As Joe Nuxhall celebrates his 59th anniversary in Major League Baseball today - he pitched for the Reds at age 15 in 1944 - the club still hasn't decided how to replace the Old Lefthander on Reds radio.
Nuxhall, 74, announced in November that he would retire at the end of the 2004 season. He plans to do only 60 of the 162 Reds games next year.
Since November, the club and WLW-AM have received audio tapes from broadcasters interested in the position. The Reds' flagship station sent the tapes to Reds COO John Allen, who won't talk about the search seven months after Nux's press retirement conference.
A Reds spokesman said Monday: "We haven't really finalized that process, and he (Allen) doesn't want to address it right now."
Apparently the club hasn't decided on a timetable for hiring a new announcer. While Clear Channel's WLW-AM would like the selection made this winter, so the three-person radio team could be marketed to sponsors, the Reds could opt to use the 102 games without Nux next season to audition finalists.
"My personal preference would be to have it resolved in the off season," says J. David Martin, the former WLW-AM general manager who is a sports marketing consultant for Clear Channel's Cincinnati stations.
Another decision yet to be made is whether to hire an experienced professional announcer - or a former player - to team with Hall of Fame play-by-play man Marty Brennaman.
Around the league, teams have it both way. The Yankees and Mets don't have retired players in the booth; the Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers do. But no other Major League Baseball radio team has been together longer than Marty & Joe (30 years).
Names most frequently mentioned as candidates to replace Nuxhall are Dan Hoard, the Channel 19 sports anchor who filled in admirably for Brennaman in May; Chris Welsh, Reds TV analyst and former pitcher; Tracy Jones, the former outfielder who hosts WLW-AM's weekend Extra Innings post-game call-in shows; and Jim Kelch, announcer for the Louisville Bats, the Reds AAA affiliate.
Of course, many others could be considered. The Reds front office reviewed 221 tapes from prospective announcers before hiring an unknown named Marty Brennaman in 1974 to replace Al Michaels.
Martin says that naming Nux's replacement "will be a collaborative decision between John Allen, the radio station and certainly Marty Brennaman." The announcers are employed by the club, not the station.
News from ER
Now that NBC has extended ER through the 2005-06 season, the next task is signing Noah Wyle for two more years. The deal for Wyle, the only original cast member, expires next May, says Jeff Zucker, NBC Entertainment president.
Joining ER next fall will be Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham) as an Indian medical student.
According to Jim, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith) should return a DVD player to the store without a receipt (9 p.m., Channels 9, 2).
Ground Force, another garden makeover show, premiers on BBC America (9 p.m.).
Lucky (John Corbett) nearly blows the $36,000 he wins in Vegas on his birthday (10 p.m., FX).
Ozzy Osbourne goes to the dentist, while kids Kelly and Jack debate the talents of Christina Aguilera as The Osbournes return with new summer episodes (10:30 p.m., MTV).
Talk show guests
Live with Regis and Kelly (9 a.m., Channel 9): Julianna Margulies.
Wayne Brady (10 a.m., Channel 9): David Boreanaz, Big Bird, Kelly Hu, Billy Gilman.
The View (11 a.m., Channel 9): Carnie Wilson, Bernard Goetz.
Caroline Rhea (3 p.m., Channel 19): Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson from The Kids in the Hall.
TEMPO COVER STORIES
Dixie Chicks deliver the goods
Mini Cooper creates a road cult
Car-crazed reporter test-drives the Mini
Nannies can prove credentials with new test
Wanted: Father-child look alikes
Get to It: A guide to help make your day
Weekly guide to computers, the Web and the latest gadgets
Leather, spots, fur are her favorites
Fashion mimics style of movie
KIESEWETTER: Reds quiet on reliever for Nuxhall
Nakai's quartet exceeds expectations
Rain didn't ruin Country Stampede
Summer festival guide