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Roseville man (and his van) always on the run

Mike Finnerty begins his third season chasing down local sports coverage for cable TV
By: Bill Poindexter
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With another fall sports season starting, residents of Roseville and the greater Sacramento area will see Mike Finnerty and his high-miles 1998 Honda Odyssey van, a rolling advertisement for the “SureWest Sports Show,” literally all over the place – at football fields and baseball diamonds, courts, pools and tracks. If there is a sports event involving high schools and youth teams, it’s a good bet Finnerty will be filming and reporting for the program seen weekly on SureWest Cable channel 702 and online. “Most people who know me know how much fun I’m having,” said Finnerty, 42, a 1986 graduate of Oakmont High School. “It’s such a blast. It’s a lot of hours, but it’s so rewarding. When you get those e-mails and have people come up to you and thank you, they’re excited you’re at their game. As a parent, I’ve been on that end. So we’re glad we can do that.” Described by Finnerty as “the only youth and high school sports show in all of Sacramento,” there will be more to season three than there was for the launch in February 2009 – 75 episodes ago. Talks are in the final stages for adding a weekly one-hour high school football radio show, previewing and reviewing games. Finnerty hopes for a Sept. 4 debut. Last year, the show partnered with ESPN to do high school sports profiles and recaps in two-minute segments. That was added to the original plan, Finnerty covering two or three high school games a week, one or two youth football games and more. Finnerty said he picked up the TV knowledge “on the fly,” and the show is edited by Kevin Melin, another Oakmont graduate. “Then you throw in the radio thing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Finnerty said, noting viewership has doubled from the first year. “We get e-mails every week raving about the show.” Jaime Montes, product manager for SureWest, recalled the first year for the show as “kind of hard.” Finnerty made his presence known in the public, which began to watch. “Mike is extremely passionate,” Montes said. “A show that focuses on youth sports is a really cool way for the community alike to be able to watch their kids on TV and be covered. You should see the way these kids respond to Mike when he’s out there (at games).” Finnerty said probably 80 to 90 percent of the coverage is on high schools, but youth sports also are covered. Finnerty recently traveled to Southern California to cover the Rocklin Little League Junior All-Stars in the Western Regional tournament, and he covered Lakeside Little League’s run through the Western Regional last year. The show has come a long way in a short time for Finnerty, who in 2007 was still publishing the Placer County Sports Page online. “The show was something we really wanted to do. We thought we could bring something different,” Finnerty said. “We’re committed.” Bill Poindexter can be reached at billp@goldcountrymedia.com. Youth sports TV What: The “SureWest Sports Show” airs weekly and highlights high school and youth sports athletes and games played throughout the greater Sacramento area. Host Mike Finnerty covers the events and does all the filming and reporting. When: There is a new show every Wednesday on SureWest Cable channel 702. The show also can be viewed online at www.surewestsports.com.