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According to KPRC President Jack Harris, a bruised ego and the insecurity of the station's sports director made Martini just another face on the cutting room floor until an edict came down from above to include shots of her in all her interviews. Now Harris says he is grooming Martini for bigger things.
Martini is not optimistic. At age 36, she has been waiting a long time. "What burns me is the networks are looking for women to accomplish something their men haven't done yet," she says. "I'm not capable of doing a perfect game, but neither is any man.
"On the network telecast of an Oilers' game this fall, the only thing the announcers mentioned about David Beverly, the punter, was that he once played at Buffalo. Beverly was one of the reasons for Houston's turnaround this season. Dan Pastorini couldn't punt because of a pulled hamstring, and he needed to be rested anyway. The Oilers picked up Beverly as a free agent during the off-season. He came through beautifully. These big-time network honchos didn't know what was going on.
"I read those letters criticizing Chastain for her remark, 'There is no defense against a perfectly thrown pass,' " says Martini. "How many of these jerk men announcers have said stuff worse than that. Is ineptitude tolerated only in men?"
Anita Martini is positively unwavering in search of her goal. "I want to do the color on Monday night baseball," she says. "If they have the guts to hire me, I'll be great."
LIFE IN THE HUSHES
The most ribald sports controversy in years hit the Albany- Schenectady area last July when some members of a boys' championship baseball team were discovered celebrating their pennant victory by drinking cold duck in the dugout. A grandmother of one of the players accused the league of standing by while the youth of the region sank into degradation. On closer inspection, nobody could find that any of Albany- Schenectady's baseball champions did anything worse than get sick.
Elizabeth (Liz) Bishop wasn't on that story. But she was right there last October when Maple Hill High Football Coach Joe McCabe pulled his team from the field with six minutes remaining, in protest against Tamarac High's rough "cheap shots." Bishop not only interviewed McCabe for WRGB-TV, Schenectady, she was the first reporter to speak with the head of the league's officials and get his reaction.
Bishop is 22, a Venus in blue jeans, as Frankie Avalon used to say. Already she is a sports columnist for the Albany Times Union as well as WRGB's weekend sports announcer. Tom Cunningham, her editor, says that when Liz answered his help-wanted ad in the fall of 1973 she "lit up the entire room." Within six months she was writing the column, and a few months later was well enough known that the paper dropped her last name from the logo. Now it is simply Look to Liz.
Don Decker, her TV news director, also is enamored of his prot�g�e. "I am aware people say Liz is on the air only because she's a knockout," says Decker, "but when she speaks at civic clubs, men have concluded she's legit."