Paige started appearing on Around the Horn long before he relocated to New York City and became a regular on the ESPN2 morning show Cold Pizza, and as this earlier Message column noted, the situation was never ideal. Why not? The Post had plunked a makeshift broadcast center smack-dab in the middle of its business department, with only office partitions separating it from nearby cubicles (see photo). Hence, during taping sessions, Paige's shouts and hollers echoed throughout the room, to the visible chagrin of everyone in the vicinity.
When the latest newsroom was being built, Paige lived in NYC, but Post editor Greg Moore knew that a studio was needed anyhow. After all, other Post sportswriters, including Jim Armstrong, occasionally appear on ESPN, too, and reporters turn up regularly on Channel 9, the paper's broadcast partner. For that reason, the studio was part of the design from the beginning, rather than an afterthought -- and Moore says the result is a vast improvement over the previous setup.
"It's a walled-off room, with a camera that's connected to ESPN," he points out. "It's not ostentatious -- just a room with a backdrop. But it's fairly soundproof. I'm not going to say it's totally soundproof, but I think the walls alone will cut down on the aggravation and interruption that was so common before."
This prediction will be borne out or disproven in the weeks and months to come. Paige officially returned to the Post today (his first column is slated for December 3), and after that, he'll be bellowing on behalf of Around the Horn on close to a daily basis. Already, some insiders are grousing about the studio, and their grumbles will undoubtedly grow louder if its noise containment isn't up to snuff.
Should things go wrong, bet plenty of Posters will be eager to mute the Horn, and the returning celebrity who'll still be blowing it. -- Michael Roberts