Women at work: Burke shines as ESPN analyst in NBA playoffs; only female announcer in pro baseball looks to make mark

A couple observations about women getting their shots in sports media:


Saturday, I tuned into the Atlanta-Indiana playoff game on ESPN. Mark Jones called the game with Doris Burke serving as his analyst.

As usual, Burke was spot on with her analysis. She knows the game and is terrific in breaking it down.

Nothing new here, which is just the point. A female analyst  for a NBA playoff game doesn’t qualify as news anymore. Oh, I’m sure there were detractors on Twitter, likely the same people who still are upset that women got the vote.

But thankfully, there’s a been-there-done-that element to this story. That’s a good thing.

Burke’s next game as an analyst will be Thunder-Grizzles on Saturday night.


Shortly after listening to Burke, I read Manny Randhawa’s story at the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana on the only woman announcer in pro baseball. Randhawa writes:

She’s the only female play-by-play broadcaster of any affiliated professional baseball team in the country. And take note of her name, because you could be hearing a lot more of it in the years to come.

Kirsten Karbach is the play-by-play voice of the Clearwater Threshers, the Class-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. She graduated with a mass communications degree in 2013 from the University of South Florida, where she gained experience in production and broadcasting.

Later he writes:

Karbach has her sights set high, and hopes to continue breaking barriers in the world of play-by-play broadcasting along her path. A job calling major league baseball is her ultimate goal.

“That would be the ultimate goal, definitely,” Karbach said of reaching the big league booth. “I’m really happy where I am now, but if I was looking into the future, I’d just hopefully progress in minor league baseball and get to the big leagues, because baseball is definitely what I’d like to be doing. I like broadcasting in general, but baseball is where my knowledge is and where my experience is, and definitely where I want to be.”

For all the aspiring female broadcasters out there, Karbach has a word of advice.

“For female aspiring broadcasters in particular, I would just say, don’t think it’s something that you can’t do,” she said. “Because when I was a broadcaster at my student station, a lot of the girls that came in wanted to do sideline reporting. Not a lot of them wanted to attempt to do color and play-by-play. I personally think that sideline reporting is where the standard is set and that’s why a lot of them aspire to that, but if they like doing play-by-play, they shouldn’t think they can’t.

“Because they can. And it’s awesome.”

During the winter, I taught a graduate level sports journalism class at DePaul. I had five aspiring women sports journalists in the class.

I thought of them as I watched Burke and read the story about the young woman baseball announcer. Throughout the class, I kept telling my students the opportunities are there if you want it bad enough.

Burke and Karbach prove my point.


4 thoughts on “Women at work: Burke shines as ESPN analyst in NBA playoffs; only female announcer in pro baseball looks to make mark

  1. Mary Shane the first female to ever broadcast at the major league level would thank you for this story if she were still with us to do it.

    Might be worth a story from you Ed on her with the White Sox in 1977.

  2. A minor correction. She is the only woman play-by-play announcer. Suzyn Waldman has been doing color on Yankees radio for quite a while.

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