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Emrich Gets His Big Break With ESPN

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Back in 2008 when the University of Texas radio was searching for someone to work its game day football studio show, play-by-play voice Craig Way offered a suggestion.

In fact, Way told the decision makers he had the perfect candidate.

“The guy we need to hire is in Dallas,” Way said, beginning his pitch.

And then Way went all in for Ted Emrich, framing him as young up-and-comer who was working on his craft at high school games.

The decision makers listened intently before asking an obvious question. “Just how young is he?”

Way gulped, offering a guestimate in an unfamiliar soft tone. “I think he’s 22 or 23,” the voice of the Longhorns said.

Way may have known better. After all, he had been pounding the Dallas-Fort Worth high school football broadcast beat alongside Ted’s dad, Roger Emrich, when the boy was born.

Turned out the younger Emrich was only 20 and still in school at the University of North Texas. He had been studying there under maestro Bill Mercer, whose students have included the likes of Way, Dave Barnett, Mark Followill and Rich Phillips, not to mention George Dunham and Craig Miller.

In the end, talent trumped age. The decision-makers were impressed when they listened to Emrich’s audition tape, compiled from Southlake Carroll broadcasts he had started working when he was still a high school junior at Dallas Christian.

Emrich is now in his eighth season in the Texas studio, which includes men’s basketball duty. Still, he never abandoned his Friday night roots. He continues to work for Chuck Kelly’s Metro Sports Communications, which has taken him from Southlake to McKinney and landed him at Coppell High where he calls play-by-play of the games that are heard on KSKY-AM (660).

Of course, Emrich has a fulltime day job. It starts weekdays at 5:22 a.m. when he does the first of his morning sports reports on KESN-FM (103.3). Over the years he also has worked on Westwood One Sports’ national broadcasts. He delivered reports from the College World Series as well as the London and Sochi Olympics for the radio network. On Saturday, he’s been excused from the Kansas State-Longhorns game so he can make his Westwood One college football debut calling the Clemson-Miami game.

Now at the ripe old age of 28, Emrich is about to take another giant step in his career. He is in the final stages of talks with ESPN about calling college basketball play-by-play. He’s been penciled in to call 10 games, mostly in the American Athletic Conference, which includes SMU.

“A huge break,” as Emrich described it.

As luck had it, Emrich filled in for R.J. Choppy on broadcasts of the NBA Development League‘s Texas Legends last season. When Choppy, co-host of 105.3 FM The Fan’s morning show, couldn’t make it, Emrich called the games on KNXT (Ch. 49).

“The way to build a career in broadcasting is to say ‘yes’ to everything,” Emrich said, explaining his detour into television.

Looking for feedback, Emrich sent a videotape of his work to Followill, the television voice of the Mavericks.

Followill liked it. His assessment of Emrich: “Really talented.”

Believing he had nothing to lose, Emrich then sent the unsolicited tape on to ESPN. ESPN’s first response was predictable: thanks but no thanks.

But then one day Emrich answered his cellphone and heard an ESPN executive say, “I bet you didn’t expect to hear from me.”

Among the first people the son called with his ESPN news was his father Roger, who works opposite him mornings at the rival Fan and doubles as the public address announcer at Cowboys home games .

“I can’t tell you how proud I am,” father said of son, who may be the next big thing on the local sports broadcasting scene bursting with talent. “I’m speechless.”

Fortunately, you will be hearing a lot more from his in the months and years to come.

To read more visit the Dallas News where this story was originally published

Sports Radio News

Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

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This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

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Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Sports Radio News

Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

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Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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