Putting in a good word for some Boston sports media folks

New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) shares a laugh with teammate middle linebacker Jerod Mayo (51) during a joint practice between the Patriots and New Orleans Saints at the Saint's NFL football training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Chandler Jones shares a laugh with teammate middle linebacker Jerod Mayo during a joint practice between the Patriots and New Orleans Saints, Aug. 20, 2015. –AP Photo/Steve Helber

I wouldn’t call it a tradition on par with, say, the annual presidential pardoning of a potentially delicious turkey or two.

But every year at this time, your friendly neighborhood media columnist does try to give thanks to a few members of the Boston scene who do consistently good work without a lot of notice.

(Full disclosure: I especially like to knock out this column when another column idea falls through because the subject had the wisdom and wherewithal to take off early for the holiday.)

So here, then, is a well-considered if incomplete list of Boston media folks who have contributed positively to the landscape this year without the deserved acclaim.


■  Kyle Draper: As the studio anchor on NBC Sports Boston’s Celtics broadcasts, the good-natured Draper is a polished host who effortlessly comes across as an informed and genuine fan of the NBA. Watch him in this role just a few times — especially when he’s paired with Tommy Heinsohn, with whom he has a warm rapport — and you’ll think of him not as a talking head, but as someone with whom you know you’d enjoy bantering about basketball.

■  Jerod Mayo: During his eight seasons as a Patriots linebacker, it was obvious that Mayo, a longtime defensive captain, was bright and introspective. But like many Patriots players wary of running afoul of coach Bill Belichick for sharing one too many morsels of information, he was guarded when the camera was on. Not anymore.

Mayo’s knack for explaining football complexities in layman’s terms has been apparent since he became a regular on NBC Sports Boston’s “Quick Slants’’ last season. But his sense of humor, which meshes well with host Tom Curran’s offbeat style, has really come out lately, such as when he skittered around the set during the conclusion of a recent show pretending he was curling.


I never figured he’d be one of the many ex-Patriots to go the television route when done playing. Turns out he’s one of the best.

■  Bob Socci: Hard to believe it’s been five seasons since Socci was chosen from among more than 200 applicants to replace the legendary Gil Santos as the Patriots play-by-play voice on flagship station 98.5 The Sports Hub.

There probably was an adjustment period for some Patriots fans hearing anyone other than Santos behind the microphone, but Socci has succeeded in the role in his own right. His straightforward, accessible approach serves as a nice balance to cult-hero analyst Scott Zolak’s informative but excitable style.

The CBS Radio and Sports Hub decision-makers who chose Socci got the call right.

■  Emerson Lotzia: For some reason, NESN hosts seem to have a lower profile in the market than their counterparts at NBC Sports Boston. Perhaps it’s because there has been more turnover at NESN in recent years, with the likes of Nikki Reyes, Sarah Nicole Davis, and Elle Duncan moving on.

But NESN, which a few years ago served as a direct pipeline to ESPN, has brought in some promising talent. The upbeat and energetic Lotzia, who has been freelancing for the network since December 2015, is at the top of that list. He’s an entertaining follow on Twitter, too. (@EmersonLotzia).

■  Rob Poole: Known to Sports Hub listeners as “Hardy­,­’’ the third voice on the midday “Zolak and Bertrand’’ show is an invaluable member of the Sports Hub roster. He’s clever and funny as a personality or as a producer; he’s been the mastermind behind some of the better 8 Mile raps through the years. He’s the best personality in the market among those who don’t host or cohost their own weekday shows.


■  Christopher Price: WEEI got a lot of personnel decisions right over the last couple of years. But I’ll never understand why management felt it necessary to part ways with Price at the end of the 2016 Patriots season.

Like ESPN’s Mike Reiss and a few others, he’s a voice of logic and reason who also has deep institutional knowledge from years of covering the team. And he was always informative during his radio appearances, especially on WEEI’s “NFL Sunday’’ program. Now at Greg Bedard’s Boston Sports Journal, his work alone is worth the price of a subscription.

■  Trenni Kusnierek: She’s not exactly low-profile, appearing regularly on the top-rated “Kirk and Callahan’’ show in mornings on WEEI and hosting a weeknight show, “Early Edition,’’ on NBC Sports Boston. But she deserves special commendation for remaining blunt, affable, and self-deprecating while going from working with Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane in the mornings to Gary Tanguay and Michael Felger in the evenings. Got to respect someone who takes no guff yet can always take a joke.