Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully had an audience of one during his early attempts at doing play-by-play: himself, while he was a centerfielder for Fordham in the late 1940s. These days, fans sitting in front of their televisions and aspiring to be a Scully or Mel Allen (below) have a potential worldwide reach, courtesy of fancast.com, which Adam Epstein, a 27-year-old New York City lawyer, launched in May. "I want FanCast to be a place where new voices can be heard," Epstein says.
For that to happen, broadcast hopefuls need only a microphone, a PC with at least a 56K connection and to fill out an on-site registration form. The program schedule for listeners (usually, one or two games a night) ranges from NFL football and major league baseball to Turkish soccer. Straight-talking, 23-year-old James Saggese—a Brooklyn research analyst whose nom de air is Mets Maniac—has done a fancast of every one of New York's Tuesday games since May 15. In Detroit, autoworkers Andy Dolan, 27, and Doug Kalemba, 31, have announced five Tigers games, offering a Beavis-and-Butthead take that seems appropriate for their hapless hometown team. (Warning: They plan to start doing Lions games in a couple of weeks.)
Epstein, who has no sportscasting ambitions, envisions a day when every game in the four major sports will have at least 10 fan-casts. Right now, FanCast isn't a threat to Fox or ESPN, but Major League Baseball and the NFL are monitoring the site in case of a Napster-like boom. Says a spokesman for MLB Advanced Media, "We are always interested in products that help fans get connected to and close to the game, but in this case we believe there are legal issues with this service."