If you don't watch PBA's Xtra Frame online channel you might have no idea who Jackie Bowling is.
For those of us who watch Xtra Frame webcasts — I wish I had time to watch a lot more than I do — Jackie Bowling and announcer Mike Jakubowski are as familiar as Randy Pedersen is to those who watch the ESPN broadcasts of PBA events.
So when one of them is replaced, it's news.
Such was the case Thursday as PBA put out this news release announcing that it is "partnering with Powerhouse, the official locker room supplier of the PBA, to provide an enhanced programming coverage schedule" on Xtra Frame for the GEICO World Series of Bowling starting Nov. 2.
Further down it revealed the key news to Xtra Frame viewers that Galante, a former TEAM USA member and college bowling national champion, would be the new sideline reporter.
Jackie Bowling wasn't mentioned in the release but she has been the Xtra Frame sideline reporter in recent seasons. I was able to confirm reports on various social media that she was offered a different job with Ebonite but turned it down.
Update: Jackie Bowling issued the following statement on Friday:
To My Fans, Friends, and Bowling Family
I'd like to start by thanking each and every one of you for all the calls, texts, emails, messages, comments, tweets, etc. over the last couple of days. I am so truly grateful to have all of you in my life and I'm very touched by the concern and support you've shown. There are so many I'm still getting back to, but trust me you'll hear from me shortly. I'm saddened and taken aback as the rest of you. Although not my decision, this will be the first PBA tour I will not be a part of in 2 years. This will be unbearable for me not to be in attendance. Never fear, Jackie Bowling will live on. I left my former career 2 years ago to persue my love for the sport, not as a bowler, but as a fan living her dream and sharing it with all of you to the best of my ability. Thank you to Power House Bowling, Ebonite International, & PBA"s Xtra Frame for the opportunity. Never give up, never stop trying, and never stop bowling.
I'll see you soon, Jackie Bowling
Jakubowski will return as play-by-play announcer, with producer Jason Thomas returning and InsideBowling.com's Mike Flanagan again joining the broadcast team.
Thomas was not at the PBA Senior Decatur Open, where I sat in on the coverage for a little over an hour, and let me tell you Jakubowski was a pro's pro handling both announcing and producing there. And I think I'm a good judge of such things, as I did more than 150 shows as color analyst for the final five seasons of Milwaukee's legendary Bowling With the Champs when it was produced by the NBC affiliate there.
My good buddy Flanagan is a talented veteran of online bowling broadcasting, so if Galante does a solid job, the Xtra Frame coverage of the World Series should be excellent. I've never met her or seen her as a broadcaster but her bowling resume speaks for itself.
Galante was a member of Team USA in 2007 and twice was a member of the Intercollegiate Bowling Championships winning women’s team — in 2008 with Pikeville College when she was MVP and in 2010 with Webber International University. She also won the girl's Teen Masters in 2007 and finished seventh in the 2009 USBC Queens.
“We are thrilled to have Ashly Galante represent Ebonite’s Powerhouse Brand, she is a great personality and an outstanding bowler”, Jim Cormier, Ebonite’s Vice President of Marketing, said in the PBA release. “Ashly brings a wealth of experience as a world class competitor, her knowledge will add that perspective to Xtra Frame’s productions.”
PBA said Xtra Frame will provide more than 80 hours of live coverage of all World Series qualifying and match play rounds of the four animal pattern championships and the PBA World Championship, as well as pregame and post-game shows for all of the TV finals on ESPN.
Xtra Frame also will air a free-to-all World Series preview show Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. Central time.
And Xtra Frame will air live the PBA League Draft Lottery on Friday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. and the PBA League Draft on Friday, Nov. 9 at noon.
A detailed Xtra Frame coverage schedule is here.
PBA continues to offer the PBA Super Fan Club through Nov. 1, which includes a 2012-13 Xtra Frame subscription, for $99.99. Go here for details.