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.

Spring 2019: Final Thoughts

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 officially welcome in the summer season – and start covering some of its corresponding sports teams and events – I wanted to take one final look back at a few outstanding accomplishments by the student-athletes and teams in the RCN viewing area this spring.

They should probably re-brand the local league titles as the “Parkland/Easton” tournament as both of these teams seems to always square off against each other for girls lacrosse championship games.  The Trojans did it again this year, capturing league and district titles – their fourth in a row and five championships in the last six years.  It’s an amazing run for a sport that wasn’t sanctioned by the PIAA just a little over a decade ago.

Parkland has also been dominating the local softball season once again this year.  The Trojans got to a state championship game last year and looked as strong—or better—than any team in the Lehigh Valley this spring.  They also won the EPC and posted a shutout in their District XI championship game (their second in a row and fifth in the last six years.)

Talitha Diggs, who was on our “SportsTalk” program several years ago with her mother, Olympic medal-winner Joetta Clark-Diggs, made history this spring by shattering a 33-year old record at the PIAA track championship, winning two gold medals.  A rising senior, Talitha will have another year of high school competition to add to her hardware before graduating from Saucon Valley High School in 2020.

Notre Dame-Green Pond’s baseball team also had a great run this year—capturing both Colonial League and District 3A titles this spring.  If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you’ll know I predicted early in the season great things for Notre Dame.  I also thought Crusader pitcher Steven Luke was going to be one of the most impressive pitchers in the Valley this season and he certainly did not disappoint.  The Crusaders have quite a bit of talent returning, so Head Coach Mike Bedics’ team should once again be one of the favorites in 2020.

Speaking of baseball, we are getting ready for our 2nd “SportsTalk” on location at Buffalo Wild Wings on Grape Street in Whitehall.  Our special guests will be members of the Blue Mountain Baseball League.

League President Bob Varju will be on hand, along with other league representatives, and coaches and players from several teams in the RCN viewing area.

The show will be on Thursday, June 27, from 7-8pm, and will be part of an event to raise money for a local charity.  You can find the flyer for this event right here on the RCN-TV website. Just print out that flyer and be sure to bring it with you so that the waiters/waitresses will be sure to dedicate 10% of your food bill to a great local cause.

And…we have a “make up” show at Buffalo Wild Wings THIS Thursday, June 20, as our first “on location show” with the Bethlehem Catholic girls basketball team was postponed due to bad weather.  Head Coach Jose Medina and his team will join us for this week’s program, which also starts at 7pm.

2019 Spring Sports All-Stars

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. 

One of the really fun blog entries I write periodically is the one in which we publish the local “all-star” lists that come at the end of each high school sports season.

I say this for a few reasons…

  • It’s great to highlight truly special athletic performers
  • It’s a chance to spotlight athletes who play sports but may not always get much recognition
  • It’s a chance to see familiar names who show up in different sports throughout the year
  • In the case of scholar-athlete awards, a chance to recognize “student-athletes” for taking care of what school is truly meant for—getting a quality education

As usual, I also want to thank the local athletic directors and administrators of the respective leagues and sports for once again sending these lists to me each season, so that these athletes can get added recognition for their accomplishments.

So without any further delay, here’s the composite list of the “All-Star” categories that I received for squads in the RCN-Lehigh Valley viewing area…

Here are the Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences’ scholar-athletes All-Stars.

Baseball – Joshua LaRock – Allentown Central Catholic

Boys Lacrosse – Christian Combi – Easton

Girls Lacrosse – Anne Walsh – Easton

Softball – Courtney Grundauser – Easton

Boys Basketball – Adam Klinger – Parkland

Girls Basketball – Jenna Rogers – Northampton

Cheerleading – Julia Santos – Allentown Central Catholic

Boys Swimming – Matthew Gertner – Emmaus

Girls Swimming – Abigail Heilenman – Emmaus

Wrestling – Micheal Kistler – Northampton

Rifle – Sydney Jones – Emmaus

Boys Tennis – Kevin Ge – Emmaus

Boys Track and Field – Joseph Ozgar – Easton

Girls Track and Field – Abigail Heilenman – Emmaus

Boys Volleyball – Seth Fine – Parkland

Next, here are the EPC Girls and Boys Lacrosse All-Stars.

