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Female sportscasters get their due

Last week, the American Sportscasters Association voted Lesley Visser as the No. 1 female sportscaster of all time. The CBS broadcaster was picked from 36 finalists and finished ahead in a top five that included Andrea Kremer, Robin Roberts, Michele Tafoya and Hannah Storm. While the pioneer Visser certainly deserves the honor, she is not on TV as regularly as she used to be. So, we offer our list of the current top 10 female broadcasters in the business.

1. Dottie Pepper

The 17-time winner on the LPGA Tour brings a wealth of knowledge to NBC's golf coverage and not only is the best field reporter in golf but the best "sideline" reporter on TV. Doesn't matter if she's analyzing the men or women, Pepper knows the game and offers commentary as good as any sports analyst on television.

2. Mary Carillo

Her easygoing and warm personality and, of course, her expertise and communication skills make her a perfect tennis analyst, but she has shown some serious reporting chops on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

3. Doris Burke

One of the best basketball analysts around. Doesn't matter if she's working the sidelines or sitting in the analyst's chair, or whether she is at a women's game or men's game, or a college game or pro game. She knows basketball and knows how to tell viewers about what they're watching.

4. Kelly Naqi

Not only is Naqi the best female sports reporter on TV, she might be the best sports reporter period. Her work on ESPN's Outside the Lines is the gold standard of investigative sports journalism. She digs, asks the tough questions and does stories that would seem to fit on 60 Minutes as well as they do on OTL.

5. Pam Ward

She calls football games for ESPN, making her one of the few female play-by-play announcers in the business. She's so good at what shes does that the novelty of her being a woman calling a football game wears off after a few plays and she becomes just another solid announcer.

6. Jeannine Edwards

While she has expanded to other sports, Edwards is best known for her work on ABC/ESPN's horse racing coverage. Whenever they pitch it to her, she always says something worth listening to. That's actually pretty rare among broadcasters of either gender.

7. Rachel Nichols

She provides plenty of good information on the NFL and NBA for ESPN and shows her background as a Washington Post reporter with her solid investigative work on the news magazine show E:60.

8. Shelley Smith

A former Sports Illustrated writer, Smith, who helped Keyshawn Johnson write his book Just Give Me The Damn Ball, is the best writer turned broadcaster on this list. The skills she used in writing — interviewing subjects, storytelling — are the foundation for her TV work at ESPN.

9. Pam Oliver

She seems to carry a bit of an attitude. Some might call it cockiness. Others might say she's confident. The NFL on Fox reporter is not everyone's cup of tea, but there's no question that she can get players to relax and give fun information during her interviews.

10. Cheryl Miller

Miller is the best former athlete on this list. Her reputation as, perhaps, the greatest female college player ever goes a long way with the NBA players she covers. Bottom line is she knows more about basketball than the viewers and you become smarter listening to her.

Female sportscasters get their due 07/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 12:55am]

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