On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
April 20, 2007

Phillies Make Double-Switch in the Booth

Rob Brooks, manager of broadcasting for the Phillies, explained the strategy for the broadcast team's new pairings this season (a double-switch of sorts for those Charlie Manuel fans).

The first major change was creating separate television and radio teams.

“It's more for continuity sake,” he said. “When a guy tells a story on radio then goes to TV and tells the same story not realizing that the other guy told that story already, that creates unnecessary repetition.”

On television, Harry Kalas, Gary Matthews and Chris Wheeler work innings 1-3 and 7-9. Matthews and Wheeler announce 4-6 alone.

Brooks explained his decision to put Matthews on the TV team.

“Three in the booth makes it easier for him to ease into the role,” he said. “With Gary's skill set [a former batting coach], he can use replays and the pictures to bring things to life better.”

As for the criticism of Matthews, Brooks said: “People don't like change. If the Phillies listened to the first impressions of the fans, Harry Kalas wouldn't have lasted a year. Nobody would.”

Brooks denied that Matthews was put in the booth to break up tension between Kalas and Wheeler, who have had personal issues in the past.

“Sarge is a great guy,” Brooks said. “He makes any room a more pleasant place to be.”

This year's radio team of Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke works together for eight innings. Kalas does play-by-play in the fourth, and for the first time Andersen is doing play-by-play in the fifth and sixth.

Brooks said Andersen's move to play by play was a mutual decision between him and Andersen.

“During the off-season, Larry said he wanted to become more of a complete announcer,” Brooks said. “Richie Ashburn did play by play, too.”

Brooks explained the decision to pair Kalas and Wheeler on television and Franzke and Andersen on radio.

“Larry is a good fit on radio,” he said. “He likes it better because there is more freedom to ramble.”

Hitting home

WIP 610-AM host Big Daddy Graham has a personal connection to one of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Both of his daughters are friends with Sean McQuade, who is from Mullica Hill, N.J., where Graham's family lives. McQuade, a graduate of Clearview Regional High School in Mullica Hill, was shot in the face and is in serious condition in a Virginia hospital.

One down, one to go

Michael Bradley is a huge improvement over Gregg Henson in the morning on Sports Radio 950-AM. However, weak link Glenn Foley needs to go. He was awful when he began in August 2006, and he's awful now.

E-mail: lauranachman@verizon.net

April 20, 2007 5:03 AM