2018-19 EPC All-Star Voting Results – GIRLS FINAL

2018-19 EPC All-Star Voting Results – BOYS FINAL
The girls softball All-Star listing for the EPC.

EPC All Stars Official Media Copy

The All-Conference tennis All-Stars:

2018-19 Boys Girls Tennis All Conference

Here’s the link for the boys and girls Colonial League track-and-field championship records set:

http://www.colonialleague.org/files/2019/03/CLChampionshipMeetRecords19FAT.pdf

… the link for the Colonial League / EPC final results

http://www.colonialleague.org/files/2019/05/CL-EPC-TF-Results-050819.pdf

… and the track-and-field All-Stars:

19EPCTFAllStars

If there are any additional honors or student-athletes who should be singled out for outstanding achievements during this past spring sports season, please don’t hesitate to email me directly at chris.michael@rcn.net so we can recognize them here at “The Shop” and/or on our weekly “RCN SportsTalk” program!

 

 

Baseball 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. 

There was some great local high school baseball playoff action on RCN-TV once again this spring.

In case you missed all the action, here are video highlights from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference playoffs and the District XI Championships for Classes 5A and 6A.

Don’t forget …. RCN customers can still relive all of the baseball playoff excitement by watching all these title games—for free—through RCN On-Demand.  These games will be available to watch up for up to 60 days after their initial broadcasts dates.

Coming up over the next two weeks here at “The Shop,” we’ll take a look at some of the top student-athlete performances and top teams from this past spring sports season.

Also, if local athletic directors, coaches, administrators or statisticians would be so kind as to send the different “all-stars” lists to my attention, we’d love the opportunity to highlight the top players in the area here on this blog and/or on our weekly “SportsTalk” program!

Please email those lists to me at chris.michael@rcn.net and thanks, in advance, for your assistance!

Summer Hoops ‘19: What to Watch

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 were some interesting storylines during our winter high school basketball season in the RCN coverage area.

Fortunately, a number of those storylines are returning—and should make for an intriguing “off-season” as summer basketball action starts to get going this week.

If you will be heading out to see some of the late spring/summer basketball action over the next few months, here are the key things to watch for (and if you can’t make it out to your local playgrounds, we will once again be out and about in our local communities covering the action).

Watch to Watch #1:  How Emmaus boys’ basketball responds

I think Steve Yoder has done a remarkable job turning this into a great and consistent program after decades of this team being less than relevant for more than any one-two year cycle.

That being said, there’s no sugar-coating this—the 2019 Emmaus boys basketball season ended in disappointment.  They reached –and failed to win—four championship games over the previous nine months.

In districts, they lost their last three games and didn’t even win the District XI consolation game—a huge disappointment for a team that had eight graduating seniors and had great expectations…none of which were achieved.

That being said, the cupboard is not completely bare and it will be imperative for some players to step up this summer and show that they can fill in some of the many holes currently on the team, in order to keep this program just about the best in the Valley.

Watch to Watch #2:  Can the Allen Boys Basketball Team Do it Again?

As opposed to Emmaus, virtually no one expected Allen to win a District XI title last winter.  This includes Head Coach Doug Snyder, who admitted as much in a March appearance on our “RCN SportsTalk” show (if you missed it, you can check out the podcast at rcn.com/rcntv/sports-talk )

Now, with the target squarely placed upon a team that still features many underclassmen leading the way, can the Canaries handle the increased pressure and develop the consistency needed to take the squad to the next level?  This summer’s play could be what may very well be a landmark campaign for the  program—in more ways than one.

Watch to Watch #3:  Can anyone catch Bethlehem Catholic girls basketball?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll probably remember back before the winter season started that I predicted a competitive girls basketball season but one that would see Bethlehem Catholic girls advancing further in the state playoffs.

Fresh off the Lady Hawks’ state championship victory (I guess I can brag that my prediction from last December came true?), it should be interesting to see which of a number of talented girls basketball programs—many of whom have most of their team members returning, steps up their game over the next few months and gives us a good indication of where Becahi’s top competition will come from as they look to defend their title.

Keep checking back to “The Shop” over the next few months as we keep an eye out on the happenings on the local courts this summer!

HS Baseball Playoff Preview

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.
Gary Laubach, the RCN Sports crew and I will be out and about the next two weeks preparing for, and then broadcasting a number of District XI baseball championship games.

