On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
July 28, 2006

For the first three years that Comcast SportsNet anchor Leslie Gudel covered the Phillies, former third base coach John Vukovich would not speak to her.

“When I saw him in the clubhouse, I'd say hello and he wouldn't respond. He told others that I should be home cooking a pot roast,” Gudel said during the program “Breaking Barriers: Women in Sports Media” at the National Constitution Center on Tuesday evening.

“Finally, one year on his birthday, I made him a cake and a pot roast, and we've been friends ever since,” said the Emmy-winning anchor who's been one of the stars of CSN since its launch in 1997.

The Vukovich episode is just one of many challenges that Gudel, 40, has successfully navigated during her career as one of the few women working in local sports television across the country.

“The best defense is to know your stuff,” said the former ABC college football reporter.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Gudel went to her first Dodgers game with her father when she was 4. Though she always liked sports and competed in crew at UCLA, Gudel wasn't sure of her career path after she graduated with a degree in Political Science. She followed her father into the insurance field for a few years after college. Then, after taking a three-day self-help “Lifespring” course, she decided to make her interest — sports — into her vocation.

At 27, she took an unpaid internship at the sports channel Prime Ticket in L.A., while continuing her full-time job during the day. She sent out her audition tape to stations around the country, and found herself in Pocatello, Idaho, (television market No. 163) doing sports. After less than a year, she returned to Prime Ticket in L.A. as a paid employee.

After almost a decade at CSN, Gudel is comfortable in her role as an anchor and reporter for the Phillies. Recently, when rookie pitcher Cole Hamels told Gudel he didn't like to talk about his upcoming start during interviews, she told him that answer wasn't acceptable.

“As I get older,” she said, “I'm getting a little more brazen.”

Making the leap to Philly has been a success on and off the camera for Gudel. She was introduced to her husband, Jamie, through “Eagles Post Game Live” analyst Gov. Ed Rendell. Gudel and her husband are the parents of two children.

And she still makes a mean pot roast.

Channel flipping

This season Villanova football and basketball will be heard on Sports Talk 950-AM, and Saint Joseph's men's and women's basketball will be heard on WFIL 560-AM and WNTP 990-AM.

July 28, 2006 7:17 AM