Archives For Headlines

kevin-burkhardtIf you purchased a Malibu, Suburban or Tahoe from Pine Belt Chevrolet in Eatontown, N.J. a decade ago, I’m here to give you an update on sales associate Kevin Burkhardt:

He’ll be calling NFL games this fall alongside analyst John Lynch and sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

The 39-year-old broadcaster, who debuts next month as a rookie NFL game-caller for Fox Sports, offers a modern tale of broadcasting perseverance. After graduating from William Paterson College in New Jersey in 1997, Burkhardt landed a job at WGHT Radio, a 1,000-watt, daytime-only AM station in New Jersey, where he delivered local news, called high school football games and supplemented his meager paycheck as the play-by-play voice of a minor league baseball team, the New Jersey Jackals. Over the next six-plus years Burkhardt could not find a larger station willing to take a chance on him.
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We live in a world of hyperbole and Baylessian pronouncements so I choose my words carefully here:

The 21-minute video at the top of this piece is the best feature I’ve ever watched on ESPN.

It documents the remarkable friendship between former Cleveland high school wrestlers Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton. Crockett, who is legally blind, earned a Judo medal at the 2012 Paralympics in London, and now lives and studies in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he trains with USA Judo. Sutton, who lost his legs at age 11 when he was hit by a train, will graduate from Collins College in Phoenix on August 17 with a B.A. in Game Production. The two high school friends were originally profiled by ESPN in 2009, and in that piece, ESPN reporter Tom Rinaldi described Crockett and Sutton as “a wrestler who couldn’t walk carried to matches by a wrestler who couldn’t see.”
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Johnson-ErnieYou’ve reached Ernie Johnson’s voicemail, and the TNT sportscaster leaves you chuckling while you wait for the beep.

Johnson thanks the caller and says “You made my day. Which tells you how my day has been going.” He then promises to return the call “in four to six weeks.”

Johnson, who will cover next week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, is happy, upbeat and positive. Perhaps it is in spite of the curves life has thrown him. Perhaps it is because of them.
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Murphy-JohnThis week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to only one year ago, in celebration of the John Murphy Show’s first birthday and successful first year.

You’ve heard his voice on Sunday afternoons for years. It’s familiar, it’s friendly, it’s exciting, and it’s meant only one thing for the past decade – Buffalo Bills football.

As John Murphy celebrates ten years of live play-by-play broadcasting from the Bills radio booth in 2013, he’s also celebrating another milestone, smaller in scope but no less notable.
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youngstown state YSUThe Youngstown State University Athletic Department has reached a new four-year radio broadcast rights agreement with Clear Channel Radio Youngstown and will remain on 570 WKBN and 1390 WNIO “The Sports Animal”. That joint announcement was made by Ron Strollo, YSU Executive Director of Athletics, and William E. Kelly, Jr., Vice-President/Market Manager Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Youngstown Radio Cluster.

Clear Channel Youngstown will continue to broadcast all football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games, weekly coaches shows and special athletic events.

It has been 11 years since Youngstown State and Clear Channel first parterned. YSU originally moved to Clear Channel in 2002 and since that time the contracts with the station have been extended five times – in 2004, 2006, 2007 (when the move to 570 was made), 2009 and now in 2013.
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Yesterday brought two pieces of good news from the world of sports broadcasting. The New England Patriots announced that the team plans to abandon standard play-by-play announcing during the latter parts of preseason game TV broadcasts in favor of a “talk-radio-type program without the yelling and the screaming and the agenda-driven stuff.” And Fox Sports Detroit aired a Tigers game against the Washington Nationals with no announcers at all, just the ”Natural Sounds at Comerica Park.” (The quiet version was on an alternate channel. Fans who wanted to hear talking still could.) Both are minor moves mainly of interest to local fans, but, hopefully, they are also signals that teams, leagues, and networks are beginning to rethink their approach to the broadcast booth.

Sports fans have been bellyaching about sports announcers for almost as long as smooth baritones and retired jocks have been sitting behind microphones. For most of that history, producers have treated jeers as evidence that people were paying attention—better to have angry viewers than no viewers. In 1980, NBC took the complaints to heart and offered a late-season NFL clunker without commentary. That short-lived experiment came before the Web and the smartphone and a massive proliferation of options in sports viewing. Fans now expect to be able to watch out-of-market games, to see them on all manner of devices, to instantly interact with each other from their couches, and even to choose which camera to follow. The option to tune out the announcers without muting all the sound seems like a natural addition to this ever-expanding menu.