There are a number of interesting story lines for the high school baseball postseason, including:

WATCH OUT FOR YOUNGER TEAMS

Traditionally, the teams that have more experience are the ones that do the best this time of year.  This season might be an exception as I’ve seen a number of younger players, not only with exceptional skills, but also student-athletes with a high baseball “IQ,” at Notre Dame, Palisades and a few other schools.

KEEP AN EYE ON THE CHAMPS

Perhaps more than any other scholastic sport in the Lehigh Valley, baseball is probably the toughest sport to win both league and district titles within the same season.  I privately had a coach a few years ago admit that he did NOT want to win the leagues, because that traditionally puts the whammy on his team for districts—the latter playoffs are the ones that count towards the state playoffs.

The level of play in local baseball is so even that it’s been extremely rare over the last few decades for a team to win titles within a two-week span.  Northampton (in the EPC) and Notre Dame-Green Pond (in the Colonial League) won championships last week and are poised for a good run, but can they fight history and a strong collection of teams to win a district gold next week?

CAN LIBERTY BOUNCE BACK?

I stated on our high school baseball playoff preview show on the last edition of “SportsTalk” (which you can hear the podcast of the show right here on the RCN-TV website or watch it for free through RCN On-Demand) that Liberty’s undefeated run in the EPC during the regular season was one of the most impressive feats I’ve seen accomplished in some time.

Given the competitiveness and parity in the league (not to mention some outstanding pitching depth), to run the table in the league with so many strong teams…it would have been hard to believe the Hurricanes could accomplish a similar run throughout the playoff season.

Can Liberty come back and still be competitive in Districts?

Absolutely.

The ‘Canes still probably have the most depth (especially pitching) among all the 6A teams in the Lehigh Valley.  Liberty’s draw is not an easy one (they face Nazareth first and then the winner of Parkland/Pleasant Valley on Sunday) but certainly could see its way to the district championship game.

On paper, they are clearly one of the best teams in the area, but I believe a real key could be how well they play in their first game of the district post-season against the Blue Eagles.

It should be an exciting two weeks!

 

Be sure to check back here to the RCN-TV website to get the latest information on our broadcasts dates and times of the teams competing for District XI gold metals!

Speaking Engagements

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. 

One of the great tasks I have at RCN is speaking at banquets and emceeing recognition and retirement events as well as other engagements that come down the pike throughout the year.  But my favorite opportunity is speaking in various formats with young people in our community.

I always have been a firm believer of “paying it forward” (probably even before the movie of the same name came out) and over the years I’ve remained in contact with quite a few people who used my advice to get into the communications industry, or remember something I shared, sometimes as simple as time-management tips that students used in college—regardless of whether or not they got involved in broadcasting.

One of my biggest highlights each year is being a part of the Diocese of Allentown’s “Catholic Schools Week.” Not only because I get to meet some great young people of the Greater Lehigh Valley area, but, as a personal highlight, it culminates in the “Celebrity” basketball game.

Granted, when I first started participating in the “climax” of this annual week of events, the main objective was to show kids in 7th-10th grade a good time as they took on a collection of media members, politicians, business leaders and other local dignitaries (aka , we used to try to let them win).

Now, many of us “celebrities” who participate in this game every year must admit that the focus has shifted from letting them win to trying to stay competitive with the catholic school’s new youths — ones who appear to get faster and quicker every year.

Win or lose, it’s an extra benefit for me to get an inside look at who the next basketball stars are going to be within our local catholic programs—teams that have continued to enjoy success year after year (see the note below).

But at the end of the day it’s a great opportunity to reach out to our young people, get some exercise and have some fun.  Being visible and a part of our community in the RCN viewing area has never been more enjoying and rewarding for me and I continue to look to participate in as many speaking engagements and local events as time allows.

Now, where did I put the ibuprofen and rubbing alcohol?

 

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Special programming note:  be sure to mark your calendars for our first remote “SportsTalk” show of the spring and summer seasons.  We’ll have three exciting shows again this year from the Buffalo Wild Wings on Grape Street in Whitehall, PA.

Our first show will feature the PIAA State Champion 4A Bethlehem Catholic Girls Basketball team.  Head Coach Jose Medina will be on hand with his coaching staff and players to talk about their gold medals and a thrilling run through the league, district and state playoff races—winning titles in all three levels.

