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April 10, 2022

Dan Roan has stayed likable during his long run at WGN

ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHICAGO, nightly TV sportscasts mattered.

Johnny Morris and Tim Weigel were the intensely combative kings.

Chet Coppock was the first to fall on his own sword.

Jeannie Morris pioneered.

Mike Adamle drifted on down from the peacock comets of NBC Sports to significantly assist Dennis Swanson’s remarkable flip of WLS Channel 7 News from last to first in the sprawling market.

New faces like Mark Giangreco and Jim Rose and even the ill-starred Bob Hillman just dropped in to see what condition their Chicago dice might be in.

And then there was Dan Roan.

Roan confirmed this week that he will be retiring in May after a crisply managed 38-year run at WGN-TV Sports.

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He has always looked the part — tall, smiley and appropriately jock-ish as his past as a varsity golfer and freshman basketball player at Illinois State would suggest.

Roan made a career choice early on that worked out. In long-past Channel 9 news director Paul Davis, he found that one critical individual who loved him and Roan never mottled Davis’s upward vision.

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

 

BUT HIS STARTUP in Chicago was notably balky:

• In September 1981, WBBM Channel 2 No. 2 Bruce Roberts dropped dead on a Sunday night while waiting to go on air and interview Rudy Glenn of the newly crowned Soccer Bowl champion Sting.

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Johnny and Jeannie Morris strongly lobbied for Roan to be brought up to the bigs from WCIA-TV in Champaign.

The Morrises were overruled by Channel 2 management. Those baffling bosses then astounded all by reeling in a lump of tea harbor overthrow from Boston named Kevin Lynn.

(He lasted two long years before giving way to the liege of languid, Howard Sudberry.)

• A little more than two years later, Davis finally had the go-ahead to hire a fresh second banana to the aging Bill Frink.

Roan was his man. He signed in December 1983, and began work two months later.

Frink heard the footsteps. When good pal John Drury bolted to Swanson’s happening Channel 7, Frink used that as pretext to announce he was leaving Channel 9 to pursue “freelance play-by-play assignments.”

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But Roan wasn’t anointed as No. 1. Instead, Davis was forced to read the WGN executive barometers and bring in the self-parodying Hillman from Cincinnati.

Hillman was to engaging Chicago TV sports what Coppock was to subtlety.

• So Roan bided his time. He never wavered from playing the good soldier and eventually became the lead sportscaster at one of the market’s B-list nightly sportscasts.

THE WORST HIS DETRACTORS can say of him is that Roan majored in hiding in plain sight.

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One of the best things his admirers can say of him is that he mastered the art of hiding in plain sight.

He has been a career good guy, inoffensive to almost all but must-view to few. Part of that is the nature of the 9 o’clock nightly news beast in Chicago.

In an age of widespread 24/7 sports by all sorts of electronica, the local TV component has been enormously diminished.

THE CHICAGO SPORTS MARKET he entered in 1984 was big and brawny, resourced and theatrically competitive.

The subdued video sandbox he departs is depleted of notable talent and imposted by significantly pared budgets.

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During his four decades in Our Town, Dan Roan never stopped being affable, and there is something to be said for that.

In his niche, he held his own — a solid, major-market pro.

In Chicago TV of any era, there are much worse epitaphs.

STREET-BEATIN’: Ratings for the Masters were OK but not spectacular with viewership peaking near 12M late Sunday afternoon. Mainstream America likes to visit the Southern classic on TV and see an icon like Tiger Woods flourish, not struggle. …

One who didn’t struggle was Daily Herald golf guru Len Ziehm. He picked white-hot Scottie Scheffler to win at 13-1. (Those Will Zalatoris backers, ahem, cashed at 5-2 for his Top 10 finish (No. 6 overall) and at even money for his Top 20.) …

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Legal sports wagering outlets across America handled a record $9.8B in January, meaning the house profit was approximately $600M. Illinois generated $867M. That’s a lot of Patrick Mahomes incompletions. …

Most unimaginative pick for the first-round playoffs match between the Bulls vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Bucks in five. Chances of that happening greatly increase if Billy Donovan rests his starters for Games 1 and 2. (Kidding, just kidding.) …

Bold statement by the media word imagineers at ESPN about Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay: “KayRod Cast debut becomes most viewed MLB regular season alternative telecast of all time.” Q, please: What were the others? …

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And Cliffie Lakes, on hearing that Vin Scully will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award from Baseball Digest: “That’s like honoring George Washington with a ‘Father of our Country Award.’ “

• Jim O’Donnell’s Sports and Media column appears three times weekly, including Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at [email protected]

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHICAGO, nightly TV sportscasts mattered.

