The role of Bruins radio play-by-play announcer is a prestigious one. In the last 40 years, only icons Bob Wilson and Fred Cusick, along with accomplished broadcasters Bob Neumeier, Dale Arnold (for a half-season), and Dave Goucher have held the position.
A new voice was added to the list Wednesday. CBS Radio Boston and 98.5 The Sports Hub announced that Judd Sirott has been chosen as the play-by-play voice for the flagship station’s broadcasts, effective immediately.
Sirott will join longtime analyst Bob Beers in the booth to replace Goucher, who left in August after 17 seasons to become the television play-by-play voice of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Sirott, 48, served as host and fill-in play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Blackhawks on WGN-AM in Chicago for the past 10 years. He was twice awarded the Illinois Broadcasters Association Silver Dome Award for best play-by-play in the market.
He has also called NHL games nationally for HDNet (now AXS TV) and the NHL Network. Sirott served as play-by-play voice for the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League for 12 seasons. He also spent six years with the Chicago Cubs broadcast team as a host and play-by-play announcer while with WGN.
More than 200 candidates applied for the opening. Four auditioned during preseason broadcasts: Sports Hub hosts Ryan Johnston and Adam Kaufman, both of whom have significant play-by-play experience in the AHL, Canucks broadcaster Jon Abbott, and Sirott, who called the Bruins-Blackhawks matchup Sept. 25 with Beers.
The new broadcast team will be in place when the Bruins open their season Thursday night. The game actually will be bumped to WZLX-FM (100.7) because of a conflict with the Patriots-Buccaneers on 98.5.
ESPN hires Nolan
ESPN will do what, for months, Fox Sports inexplicably would not. It’s putting Katie Nolan back on television.
In what is both a poorly kept secret and welcome news, ESPN announced Wednesday morning that Nolan, a Framingham native, is joining the network. She will debut Oct. 16. ESPN was vague with the details of her role, saying in a statement that “announcements regarding her specific assignments are forthcoming,’’ but did say she will make appearances across various studio programs while also having a prominent digital presence.
“I could not be more excited to have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming,’’ said Nolan, an expert in humorous snark, in a statement. “When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming.’’
Nolan, whose Fox Sports 1 program “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan’’ won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience in 2016, had been in a strange sort of television purgatory since February, when “Garbage Time’s’’ last season wrapped up. The weekly show, which had an enviable social media following but struggled to find viewership, was not renewed.
While the network suggested it would find prominent ways to utilize Nolan, it never did. She rarely appeared on Fox Sports or FS1 in recent months before negotiating a buyout of her contract, which was set to expire at the end of the year, last week.
ESPN has long coveted Nolan, who has a quick-witted, easygoing television presence. Word that the network had hired her has been anticipated since she was released from her deal.
“Katie is smart, dynamic and brings to ESPN a fresh perspective and a great sense of humor,’’ said Connor Schell, executive vice president/content for ESPN. “She is a rare talent and will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space.’’