His team is already hard at work preparing for the upcoming summer league programs—which is team travels quite a bit for—and can give us details on where his girls will be playing over the next few months (we’ll have a preview of local summer league hoops coming up in a few weeks right here at “The Shop.”)

Keep checking back to the RCN-TV website for more details on this and our other “SportsTalk” remote shows coming up over the next few months!

 

“Processed” OUT

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’m done.

I’m finished with them.

I’m distrusting the process.

I am OFFICIALLY off the 76ers’ bandwagon!

I’ve tried…for YEARS…to believe in the “new way” the Philadelphia 76ers were trying to build a dynasty.

I understood that they had to be bad…HISTORICALLY BAD…for multiple seasons in order to get a series of top draft picks and have sustained success.

I defended their tanking each season–when they brought in the true dregs of the league (or sometimes, the developmental league)…putting together the worst of the worst, year after year…and if they started to win and certain players played well, then they were traded away for even worse players and/or duds with expiring contracts.

I looked the other way when all these dreadful seasons resulted in top draft picks, many of whom the Sixers either traded away outright or badly misjudged, making it painful to watch these “top players” underperform, then  get shipped out of town for well-below market value for these once-prized possessions.

I even tried to justify the fact that, after fielding some of the worst teams even to don a professional jersey, that the 76ers “rewarded” die-hard season ticket holders’ undying loyalty by RAISING ticket prices once the team started to turn the corner.

But this was supposed to be THE year.

The year when all that dreadful basketball was supposed to pay off in a team contending for a championship.  The team was “all-in” and, over the last few months, traded away a good chunk of their potential stars to mix with their existing talent (and I’m using that term begrudgingly) to supposedly reach new heights.

But all I saw was boring basketball … lethargy … horrible shooting … guys who looked liked they wanted to be elsewhere and, at best, incredibly inconsistent basketball.

And that was just Sunday’s game!

I love watching basketball.  I’ve loved it for years. But this 76ers team is not even close to being fun to watch.

This past winter, I tried to watch a Sixers game here and there and tried to convince myself that the players’ low-excitement level was tempered during the regular season because those games don’t mean as much as the playoff games do.

I attended the pre-season media event in which smug players walked around, nearly reciting the national media praise that was said about them with an arrogance that many players had not yet deserved to possess (they didn’t win anything last year, did they?)

I’ve listened to these high-priced prima donnas complain about their grueling travel conditions (they all travel first class on their own chartered plane), overloaded playing schedule (they “work”—at most—four nights a week for two hours at a time) and other excuses they’ve used over the last few weeks that belie the term “professional” basketball players.

And don’t take just my word for it.  Tom Moore, one of the most well-respected basketball writers around, was on our “SportsTalk” show before the playoffs even started.  He said he thought—even with all the top-level players brought in—the 76ers had the LEAST chance to win a championship of any of the four major Philadelphia sports teams…and given how bad the Flyers looked this past season, that’s no ringing endorsement of “the Process!”

I give credit to Jimmy Butler—a player who has been called out more than once on Philadelphia’s sports radio stations and by beat reporters this season for not hustling—for calling out his teammates after their horrendous play in Monday’s game four loss to the Raptors.

Butler was quoted as saying that some of his teammates are “just there to have a good time” and saying that certain players “need to play with aggressiveness.“ (Compare the team’s highest salaried players with the low statistical numbers from Monday’s loss—it’s not hard to figure out who he’s talking about).

Joel Embiid (who likes to “have fun” quite a bit if you follow him on social media) did have an excuse for his poor play Sunday…he had a head cold.

A HEAD COLD??????

Clearly Embiid does not know his NBA basketball history, when some of the greatest pro basketball moments came from players who were playing well-below 100% health.

I don’t “keep up with the Kardashians” so I’m not sure if Ben Simmons is still dating one of them, which was another excuse for his poor play earlier this year.  But for a kid who whined enough last year about not being taken seriously as one of the games’ top point guards, it would be nice if he finally learned how to shoot a basketball….something a TRUE point guard can do in their sleep.

I could go on talking about how bad this team has looked in two of its four second-round playoff games over the last week, but I’m not going to go there.  I’m done.

Even if the Sixers do find a way to win this series and advance (something they clearly should well be on their way to doing already), I’ve had it with following this overrated bunch of wanna-be superstars.

