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The Top 10 of The Capital Region

Jason Barrett

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There was no one-hour special proclaiming “I am taking my talents to the Metroplex,” but Glens Falls native Dave Strader steered his hockey broadcast career in a new direction last week by accepting the play-by-play job for the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

That got us thinking about other radio broadcasters who parlayed their time in the Capital Region to move on to bigger jobs — many of them on TV.

At the risk of forgetting someone, we came up with this top 10 of former Capital Region radio broadcasters (thus eliminating folks such as ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and CBS’s Andrew Catalon, both former weekend TV sports anchors) who have advanced to bigger platforms in the broadcasting field:

10. Doug Sherman (Siena basketball, 1989-93): Yes, he is still in the area as WRGB sports director, but his introduction to the Capital Region came as play-by-play voice for Siena basketball (1990-94). He is now the television voice for Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball and has drawn numerous assignments for ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com.

9. John Hennessy (Albany River Rats, 1993-2000): He was promoted from Albany to New Jersey, where he spent six seasons at the Devils’ radio voice, including calling the 2003 Stanley Cup championship. (He also called the Rats’ 1995 Calder Cup victory.) He is now broadcasting hockey games for the University of Massachusetts.

8. Brian Noe (WTMM show host, 2010-2013): Remember the “Noe Show” on WTMM (104.5 FM)? He uses the same name for his weekend show on Fox Sports Radio, which, ironically, airs 7-10 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-noon Sundays on WOFX (980 AM) — a competitor to his old station.

7. Joe Castellano (Siena basketball, 1998-2002): The Saints got to the postseason in three of his four seasons as play-by-play man, although baseball is his first love. He was host of a talk show on SiriusXM, called softball games for NBC during the 2008 Olympics, and now does podcasts focused on the San Francisco Giants and 49ers.

6. John Kelly (Adirondack Red Wings, 1987-89): The son of the late hockey broadcasterDan Kelly, he left Glens Falls for the St. Louis Blues, where his father became legendary. He called games for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche before returning to St. Louis in 2005. He has called Blues games on television for the past 10 seasons.

5. Mike Haynes (Capital District Islanders, 1990-93): The former voice of the Troy-based AHL team, which later transformed into the Albany River Rats, he just completed his 20th season with the Colorado Avalanche. He has done the past 10 seasons on television for Altitude, the regional sports network serving Denver.

4. Ari Wolfe (Albany Firebirds, 1996-2000; Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, 2000; Saint Rose basketball, 1997-2001): He has gone from calling Firebirds games to perhaps being the pre-eminent voice of the Arena Football League, working games for both CBS Sports Network and ESPN. He has done updates and other work for NFL Network, and he called table tennis in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

3. Freddie Coleman (WOFX 980 AM, 2003): His stay in Albany was brief, a five-month stint on an afternoon talk show with John Tobin where he got second billing. He used “Tobin and Coleman” as a springboard to ESPN Radio, where he has been a regular prime-time host since 2004.

2. Dave Strader (Adirondack Red Wings, 1979-85): He was the Red Wings’ public-relations director when he began broadcasting games in the team’s inaugural season. He has called games for the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes, and since 2005 was a prominent play-by-play voice for NBC. He may still call occasional games for NBCSN, but his new position with the Stars will limit those opportunities.

1. Marc Kestecher (Albany Patroons, Albany Firebirds, 1989-96): A Guilderland native, he had several other play-by-play roles and was sports director at WPTR (1540 AM) and WROW (590 AM) before departing for a job at 50,000-watt WKNR in Cleveland. He left there in 1999 for ESPN Radio, where he sports a major presence. He was host of the network’s NBA Finals pregame and postgame shows, has done play-by-play on a number of NBA and college football games, and has been a prominent update anchor.

Also considered: Sandy Penner, former WQBK (1300 AM) host who now has a talk show in the Tampa area; Owen Newkirk, former Albany Devils and Adirondack Phantoms voice who now is the radio host for Dallas Stars games.

Credit to the Times Union who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Tyler Polumbus: ‘I Couldn’t Talk About Colorado Football On Denver Radio Before Deion Sanders’

“You are now a cultural icon for kids all across the country.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Over the weekend Deion Sanders was formally announced as the new head football coach at Colorado University after three seasons at FCS Jackson State.

