Ed Benkin broadcasts passion for sports and Judaism on KYW

Ed Benkin broadcasts passion for sports and Judaism on KYW

Ed Benkin broadcasts passion for sports and Judaism on KYW


HOMETOWN: Burlington Township (by way of Marlton)

OCCUPATION: Sports Broadcaster

FAMILY: Daughters Lauren, 14; Jessica, 11

SYNAGOGUE: Temple Emanuel

HOBBIES: A lot of reading, walking the dog


As a young man, KYW sportscaster Ed Benkin dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. “Then my brother took me deep-sea fishing,” he said, “and I got seasick on the boat. I figured I had to find something else.”

A longtime sports fan and athlete, Benkin often served as announcer during pickup basketball games, and discovered a passion for it. A guidance counselor recommended the communications program at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), “and it all took off from there,” he said. In between taking classes at Rowan, Benkin worked as sports director at the school’s radio station, WGLS, doing play-by-play announcing and hosting a sports talk show. It was through his professor, longtime KYW South Jersey bureau chief Ed Kasuba, that Benkin made the connection to the radio station where he began as a desk assistant, and in 2004, became a sports announcer.

In the interim, Benkin has also worked as a sports director on a South Jersey cable TV station, a sports announcer for Princeton University and Temple University basketball broadcasts, and was a correspondent for ESPN Radio Philadelphia as well as anchor for their “Sports Center” radio program. He is also a professor of sports broadcasting at his alma mater and author of “The First 50 Super Bowls: How Football’s Championships Were Won” (2017).

But while his passion is sports, “in this industry,” Benkin said, “you have to be versatile.” Among his various news stints are writing news and sports features for “The Central Record” and as a web writer for KYW. “In the beginning, they didn’t have as many hours for me, so I wrote for the website in the morning,” he recalled. For Benkin, who was a devoted reader and researcher, the work was a great opportunity. “Research is one of the biggest things in our industry. I don’t just read books, but media and current events. I always tell my students at Rowan to do their homework.”

At KYW, Benkin broadcasts for several different Philadelphia teams, including the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers, and “The Big 5” NCAA Division I basketball teams. But his biggest responsibility is with the Eagles. “Once the Eagles start, I’m with them all year. I cover the draft. When they start training camp, I’m with them all the way through.” He mostly covers home games, but will go on the road when the Eagles are in the playoffs. (This is a significant perk for Benkin, who prefers to stay as close as possible to the home he shares with daughters Lauren and Jessica.)

Though his job is a lot of fun, Benkin said, “it’s still a job. And it isn’t 9 to 5. It depends on the time of year and who is playing.” But he’ll be the first to tell you that he loves what he does. “I get to do all the things I dreamed about doing. My friends and I watched a lot of football on Sundays. Now I get to watch and get paid for it.” He also gets to rub elbows with the Flyers, Phillies, 76ers, Eagles—but it’s all business. “In our profession, there are restrictions. You don’t ask for autographs. You’re not even allowed to cheer in the press box. It’s very important when you deal with athletes to keep it professional. It’s like going into their office.”

Needless to say, acting like a fan is off-limits. “If you’re at home, you can be a fan. But when you’re at the game there’s so much work you have to do. It’s great to see the players all happy, but you’re trying to get them live. There’s such an intensity to it; you have to be laser-focused. When you’re done you can ‘fan out.’”

Only once in Benkin’s career did he find himself overcome by emotion: At the 2018 Eagles Super Bowl parade in Philadelphia. “When I turned around and saw a sea of people behind me at the Art Museum, it was an amazing moment,” he recalled. “I thought of my father, who passed away in 1993. He used to talk about the generations of fans. He would have loved that moment at the parade. I had to take a breath and compose myself a little bit.”

In an industry not typically known for its Jewish presence, Benkin owns his religious identity. “I’m proud to have that Jewish heritage,” said Benkin, a member of Temple Emanuel, where his daughter Lauren had her bat mitzvah in 2017 and Jessica will celebrate hers in 2021. “I take it very seriously, and I’m glad I passed it down to my daughters. Jessica loves going to shul and Sunday school. She just got a 100 on her ‘Ben Yehuda Challenge.’”

Ultimately, Benkin’s connection to Judaism has not been a hindrance, but a benefit. “I once had to miss a playoff game because it was on Yom Kippur,” said Benkin, “but the station understands. It works the other way, too, because I’m always available to work on Christmas. I love doing that because it gives my coworkers a chance to celebrate the holidays.”