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Who Will Replace The Aging Sportscasting Workforce?

Monday, April 21, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:33 AM, under

Athens, GA (Apr 21, 2008) - Fang's Bites points out a column by Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News that asserts that CBS Sports may show Billy Packer the door for, among other things, declaring the Kansas-North Carolina national semifinal game over when it had barely started. This seems like a far-fetched scenario for the man who built the CBS Sports College Basketball brand,but then again who would have thought that the network once known as the "Tiffany Network" would have fired Brent Musburger when they did?

But let's step back a minute and think about the rumours of Packer's impending retirement that were supposedly swirling before the NCAA Tournament even started. At 68 years of age, it was and is plausible to think that Packer would be considering retirement. Hmm, 68 years of age. This number has an even stronger resonance when you consider that big-time sportscasting voices that are at the same age this year:


Brent Musburger
Verne Lundquist
Billy Packer
Dick Vitale

Whether you like them or hate them, these men have distinctive voices and styles that set them apart from the rest. But they are getting older, and it may not be realistic to expect them to have the same longevity of Dick Enberg. Maybe Musburger realizes this fully,which might explain his seemingly strange on-air interactions with Steve Lavin this year.

It is clear that the executives at Black Rock and in Bristol will have some decisions to make, perhaps sooner than they may want to. In the cases of Packer and Vitale, how do you replace people who are synonymous with college basketball on television? The people's choice might be Bill Raftery, but he just turned 65 this past Saturday.

It is not as if the networks have been grooming replacements, because there does not seem to be any clear indicators of such a behavior. So just who replace these voices when their time in the sun is indeed over?

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. kzfone says:

    This is a good question, Chris. The networks all had a flood of talent in the 1970's and 1980's that has carried them to this point.

    CBS did showcase a promising Carter Blackburn during the NCAA Tournament and a guy like Jim Nantz can probably be with CBS for another 20 years.

    However, you're right that the networks are probably concerned with their aging talent. I don't know how old Mike Patrick is, but he isn't looking good either.

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