Chicago Sports Broadcast Media Power Ranking
A few weeks ago, USA Today released its first power ranking for sports advertisers. You may remember the days of sports media coverage by the great Rudy Martzke in our country’s newspaper. I loved these columns. I took a sports broadcasting class in high school, and Mr. Lyons (rest in peace) handed out Xerox copies every week.
But I digress. USA Today admitted that comparing broadcasters from different sports and media was a “fool’s race” (Joe Buck was # 1). So I wondered if I could take it a step further and locate it, comparing ALL of the sports broadcasters on the airwaves in Chicago – analysts, presenters, reporters, talk show hosts and play-by-play voices. ? Could I be so stupid?
The answer was simple: yes. Yes I can.
I have suggested four categories to consider: attractiveness, longevity, quality, and personal preference. I’m a huge fan of Cubs TV new voice Jon Sciambi (I told Marquee Sports Network to hire him on these pages), but he didn’t qualify among the 100 or so names being considered because he didn’t. has not called a match yet. Sorry, Boog. If I’m not covered in tar and feathers to do this, I’ll put you on next time.
There isn’t much in this list that is scientific, but maybe it turns into something that broadcasters put in their contracts. As a bonus for getting on the list and even more for making it to the top 10. Maybe it earns the prestige of one of those Forbes lists.
Enough jibber-jabber. Here are Chicago’s top sports broadcast media power rankings:
- David Kaplan: It’s a shame that NBC Sports Chicago removed “SportsTalk Live” from Kaplan, but it still has a big megaphone on ESPN 1000’s first local morning show as a network affiliate. Kap knows everyone, and sometimes it seems like he knows everything. But that’s part of its charm.
- Len Kasper: You say that going from Cubs TV to White Sox radio lowers Kasper’s stature? It could increase it. If the Sox win the World Series, his calls will be remembered (no voice on local TV in the playoffs). Moreover, the response to his decision showed the attractiveness that he has in the market.
- Pat Hughes: He is a renowned broadcaster with 25 years as a voice on Cubs radio and 38 years in major league baseball. Hughes has won the Illinois Sports Commentator of the Year award nine times. If voters are smart – and have ears – he’ll be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Eddie Olczyk: Any hockey game is better with the Blackhawks and the NBC analyst on the call. It educates and entertains. Some might not like the shtick, but I’m a fan of it. I go around the league looking for games that are tree-tree in turd. (Boy, it doesn’t work so well in print.)
- Jason Benetti: Name a TV broadcaster who works harder than Benetti. He calls up a full season of Sox games, then switches to ESPN for college football and basketball. He doesn’t have an offseason, and that’s how he likes it. He’s creative and smart, and he’s become popular nationwide.
- Steve Pierre: Benetti also breathed new life into Stone, who didn’t always click with Hawk Harrelson. They were basically two analysts. With Benetti, Stone still sounds great.
- Pat Foley: My all time favorite and a Hall of Famer. Foley easily calls it the fastest game in the world. When the Hawks’ home games were only broadcast on the radio, he drew them in my head.
- Laurence Holmes: It’s wonderful that The Score gave him a noon show, but he deserves well over two hours. Luckily for fans, he takes advantage of podcasts and social media.
- Marc Giangreco: He has been a sports television presenter in this city since 1982. He has grown so big that his move from Ch. 5 to Ch. 7 in ’94 was huge news. He’s always been a good laugh.
- Marc Silverman: An ESPN 1000 original, Silvy wears his fandom on his sleeve. He is great with callers and is as gracious as they come. He worked to win the afternoon slot.
- Dan Bernstein: No one is better at handling the latest news, and they can talk about anything.
- Jason Goff: If you miss listening to Goff’s riff, check out the Bulls host’s “Bulls Talk” podcast.
- Ozzie Guillen: He lets you know exactly what he thinks about the Sox – and everything in between.
- Chuck Swirsky: He was talking about sports here in 1979 at WCFL. Glad he came back to call the Bulls.
- Leïla Rahimi: She broke a barrier to The Score, offering much needed perspective.
- Hub Arkush: An authority on football since the 1980s, he has been a mainstay of Score.
- Jonathan Hood: His shift went from nights to mornings at ESPN 1000, but it isn’t.
- Danny Parkins: Still doing a good job at The Score despite a revolving door of partners.
- Olin Kreutz: A must-listen / watch for Bears analysis on The Score and NBC Sports Chicago.
- Stacey King: Excellent analysis, honest reviews and catchy lines. Now let me take a step back and kiss myself.