Talk About Sports! Rosen And Zumoff Tell All About It

Posted: March 24, 1988

When Larry Rosen and Marc Zumoff were growing up in the Northeast, they would pretend to be sportscasters. They would re-enact the last few minutes of a basketball game.

Zumoff would handle the play-by-play, and Rosen would provide the color commentary. As youngsters, they had fun doing something they're now being paid to do.

Rosen, 31, and Zumoff, 32, both graduates of George Washington High, are working as sportscasters for Prism, a cable station that reaches 422,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

"When we used these games in Marc's bedroom . . . we used the static from Channel 8 as the crowd," said Rosen, who lives in Haddon Heights with his wife, Carol. "I enjoyed being a sportscaster, but my career goal was to be a White House correspondent. It's strange how some things work out in life."

Zumoff always wanted to be a sportscaster. He looks back on those days of make-believe broadcasting as somewhat of a starting point in his career.

"There was no question in my mind what I wanted to do," said Zumoff, who also lives in Haddon Heights, with his wife, Debbie. "Sportscasting was always something I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

"It's a very exciting field. Nothing ever stays the same in sports. Every year, there's another outstanding player or team to talk about."

Rosen and Zumoff, both graduates of Temple University, took similar paths into the broadcasting business. In 1973, Rosen officially began his career as a color commentator for the first incarnation of the Philadelphia Wings, a professional lacrosse team. After a year with the Wings, he started working for KYW-AM (1060) as a production assistant, where he stayed for three years. In 1977, Rosen was hired full time as a reporter.

"I enjoyed being the color man for the Wings, but news was still in my blood," Rosen said. "KYW gave me an opportunity to polish my skills as a journalist. I had a chance to do some writing, producing and reporting.

"I also had a chance to cover news and sports. On the news side, I covered City Council, the police beat and community news. One of the biggest news stories I ever covered was the 1977 Temple Hospital strike."

"In covering sports," Rosen said, "my first job was to assist Bill Bransome and Art Wolfe, who anchored the sportscasts on the weekends. Then later on when I became full time, whenever they needed somebody on the spot to do some sports reporting they would send me. I had a chance to cover the Eagles-Cowboys (NFC) championship game, Penn Relays and the Phillies. That's where my interest really began to peak in sports."

In 1983, Rosen narrated a few documentaries on WHYY-TV Channel 12. That same year, he was hired to broadcast sports on Prism.

In 1977, Zumoff started his professional career as a broadcast journalist at KYW radio. He also did freelancing for several radio stations in New Jersey, such as WHWH in Princeton, WTTM in Trenton and WBUD in Trenton.

"I did a little bit of everything," Zumoff said. "I was mostly a free- lancer at the time. So I did a number of different stories trying to gain as much experience as possible."

In 1980, Zumoff was hired as an announcer for the soccer games of the defunct Philadelphia Fever. He was there for two years before moving to Prism.

"Now, Larry and I work for the same company," Zumoff said. "It's really nice working with somebody who grew up in the same neighborhood."

Both men say their local roots have given them a big advantage over some other sportcasters in town.

"We're very familiar with most of the local kids," said Rosen, who covers the college sports beat and major league baseball for Prism. "For example, we know Temple's Howie Evans played basketball at West Philadelphia High School. We know St. Joseph's Rodney Blake played basketball at Monsignor Bonner. We follow these kids all the time.

"We try to highlight the local kids in our broadcasts. We also try to cover stories the other stations are not interested in doing. Believe it or not, most of these stories are on local people that you see and read about everyday in the newspaper."

"When the different NBA teams come to town, the first thing we do is feature the local player," Zumoff said. "We also hit the big-name stars. Every time we do an interview our cameraman, Tony Irvin, says, 'Don't forget the homeboys.' "

Rosen also provides color analysis for Temple basketball on WCAU-AM (1210). Zumoff covers the NBA beat for Prism, including a pregame piece, a halftime feature and a postgame interview and roundup.

The most rewarding part of their jobs, Zumoff and Rosen said, is in inspiring others to consider communications.

"We haven't forgotten our roots," Zumoff said. "We want to be role models for all the kids growing up in this town."

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