Next profile |
Previous profile |
May Contents |
Some call this fast-rising star the best sports reporter on TV.
"I need a box!"
Andrea Kremer's scrambling request can be heard in locker rooms throughout professional sports, usually spoken with a microphone in her hand and a deadline in her face. The athletes will talk to her. That isn't the problem. But when the interview gets broadcast to ESPN's millions of subscribers, often live, the five feet, two inches tall Kremer doesn't want to look like a munchkin.
So what if Kremer, C'80, hasn't grown an inch since graduating from Penn 17 years ago? Her rising stature in television sports has more than made up for it. Some call her the best sports reporter on TV.
Kremer's 45-minute Sunday Conversations on ESPN have given viewers a peek at the innermost thoughts of superstar athletes. Her hour-long Outside the Lines features helped raise awareness of the rise in athletes' arrests for sexual assault and domestic violence. Interspersed among the features, not to mention the Super Bowls, NBA Finals and World Series she has covered, are hundreds of routine reporting segments that air on the thrice-nightly SportsCenter.
John Walsh, the show's managing editor, says of Kremer, "She is always all over a story. She works the beat, the phone, the sources. She badgers us all for something that might spark an idea for another good story. She is always, and I mean always, there."
While she appears a natural now, Kremer never dreamed of being a television sports reporter. But while growing up in Philadelphia the football bug bit her early. When she was eight, just before the first Super Bowl, she clipped preview articles from newspapers to make press kits for her parents. Her father took her to her first Eagles game in 1971 at Veterans Stadium, where she became a fan of the visiting Miami Dolphins. "Some girls had Barbie dolls," she says. "I had Larry Csonka."
Kremer, who now lives in Los Angeles, graduated from Friends Select School and entered Penn in 1976. As an undergraduate, she pursued a ballet career, ultimately performing with the Pennsylvania Ballet, and triple-minored in English, sociology, and anthropology. She loved the writing and research involved in these subjects, but had no clue what to do after graduation.
"There was no woman to look to and say, 'I'm going to be a sports journalist,'" Kremer says. Kremer wound up being hired at the Main Line Chronicle, Pennsylvania's largest weekly newspaper, where she soon became sports editor. After she wrote a story on NFL Films, which makes football highlights films for the league, her mother demanded, "Send them your resume!" and she did. A question on the company's football test asked, "What is a trap play?" Kremer's answer took up a page. She was hired as a producer.
Eventually, Kremer co-hosted the syndicated program This is the NFL, earned an Emmy nomination for one special, and began contributing to Philadelphia radio station WIP's Eagles pre-game show. ESPN came calling in 1989.
She has had to face the skepticism -- even hostility -- that greets women reporters "invading" men's locker rooms. Privacy aside, there is the assumption that those without testosterone can't possibly understand the intricacies of the flea-flicker and pick-and-roll.
"I try to be professional," Kremer says. "I dress professionally. I don't flirt with them... I don't pretend I'm their friend. I try to relate to them as people. I'm not like, 'Ooh, aah, Michael' when I interview Michael Jordan. Because every time I sit and talk with him about his glory days, there's another time I have to stand in front of him and ask about his gambling."
That dead-on approach pays off. When Jordan announced his return to basketball two years ago, all the networks wanted the first in-depth interview. But Jordan chose Kremer, with whom he had built up trust.
As an ESPN veteran, she is allowed more to pick and choose her assignments. Naturally, she covers mostly football, her first love -- evidence of which is embodied in her border collie, named Zonk.
"If it wasn't for Larry Csonka, I wouldn't be where I am today," she laughs. "The least I can do is name my dog after him."
Next profile | Previous profile | May Contents | Gazette home
Copyright 1997 The Pennsylvania Gazette | Last modified 6/11/97