Craig Ackerman, Matt Thomas are Rockets’ play-by-play broadcasters

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Craig Ackerman and Matt Thomas will each move from part-time to full-time as the play-by-play broadcaster for Rockets television and radio broadcasts, respectively. The news was first reported by the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen and quickly confirmed by both on Twitter.

In recent seasons, long-time TV lead Bill Worrell transitioned to only home games, with Ackerman taking over the road broadcasts. For home games, Ackerman remained as the radio play-by-play voice, which is a role that he had already performed for more than a decade.

But with Worrell retiring after the 2020-21 season, the full-time TV role opened up, and promoting Ackerman — given his experience with the position and franchise — always made the most sense.

The same logic also applies to Thomas, who had taken over as the radio play-by-play voice for road games once Ackerman moved to television. For home games, Thomas was the public address (PA) announcer at Toyota Center, and his promotion to full-time radio duty means that the Rockets will be hiring a new PA announcer before the 2021-22 season.

The changes have not been officially announced, since television broadcasts will feature a new analyst in the aftermath of Matt Bullard’s exit. As with the home PA position, that hire has yet to be finalized.

It remains to be seen whether the Rockets’ radio and television broadcast crews will travel to road games this season. Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in March 2020, road games for the end of 2019-20 and all of 2020-21 were broadcast from a studio in Houston, as a means of minimizing the size of travel parties. For Major League Baseball’s Astros in 2021, the radio crew is traveling to road games, since they are employed by the team. However, the television crew — which is employed by AT&T SportsNet Southwest — is still doing road broadcasts from Houston.

AT&T SportsNet Southwest remains in place as the local and regional television partner of the Rockets, with Houston’s SportsTalk 790 as the flagship station of their regional radio network.

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