The problem is that cutting the feed from the booth also means cutting down egos and cutting into advertising reach. If you’re not hearing Tim McCarver recite the lyrics to Metallica’s Enter Sandman, then you’re not hearing Joe Buck tell you which beer brand is bringing you the game. That’s part of the reason the “Natural Sounds of Comerica Park” can be found on a premium tier sports channel. Fans are already paying extra for that feed. Going announcerless is akin to skipping commercials, and broadcasters and carriers are going to want to find a way to replace the lost revenue. How much are you willing to pay for the crack of the bat, the squeak of sneakers, the crunch of helmets, and the silence of Chris Berman?

Read more at Business Week where this story was originally published.

pete Van Wieren When Major League Baseball’s regular season came to a close in 2008, the game bid farewell to one of its all-time best. After 33 seasons calling Atlanta Braves games both on radio and television, ‘ the Professor ‘ stepped aside. Quite a ride for a kid from Western New York who dreamed of someday becoming the play-by-play voice of his hometown heroes, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

Leading off our recent conversation, I wondered what Van Wieren’s daily schedule is like today. ” It’s fairly typical. I follow the team ( Braves ) closely “, Van Wieren tells. ” I try to get to the ballpark ( Turner Field ) once a month , spending time with my grandkids, and traveling “.

Van Wieren offers a unique insight to not only his climb in broadcasting and baseball to finally making it to the majors after a decade of paying his dues, but equally chronicalizes the transformation of the then Ted Turner owned Braves from losers to perennial contenders. Of Mikes And Men ( ) brings closure to Van Wieren’s professional and personal lives. The background Pete provides on the amazing turnaround of the Braves franchise is the most indepth available from someone who rode the ride. ” I wanted to impress the message to fans that there was a time that the Braves weren’t always going to post-season play “, says Van Wieren.
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Ryan RouillardRyan Rouillard used to sit in his seat at Safeco Field during Seattle Mariners games quietly calling the play-by-play to himself and pretending he was his idol Dave Niehaus, the late great radio voice of the M’s.

Which may be epic foreshadowing for the rookie Internet play-by-play announcer of the Victoria HarbourCats, who is earning raves for his call of games as the youngest broadcaster in the West Coast League. So much so that Rouillard is as good an early bet to make it to the pros as any of the HarbourCat players.

“There are some parallels in that I’m the same age as the players and am also in the development phase of my career,” said the 19-year-old from Mercer Island, Wash., who attends the University of Oregon.
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2:15 p.m. update: I was given incorrect info: Productions manager Rob Williams remains at FM 100.3, the only staffer to survive the format change this morning. Also, Tom Joyner’s national show returns to FM 100.3 tomorrow morning. It will be simulcast with sister station WDBZ-AM Buzz 1230).

11:55 a.m. update: “The Fan” just flipped to “Old School 100.3, the best old school music in Cincinnati. The entire sports talk staff was fired this morning.

Original post 10:53 a.m. Tuesday July 30: Is there no room for a FM sports talk station? Radio One is set to pull the plug on Cincinnati’s first FM sports talk station, “FM 100.3 The Fan” (WCFN-FM), after only seven months.
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NBC-SportsAs an extension of their strategic alliance, Yahoo! Sports and NBC Sports Group announced today that they are launching two new programs in August that will air across television and digital platforms, and feature personalities from each company.

SportsDash with Yahoo! Sports will utilize an innovative digital media wall to aggregate and display fans’ sentiments and interest based around Yahoo! Sports Trends. The technology will integrate and analyze real-time signals from multiple sources, including Yahoo Search, Twitter and Facebook activity, to determine what stories, highlights and personalities are accelerating with fans in the moment. It debuts August 19.

Fantasy Football Live—Thursday Night! will combine the best of both companies’ fantasy football expertise, including unique metrics from Yahoo! Sports’ leading fantasy football platform, and full integration with NBC Sports’ premiere fantasy sports information site, It debuts this Thursday night, August 1.
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