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Michael Barkann: A Newtown Square Gem

The Comcast SportsNet announcer has been a fixture in the community since 2001.

You get the impression that Michael Barkann is everywhere. He’s there on the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers and Eagles Comcast SportsNet pre- and post-game shows. He’s the host of Daily News Live. If you channel flip, he’s there. He’s that omnipresent smiling face—a tireless voice of the fans, saying and reacting the way you or anyone else would, while watching (and screaming) at the television over the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers or Sixers. Barkann exults when the local teams win, and possesses a piercing kind of insight when each of the local favorites loses.

Barkann may belong to the Delaware Valley, but he's lived in Newtown Square for over 10 years now, and calls it his home. He lives in Newtown Square with his wife Ellen and his children: daughter Emily, an accomplished tennis player on the Marple Newtown varsity team, and son Matthew, a fifth-grader at Culbertson Elementary School.

But the beauty of Barkann goes a little deeper than his guy-next-door persona—the guy you can sit down and talk sports with. He’s viewed as a celebrity by everyone except … Michael Barkann.

“I love it here,” said Barkann, who was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and was raised in North Jersey. “For one, I like the people in Newtown Square: it’s very community oriented. Second, I like the geography—its hills and wooded areas and parks; and third, it’s convenient to get to Philadelphia. Being considered just a guy from the neighborhood is the greatest compliment someone can give me. I just feel like I’m Michael from the block.”

Barkann is actually a little more than that. He’s always found time to contribute to the community. When he first moved to Newtown Square, he was approached about being a guest speaker for the Newtown-Edgemont Little League Association. Each year since, Barkann has helped the organization either by speaking himself or helping to set up a guest speaker, such as his Phillies Postgame Live co-host Ricky Bottalico.

While Michael is the star outside the Barkann home, the real star inside the home is Ellen, who juggles several responsibilities, from being a mother and wife to business woman, who runs her own sports marketing business, The Score Agency.

“Ellen is the one who picked the house in Newtown Square,” Michael said. “She’s amazing, she does everything. She’s definitely the rock of this family, and she’s the one who loved this house. It was her choice. She saw the neighborhood, she loved it. It was a great move, because the people in this community have been great to me and my family.”

This is an amazing—and hectic—time of year for Barkann. Weekdays usually begin around 10:30 each morning, at which point Barkann begins to organize that day’s Daily News Live show.  With the Flyers and Sixers in the playoffs and the Phillies beginning what looks like a very promising season, Barkann jokes that he could camp at the Comcast SportsNet studio in the Wells Fargo Center.

The 10- and 12-hour days can be grueling, but you’d never be able to tell from interacting with Barkann. He’s not guarded, stand-offish. His refreshing, unique perspective buoys him.

“I think it pays to be a decent, nice person,” he said. “People see me on TV and think I’m this celebrity, but not really. I love doing what I do. I know when I walk out of the house, if I have a bad day, I better put it in my back pocket. If someone wants to take the time to say hello to me, go out of their way, I better make it worth it for them. We have real things going on in this world, I love to say that I work in the fun-and-games department of life. If it takes someone’s mind off reality for a few seconds, I know I did my job. That’s what pleases me.”   

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