O's, MASN announce '21 broadcast team

January 25th, 2021

Major changes are coming to Orioles television and radio broadcasts. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is parting ways with a roster of longtime broadcasters as part of a network-wide shakeup prior to the 2021 season.

Among those not returning: Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis, all of whom have been stalwarts on the O’s airwaves for decades. Color analysts and former players Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, Gregg Olson and Brian Roberts also won’t be returning to the booth.

MASN confirmed the changes, which were first reported by The Athletic, in a release announcing its new in-game streaming app on Monday. The release included a list of returning contributors, omitting those whose contracts were not renewed. The new app will allow fans in seven states to live stream every Orioles and Nationals game, and it will be available by Opening Day, per the release.

The Orioles confirmed the changes Monday by announcing their ’21 broadcast lineup, though they did not specify roles for most of the eight-person team. Those returning include play-by-play announcers Scott Garceau, Geoff Arnold, Kevin Brown and groundbreaking radio voice Melanie Newman, as well as color analysts Jim Palmer and Ben McDonald.

A multiple Emmy winner and the club’s primary TV play-by-play voice from 2007-19, Thorne, 72, did not broadcast a game last season despite settling a contract dispute with the Orioles in August, six weeks into the shortened season. Garceau, the longtime local radio and TV announcer, served as the O’s lead TV voice in his absence. Sources indicate Garceau will get the lion’s share of TV games in ’21, with Brown also tabbed for expanded TV duties.

Hunter tweeted last week that his contract would not be renewed, ending his 24-year relationship with the club. Davis began his broadcasting career 50 years ago, serving as the longtime host for O’s pre- and postgame shows on Home Team Sports, then MASN. Dempsey’s connection to the organization dates back to the late ‘70s; he’d worked as a color commentator and studio analyst since 2007. He and Bordick will remain employed by the club under the title of community ambassadors.

The reductions come after the O’s reshaped their broadcast team with a slew of new hires prior to the 2020 season, marginalizing Davis, Hunter and others in the process. More than half of the current lineup was hired or rehired within the past three years.