When the coronavirus pandemic was subsiding enough to allow the return of sports, though with few if any fans allowed to attend, Blues radio play-by-play announcer Chris Kerber got used to calling the club’s road contests while in St. Louis.
With travel limitations, Kerber and other broadcasters nationwide had to make do by calling games off TV monitors. It was far from an ideal way to call a game, but conditions made that palatable. Sportscasters have been back on the road now for a considerable time as the virus has been much more contained, but Kerber returns to the call-a-game-off-a-monitor mode on Friday, when he broadcasts the Blues’ contest in Las Vegas from the Hotshots Sports Bar & Grill in Fenton. It is to begin at 9 p.m. (St. Louis time).
It’s partially an accommodation to Kerber and partner Joey Vitale to be home early for the holidays. The Blues last played Tuesday, in Seattle, and instead of spending the next three days on the road and not getting home until the wee hours of Christmas Eve they were able to come back Wednesday.
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It also provides a couple other opportunities. Vitale will be in Bally Sports Midwest’s studio, providing analysis alongside host Scott Warmann, on its pregame, between periods and postgame converge during its telecast as he makes his Blues TV debut.
“He really has grown into this job, he’s a top-flight analyst and I think he has a big future in TV,” Kerber said of Vitale, who now gets a chance there.
On radio (WXOS, 101.1 FM), Vitale will be replaced by Donny Fandango and Scott “Rizz” Rizzuto, personalities on KPNT (105.7 FM) — both stations are owned by Hubbard Radio. Fandango also does a Blues podcast. Although they probably will bring a lighter approach in this broadcast that cross-promotes stations, Kerber said his call will concentrate on the game.
“It’s an opportunity to expand our audience,” he said of the likelihood of some of KPNT listeners tuning in. “They hopefully bring some of their audience.”
Blues television play-by-play announcer John Kelly, meanwhile, gets no early start to his holidays. He’s to be on hand in Las Vegas, but TV analyst Darren Pang is off. Jamie Rivers will fill in for him this time.
Around the dial
FuboTV, a video streaming service, has reached an agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting to add its regional sports networks to its lineup “in the coming weeks.” Locally, that Sinclair channel is Bally Sports Midwest. FuboTV reportedly has about 1.2 million subscribers. Several other programming providers (Dish Network, Hulu Live, Sling TV and YouTube TV) still do not carry those networks.
- Former Mizzou women’s basketball standout Sophie Cunningham, now a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, has joined Bally Sports Arizona’s team covering the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. She is providing commentary during pregame, halftime and postgame shows surrounding its telecasts of Suns games.
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