On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times

October 27, 2006


The new book by WIP hosts Glen Macnow and Big Daddy Graham, “The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists (www.runningpress.com),” features dozens of lists including “Best sports quotes,” “Top sports bars,” "Most overrated and underrated players," and of course the chapter every reader will turn to first, "Ugliest mugs to play in Philadelphia." 


However, there isn’t a list of the best and worst television sportscasters in Philadelphia history. 


Until now..   


Best -

“Big Al” Meltzer (Channel 3, Channel 10) - Meltzer was the clichéd big voiced type of sportscaster that Joe Piscopo made fun of on “Saturday Night Live,” but Meltzer was one of the big stars when local television was the only game in town. 


Don Tollefson - (Channel 6, Channel 29) - It’s easy to make fun of “The Pride of Fox29,” but the San Francisco native has been a Philadelphia icon for 30-years and the community loves him.


Vai Sikahema (Channel 10) – Vai has managed to make people forget that he had another career as an NFL player.


Gary Papa (Channel 6) - Tolley’s replacement at Channel 6, Gary Papa has been a staple at top-rated Channel 6 for 25-years.


Michael Barkann (Channel 3, Comcast SportsNet) – The face of CSN, Barkann defines today’s era of broadcast sports journalism on the local 24-hour sports channel


Others considered: Joe Pellegrino (Channel 6 era, not Channel 10), Lou Tilley, Howard Eskin


Worst –


Bill Currie (Channel 3)  – Currie stood out as a bad dresser when everybody was a bad dresser in the late 70’s. Viewers remember the crazy flower in the lapel.


Joe Fowler (Channel 10)  – The bad actor was a worse sportscaster.  His last sighting was on an infomercial a few years ago. According to www.imdb.com, his credits include “Reporter #6” in “Cobra” and “Reporter” in an episode of “Jake and the Fat Man.”


Geraud Moncure (Channel 17) – Known more for his temper than his broadcasting, he wasn’t even good enough for the now defunct Channel 17 news.


Carl Cherkin (Channel 29) – He had a hard act to follow when he replaced Eskin at Channel 29, and it’s a wonder he lasted eight years there. 


Pete Christy – (Comcast SportsNet) – Literally painful to watch, Christy made the others on the “Worst List” look good. 


Others considered: Garry Cobb, Erick Weber, Mike Rodgers, Keith Russell, Matt Fine, Rod Luck


Going into Thursday night’s Flyers game, the new broadcast team of Jim Jackson, Steve Coates, and Keith Jones had yet to call a win, going 0-5-1 (the Flyers only win before last night’s game was telecast on the VS network.)


Play-by-play man Jim Jackson said, “Don’t think we haven’t teased (first year analyst) Jonsey (Keith Jones) about it.” 


Jackson, fittingly entering his (unlucky?) 13th season with the team, said that wins and losses affect the local broadcasters because they are with the team for the entire season. 


“We had a bad preseason, but I didn’t anticipate how bad things would start,” Jackson said.


Former Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy finally experienced playoff baseball as a member of the New York Mets radio team this season.


“I didn’t realize how much more energy there was in the post-season,” said McCarthy whose Mets were a game away from making the World Series.  McCarthy will begin his second season as the play-by-play man for the St. Joseph’s Hawks November 14.  The Hawks games will be on WNTP 990-AM and WFIL 560-AM.


Big Honor for Big Mac

Sixers radio broadcaster Todd MacCulloch will be inducted into the University of Washington Hall of Fame tonight.


Hello, Kettle, You’re Black!

On Monday morning, while the WIP morning team was criticizing the Eagles for their mistakes, commercials featuring “Flyers Head Coach” Ken Hitchcock, who was fired the day before, ran at least twice during the show.