Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mike Lange's Career Options

There seems to be a bit of another hurdle to overcome in the 'burgh these days. If the city could rally around to get what was so desperately needed, then surely they should come together to help one of their adopted own.

I was working at PNC Park the day that it was announced that Mike Lange was to be replaced. I could remember a feeling of shock and terrible disappointment. The Penguins just aren't the same without him. He is the voice that IS the Pittsburgh Penguins brand of hockey.

Despite having gone back to work on the radio side, Mike swallowed his pride and commenced the season with dignity befitting a Hall-of-Fame broadcaster. What Mike wasn't saying on the air (or anywhere else during this time), was how unhappy he was knowing there was more money to be had working the TV side. Lately, things have been tipping towards a clash of yet unknown proportions. Mike has come out claiming how unhappy he was not doing TV.
"I won't lie to you," Lange said in February. "There is more money in TV. I took a gigantic hit.

"I do love Pittsburgh, but the scene has changed for me. There isn't any doubt about that. I've been turned aside from TV. I'm not their No. 1 guy anymore. I have to do what's best for me. I have to consider my career."
According to a Bob Smizik article, the Phoenix Coyotes have let go their TV play-by-play announcer, Curt Keilback, leaving an opening for Mike to pursue his options out west. It would be appealing as a Phoenix job would bring him closer to his hometown of San Francisco.

But I wonder just how much Pittsburgh loves Mike Lange to protest his "demotion" by playing the radio audio over top the TV video. Are the head office people at FOX Sports Pittsburgh station aware of this? I know it has a pretty big groundswell to even have the WXDX DJ admit to cooperating with the audio by syncing up things to offset the 3 second delay.

If Pittsburgh were to lose Mike Lange's talents, I would hope that perhaps a national broadcast team would pick him up. He would then be exposed to the rest of the hockey fans and they would get to enjoy his quirky-yet-endearing style.

On a more personal level, I would have to say that I am torn over which side to take. Mike Lange has been the only broadcaster I have really known. It just wouldn't be the same without him. Taking in the fact that he is a Hall of Fame credentialed broadcaster, his tenure demands that he go out on his own terms. But on the other hand, if the older veteran broadcasters don't step down soon, then there really is no hope for the future and fresh young blood like oh... say... me.... to take over the jobs in the Pittsburgh market. Maybe it is time for Lange to just retire.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
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