Phelps Ends Road Travel with Cavs

Mary Schmitt Boyer, Plain Dealer reporter writes:

The Cavs game against the Milwaukee Bucks tonight in Bradley Center will mark Jeff Phelps’ last road game.

Phelps, the genial and multitalented announcer who serves as everything from a studio host to a sideline reporter on FSN Ohio’s coverage of the Cavaliers, will be based in Cleveland when the cable station launches “Cavaliers Live” for the Cavs game at Sacramento on Tuesday, the start of the team’s seven-game West Coast trip.

“For the past few years, we have anchored our Cavaliers road pre- and post-games from the road venue,” Steven J. Pawlowski, FSN Ohio’s communications manager, said in an e-mail. “Beginning Tuesday, all Cavaliers road shows will be anchored from our studio utilizing our new Cavaliers Live’ set. Our game talent (Fred McLeod, Scott Williams and Austin Carr) will bring us live reports and interviews from the various road venues.”

Phelps will be joined in the studio by either Carr or Campy Russell. Think TNT with Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith or Charles Barkley. They will update other games and return to McLeod, Williams or Carr for additional interviews with players and coaches.

According to Pawlowski, it’s an effort by FSN Ohio to improve and unify its team coverage, which also includes the Cincinnati Reds and Columbus Blue Jackets. “Live” shows not affiliated with a team will be called “FSN LIVE.” In fact, “FSN Live at the BCS National Championship” will debut Friday.

Phelps admitted he has mixed reactions.

“I like being in the arena,” he said. “I also think after rehearsing the studio show, it’s going to look really good. I think it’s going to be very slick. Although this travel is about as great as any travel can be, I have three little kids and if the company tells me to stay home, I’ll say home and that’s fine. And if they tell me to go on the road, I’ll go on the road. It’s fun being in the arena. But we think we can add a whole new element to the telecast that will be an improvement for our viewers.

“All the improvements continue with the home games. The only thing that changes for the home games will be the venue. The venue will be the arena, rather than the studio, and I’ll be doing sideline reporting instead of updates on other games. Also, the post-games will change. They’ll be in the arena, but Fred will be doing interviews with the players in the locker room.”