On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
March 3, 2006
According to the results of our readers’ poll, maybe the Phillies’ broadcasts should be titled “Everybody Hates Chris.” The general consensus among fans is that Harry Kalas is the favorite broadcaster and Chris Wheeler is the least favorite.

Here are the results:

1. Do you think Harry Kalas should retire when his contract expires at the end of this season?

An overwhelming 94 percent of the fans feel Kalas should continue as long as he wants. One reader wrote: “Harry isn’t allowed to retire.”

2. Who should replace Harry Kalas when he eventually retires?

According to the readers, the heir apparent is current No. 2 play-by-play man, Scott Graham, who received 30 percent of the vote. However, 15 percent felt that nobody from the current team of Graham, Larry Andersen or Chris Wheeler should replace Kalas. Some of the other names mentioned were Scott Palmer, Flyers announcer Jim Jackson, John Kruk, and Harry’s son, Todd, an announcer with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

3. Would you like Scott Palmer to become part of the broadcast team?

Though Palmer hasn’t done a baseball game since he was in college, the 55-year-old former 6ABC sports anchor got 60 precent of the vote to join the Phillies booth.

 4. Who is your favorite Phillies announcer?

In the least surprising vote of the survey, Kalas was named favorite with 75 percent of the vote. Larry Andersen was second with 13 percent. Graham and Wheeler were tied for third.

5. Who is your least favorite Phillies announcer?

Wheeler led with 72 percent of the vote. Graham followed with 18 percent, followed by Anderson and Kalas.

6. After learning that Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler have personal issues, can you sense tension between them in the broadcast booth?

Despite their issues, most viewers feel it isn’t coming across on the air (60 percentcould not sense tension). However, according to a source close to the broadcast, one viewing tip is to listen to how Kalas addresses Wheeler. “If it’s a good day, Kalas will call Wheeler, ‘Wheels.’ If it’s a bad day, ‘Chris.’ ”

7. Is there anyone you would have preferred to get the job instead of Scott Franzke?

Most fans (64 precent) are ready to give the newcomer from Texas a chance. Some of the others mentioned were John Marzano, Larry Bowa and Steve Degler.

Kolber to be honored   

When Dresher native Suzy Kolber was 10, she was denied the chance to play football in the community league because she was a girl. Tonight, the ESPN star will be honored by one of the bastions of the sport, the Maxwell Football Club, when she receives the Broadcaster of the Year Award.

“When I heard I was receiving this award, my first question was ‘Why?’ I love what I do and it never feels like work,” said the Upper Dublin High School and University of Miami graduate who will be a sideline reporter for “Monday Night Football” on ESPN this year.

Kolber, 41, made it to the pinnacle of her profession last month when she was part of ABC’s broadcast of the Super Bowl.

“It was almost like a wedding. Much like a bride not wanting to forget her wedding day, I wanted to take it all in,” said the never-married Kolber.

Kolber’s parents, Gene and Sandra, and brother Paul still live in the Philadelphia area.

Contact Laura Nachman at lauranachman@verizon.net.

March 3, 2006 6:51 AM