Hall returns to Esks' broadcast booth

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Bryan Hall will leave the Edmonton Eskimos' play-by-play radio booth - not the broadcasting industry - at the end of the 2009 season.

And while Global TV's John Sexsmith is the overwhelming favourite to call Green and Gold games on CHED radio starting in 2010, Hall will likely still be involved with the football broadcasts in some form.

During yesterday's announcement of CHED radio signing a four-year broadcast rights deal with the Eskimos, Hall made it clear this will be his last year as the play-by-play voice of the CFL team.

"I look forward to this year and I'm aware that nothing goes on forever," said Hall. "I feel very positive about this."

Turning 75 this year, Hall has covered the Eskimos for 55 years and started broadcasting their games in 1965.

But there is a good chance the radio legend will still travel with the team from 2010-2012 - in the final three years of the rights deal - while playing another role in the football broadcasts.

Hall quietly signed a four-year deal with CHED last fall and will continue his afternoon sports talk show along with his 19 daily sports broadcasts.

"I am not retiring," he stated. "I feel great. My doctor has given me a clean bill of health.

"What am I going to do? Walk Bonnie Doon mall with a coffee cup every morning?

"I'm not into that.

"I could go to Crosstown and sell cars, maybe. I could flip burgers at (Tony) Roma's. Twist pasta at Sorrentino's?" he continued, joking with the reporters and getting laughter in the process.

But with Hall stepping aside from play-by-play duties on CHED after 2009, the focus turns to his replacement in the football broadcast booth.

Sexsmith - a 12-year member of Edmonton's Global TV - fits the profile of what Hall sees in a replacement.

"I would feel dreadful if we had someone come in who didn't have a real passion for the Green and Gold," continued CHED's sports director.

"It has to be a special person ... who knows the history of the club, has a passion for the team and the game and knows this league as well as possible.

"It just can't be somebody who comes in and has to learn on the fly."

Raised in Edmonton, Sexsmith has been attending Eskimos games since the early 1970s and has an "extremely high" interest in replacing Hall.

"I grew up idolizing Hallsy and he has been a friend and mentor," said Sexsmith.

The Eskimos management team, CHED executives and Hall will be involved in picking the new play-by-play voice.

"I'm convinced Dave Jamieson (the Eskimos director of communications and marketing) would hire (Sexmsith) in a second," said one Edmonton broadcast source.

"(Sexsmith) is liked by pretty much everybody. He would be a good fit there."

During the 2008 season the Global TV sports reporter/anchor put together an audition tape from a home game against the B.C. Lions.

But other names will surface during the next 10 months in the search to replace Hall.

Roger Millions (Sportsnet, Calgary), Bob Stauffer (Edmonton Oilers radio analyst), Morley Scott (former Oilers radio announcer) and Dave Campbell (CHED football analyst) are other possible candidates.


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