On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
May 18, 2007
Everybody knows the long odds of becoming a major league baseball player. However, the odds of becoming a major league baseball broadcaster are even more daunting.

With 30 teams, and only a handful of broadcasting positions per team, the chances to join a major league crew are scarce.

Joe Block, editor of the sports broadcasting web portal, www.callofthegame.com, knows first-hand how difficult it is to make the show. Block was a minor league announcer for several years before settling into a sports talk show gig in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The jobs don't come along often,” he said.

“There are only three or four openings a year. Then, once the job is filled, it's usually taken for the next 20 to 30 years.”

Block added that more than 300 people applied for a job on the Milwaukee Brewers television team. He said that about 100 broadcasters apply for a typical baseball radio job.

“You need really good contacts, a good approach, experience, and luck,” he said.

Reading Phillies announcer Steve Degler has been announcing games for the Double-A team for 16-years. He applied for the Phillies radio position that went to Tom McCarthy in 1999.

“At the time, the Phillies told me my skills weren't good enough. Of course, I feel I'm good enough to be there. I know that broadcasting is subjective. However, I'm very comfortable being at home,” said Degler, a Kutztown University graduate.

“When I started out, my goal was to make it to the major leagues. I was naive. I quickly realized it would be difficult. Working for a major league team would mean more money, but it would also mean I'd be away from home more. Money isn't everything.”

Then there were two

One of the first changes made by new Fox29 general manager Mike Renda is canceling the long-running Sunday night sports show “Sports Sunday.”

In a statement, Fox29 spokesperson Jennifer Best said: “Mike Renda, FOX 29's VP/general manager, believes that local FOX stations are well-known for hour-long newscasts and made the decision to maintain that format Sunday nights. Don Tollefson and Bill Vargus will continue to cover sports in the Sunday “Ten O'clock News.'”

This leaves only “Sports Final” on NBC10 and “Sports Zone” on CBS3 on Sunday nights. 6ABC's “Eagles Frenzy” airs during the football season.

Tollefson and Vargus could not be reached for comment.

Lynam in the mix?

Many are surprised that the Sixers cut Steve Mix from their broadcast team. How about making Dei Lynam the first female team analyst in the league?

E-mail: lauranachman@verizon.net

May 18, 2007 6:28 AM