Z on TV Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV

Brian Billick joins WBAL-TV for Ravens preseason games

The Ravens’ preseason TV broadcasts will have a new look this year with former coach Brian Billick and CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn joining WBAL’s Gerry Sandusky in calling the games.

The station announced the new lineup Thursday for the four-game preseason TV package that starts Aug. 10 with the Ravens playing the Washington Redskins.

Billick will be the analyst, with Sandusky on play-by-play and Washburn on the sidelines. The broadcasts are produced by Ravens Productions and simulcast on WBAL-TV, as well as radio stations WBAL 1090 and 98 Rock in the Baltimore area. The production can also be seen in six other markets and on 23 regional affiliates.

“From a successful coaching career to his extensive involvement in analyzing NFL games, Brian brings a unique insight that our fans will enjoy,” Ravens president Dick Cass said in a statement announcing the new lineup. “His ability to share past experiences as a coach and communicate in a captivating manner makes him an outstanding partner for Gerry, who is regarded as one of the NFL’s best play by play talents.”

Billick, who coached the Ravens to the Super Bowl championship in January 2001, worked six seasons as a color analyst for NFL games on Fox-TV from 2008 to 2013. He has been an analyst on the NFL Network since 2009 and will remain with the network on “NFL Total Access” and “NFL GameDay First” in 2017.

Washburn will remain with CBS Sports as a sideline reporter for its NFL coverage this season.

“We are excited to have both Brian and Evan join Gerry as part of the Ravens broadcast team this preseason as we embark on the next chapter of our partnership with the Baltimore Ravens,” Dan Joerres, president and general manager of WBAL-TV, said in a statement.

Neither Billick nor Washburn will be part of WBAL radio coverage of the Ravens’ 2017 regular-season games, according to Cary Pahigian, the station’s president and general manager.

While Sandusky is set to do play-by-play again, Pahigian said “some fine tuning” remains to be done in setting the rest of the lineup.

The preseason telecasts will shift away from traditional play-by-play to “focus more on the storytelling of players — from starters working to become standouts, backups battling to become starters, and rookies striving to make the team,” according to a station release.

In the new lineup, Billick replaces former Ravens receiver Qadry Ismail, while Washburn replaces former Colts linebacker Stan White.

White will play a role in WBAL’s radio package of Ravens coverage, according to Pahigian. Ismail will also have a role in Ravens pregame and postgame coverage on WBAL radio.

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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