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GIBSON: ACCURACY BEFORE STYLISHNESS

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The last time I saw Roy Gibson, we shared a microphone as part of a panel discussing television's potential impact on children.

I was impressed then, as I was on numerous other times, with his insights as well as with his clarity and precision in speaking. But mostly I was impressed with his voice - a voice that I had heard on Utah airwaves for as long as I could remember, and one that seemed to naturally inspire trust and confidence.Last Saturday that voice was silenced, as the 65-year-old Gibson passed away at his home in Salt Lake City.

No, I take that back. I should say that "he died at his home." As a journalist and student of the media, Gibson would have cringed at the use of the phrase "passed away" when it is far more concise to say "died."

That's the way it was with him - accuracy first, stylishness second.

I know. More than once I felt the sting of his displeasure during his "Media Man" reports on KUTV. He even took advantage of our time together on that panel to chide me - gently, I should add - for what he saw as a tendency to put myself above the story in my column from time to time.

He was right, of course. He usually was. And since that time I've rarely used the pronoun "I" without thinking of him - and trying to figure out a way to work around it.

Which probably sounds like I was offended by Gibson's critique. But that's not how he operated. One never sensed that he was grinding a personal ax in his commentaries. Gibson seemed to truly care about the media, and his only interest was in making it better.

He did that himself as a pioneering local newsman, anchoring and directing the Ch. 4 news in three decades. In the early 1960s he teamed with Bob Welti and Paul James to give then-KCPX the most-watched news team in the area. KSL admired the trio so much that it tried to entice the entire team to Ch. 5 in 1965. Welti and James went, but Gibson remained at Ch. 4 until 1972.

That's when he started to use his experience and expertise to train future journalists as part of the U. of U. faculty - and later with the rest of us as "Media Man." Gibson was a giant in the local television community, and his influence and insights - and that marvelous voice - will be missed.

Rest in peace, "Media Man."

-ON TV TONIGHT: Ever notice how the sporting world's main events never seem to live up to the warm-up acts? The Super Bowl is almost never as exciting as either of the conference championship games. The NBA Finals always seem a letdown from the flurry of playoff activity, and the best part of the NCAA basketball championships happens long before the field is narrowed to two teams.

So it is that we approach the Major League Baseball playoffs with some degree of excitement. Not only do we have the excitement of tonight's Game One of the American League Championship Series (6:15 p.m., Ch. 2) between the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays, but tomorrow we have two games to look forward to NBC's day-night baseball double-header, with Game Two of the American League Championship Series scheduled for 1 p.m. and the opening game of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs set for 6:15, both on Ch. 2, too.

All this, and Billy Martin's Celebrity Roast (9 p.m., Ch. 2), too. Baseball fans have to think they've died and gone to Cooperstown.

Elsewhere, Nova (7 p.m., Ch. 7) returns for its 17th season with a tour of the world underneath New York City (I wonder if we'll bump into Vincent and Catherine?); The Wonder Years (7:30 p.m., Ch. 4) returns for its third season; The American Experience (8 p.m., Ch. 7) recalls "The Great Air Race of 1924"; John Lithgow stars in Harry and the Hendersons (8 p.m., Ch. 13); and thirtysomething (9 p.m., Ch. 4) presents a sexually oriented episode that should probably carry a parental discretion advisory warning.

And from our "They Can Put It On But They Can't Make Me Watch It" file, masochistic cable viewers can subject themselves to the two-part, four-hour Lace (6 p.m., WGN), the miniseries that asked the question of the 80s: "Which one of you (deleted) is my mother?"

-LOOKING TOWARD WEDNESDAY: Powers Boothe stars in The Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (6:15 p.m., TBS); prominent Utahns make up the panel when Arthur Miller probes Issues of Privacy: Big Brother in 1989 (8 p.m., Ch. 7); Debra Winger and Theresa Russell star in Black Widow (8 p.m., Ch. 13); Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine are superb in Sleuth (8 p.m., Ch. 14); and Lynn Redgrave, F. Murray Abraham, Benny Carter and Teresa Stratas are In Performance at the White House (9 p.m., Ch. 7).