Chris Michael

About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

Winter Regular Season Recap #2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The playoffs have already gotten underway for basketball, wrestling and swimming in Pennsylvania.

As we turn our attention to the post-season, here are video highlights of recent basketball games and wrestling matches broadcast on RCN-TV…

 

And, as a special treat for our high school wrestling fans in Eastern Pennsylvania, here is…hot off the “press”… the schedule and brackets for this weekend’s Northeast Regional wrestling tournament, featuring not only some of the top wrestlers from Pennsylvania, but a number of student-athletes ranked among the wrestling elite nationally.

Feb 20 NEAAA Bracket

Be sure to bookmark and check out the RCN broadcast schedule as we embark on the playoff runs for both high school basketball and wrestling, along with the best of Lafayette Men’s and Women’s Basketball as the Leopards look to make a run in the Patriot League playoffs!

All-Stars Recap

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Periodically,  the local sports governing bodies single out the top individual players for the different sports.

To that end, our thanks to the league and district representatives who sent me their “All-Stars” and post-season award winners  for their respective sports. Below is everything I have received.

*PLEASE NOTE:  The Colonial League decided this year to do away with their “All League” teams (with the exception of a couple sports) and is not signally-out any standout athletes for their schools–therefore those schools and their athletes are not listed, unless identified as such by District XI.  There are a few sports in which the coaches disagreed with the decision to do away with these honors and therefore are compiling their own “lists.” In those circumstances, it is up to the coaches to disseminate that information to the media and the league administrators want to make it clear that coaches are doing this of their own volition.  We are not trying to avoid showcasing these schools as this decision was made completely by the Colonial League administration and not anyone at RCN or by anyone in the media.

As always, we welcome any information sent to us regarding such honors and awards and would be happy to promote any all-star lists as assigned by teams and organizations in the RCN coverage area.

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL South

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL North

And here are the football MVP and title winners:

NORTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Tyrese Brandon, Running Back (Northampton)

NORTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Wayne Hamilton, Outside Linebacker (Stroudsburg)

SOUTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Jared Jenkins, Offensive Athlete (Freedom)

SOUTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Jake Wilson, Defensive End (Nazareth)

Congratulations to the E.P.C. South Division Champion – Nazareth 

Congratulations to the E.P.C. North Division Champion – Northampton 

2019 EPC Golf Results & All-Conference

2019 Field Hockey All-Star Teams

2019-20 Girls Tennis All Conference

2019 EPC Girls Volleyball Allstar results

EPC GSoc AllStars 2019

2019 EPC Boys Soccer All Stars 1st Team

Last but not least, the EPC’s scholar-athlete winners:

Boys’ Cross Country – Nathan Reimer – Parkland

Girls’ Cross Country – Pia Mazzella DiBosco –Easton

Field Hockey – Riley McDonald – Easton

Football – Benjamin Carbonetto – Allentown Central Catholic

Golf – Connor Houghton – Easton

Boys’ Soccer – Palmer Posten – East Stroudsburg South

Girls’ Soccer – Avery Francis – Stroudsburg

Girls’ Tennis – Priyanka Bhashayam – Allentown Central Catholic

Girls’ Volleyball – Lexi Cole – East Stroudsburg South

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Again, if there’s any additional awards or post-season honors, please feel free to pass them along to chris.michael@rcn.net so that we could recognize those accomplishments here on this blog or on our “SportsTalk” program!

 

Winter Regular Season Recap #1

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

The regular season is winding down for the winter sports programs in Pennsylvania, and the playoffs are heating up!

Here’s video highlights of our games over the last several weeks with a reminder that RCN customers can see all these games, for FREE and in their entirety for up to two months from their initial air date, through RCN on-demand!

 

  

 

 

 
  Check back to “The Shop” in a few weeks for more video highlight packages and insights on the local high school sports as we get ready for some exciting post-season activities.

HS Basketball “Awards”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Keith Groller and I recently gave our takes on the Lehigh Valley high school basketball season on “SportsTalk,” along with (some of) the following different categories for this season.

As we approach the final few weeks of the regular season, here’s a sample of some of our responses to these topics.