If they want to get respect, play with some guts!

The losing…the whining…the lack of effort.  They’re not worth my time anymore—win or lose.  I’ll go follow teams that actually try to win EACH and EVERY night and not just when the mood suits them.

Count me “processed out.”

Tim Tebow & Spring Sports

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 RCN Sports Staff has been enjoying the high school spring sports action thus far!

Through the season’s first month we have covered every sport at least once (not always easily this time of year if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate) and we’ve seen some very impressive performances from a number of student athletes from within the RCN coverage area.

  • It’s likely that the Lehigh Valley will be well-represented in the PIAA track-and-field over the next few years. We’ve interviewed a number of underclassmen who already have posted some outstanding times/distances in their young high school careers and we should be seeing lots of goal at this summer’s championships.
  • Speaking of young players, two of the hottest baseball teams in the Colonial LeagueNotre Dame and Palisades — are winning with key contributions from freshmen and sophomores. What’s more impressive than their on the field efforts is that when we’ve spoken with them for “SportsTalk,” they’ve always been very complimentary of their coaches and the seniors on a roster.  Talent is always great to have, but the more experienced teams usually find a way to win … and if these teams can continue to blend those qualities with a high baseball IQ, we should be seeing these teams quite a bit in the post-season.
  • The girls softball season has been intriguing, with a number of teams looking great one moment, only to struggle for a stretch against squads you wouldn’t expect them to lose to, then bounce back with another big victory. Northampton, with a new coaching staff in place, has continued to be right at the top of my colleague Keith Groller’s “Morning Call” softball rankings all season long, and we’ll be interviewing them for next Thursday’s show.
  • Another package coming up this Thursday…Emmaus and Southern Lehigh high school’s girls and boys lacrosse programs came together this past Saturday as part of a charity event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Our “SportsTalk” cameras were on-hand to cover that event, and we will have more details on both the game as well as the pre-game fundraising activities.

If you missed our “RCN SportsTalk” features so far, you can see them through RCN On-Demand.

Plus, there’s a few weeks left of the scholastic spring sports season, so count on a few more local sports packages coming up in May for both our Pennsylvania and Washington DC markets!

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A few weeks back we had a listing of some of the recent nominations to the last sports season’s “All Star list” and just recently received one additional set of awards — the completed list for the Colonial League’s top wrestlers which we hope you will check out and acknowledge….

Wrestling All-League 2019

Thanks again to our local coaches, athletic directors and administrators to sending the student-athletes’ names to our attention.

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Last but not least, this week’s “SportsTalk” program will also feature an interview with Heisman Trophy winner/Former Denver Broncos’ starting Quarterback Tim Tebow.  In addition to funding a national charity organization and authoring seven books, Tebow stars on the reality/game show “Million Dollar Mile,” which was record this winter and is now airing on CBS.

Tebow is attempting to reach the Major Leagues and is currently one level away from his goal of playing in the Major Leagues—currently playing for the New York Mets’ Triple-A Affiliate.  Tune in to hear Tim talk about his attempt to reach the “Bigs,”  what it feels like to be currently playing on a roster with a number for former MLB players on it, and several other issues.

Hi, I’m Chris Michael

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. 

It sometimes amazes me, with all the outlets for information that are out there, that there could also be so much MIS-information about…well, just about anything, nowadays.

Politics, weather, history…if you look enough places, you can pretty much find different versions of “facts” on many topics.

During this past “sports broadcast year” on RCN-TV, I became aware that this curious trend of misconceptions had made its way around to affecting me.

For example, within a few minutes two different people came up to me before a basketball game this past winter and had two completely opposing views on my broadcast career.  One person was kind enough to talk about the recent history of a particular school but did so because he believed the RCN Sports Department was “new to broadcasting in the area” (if you include previous owners, we’ve been covering local sports for over 40 years).

A couple minutes later, another sports fan came up to me and exclaimed that I specifically had “been around forever” (I’d like to think that I am somewhere in between “new” and “forever.”)

Granted, the Lehigh Valley viewing area is changing more than ever before with new people coming in and other people relocating and so forth, but I thought it might be a good time to set the record straight on a few things –at least about myself.

So if you think you know me…or if you want the truth, take this short quiz and see how well you do!


TRUE/FALSE:   I have been around television “forever”.

