New faces on OKC Thunder sideline
(October 9, 2009) The Oklahoma City Thunder went outside the market to fill its TV sideline position, hiring an NBA veteran and an NBA rookie to split job duties.
Veteran sportscaster Tom Werme will work 17 Wednesday night games, home and away, on KSBI-52, Thunder TV. Former OU basketball player Elissa Walker Campbell will work about 25 home games for Fox Sports Oklahoma.
"Both have an incredible amount of experience and versatility,” said Ken Adelson, Thunder senior vice president and executive producer. "They’ll be involved in multiple platforms.”
Fox Sports Oklahoma won’t use a sideline reporter for about 40 telecasts. Adelson said game analyst Grant Long will handle interviews, and other network personnel will serve as host. Last season, sideline reporter Brent Weber worked most of the games.
A University of Syracuse graduate, Werme, 40, has experience covering the Charlotte Bobcats, and also has worked as a play-by-play announcer with Fox Sports South, the Big Ten Network and Raycom Sports. A Fort Mill, S.C., resident, Werme said he does a lot of voice-over work and even played a sportscaster in the May 2007 season finale of CW’s "One Tree Hill.”
"It works out great to get some additional work in the NBA,” Werme said. "I just love the electricity of an arena on game night, especially when you have superstar athletes in the building.”
Walker Campbell, the daughter of the late Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker, was a reserve forward for the Sooners from 1989-92. She married an OU petroleum engineer, Steve Campbell, and the couple have two sons, Stephen, 7, and Eli Walker, 3.
A Fort Worth resident, she also hosts a weekly radio show, "The Big E Sports Show,” which airs in seven markets, including Lawton (2 p.m. Friday on KXCA-AM 1380).
"I’m a longtime NBA enthusiast, so this is truly living a dream,” she said.
Her work as the sideline reporter for the Idaho State-OU pay-per-view telecast — her first TV work in five years — helped her land the Thunder job.
"She came across as someone incredibly prepared, and in a driving rainstorm, held her composure incredibly well,” Adelson said.
Walker Campbell’s duties as a mother and with the radio show will limit her Thunder work.
"I know they would like for me to do more (games), but I’m realistic about what all I can juggle,” she said. "You can’t outsource being a mommy.”