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial Leagues

 In what should be a great winter basketball season with lots of quality teams, you have to give the nod to the defending District XI 6A champion Allen Canaries.  They have most of their core returning and haven’t hurt themselves with their summer performances and could repeat–although they probably will have tougher competition come playoff time.

In the Colonial League, I put my money on Southern Lehigh to repeat again this year.  They feature too much talent not to successfully retain their title. 

2) “Surprise” Team 

Bethlehem Catholic

I know what you’re thinking–how can one of the premiere basketball teams and a perennial state playoff team be considered a ‘surprise?’  But consider, the Hawks lost perhaps the two best players (a point guard and a 6’10” center, no less) in the Lehigh Valley, yet hardly missed a beat, including incorporating two new players, both 6’6” and both can shoot, play inside and on the perimeter, defend, rebound…you name it.

Plus, the returning supporting cast looked good–especially having the rock and filling in the large departed shoes of Justin Paz.  You lose the players Becahi lost to graduation and you most certainly would have expected some semblance of a step back–at least to start. 

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch 

Nazareth

Another team that lost a ton to graduation–although they were incredibly inconsistent last season, but Joe Arndt’s kids have been working hard this offseason and he is VERY high on the incoming players.

4) MVP 

This was not an easy topic to answer and the term “MVP” sometimes can be open to different interpretations…you might want to listen to our podcast to hear my entire “thought process” for this one. 

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter 

I saw Freedom six times in a row last January and, during that stretch, no team looked better–especially defensively.  After that three week stretch I didn’t see Freedom again until the final week of the regular season, and, by that time, they had fallen from the #3 seed to a #9 seed and failed to qualify for the league playoffs and were non-factors in district.

This year, I’ve once again had the opportunity to announce a number of Freedom games and, once again, they’ve looked impressive–but have had trouble getting over the hump in winning big games.

What happened last year?  Can they avoid a similar fate over the next few weeks?  We’ll delve into the Patriots’ psyche as Head Coach Joe Stellato and members of his team (including the Mims brothers–both of whom eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau this month) will be in-studio guests on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program. 

6) Underclassman to Watch 

Allen’s Nate Ellis

The freshman may have made some early season “ninth grade” mistakes, but he looked awfully impressive down the stretch, guiding his team to a championship.  Nate’s ceiling is already pretty high but certainly he has the potential to go down as one of the best point guard all-time in the rich Allentown basketball history books.  Should be a great story to watch over the next several seasons. 

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Playoff Matchup 

Notre Dame at Southern Lehigh.

The defending Colonial League champs against the team with the most incoming talent…couldn’t get much better than this. 

8) Most Anticipated EPC Playoff Matchup 

Parkland vs. Allen.

Parkland, after having some issues during the regular season, came on strong late and played the Canaries tough in districts during Allen’s great run.  Would love to see what the Trojans can do with a full year of consistency in the rematch between these two schools. 

9)  New Head Coach with Biggest Impact 

We had a chance to interview the Lehigh Valley’s new coaches on “SportsTalk” recently.  Why don’t you watch those interviews and tell me your thoughts to this topic by emailing me at chris.michael@rcn.net ?  I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

 

 

Lisa Salters & Winter Highlights

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I always like to think each of our “SportsTalk” shows are special in their own way, but this Thursday we are going to have an “extra special” guest on our program!

ABC/ESPN Sportscaster Lisa Salters will be on to talk about her career in journalism and balancing family life with a hectic working/traveling schedule, and discussing racism, sexism and other challenges young people in the sports broadcasting industry face.  She also offers helpful advice for future sportscasters.

She is a fascinating interview and has some great perspectives.  I hope you tune in to the program live at 7pm this Thursday to hear for yourselves.  You can also “give a listen” to the interview when our podcast is available here on the RCN-TV website after the show!

In addition, we’ll be previewing this weekend’s District XI Team Wrestling Tournament on this week’s “SportsTalk.”  You will be able to see the district finals live on Saturday evening on RCN-TV.

We’re already had some great high school contests on RCN-TV so far this winter!

Here’s video highlights of our games over the last several weeks with a reminder that RCN customers can see all these games for FREE and in their entirety for up to two months from their initial air dates, through RCN on-demand.

Be sure to bookmark and check back to the RCN Winter Sports Schedule here on our website for our upcoming broadcasts of games, team and times that you won’t want to miss out on as we head into the second half of the winter sports season!

