Gary Cohen Moves To TV With SportsNet NY
by: Joe McDonald | Publisher and Editor-in-Chief | Wednesday, November 9, 2005
SportsNet NY announced the hiring of Mets’ radio voice Gary Cohen to be the lead announcer for its new Mets’ television coverage.
“I am just thrilled to be part of this new venture,” Cohen said in a conference call earlier today. “[SportsNet NY] is dedicated to making this the best regional sports network in the nation. For me, this gives me the opportunity to make the transition from radio to television, while maintaining my bond with the Mets. I look forward to the challenge.”
Cohen has spent 17 years in the radio booth for New York and has covered some national events, including the Major League Baseball playoffs. He has broadcasted on television in the past, so he feels this will be a smooth transition.
“This gives me an opportunity to speak to a wider audience,” Cohen said. "I am going to be me, whether I am on TV or radio. I may use fewer words, but the content will be the same.”
According to SportsNet NY’s president John Litner, Cohen will be allowed to speak his mind and able to criticize the team when needed, which is in contrast to other local sports outlets.
“This is not called the Mets network because our job is to be the destination for New York sports fans,” Litner said. “Our objective is to be insightful, entertaining, and informative. Gary Cohen is the right man for the job to be our signature voice.”
The announcer will be calling all nine inning of each Mets’ broadcast and is expected to be in the booth for all or at least most of the 162 games in 2006.
“Last year, I did 155 games and even with the seven games I missed, I felt I was out of touch with those games,” Cohen said. “Baseball is one of the world’s great soap operas. What happens today connects with yesterday, two years ago and 20 years ago. If you are not there everyday, you can’t connect with an audience – most of which is there everyday.”
Cohen is also expected to host some other sports shows on SportsNet NY during the season and in the off-season.
Now the search continues for Cohen’s broadcast partner, which may be a rotation of announcers, according to SportsNet NY’s vice president of production Curt Gowdy, Jr., and that announcement may happen in the next two weeks.
SportsNet NY is also in the process of negotiating placement deals with cable systems, which includes Cablevision, which has been averse to adding new sports networks in the past.
“We are very confident in the product we are putting on the air,” Litner said. “We are very confident that our discussions will be positive and will have the full footprint when we are on the air.”
The network will debut in March 2006.