The hall of fame defensive back transformed Jackson State in his short stint at the HBCU, and the hope is that Sanders will be able to make football in Boulder relevant again.

Talking to Pete Medhurst and Chris Russell on The Team 980 in D.C. on Wednesday, Altitude Sports Radio host Tyler Polumbus explained how Deion’s hiring alone has already started to make an impact on the Buffaloes program.

“In 48 hours, Colorado’s social media accounts grew by 150,000 people,” Polumbus said. “And that’s the Deion Sanders effect. You are now a cultural icon for kids all across the country.”

Polumbus, a Denver native who played football at Colorado and recently joined Altitude Sports Radio after a stint at rival 104.3 The Fan, said the hiring has even made the school’s program a relevant topic on the radio.

“I couldn’t talk about CU on my radio show. CU is never talked about,” he said. “And Colorado is a one-sport (state). It is the Denver Broncos – that’s it. And from here on out until Deion Sanders is no longer the head coach at CU, they will be the top story here in Colorado.”

Medhurst mentioned how USC and UCLA exiting the Pac-12 for the Big Ten starting in 2024 could open the door for Colorado under Deion’s leadership to make some noise in the conference. But despite all the excitement from the Sanders hiring and not having seen what he can do with the team on the field, Polumbus said he’s trying to keep things in perspective.

“We already got catfished once this offseason with Russell Wilson,” he said of the Broncos quarterback. “So we’re trying to not let our hopes and enthusiasm get all too high with Deion Sanders, because I can’t let myself get catfished twice in one year.”

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Baker Mayfield Isn’t That Interesting To Me Anymore

“Carolina’s weak, and he has proven to be over-drafted. The Rams right now are boring, I don’t think with a bad o-line and limited weapons he’ll find it any easier than he did in Carolina.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Former Cleveland Browns top draft pick Baker Mayfield’s stint with the Carolina Panthers ended after this past week, with the team placing him on waivers. On Tuesday, news broke that the L.A. Rams claimed Mayfield.

On FOX Sports Radio, host Colin Cowherd said Wednesday he didn’t have a hot take on the news.

“For a couple of years, three years or so, I talked about Baker Mayfield I swear to God every other day during the football season,” Cowherd said. He was considered one of Mayfield’s most vocal critics even going back to his playing days at Oklahoma.

“But I said when he left Cleveland I wouldn’t talk about him as much, because he’s just not that interesting,” he added. “Carolina’s weak, and he has proven to be over-drafted. The Rams right now are boring, I don’t think with a bad o-line and limited weapons he’ll find it any easier than he did in Carolina.”

Despite the fall from grace for Mayfield, Colin Cowherd said he hoped for the best for Baker moving forward.

“I honestly wish him well. I don’t root against professional athletes. Russell Westbrook can drive me crazy. Baker Mayfield drove me crazy, but he’s a nice kid.”

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Sports Radio News

Bobby Belt: ‘Pat McAfee Butchered The Name Shan and RJ’

“I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”

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Shan and RJ is a show that routinely finds itself in the media spotlight. They may be a Dallas show, but when Jerry and Stephen Jones routinely appear on your airwaves, you are going to draw attention from outside of the market.

On Tuesday, Pat McAfee played a clip of the hosts talking to Jerry Jones. McAfee threw to the clip introducing the show as “Shan, RJ, and Chop.” On Wednesday morning, the 105.3 The Fan’s morning show had some fun with the former Colts punter’s struggles.

“There’s a lot to unpack here,” newly added co-host Bobby Belt said after listening to McAfee and his crew take three unsuccessful cracks at naming the show.

“Reggie made a good point yesterday when I was talking to him about this,” Belt said. “Reggie was like ‘I think McAfee was going to the clip, saw three faces and didn’t know a third name, and so he’s like ‘well, that must be RJ and Chop.’”

Belt delighted in the idea that in McAfee’s mind, RJ Choppy goes by “Chop” on air and even pointed out that one of the producers said that RJ “looks like a Chop.”

Pat McAfee called the show “Shan, RJ, and Chop,” “Shana, RJ and Chop,” and “Shannon and RJ” on different occasions according to Belt. He didn’t think it was disrespectful. He just didn’t understand how McAfee got it so wrong so often.

“They butchered this three ways to the weekend. I have no idea. I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”

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