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ON MEDIA

Radio team to call Ravens preseason on TV, too

Commentary

July 11, 2008|By RAY FRAGER

Tapping away at some sports media notes while listening to Brett Favre sing, "I don't know why you say goodbye/I say hello":

*If you were in the habit of turning off the television sound to listen to the radio broadcast during Ravens games, you won't have to do that in the preseason. That's because the radio broadcast will be the TV sound.

No more Dick, Moose and Goose calling the exhibition schedule. The Ravens have replaced Dick Stockton, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa with a simulcast of the WBAL/98 Rock team of Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Rob Burnett.

Most of the burden will fall on play-by-play man Sandusky, who will have to find a balance between talking too much for TV but not enough for radio.

"Gerry will have to find a fine line," said Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' senior vice president of public and community relations.

Part of the Ravens' thinking was to promote the radio team as "knowledgeable voices as people who know the most about the Ravens." Another part is to try selling interest in preseason games.

"We believe there has to be some education about the intensity," Byrne said. "There are guys fighting for their professional lives."

Yeah, yeah. As Pink Floyd once sang, "We don't need no education." Wake me up when they kick off the regular season.

*Sandusky said his task will be made easier because he'll be doing preseason games, when it's not as vital to keep radio listeners apprised of the game situations.

"In a preseason game, the numerical aspects [down and distance, time remaining] are not quite as important," Sandusky said. "Other story lines ... we're going to make those the primary aspects of the broadcasts. We're going to make it the story of the team coming together."

His partners won't have much of an adjustment at all, Sandusky said. White and Burnett "are already using the TV monitor" to offer analysis.

*One more preseason note (because, after all, we're less than a month away from the first game): The four games will be split between WBAL/Channel 11 and WMAR/Channel 2. WBAL has the Aug. 7 and Aug. 28 games against the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, respectively, and WMAR is carrying the exhibitions Aug. 16 (Minnesota Vikings) and Aug. 23 (St. Louis Rams). And while you're making your plans, please note the Aug. 28 telecast won't include a post-game show because of network coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

And you were so looking forward to White's commentary on Barack Obama.

*It was a joy to hear Dave Johnson sharing the radio call with Fred Manfra during the Orioles' series in Toronto. Johnson doesn't have a broadcast voice, but once you get used to it, he's well worth the listen. His comments about the Orioles' performance usually are limited to the post-game radio show, but the club and CBS Radio should consider making him a permanent part of the radio crew with Manfra and Joe Angel.

Johnson doesn't try to wow you, but he's sharp and picks up particularly on what the pitchers are doing or not doing, as befits the former major league pitcher he is. He explains things simply and clearly.

And Johnson - like Angel - doesn't hold back when he feels an Oriole should be criticized. For example, during reliever Dennis Sarfate's outing Tuesday in which he couldn't hold a four-run lead, Johnson chided Sarfate for trying to rely on fastballs, essentially saying, "Sure, now you throw a curveball."

*NBC has reunited Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann for its Football Night in America NFL Sunday night highlights/pre-game show. This can't be a full return of "The Big Show" from the halcyon days of their pairing on SportsCenter, but we'll take it. However, we can only expect so much of that bantering and on-air chemistry. After all, NBC's show still will be overseen by Bob Costas, and Cris Collinsworth and the analyst crew still need room to analyze.

I'd turn the whole show over to Patrick and Olbermann.

*ESPN has changed its plans for the live weekday morning SportsCenter rotation that starts next month. Instead of starting at 6, the live shows will begin at 9. Until then, ESPN will rerun the latest SportsCenter from the night before, as it does now.

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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