The main problem women in electronic sports media have is credibility with men. When a TV or radio sports chick clearly is faking it...well, it’s like their orgasms: the sensitive male can spot it a mile away. Which leaves guys with a lot of post-coital sports reportage disappointment.
Take Amy Lawrence, who I keep running into on ESPN Radio’s “GameNight,” or sometimes subbing for Bobby Valvano on his otherwise excellent weekend gig. I have hated her from the very first moment I heard her faked, overenthusiastic voice come over my car radio spewing all kinds of canned knowledge which clearly revealed that she doesn’t know squat about sports. Well, I take that back: She apparently knows how to regurgitate phrases, words, and jock names that make it SOUND like she knows about sports. And she desperately puts it all out in this awful screeching voice that makes me feel like I’m listening to an obnoxious high schooler who is desperate to have someone notice her. “Hey guys, look at me!!!” Amy seems to say. Er, shout. “Look at me!!! I know a lot about sports!!!” hollers Lawrence, hammering syllables with odd and/or overemphasized inflections. Her tonal quality is wholly unpleasant, too. Get thee to a broadcasting school, Amy.
One day last year, near the beginning of the baseball season, Amy was doing the Saturday morning ESPN Radio show with Mel Kiper, Jr. Now I dig Kiper on football. He has a great voice, cool style, and good knowledge of the gridiron. But he doesn’t know much about baseball. Listening to him and Lawrence discuss baseball was...well, embarrassing is what it was. Both faked their way through that, a situation that exposed ol’ Mel and made ya wanna laugh at ol’ Amy. Or kick the radio.
The ABC affiliate in Nashville used to have an on-air sports reporter and anchor named Sara Walsh. I had occasion in 2005 to do a major critique of all of Nashville’s sports talking heads, and Sara, only in town a year or so, came out pretty near the bottom of my rankings. But my critique was only of her television style—she needed to pull back her intensity and let the camera do more of the work. What was never in doubt, however, was Sara’s knowledge of, and love for, sports. No one could ever say that her sincerity and authority were false, because when you’ve truly got those—and she did—then you can be a credible presence on the airwaves. Last we knew, Walsh was with the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.
So what I don’t understand is: Why do you hire someone like Amy Lawrence and give her all that exposure on ESPN—and force us to suffer through all that fakery—when there have to be some very good legit sports chicks out there who ought to get the gig?
I defy someone to craft a critique on Amy Lawrence that explains why she should be considered a major on-air talent. It’s awful, screechy, faked radio.
I had trouble finding a bio of Lawrence online. I had a devil of a time finding a picture of her as well. Finally I came across this picture (above), courtesy of another blog, whose creator/producer wrote an open letter to ESPN asking for MORE Amy Lawrence (??). His respondents didn’t agree with him, but one of them came up with the photo. I’m presuming that’s Amy on the right. Thankfully this should mean she won’t be doing any television. That’s still a visual medium. Isn’t it???