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Ian Eagle: Calling NCAA Tournament Games Makes My Head Spin

“It’s impossible to be an expert on all eight teams. You’re parachuting in, and where a lot of the stress comes for me is there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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This time next week, the nation will once again be captivated by the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It’s one of the most exciting times of the year on the sports calendar.

For TV broadcasters who get to call those early-round games from one of the several neutral sites hosting contests, the lead-up is intense. CBS Sports play-by-play broadcaster Ian Eagle told Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score in Chicago that the big dance is an entirely different beast to prepare for.

“I can normally start on a chart a week or 10 days before a game and at least have the skeleton of it done,” Eagle said when it comes to prepping for an NFL game or a Brooklyn Nets game. “And because we don’t find out until Sunday night, Selection Sunday, usually about 8:30-8:45 we get a call, that’s the first inkling you have of where you’re going, and you just hit the ground running and try to immerse yourself.”

He added that more often than not he’s going to call games featuring teams he knows nothing about. Eagle said he gave up on trying to know everything about everyone.

“It’s impossible to be an expert on all eight teams,” he said. “You’re parachuting in, and where a lot of the stress comes for me is there’s nothing I can do about it.”

By the time he gets to wherever he’s going to be calling games from, the rush is on to soak up as much info about the teams playing as possible. Eagle added that it doesn’t help that teams will show up to practice in no particular order, adding another layer to prepping.

“By the end of it, your head is spinning,” he said. “You start to forget who even is playing one another after a while.”

Ultimately, Eagle recognizes that when his time to call a game comes up, he’s got a range of people tuning in from die-hard fans, to casual fans, to folks who have never watched a college hoops game before. But the goal is to make sure he does a good job for the student-athletes who made it to this stage of the season.

“We’re trying to serve and placate many different audiences when it comes to this tournament,” he said. “As a play-by-play announcer, my goal is to try to touch on all those things… You try to do right by the kids that are playing this tournament, and it’s the highest level of basketball that they’ll ever play in.”

Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Leads 97.1 the Freak For Its Debut in Dallas

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

The dawn of a new sports radio signal in Dallas has come and who else to be the first voice you hear, but the Old Grey Wolf Mike Rhyner.

97.1 the Eagle stopped their regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, the technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming into new programming. They began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them then went into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history transitioned into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

He would go on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas. 97.1 The Freak is off and running.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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Sports Radio News

Jake Chapman Named Orlando Magic Radio Play-By-Play Voice

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Jake Chapman has been introduced as the new radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Chapman is beginning his 10th overall season with the franchise. He has previously served as the pre-game and post-game host for the team, as well as the radio producer. He joined the club as in intern in 2006 before becoming a producer in 2009. He then joined the Detroit Pistons Radio Network in 2014 to become its pre-game and post-game host as well as executive producer. He later joined 92.3 The Fan and the Cleveland Browns Radio Network as a producer. He returned to the Magic in 2019.

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Brandon Kravitz will serve as co-host for pregame, halftime and postgame. The network pregame show, Magic Tonight, will hit the air 30 minutes prior to tip-off. Magic Tonight is scheduled to premiere on October 11.

96.9 The Game is the radio flagship of the Magic Radio Network.

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