SBD/Issue 25/Sports Media

MLB People & Personalities: Indians Shake Up Broadcast Teams

The Indians’ SportsTime Ohio (STO) has realigned its TV and radio broadcast teams. TV play-by-play man John Sanders “has not been asked back” for ’07 after 16 seasons with the team and will be replaced by Matt Underwood, who has spent the past seven seasons on the Indians’ radio broadcasts and will join analyst Rick Manning in the TV booth. Mike Hegan, who “moved back and forth between radio and TV during the past decade, will take over the permanent role in the radio booth,” alongside Tom Hamilton. For the second season, Jim Donovan “will partner with Manning for the broadcasts of 20 games” on WKYC-NBC and the regional over-the-air net (MLB.com, 10/16).

MEDIA DARLINGS: NEWSDAY’s Neil Best writes SportsNet N.Y.’s on-site pre- and postgame Mets shows during the postseason “have gotten an energy jolt from Gary Cohen and Ron Darling sitting among the people.” While producing shows on-site can “distract from announcers’ words and make those words difficult to hear,” Darling said that he and Cohen “have their volume dials turned up ‘as high as we can go’ to hear one another.” Best: “Overall, SNY has done a thorough job covering its anchor team” (NEWSDAY, 10/17).

OUT OF PLACE? YES Network’s Michael Kay appeared on Sunday’s edition of ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters,” “lampooning the notion [Yankees manager Joe] Torre has a tough job and has been made a ‘martyr’ by some.” NEWSDAY’s Best writes of Kay, “As the play-by-play voice on a team-owned network, he is performing a very awkward balancing act” (NEWSDAY, 10/17).

TREND SETTERS: In Houston, David Barron noted 15 of the 30 MLB teams “no longer have a player as part of their regular radio crew,” including the Astros, who employ Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond. Astros Owner Drayton McLane: “We wanted to put out a fresh new approach to broadcasting, and part of that was that we wanted to appeal to a younger group of people. We didn’t focus on hiring two (younger broadcasters), but that’s what emerged from the interview process.” Giants broadcaster Jon Miller said, “On television, you have to have the former player, since you have the video replay and the former player is best-qualified to point things out using that tool. ... On radio, you need somebody who has a facility with the language who can describe what he’s talking about, and how many former players can do that?” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/16).

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