Free Bonnie B! Radio Jacks Original Sideline Hottie

I’ve always been a fan of Bonnie Bernstein. To my knowledge, she was the original hottie sideline reporter, pre-dating Melissa Stark and Erin Andrews. And she’s aged well. Beautiful lady.

Bonnie Bernstein

(Bonnie B.: What hath thou forsaken thee?)

So it saddened me last year when she stopped doing sideline game reporting to become a fill-in studio host at ESPN on shows like NFL Live, Outside the Lines, Jim Rome is Burning, First Take and College Football Live. The move was in part due to a serious bout of deep vein thrombosis, as chronicled by USA TODAY in 2007.

Now, thanks to Neil Best at NEWSDAY, come to find out she’s left TV altogether for a radio gig at ESPN 1050 in New York. As you know, I have nothing against radio, it was my life for 16 years - and 1050 is certainly a legit station in the biggest market. But based on her role at the station, I’m a little dubious of the move.

Best reports that Bernstein has joined the afternoon drive Michael Kay Show as a “co-host.” When I first read that, I assumed that Kay’s current co-host, Don La Greca, was being let go. Nope, he’s staying. Here’s how Bernstein describes her role on her official blog:

I’ll be co-hosting, doing interviews and handling all the SportsCenter updates and breaking news.

As such an accomplished, nationally-recognized TV broadcaster, it’s a little hard for me to understand why Bernstein would go from an ESPN-TV show host (albeit fill-in) to doing radio updates on a ratings-challenged sports radio show in New York. (Though I actually like Kay and La Greca better than Mike Francesa. By a mile.)

Also makes you wonder why ESPN-TV, if it valued Bernstein as a talent, would bless her leaving TV to take the gig.

Bernstein though sounds ecstatic about the job in her blog, also noting how close the station’s studios are to her home in New York City. That seems to indicate that her medical condition might be a factor in the move. Of course if that’s the case, you certainly can’t quibble with her decision.

Thought I’d never admit to missing a sideline reporter on a telecast. But Bernstein is the one exception. Hope the radio thing works out. Actually, on second thought, hope it doesn’t - if that means getting her back on TV.