Year-in-Review 2019

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

There are a number of things that still out in my mind as I reflect back on our 2019 at the RCN-TV studios and with the “RCN SportsTalk” show.

A few of my personal highlights…

DIVERSITY IN OUR COVERAGE THIS YEAR

While football, basketball and wrestling get the lion’s share of media attention in Eastern Pennsylvania, our coverage reached out to every sport in both the EPC and Colonial Leagues during each season and we were able to include every Lehigh Valley school and several schools in the Delaware Valley and DVM broadcast regions as well. We also covered more games for local leagues (Lehigh Valley Legion and Northampton County League) that we had ever covered before.

On a national scale, women’s sports of late have been disappearing from network programming, with more and more events pushed off to regional channels or internet-only broadcasts. High school sports have been receiving less and less press in print and very rarely around the country is a full-time writer assigned to dedicated to female sports.

On the contrary, we reached out and included more female-related sports on our show over the past 18 months, including doing a show on prompting female high school wrestling–something that has been around now for a few years, but most people don’t even know that several local schools have more than one female wrestling competing and that schools are trying to field an entire (albeit smaller) squad to complete on the same level.

The RCN staff works very hard covering ALL local sports (in addition to other duties and obligations they have in non-sports areas but enjoy the opportunity to feature different sports, schools and events.

The studio staff members are anxious to start on our 2020 coverage after the holidays to cover even more great stories and interesting people from different backgrounds.

I’m optimistic that seeking new ways to expand our reach into the community will expand even more in the new year!

DIVERSITY IN OUR STUDIO & SKYPE GUESTS

We featured guests from the top members of the PIAA administrative staff, District XI representatives, local leagues officers, coaches, administrators, athletic directors and student athletes from large schools, smaller schools, public schools, private schools, and charter schools in 2019.

Our guests included former and current professional athletes, sportscasters and writers from national and regional perspectives who touched on everything from their private lives and “life lessons learned” to controversial topics in sports. We featured former writers, athletic directors and administrators (who could speak freely without worrying about having to adhere to their supervisors) and could give honest views on issues that students, parents and coaches have to deal with. We’ve heard various opinions that are different from others and enjoyed having professional exchanges and conversations when discussing opposing viewpoints.

We expanded our partnership with our friends at DKN Sports in the Washington DC area to bring you even more features and guest interviews than ever before.

We featured a number of issues away from the fields and courts and brought you stories of sports personalities going through their own personal struggles.

We brought you inside looks on teams from state champions (Bethlehem Catholic girls basketball team) to national NCAA Champions (Fox Beat Reporter Jermain Ferrell, who covered the University of Virginia’s men’s basketball teams run all season long).

We interviewed former high school greats from our coverage area like Easton alum/current Towson University running back, Shane Simpson, who talked about his relationship with current NFL great Sa’quon Barkley (who was a guest on our show a couple years ago before the draft), along with his own personal steps he’s taking for rehabilitation to hopefully be drafted himself next spring.

Plus, many other great stories from friends in our coverage area in 2019.

THE EFFORTS OF “EVERYONE” BEHIND THE SCENES

I thought that we received tremendous support from many names and faces most customers don’t get to see or hear about.

There are many components to a television entity and frequently, when people approach me with suggestions and ideas, almost always is there at least one element of broadcasting that they said they had never known about before or I get a chance to share with them something they had never even considered that is involved in a production (and I’m probably one of the last people in our studio that one would approach to learn about all the intricacies of the technical side of a broadcast).

From marketing and promotion to scheduling and broadcasting, there are so much people involved in visual broadcasting, and even other media members that I encounter in other areas of communication often fail to grasp the many moving parts and necessity to put your trust in others while working in television (please note that I’m not saying one is “better” or “harder” than another field in broadcasting).

When I first moved from a career largely in print and radio areas into more television on a full-time basis, the thought of having so many people control what’s “happening” to you, with things in motion that are completely beyond your control, is an experience that is quite daunting. I’ve known quite a few individuals to really struggle with it and a few could not make that transition, because it is very difficult to allow so much that falls upon yourself, but put in so many other people’s hands.

