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Hitzges Celebrates 40 Years On-Air

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Norm Hitzges was an out-of-work TV sportscaster when KERA-FM (90.1) offered him $15 for an hour of Saturday morning radio airtime back in August 1975. Hitzges grabbed the money and on Aug. 9 was off and running on what has become an unparalleled sports-talk run along the Dallas-Fort Worth radio dial. As if anyone needs to be told, at 71, he’s still going strong as the mid-morning host on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket.

In honor of Norm’s upcoming 40th anniversary on radio, here’s our first “40 for 40.”

Best guest:

Don Nelson. He always tried to be entertaining and funny. And, if you listened closely, he told you important things. One day I was pressing him about who the Mavericks might draft that night. He was very coy but as we said goodbye he said, “Auf Wiedershehen.” That night German teenager Dirk Nowitzki became a Maverick.

Worst guest:

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller. Just a few minutes before he was to go on the air he suggested he should get paid. I was stunned, politely declined and went to “open lines.”

Busiest year:

In 1990, I was an ESPN baseball game analyst every Tuesday and Friday night and doing the morning show every day on KLIF from 5:30-9 a.m. I believe I worked in 23 parks that season.

Weirdest thing that ever happened during a show:

While doing an early morning show at Fenway Park, I accidentally set off the fire alarm. Within minutes, lots of guys in fire suits arrived and looked at me, certain I was a knucklehead.

Best talk show host ever:

Johnny Carson on TV. On radio, probably Larry King – great brain.

Guest I’ve never been able to book:

Either of the Rangers owners – Ray Davis or Bob Simpson. And, yes, we have asked.

Favorite caller:

Leon Simon, the barber. He became my friend and then co-host for a while.

Worst-ever remote location:

Outside a Texaco Mini-Mart at Northwest Highway and Abrams during rush hour with the traffic zooming past. And then the skies opened and poured down rain.

Best Norm Hitzges imitation:

Toss up between George Dunham and Gordon Keith. But Gordon has me saying much weirder things.

Twitter or Cyber Dust:

Yellow pad and flip phone.

If I could attend only one more sporting event it would be:

Game 7 of a Rangers World Series win.

Favorite play-by-play voice:

Four aces – Pat Summerall, Brad Sham, Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz. And I already miss Ralph Strangis.

Favorite analyst:

Howard Cosell, who broke ground for so many of us. Right now it’s Troy Aikman. I learn something every time I listen to him. Vin Scully is truly one of a kind.

Greatest career influence:

Former local CBS news anchor and news director Eddie Barker who took a raw kid with a big nose, unusual voice and less-than-ideal hair and gave him his first TV reporting job in January 1972.

Ever offered a network radio job:

No, thank heavens. I might have actually taken it and left an area I’ve come to love very much.

Last job before getting into TV-radio:

Teaching journalism at San Antonio MacArthur High School.

Best DFW athlete ever watched:

Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson.

Favorite sport:

To announce it would be baseball. To watch on TV it’s the NFL. To attend it’s horse racing.

Least favorite sport:

That’s easy — boxing.

Favorite racehorse:

A cheap claimer named Steal Me Blind who won at huge odds at New Orleans Fairgrounds one day. He paid a huge price creating a very nice payday for my father Edgar and myself. It may have been the first time he’d smiled in the weeks and months since the death of my mom, Lillian, who’d been his wife and racing partner for decades.

Sporting event never attended but would like to:

Il Palio, a horse race held twice a year around the city square in Siena, Italy. It’s a huge spectacle.

Did you think you would ever see another Triple Crown winner in your lifetime:

No. Then I saw American Pharoah run with his hooves barely touching the racing surface.

Sport most proficient in:

Amateur, impromptu hot dog eating contests in ballparks.

First time ever on radio:

Did play-by-play of a Sul Ross State football games while I worked there as a teacher during the 1967-68 school year.

Self-review of first radio talk show:

It remains a blur. I was very nervous. I know I talked too fast, which makes my voice get even an octave higher and makes me sound squeakier. It must have been a joy to listen to.

Number of times called into a talk show:

Not once.

Usual work attire:

Sweat pants or shorts, a sometimes-color-coordinated T-shirt and sandals. When you dress in the dark in the early morning it’s not always pretty.

Most unusual idiosyncrasy:

I’m anal about always trying to use a few minutes of time to do something, no matter how small that something might be.

Initial reaction in 2000 when management informed I was moving to the Ticket:

I didn’t want to go. I was happy at KLIF.

Last book read:

God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram.

Best series on home DVR:

House of Cards.

The perfect Saturday night:

The 3 M’s — Merlot, movie and (wife) Mary.

For my last wedding anniversary:

We planned our next journey to some place she’d always wanted to go –Tuscany.

Best movie of 1939, Wizard of Oz, Mister Smith Goes to Washington or Gone With The Wind:

Gone With The Wind.

John Wayne, Jack Nicholson or Tom Hanks:

Hanks by a nostril hair over Nicholson.

Favorite all-time pro wrestler:

The late Angel of Death, who was my friend.

Next birthday wish:

Another birthday.

How many more years I have remaining on the air:

How many more years do I have left?

Message to listeners:

I hope I always deserve you.

To read the rest of this article visit the Dallas News where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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