On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
August 25, 2006

Comcast SportsNet's Michael Barkann will be covering the U.S. Open for the USA Network for the 16th consecutive year.

The CSN host will return to the air for the first “Eagles Post Game Live” on Sunday, Sept. 10, after the season opener vs. Houston.

According to published reports, Barkann will take over the Monday night live weekly Eagles' show from Chickie's and Pete's this season on CSN.

I'm glad that CSN will continue with the live broadcast with an actual audience. The Eagles shows that are controlled by the team's television network are canned snoozefests (“The Andy Reid Show” and “The Donovan McNabb Show”).

Mixed review

Tonight's Eagles-Steelers game will air on ESPN (6ABC locally) at 8 p.m. In the new broadcast team's debut, lead announcer Mike Tirico was fine, Joe Theismann was his usual know-it-all self, and Tony Kornheiser was nervous.

Off the air

The new Sports Talk 950-AM morning show has driven away somebody else (besides listeners) from the station.

Journalist Stan Hochman, who provided “Inside Pitch” commentaries since the station launched in October, filed his final reports this week.

In an e-mail, Hochman wrote: “The new program director [Gregg Henson] inherited me and I felt he was pitching the morning show to a demographic that I felt wasn't eager to hear my commentaries, so I walked away.”

Sports Talk 950-AM general manager Bob DeBlois did not respond to a request for a comment.

Judging from the scarcity of callers, it doesn't sound like anybody was sampling the Sports Talk 950 morning show, though rival WIP 610-AM's morning show wasn't at full strength because host Angelo Cataldi was on vacation this week.

Conflict of interest?

It didn't take long for prickly Bryant Gumbel to tick off the NFL. Many people were surprised when the NFL Network, which is run by the league, hired the outspoken Gumbel for its preseason broadcasts.

Now, after Gumbel made derogatory remarks about NFL Players Association leader Gene Upshaw on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” the NFL is threatening to take him off the NFL Network.

The inherent conflict with the NFL owning its own network means that announcers will feel their jobs are on the line when being critical of the league.

Channel flipping

The new reality series about an Alabama high school football team, “Two A Days” premiered on MTV this week. ... Former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith will be “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC this fall.

August 25, 2006 6:43 AM