On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
September 29, 2006

When Mike Tirico was a kid, his mother would allow him to stay up until halftime to watch “Monday Night Football” on ABC.

Today, Tirico is the ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man, preparing for next week’s game between the Eagles and Packers.

“I can’t wait for Monday night in Philly,” Tirico said in a telephone interview. “The atmosphere will be unbelievable.”

Tirico has received rave reviews in his first season, but his colleagues, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser, have not.

“Unfortunately, the higher you go in any field, the more you’ll get criticized,” Tirico said. “In general, we’ve turned into a meanspirited society.”

A month into the regular season, Tirico is settling into his new routine.

“I’m actually getting to spend more time with my family [wife, son and daughter] this season because the last few years I did college football on Thursday night, Saturday night, and golf on Sunday,” said Tirico, who joined ESPN in 1991.

A 1988 graduate of Syracuse, Tirico said when he does games in Philadelphia, he always tries to reunite with old friends Kathy Orr of CBS3 and Tracy Davidson of NBC10.

“Kathy and I met the first day of school freshman year, and Tracy and I worked together at the Syracuse CBS affiliate,” he said.

Ratings game   

The Eagles-Packers game will attempt to become the highest-rated show in ESPN history.

So far, each successive Monday night game sets a record for the most viewers in network history. Monday night’s Atlanta-New Orleans game had about 11 million viewers.

The Eagles-Packers game will be simulcast on 6ABC, which also will do a pregame show from 8 to 8:30 with Gary Papa.

Last week’s Eagles-49ers game earned a 30.1 rating/50 share for Fox29. Each local rating point equals about 29,000 households.

Channel flipping   

Sixers guard Willie Green will have his own show on ESPN 920-AM, at 4:20 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Nov. 2. ... Former Alice 104.5-FM and Mix 95.7-FM disc jockey Brian Murphy is doing sports updates on WIP 610-AM.

September 29, 2006 7:11 AM