'Q-Ball' Plays Well On WBAL Radio
By Dave Hughes, DCTRV.com
Chemistry is the key. Qadry Ismail loves WBAL radio and the station loves him, which is why the marriage between 1090 AM and the former NFL wide receiver, who played for the Ravens, Vikings, Packers, Dolphins, Saints and Colts, turned out to be such a success.
Ismail has been featured with Gerry Sandusky and Stan White in the WBAL radio booth on Ravens game days. He replaced Rob Burnett, a former Ravens defensive end who had been on the WBAL broadcast team since 2006.
Ismail, who played for the Ravens from 1999-2001, previously served as an NFL analyst on TV's ESPNews, but radio is a relatively new game for him.
"I saw an opportunity working for WBAL radio," said Ismail, who hosts a number of sports shows on the Hearst news talker, including the nightly "Sportsline" program with Brett Hollander. "I really enjoy working with Brett. We have a dynamic chemistry together. It comes so easily. We have different perspectives."
Ismail does "Ravens Wrap" for WBAL-TV with Sandusky and Pete Gilbert, plus "One Winning Drive" and "Purple Passion" for the Ravens-produced RaveTV, also seen on WBAL Plus and Comcast SportsNet.
Some of the highlights of working at WBAL radio, Ismail said, are the live remotes with Hollander on Mondays at Piv's Pub on York Road, where he gets to sound off about Sunday's NFL games.
In between stints on the radio, he also spends time as a track and field coach for Patterson Mill High School.
"My wife and I wanted to move to a place that had cold winters, but not too cold. The Mid-Atlantic was perfect," said Ismail, a resident of Bel Air with his wife and three children.
Nicknamed "The Missile," Ismail grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and attended Syracuse University on a football scholarship. While at Syracuse, he was a 1991 All-American, All-Big East First Team wide receiver and conference second-team kick returner.
The pinnacle of Ismail's NFL career came Jan. 28, 2001 when the Ravens defeated the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. In his three seasons with the Ravens, he caught 191 passes, including 18 for touchdowns.
"Qadry is one of the top young broadcasters on the national scene," Examiner.com sports media writer Jim Williams said. "He truly is a rising star at ESPN and his work there is outstanding.
"As for his being part of the WBAL Ravens radio team, he is a perfect fit. Gerry Sandusky, who is a fine play-by-play man, and Stan White give fans a entertaining old-school perspective on the game while Q brings that fresh understanding of the players' perspective. Together, the trio combines for one of the NFL's best local radio broadcasts."
"Qadry is the best football analyst as far as the Xs and Os in our area," Hollander said. "Without question, there is no one right now on TV or radio as good at breaking down a play than Qadry.
"Maybe his best asset is being able to explain each and every play to a wide array of football fans, from the diehard to the casual fan. Qadry has been great to work with. I really respect his enthusiasm and his desire not to be boxed in as a football-only sportscaster. He is hungry to learn and discuss all things in all sports. It would be very easy for Q to want to stay in his comfort zone full time, but he not only says he'll expand his comfort zone, he wants to."
"Qadry brings a fans love for the game, and a player's understanding of the game to the broadcast booth," Sandusky said. "He also brings the polish of a professional. Qadry's experience working on a national platform at ESPN makes him a real pro.
"He has the unique ability to weave together what a player sees during a game with what a fan needs to know to understand the game. Plus, Q has great energy. He's fun to work with. He has great people skills. That makes for a more fun broadcast.
"And you can't manufacture chemistry. Stan, Qadry and I do things with a nod or a look in the middle of a broadcast and we all know what the other guy is thinking. It's a real team. The more we work together, the more I appreciate how much Q has elevated our broadcasts."
Issue 155: November 2010