Every now and then I like to step away from the snark and write about something good that's going on. Today is one of those days.
On May 1, 2009, Literacy Advance of Houston will be honoring ESPN SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm as its Champion of Literacy as part of the organization's Champion of Literacy Series. Storm, who has authored two books, will be celebrated at an event at Minute Maid Park which will start at 7:05 p.m. For ticket info, go to the group's website, www.literacyadvance.org. The event includes dinner, and a silent auction, and I'm presuming that Ms. Storm will say a few words.
The Champion of Literacy Series is a multi-annual fundraising and public awareness series that promotes literacy by acknowledging those who have made difference in the community. And all proceeds benefit Literacy Advance and the free literacy classes that it offers throughout the community.
But this interests me because of Hannah Storm's ties to Houston.
Those of you new to the Houston area may not know that Hannah Storm's first big break occurred in Houston way back in the mid-80s. After graduating from Notre Dame, she worked as a DJ at a Corpus Christi radio station, but after six months, she was hired to be the morning drive sports girl opposite shock jock Moby on 97 Rock. (97 Rock is now known as 96.5 The Mix, and Moby was a real shock jock and not some techno musician constantly belittled by Eminem.) Some of you might also remember that the news guy on 97 Rock was former Houston right-wing radio talk host/pedophile Jon Matthews. So I guess you can say that Hannah Storm has really overcome her poor beginnings.
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While at 97 Rock she worked as the pre and post-game hosts for Houston Astros and Houston Rockets television broadcasts, then she moved to work local television out of state. Then she went national when she became the first female sports anchor of CNN's late-lamented Sports Tonight - there was a time back in the late-80s/early-90s before Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann transformed SportsCenter that the CNN show was actually seen as the hip show.
She was hired by NBC Sports in 1992, and while there she hosted NBC Olympic programming from Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Salt Lake City. She was also the first woman in American television history to solo host a broadcast network's sports series when she handled NBC Sports pregame programming for MLB coverage - and in which she survived a rather ugly run-in with Cleveland Indian Albert Belle during the 1995 World Series. While at NBC she also handled the network's Wimbledon coverage, Notre Dame football, and she was the first play-by-play announcer for the WNBA.
In 2002 she made the leap from sports to news when she became the host of CBS's The Early Show, and went from interviewing pompous athletes to pompous politicians. And last year she moved back to sports, joining ESPN to become the first host of the network's first live morning SportsCenter. So as she's come full-circle career-wise, moving back to sports from news, now she returns to be honored in the town where it can probably be said her career really got started.
Besides the literacy aspect, this might be a good event to attend as it will probably be your only chance this year to attend an event at Minute Maid Park with a halfway decent product because it's not like the Astros are actually going to be worth paying to watch.