‘The Duck’ Has Flown the Coup d’état

A coup will be televised tonight. A bloodless coup, for the most part. But, nevertheless, a coup. And if you don’t notice it tonight, you will surely take note of it Sunday when history repeats itself.

For the better part of three decades, three on-air personalities have dominated broadcast coverage of University of Oregon athletics: Jerry Allen, Todd McKim, and Joe Giansante. Jerry Allen is the Über-Duck, “The Voice of the Ducks.” Todd McKim was “The Face of the Ducks,” before moving on to cover Oregon State and Cal. Since 2000, Joe Giansante has been “The Face of the Ducks” for the Oregon Sports Network. Until tonight. Sort of.

At 7:00pm tonight, KEZI-9 will broadcast the Oregon Ducks Football Preview…without Joe Giansante. But tonight is not an aberration. Even though he will be calling the games on television this season, don’t expect to see him on Oregon Football with Mike Bellotti on Sundays either (because of his new responsibilities as the U of O’s Director of Community Relations and Special Programs). And something doesn’t feel right about that.

Over the last two decades, the U of O has raised its local, regional, and national profile considerably. And as that profile has been raised, so has the profile of everything related to the U of O, especially where communication is concerned. Considering the amount of attention the U of O pays to its image, it’s surprising that “The Face of the Ducks” has now been fragmented and relegated to the next in line (Sam Adams, KEZI-9’s Sports Director), as opposed to a deliberate choice.

No one can replace Joe or his resumé. But this summer has already seen Bob Barker give way to Drew Carey on “The Price Is Right.” And now Joe is giving way to Sam Adams. And it still doesn’t seem right. How did Happy Gilmore put it?

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