an “exhilarating challenge” for his talent and crew, and credits his reporters and analysts for being on top of one of the greatest upsets in Derby history.
“The great thing about live radio is that you can’t script the ultimate result. When things happen that you don’t expect, that’s when you need to be at your most creative.”
Honorable mention in the audio/multi-media Internet category went to the Lexington Herald-Leader for its Heraldleader.com multi-media Web site presentations of “Keeneland Blossoms for Spring Meet,” which first appeared April 3, 2009. The site was produced by Ron Garrison, director of multi media.
Judges for the audio/multi-media Internet category were: Stu Kirshenbaum of Oak Street Films; Mike Farrell, racing journalist and former UPI Radio reporter; and Mike Brunker of MSNBC.com.
The 39th Annual Eclipse Awards will be held Jan. 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. For hotel accommodations and Eclipse Awards ceremony reservations, contact Michele Ravencraft at the NTRA's Lexington office, (800) 792-6872, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.