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Originally published Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Mariners continue announcer rotation on TV, radio for 2012

Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers will continue as the team's core broadcasters

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The Mariners have decided to go another year without hiring a permanent replacement for Dave Niehaus, who died of a heart attack in November 2010.

Instead, they will continue last season's format of using a revolving committee of announcers who have worked with Niehaus in the past to supplement their three core broadcasters, Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Mike Blowers.

Those revolving voices will again consist of Ron Fairly, Ken Wilson, Ken Levine, Dave Valle, Dave Henderson, Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner. Rainiers announcer Mike Curto, who subbed a few times last year, is not part of that rotation but may again be used as a fill-in.

"We had good feedback from our fans on the concept of having a rotating fourth announcer," said Randy Adamack, the Mariners' vice president of communications. "Last year we were operating mostly in the shadow of Mr. Niehaus's passing. We weren't prepared to make any longterm decision at this point. Based on what we heard last year, we decided to continue doing what we're doing."

Last year, the Mariners said this plan would "most likely" be for just one season, but that thinking obviously changed. The working plan, however, is for this to be the final season of a revolving group before a permanent voice is added to the crew.

"We'll do this for one more year," Adamack said. "I highly doubt we would continue the same format beyond this year."

Once again, Sims and Blowers will work on the television side, while Rizzs will anchor the radio broadcasts as the primary play-by-play man, teaming with the revolving committee of announcers.

"We haven't set up a schedule or anything like that," Adamack said. "How the schedule flows or how many games each person does, we're not even close to a conclusion.

"But conceptually, everyone is on board."

The original intent last year was to avoid putting pressure on a newcomer to fill the void left by the death of the legendary Niehaus. Furthermore, it was felt that by bringing back announcers who worked with Niehaus, it would be a perfect way to pay homage to Niehaus.

When the new format was announced last January, Rizzs said, "I think it's a great idea to bring the old guys back. We worked with Dave the longest and knew him the best. I think we're the best ones to protect his legacy and carry it forward."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com

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