Mark Viviano Signs Off For The Last Time
Since the inception of Ravens24x7.com I’ve enjoyed the unique vantage point of being a fan with access. In other words like all of you I love Baltimore sports, wear the fan badge proudly on my sleeve, struggle at times to be objective and invest a ton of emotional energy in my favorite pastime.
The privilege of access didn’t just fall out of the sky. It was largely the byproduct of persistence and perseverance while remaining respectful. And not to mention, some professional direction and guidance selflessly offered by Mark Viviano.
Not long after the launch of Ravens24x7.com, I met Viv through a mutual friend, Danny Coker (another great guy) who then worked at Bandaloops in Federal Hill and now is a co-owner of Bartenders in Canton.
Viv joined me for dinner at Bandaloops one evening and during those few hours I was a sponge happily absorbing all of the information and advice he willingly shared to help move our site in the right direction and create a springboard for me to move forward in my then newly adopted career in journalism.
Viv had little to gain from the meeting but he took the time nonetheless. And while I learned about the nuances of sports media, I learned more about him – the man off the camera and behind the microphone. He is grounded, balanced, sincere and a willing listener. He keeps his emotions in check so as not to cloud his objectivity. And perhaps most importantly he isn’t a guy with an overinflated sense of self-worth who gives praise more comfortably than he accepts it.
I listened to Viv often during his 6½ years on air at CBS Radio – first ESPN 1300 and then eventually 105.7 The Fan. Having done some radio myself I often marveled at his smoothness; ability to effortlessly segue in and out of unrelated topics; his acceptance, tolerance and big-brotherly control of an egocentric sidekick who couldn’t be any more of a polar opposite to the host of the Mark Viviano Show.
I’ve admired the way he can weave pop culture and Americana into sports talk and keep it engaging despite a listener’s desire for him to stick to sports. And his ability to really listen to an obnoxious and obviously uninformed caller and glean some value from it is a developed craft that can’t be achieved without a high level of focus.
Viv is not and never was a homer and consequently he’s had his critics from a Baltimore audience that has always loved a homer. But if that is the extent of the collateral damage for being professional and objective my guess is Viv is ok with that and would probably add his oft-repeated exclamation, “I get it!”
After today, WE won’t get “IT” – Viv’s brand of intelligent sports talk radio, as Mark Viviano signs off for the very last time.
And that’s another loss for Baltimore.