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Crippled Economy Impacting Broadcaster Assignments?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:31 PM, under ,

Athens, GA (Dec 9, 2008) - Dave Neal, a play-by-play announcer from Atlanta, is sitting two seats down from me, calling the men's basketball game between Virginia Tech (5-3) and Georgia (5-3) on FSN South. Neal has been a longtime mainstay announcer from Atlanta, working for Raycom, FSN South, and others.

Being based in Atlanta is not bad for Neal, as there are many schools and professional teams to cover in the Southeast. For younger announcers trying to work their way up the broadcasting, usually on regional coverage of Olympic sports of colleges, unless they live in the area of games not being covered, getting work has been challenging in the current economy.

Why? Because broadcasters, like other businesses, are doing everything they can to cut expenses. That means if a broadcaster needs to choose between flying talent in and using someone local, the local talent will get the job. Last Saturday, after the SEC Championship Game, a young announcer told Eye on Sports Media that he has seen his workload decrease significantly because of this trend.

If and when the economy recovers, the question is if regional networks and broadcasters continue this trend as a way to maximize profits as opposed to staying afloat. NBC Sports may have drawn criticism for not traveling crew and talent for some Olympic venues in Beijing this past summer, but maybe it is just a sign of (back to the) future. Back to the days when Ronald Reagan called baseball games without even being able to see the stadium.

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