Radio only for Steiner

Pucin is a Times staff writer.

Charley Steiner understands perception.

So when the Dodgers told him Thursday he would do no Dodgers television broadcast work, only radio from now on, he expected to be asked how unhappy that made him.

“God’s honest truth,” Steiner, 59, said Friday. “I love baseball. I love radio. I love baseball on the radio. My ego is not that big that I have to be on television.”

Steiner also understands why the next question would be asked.


Does this mean Steiner will not be in line to replace Vin Scully if the Hall of Famer ever retires?

“I was hired to broadcast the Dodgers, period,” Steiner said Friday. “I was doing 40 TV games and I was fine with that. Now I’m not. I am more than OK with that, I’m very happy about that. I get to go to the ballpark every day and talk Dodgers baseball. That’s my job, imagine that. My job was never to be the next Vin Scully. And the replacing-the-legends business isn’t a flourishing one.”

Josh Rawitch, Dodgers vice president of communications, said Friday that Steiner will no longer do any television games for FSN Prime Ticket and KCAL-Channel 9. Since being hired to replace Ross Porter in 2005, Steiner has filled in for Scully on TV about 40 times because Scully doesn’t make trips east of the Rockies.

Now Steiner and Rick Monday will do all 162 radio games. The Dodgers are conducting a search for another TV broadcaster, and former Dodgers pitcher Jerry Reuss, who worked the radio games when Steiner moved to television, is the odd man out.

Scully, 81, and analyst Steve Lyons, who are both under contract through 2009, will continue their jobs. Confusing? Steiner said that’s one reason why he’s happy to be radio-only.

“Doing 40 games on TV, having [Monday] doing 40 radio play-by-play games with Jerry, it was a bit messy,” Steiner said. “What marks great baseball broadcasts is consistency. People like to tune into the radio and know who they’re going to hear. It’s not great when people tune in and have to say, ‘Who is that?’ ”

Steiner said his first career wish came to him when he was 7 years old. “I listened to Vin on the radio,” Steiner said. “God’s honest truth, I turned to my dad and said, ‘That’s what I want to be when I grow up. I want to call Dodgers games on the radio.’ ”

Rawitch said there is no timetable for hiring another television voice.

And as far as how long Scully will continue to work? Steiner has an opinion. “I think it will be, give or take, roughly . . . forever.”