On the Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
January 6, 2004

The Eagles-Redskins game scored a 32.6 rating/49 share on WPVI to make it the No. 1 show of the week in Philadelphia. With excitement over the season's final week, NFL contests were the top-rated shows in all 30-markets of the league. Take that "Simple Life."

Obviously, there is no Eagles game this week due to their bye, but viewers will be interested in the NFC Wild Card games this weekend. Tomorrow night, ABC will air the Cowboys at Carolina at 8 p.m. Al Michaels, John Madden and Lisa Guerrero will announce the game. The Seattle-Green Bay game will air Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fox with Joe Buck, Cris Collinsworth and Troy Aikman.

In the AFC, Tennessee meets Baltimore at 4:30 on ABC with my favorite NFL announcing team of Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Suzy Kolber. Kolber became the news a couple of weeks ago because of Joe Namath's biggest blunder since "The Waverly Wonders," but she deserves publicity because unlike many sideline reporters, she is an asset to the broadcast team. Then Denver battles Indianapolis on CBS at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms and Armen Ketayian will handle that game.

Eagles fans can get their Eagles fix this weekend with the return of "Unfinished Business" live from the Loews hotel on WCAU at 7:30 p.m. Vai Sikahema will quarterback the specials that will air as long as the Eagles are in the playoffs. The show won an Emmy this year. On Monday, "The Angelo Cataldi Show" airs live from Chickie and Pete's at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

For the next Eagles game, Eagles officials should make sure there is plenty of room for the newspaper reporters to stand in front of Donovan McNabb after the contest. That will avoid a repeat of the last game when viewers were distracted by having to look at "Daily News" reporter Les Bowen's face during McNabb's live press conference on "Eagles Post Game Live."

For those who criticize Gov. Ed Rendell's place on "Eagles Post Game Live," note that he predicted that the Lions would upset the Rams.

Have you noticed how every local station is calling itself the "Official Eagles station?" In that spirit, this column is now "The Official Once a Week, Sports-Media Column of the Philadelphia Eagles."

Sixers on ABC tomorrow

The Sixers-Spurs game in San Antonio airs on ABC tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., with Brad Nessler, Doc Rivers and Michele Tafoya. Nessler was replaced by Al Michaels as the No. 1 NBA play-by-play announcer this season. Ahmad Rashad will do a halftime feature about Allen Iverson.

Phils in final year with WPEN

Though the spat between Chris Wheeler and Harry Kalas has been in the news recently, it shouldn't camouflage the big problem with the Phillies' radio broadcasts - the lousy reception on flagship station WPEN 950-AM. The Phillies are going into the last year of their deal with WPEN. Let's hope they get back on WPHT 1210-AM with a 50,000 watt signal.

As for "Wheels" and Kalas, there have been plenty of announcing teams throughout the years that haven't gotten along. Hopefully, they can work things out and both will return next year. After 20 years of stability with Kalas, Richie Ashburn, Wheeler and Andy Musser, things changed after Ashburn died in 1997 and Musser retired a couple of years ago. They were replaced by Larry Anderson, Scott Graham and John Kruk. Why couldn't Kalas have a problem with Scott Graham?

Laura Nachman covers television and radio sports for the Courier Times. She can be reached at bradyresident@aol.com

January 2, 2004 6:00 AM