Athens, GA (Oct 15, 2008) - When preparing last week's NFL broadcasting assignments story, a strange name appeared in the assignment as the sideline reporter for the Bears - Falcons game: Buck Lanford. More than once, on this site and others, it was accidentally written as Buck Langford, only to be corrected later. But who was this person?
It turned out the Lanford is a reporter for the Atlanta Fox affiliate. When in a scheduling pinch for events such as the baseball playoffs and the World Series, Fox Sports will turn to a local resource to fill in as a sideline reporter. Last week, they called on Lanford to fill in at the Georgia Dome.
A native of the Atlanta area and a graduate of South Gwinnett High School, Lanford earned degrees in Journalism and Business Management from Georgia State University. He joined Fox5 Atlanta in 1998, after working as the weekend sports anchor at WTOC-TV in Savannah.
Eye on Sports Media caught up with Lanford by e-mail last Friday.
EOSM: Was your assignment for the Bears - Falcons game planned early on in the season?
BL: I was actually surprised to get the call for this week's game because they hired several full time sideline reporters this year. It was a pleasant surprise.
EOSM: How did you get on Fox's radar to work the game?
BL: I think it's pretty common for them to contact local sports anchors/reporters in NFL markets when they need a sideline reporter. I just got a call from them one day asking if I would be interested. Obviously I was, and the rest is history. It's been a great experience and one of the more high profile things that I do.
EOSM: Being an Atlanta area native, how hard is it or will it be for you to remain neutral in this role?
BL: It's not too difficult to remain neutral when working the games. The way I look at it, I don't want the viewers in other markets (ie. Chicago this week) to think I'm some local homer.
EOSM: Growing up, and as you have grown in your career, what sports broadcasters did you look up to and see as role models for what you wanted to do in your career?
BL: I have always thought a lot of the way Bob Costas does his job. I have enjoyed listening to and even broadcasting with Joe Buck. He's a super nice guy. Locally, I learned a lot from Jeff Hullinger, a former co-worker here at Fox5. I also enjoyed watching Bill Hartman. I was an intern at WAGA in the early 90's and got to know both of them.
Interestingly, these types of opportunities are limited these days, especially since CBS Sports did away with NFL sideline reporters last year. Working at a Fox affiliate has definitely kept Lanford on the Fox radar screen.
Buck Lanford Photograph Courtesy of Fox5 Atlanta
This article originally appeared on "Eye on Sports Media".