However, I feel extremely blessed for my colleagues at RCN and was extremely happy with the work we were able to produce as a team in 2019 … the bar is already quite high as we embark on a brand new year!

Keep an eye out for more “year-in-review” thoughts on “SportsTalk” and videos as we turn the calendar to a brand new year!

Football 2019 Video Recaps-Part 2     

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

This week we our final look back at the video highlights from the final high school football games on RCN-TV (DVD copies of these games can be purchased by calling 610-443-2909)!

 

 


Keep checking back to “The SportsTalk Shop”  for more highlights from games broadcast on RCN-TV throughout from the winter season including our first high school basketball games and wrestling matches!

And, be sure to bookmark our winter sports schedule here on our website to catch all the hottest high school and college events over the next several months on RCN-TV.

 

Football 2019 Video Recaps

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

As we reflect on some of the big sports moments from 2019, here are video highlights of our District XI and Pennsylvania state playoff games we broadcasted this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep watching for more video recaps broadcast on RCN-TV as well as our top moments coming in the new year.  We are making the transition into “winter basketball and wrestling” mode in the RCN-TV studios so be on the lookout for highlights of those games and matches as well.

And … be sure to watch the “Best of RCN“” events, sports productions and shows on TV–RCN customers can check your on-screen schedule guide for details.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Bill White’s Christmas Lights on RCN TV

Retired Morning Call columnist Bill White here, blogging about our 20th annual Christmas Lights show, which we taped last Wednesday night, Dec. 11.

The show features five great displays, ranging east to west from Bath to Upper Macungie and conversations with their creators. It will premiere on RCN-TV at 11 a.m. Christmas Eve, with additional showings at 6 p.m. and midnight, plus 6:30 and 11 p.m. Christmas Day and 8:30 a.m. December 26.

As I said during the program, my favorite part is the opportunity to talk to these holiday decorators. The breakneck pace of judging for my Christmas Light Tours for The Morning Call rarely gave me any time to stop and talk to the homeowners, and they all have great stories to tell.

This year, among other things, we heard about a bear dragging Santa around, a woman who was brought to tears by the beauty, a family legacy of decorating excellence, a teenage Santa and a decorator who ended up in an ambulance.

I recounted some of my tour’s history in a recent conversation with Dan Mowdy on RCN-TV’s “Community Spotlight” program.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing these shows for 20 years. Sorely missed, as always, was the late RCN-TV producer Wally Ely, who conceived the idea and was my on-air partner for many years until he retired. Wally passed away last year, and we dedicated the 2018 program to his memory by visiting some of his favorite displays.

If you like looking at holiday lights and listening to holiday music, I encourage you to tune in on Christmas Eve. Our trip certainly put me in the Christmas spirit. I hope it has the same effect on you.

Basketball & Year-Review Previews   

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Because of the way our calendar “fell” this year, we decided to combine two of our regular “SportsTalk” programs into one big show–the high school basketball “primer” for one segment and our “year in review” program for the rest of the show.

So to get you set for both programs, here’s a few of the topics we will be addressing for both of those areas.  As always, you are invited to share your opinions on these issues so that we may read and respond to them on the next show.

Also, if you have a suggestion for a topic for us to comment on, please feel free to send them to chris.michael@rcn.net

Now, here are our topics of discussion for this year’s Lehigh Valley high school basketball season and a look back on some of the sports topics of note from 2019 that we’ll be answering.

BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOPICS:

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial League

2) “Surprise” Team to Watch this Winter

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch this Winter

4) Pre-Season MVP

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter

6) Underclassmen to Watch This Winter

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Regular Season Matchup

8) Most Anticipated EPC Regular Season Matchup

9)  New Head Coach That Will Have the Best Rookie Campaign

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW TOPICS:

  • Favorite Team You Saw in 2019
  • Most Outstanding Accomplishment
  • Best Executive Decision of 2019
  • Most Exciting Game
  • Biggest Surprise of 2019
  • Best Turnarounds for 2019
  • Most Underrated Story of 2019
  • Most Exciting Single Play of 2019
  • Underrated Star of 2019
  • Stone-Cold Lock for 2020
  • Piece of Advice for 2020

Keep an eye out over the holiday season for when this show will be airing on RCN-TV.