Charlotte high school radio broadcasters say 'it would be a disservice if we didn't do games' [The Charlotte Observer]
(Charlotte Observer (NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 09--Colin Hoggard and Travis Hancock spent last Friday night perched high above Charlotte Latin School's Patten Stadium. They sat on blue and white foldout chairs at a black foldout table, looking out a second floor window in Latin's gym, a makeshift press box. They watched Charlotte Christian win 38-3.
Broadcasting high school football over the radio isn't glamorous, but that doesn't matter to Hoggard and Hancock, who have been doing it the past three years for Charlotte sports talk station WFNZ-AM 610.
"There's definitely a market for it," said Hancock, 29. "There's so much high school talent in the area that it would be a disservice if we didn't do games."
WFNZ, partnered with CharlottePreps.tv and OrthoCarolina, will broadcast five Mecklenburg County high school football games this season. The seasons' final two broadcasts will be Providence High at Ardrey Kell Oct. 18 and Butler at Independence Nov. 8.
Hancock and Hoggard see the broadcasts as a chance to highlight local athletes.
"If there's a chance to say a kids' name on local radio, I think that's pretty cool," said Hoggard, 32, who graduated from South Mecklenburg High. "Maybe his friends hear it."
ESPN Charlotte 730 AM, another Charlotte sports talk radio station, recently partnered with the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association to broadcast games of local private schools.
Hoggard and Hancock (better known as "T-Bone" on the radio) produce The Mac Attack, WFNZ's morning show. Hancock has been with the station since 2005 and Hoggard joined him in 2008.
Hoggard's only prior play-by-play experience was with the student radio station at Appalachian State. Hancock was the baseball PA announcer while in school at West Forsyth and was the PA announcer for the Charlotte Eagles soccer team for a year.
The broadcasts should be professional, they believe, even if the setting is not. During the Hopewell at Hough game Sept. 27, station producer Mark Seidel, who was filling in for Hancock, spent the game holding the broadcasting equipment out the window to get a better signal.
"We try to make every game seem the same, like, importance-wise, because we don't want to do a disservice to the kids just because they may be 0-5," Hancock said. "We always want to go in with the same mindset, the same preparation and the same process basically every game because we don't ever want a kid to feel like he got shortcut on a game."
They also try to make the broadcasts fun.
At Charlotte Catholic games, they give WFNZ host and former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Frank Garcia, an assistant coach at Catholic, a hard time. One game last season they talked about mascot etiquette when they noticed a mascot not wearing the head. Hancock also likes to try out catchphrases. His latest is "Holy Smokes!"
"If we have fun, we try to do it at each other's expense or at a WFNZ person's expense," Hoggard said.
What matters to Hoggard and Hancock on those Friday nights in cramped high school press boxes is recognizing the area's high school athletes.
"It's the one thing we do that's pure sport," Hoggard said. "You can't be in sports media today and do pure sports. You have to do business, you have to do contracts, you have to do hot seat, you have to do off the field, you have to do all of that stuff.
"This is nothing but sports. If you're in this business, you got into it because of sports."
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