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Detroit Free PressBy Mike Brudenell, Free Press Sports Writer
John Keating felt, well, a bit spoiled.
The veteran Detroit sports host and reporter sat at the desk of Fox Sports Detroit's new, high-definition, all-digital TV studio inside the network's headquarters in Southfield and couldn't resist a smile.
Looking across at a teleprompter from the blue-and-red-lit set, Keating wisecracked with a cameraman, "This is like stealing -- I don't have to remember a line I wrote."
Keating, resplendent in a pink-and-blue-striped tie, was about to begin rehearsals in the Call Sam Studio, the multimillion-dollar complex that will be the hub of activity for future Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers pregame, intermission and postgame shows.
Keating and fellow FSD on-air personality Mickey York will share most of the hosting responsibilities. The Red Wings' season preview program, set for 7:30 tonight, will be their first show.
The new studio, equipped with a 20-by-30-foot sound stage and large high-definition monitors, will offer viewers a better product, in quicker time and sharper quality. Tape has been replaced by digital.
"It's cool," Keating said of the Call Sam Studio, named for its sponsor, attorney Sam Bernstein. "The size of the studio is impressive -- a lot bigger than some other regional sports centers I've worked in."
FSD was launched in September 1997 and featured a smaller studio in-house while the network utilized a fully equipped studio and transmission hub in Seattle to originate the "Detroit Sports Report" from June 2000 through January 2008. FSD's senior vice-president and general manager Greg Hammaren fought for the new studio.
"I'm really excited about the Call Sam Studio," he said. "I like to call it the world's most expensive home-improvement product. Its capabilities are second to none. Detroit is one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- sports towns in America, and it deserves the best product it can get."
"We have very high expectations," York said. "Things should be faster, better, more accurate. Tape is now a bad four-letter word -- we're all digital, instantaneous."
About 80% of presentations will be high-def, which York jokes is good and bad. "I'll insist they don't do too many close-ups -- or we'll all have to get face-lifts."
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