Johnny Morris and Tim Weigel were the intensely combative kings.

Chet Coppock was the first to fall on his own sword.

READ MORE:  What Is WkDetect.exe? Is It A Virus Or Malware? Uninstall?

Jeannie Morris pioneered.

Mike Adamle drifted on down from the peacock comets of NBC Sports to significantly assist Dennis Swanson’s remarkable flip of WLS Channel 7 News from last to first in the sprawling market.

New faces like Mark Giangreco and Jim Rose and even the ill-starred Bob Hillman just dropped in to see what condition their Chicago dice might be in.

And then there was Dan Roan.

Roan confirmed this week that he will be retiring in May after a crisply managed 38-year run at WGN-TV Sports.

He has always looked the part — tall, smiley and appropriately jock-ish as his past as a varsity golfer and freshman basketball player at Illinois State would suggest.

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Roan made a career choice early on that worked out. In long-past Channel 9 news director Paul Davis, he found that one critical individual who loved him and Roan never mottled Davis’s upward vision.

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

        

 

BUT HIS STARTUP in Chicago was notably balky:

• In September 1981, WBBM Channel 2 No. 2 Bruce Roberts dropped dead on a Sunday night while waiting to go on air and interview Rudy Glenn of the newly crowned Soccer Bowl champion Sting.

Johnny and Jeannie Morris strongly lobbied for Roan to be brought up to the bigs from WCIA-TV in Champaign.

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The Morrises were overruled by Channel 2 management. Those baffling bosses then astounded all by reeling in a lump of tea harbor overthrow from Boston named Kevin Lynn.

(He lasted two long years before giving way to the liege of languid, Howard Sudberry.)

• A little more than two years later, Davis finally had the go-ahead to hire a fresh second banana to the aging Bill Frink.

Roan was his man. He signed in December 1983, and began work two months later.

Frink heard the footsteps. When good pal John Drury bolted to Swanson’s happening Channel 7, Frink used that as pretext to announce he was leaving Channel 9 to pursue “freelance play-by-play assignments.”

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But Roan wasn’t anointed as No. 1. Instead, Davis was forced to read the WGN executive barometers and bring in the self-parodying Hillman from Cincinnati.

Hillman was to engaging Chicago TV sports what Coppock was to subtlety.

• So Roan bided his time. He never wavered from playing the good soldier and eventually became the lead sportscaster at one of the market’s B-list nightly sportscasts.

THE WORST HIS DETRACTORS can say of him is that Roan majored in hiding in plain sight.

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One of the best things his admirers can say of him is that he mastered the art of hiding in plain sight.

He has been a career good guy, inoffensive to almost all but must-view to few. Part of that is the nature of the 9 o’clock nightly news beast in Chicago.

In an age of widespread 24/7 sports by all sorts of electronica, the local TV component has been enormously diminished.

THE CHICAGO SPORTS MARKET he entered in 1984 was big and brawny, resourced and theatrically competitive.

The subdued video sandbox he departs is depleted of notable talent and imposted by significantly pared budgets.

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During his four decades in Our Town, Dan Roan never stopped being affable, and there is something to be said for that.

In his niche, he held his own — a solid, major-market pro.

In Chicago TV of any era, there are much worse epitaphs.

STREET-BEATIN’: Ratings for the Masters were OK but not spectacular with viewership peaking near 12M late Sunday afternoon. Mainstream America likes to visit the Southern classic on TV and see an icon like Tiger Woods flourish, not struggle. …

One who didn’t struggle was Daily Herald golf guru Len Ziehm. He picked white-hot Scottie Scheffler to win at 13-1. (Those Will Zalatoris backers, ahem, cashed at 5-2 for his Top 10 finish (No. 6 overall) and at even money for his Top 20.) …

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Legal sports wagering outlets across America handled a record $9.8B in January, meaning the house profit was approximately $600M. Illinois generated $867M. That’s a lot of Patrick Mahomes incompletions. …

Most unimaginative pick for the first-round playoffs match between the Bulls vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Bucks in five. Chances of that happening greatly increase if Billy Donovan rests his starters for Games 1 and 2. (Kidding, just kidding.) …

Bold statement by the media word imagineers at ESPN about Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay: “KayRod Cast debut becomes most viewed MLB regular season alternative telecast of all time.” Q, please: What were the others? …

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And Cliffie Lakes, on hearing that Vin Scully will be given a Lifetime Achievement Award from Baseball Digest: “That’s like honoring George Washington with a ‘Father of our Country Award.’ “

• Jim O’Donnell’s Sports and Media column appears three times weekly, including Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at [email protected]

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

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