On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
March 10, 2006

Though Phillies rookie announcer Scott Franzke is aware of the feud between fellow broadcasters Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler, he said it won’t affect his job beginning this weekend on WPHT 1210-AM.

"Right from the beginning the Phillies told me what my role would be, so that’s what I’ll do," said Franzke, who will host the pre- and post-game shows and announce the fifth and sixth innings.

Growing up in Texas, Franzke, 33, was the type of guy who spent his spring breaks at SMU going to spring training in Florida instead of party destinations such as Daytona Beach or Fort Lauderdale.
After college, he landed a radio gig for Prime Time Sports in Dallas, but wanting to get more play-by-play experience, he took a job with the Kane County Cougars, a Class-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins in Geneva, Ill.

"I had just gotten engaged and said to [my wife] Lori: ‘How would you like to go with me to do minor league baseball in the Midwest?’ "

With the support of his fiancé, Franzke honed his skills for three years then returned to Texas to do the preand post-game shows for the Texas Rangers the last four seasons.

Phillies manager of broadcasting Rob Brooks said that Franzke was selected over dozens of other candidates because "his enjoyment of the game came through."

As for Franzke being an outsider, Brooks pointed out that once upon a time, the Phillies hired a young broadcaster from another Texas baseball organization. Thirty-five years later, it appears that the hiring of Harry the K from the Houston Astros worked out.

Anybody listening?   

New Sportstalk 950-AM program director Jason Barrett is sitting in his office one night, sifting through the hundreds of CDs, MP3s and tapes from hopeful sports radio talk show hosts.

"I’m evaluating everybody on and off our air," said Barrett, 32, who arrived from producing "The Dan Patrick Show" on ESPN Radio.

The station switched from oldies on Oct. 3. In its five months on the air, it hasn’t put a dent into the ratings of its main competitor, WIP 610-AM

In the radio "trends" that were released on Feb. 28, WIP 610-AM came in eighth place and Sportstalk 950-AM came in 26th place for listeners 12 and older. Though both stations say that their target audience is 25-54 men, the 12-and-older category gives a general idea of the ratings success of each.

Channel flipping   

More women watched the Super Bowl this year (40 million) than total viewers watched "The Academy Awards" (38.9 million).

Saint Joseph’s radio analyst and "Bracketologist" Joe Lunardi will return to ESPN for Selection Sunday this weekend.

Contact Laura Nachman at lauranachman@verizon.net.

March 10, 2006 6:58 AM