FALSE

I started working in radio and for local newspapers while I was in high school in the Lehigh Valley before moving to work in Philadelphia and New York for different radio stations.  My jobs including covering the Phillies (including one World Series), Eagles (one NFC Championship game) and other pro and collegiate sports teams for Sportsradio WIP in Philly, which was the top rated sports radio station in the country when I was there.  I migrated into more TV work before moving back to the Lehigh Valley to continue my career at RCN. 

While I have been here a few years now and have had the good fortune of meeting and becoming friends with a great group of people — some of them legends who have been around much longer than I…I would hardly would consider me as being around “forever”.

 
TRUE/FALSE: I am a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan

FALSE

This has come up a few times within the last year because our “SportsTalk” show co-host Keith Groller somehow has fallen under the delusion the I live/breathe/eat Eagles football—which anyone who’s watched the show since the beginning of the program should know is not the case.  (For the record, he is a die-hard fan of the Rams—the team that was supposed to show up for last year’ s Super Bowl).

I have been quite critical of the Birds over the years and would often square off against Keith’s predecessor, Joe Craig, who was clearly a passionate Eagles “homer.”  While I spent many years having to be the “anti-Eagles angle” for many of our arguments, Keith has been misleading our audience into thinking I only care about the Eagles, which now has people coming up to me to complain about “my Birds.”  Listen to any show or podcast we’ve done over the last decade and you’d be hard pressed to believe I have been anything but objective about this team.

In full disclosure, I DO root for the Phillies, who I became a die-hard fan about as far back as I can remember.  I have always tried to remain objective about every team that I have covered or may discuss in the various “sports talk” formats that I have worked in radio and television.  While it sometimes makes for more interesting show content for the teams in our coverage area to do well, I don’t throw myself into becoming an over-passionate fan of any specific team to success as some talk show hosts may do.

Because of my work covering the Phillies, I’ve had the tremendous great luck of meeting some really huge names in the business, which continues to help in more ways that I could have ever imagined.

I feel I have remained objective in my analysis over the years when discussing the Phillies, but it is the only team to which I have actively considered myself a “fan.”

 
TRUE/FALSE: Local media members only care about the “big sports” (ie., football, basketball and wrestling).

FALSE

Anyone who says that I don’t keep an eye on other sports has clearly never visited my office to see piles of papers with details on every sport (including polo!) conducted in our coverage area that I actively update on a regular basis.

Again, I would refer people to our “SportsTalk” programs for evidence to the contrary.  Our recent coverage includes features on ice skating, track (one of the sports I competed in while in high school), lacrosse, rifling, tennis, girls softball and others.  A few months back we even had a feature on street skating.  We try very hard to make sure we touch on EVERY sport during a given season.

TRUE/FALSE: I only broadcast the games of the teams that I like.

(I heard this comment this past fall after I announced a number of Bethlehem Catholic football games in consecutive weeks).

FALSE

First of all, I do not dictate which teams and which games we broadcast, so anyone who has ever thought I am “for” or “against” a team due to which game I happen to be announcing is completely wrong.

Secondly, I would say in the two decades that I have been broadcasting games — professional, collegiate, scholastic and amateur — there certainly have been teams/coaches/fan bases that I readily admit I was not a huge fan of.  It would be ridiculous for me (or anyone in this industry) to say that they have enjoyed, never had any issues and/or have had complete cooperation with every single sports personality that they have ever come in contact with.

To be perfectly honest, there are coaches who are much nicer and more accommodating in helping us prepare for our broadcasts than others.  There are members of certain teams who want media members to do and say specifically what they want you to say — something that I have NEVER done nor agreed to — which sometimes irritates people when they can’t control you. There are administrators who only want you to say things they want you to talk about (which nearly always are the things that make those same members of their  organization look good) and hold grudges when you bring up negatives that are proven points of fact that most people are not aware of (I have received a ton of “thank you” comments from our viewers over the last year because of this!).

Also, some of my most treasured bits of feedback come from people who had assumed I was “against” them or their team — often through misinformation — only to actually listen to one of my broadcasts and have them come back to me and apologize, while complimenting me on my objectivity and professionalism.

There was one coach in particular who thought that because a local paper had predicted his team to finish in last place, that EVERY media member had it out for them.  This same person was very adversarial when we came to broadcast his team early in the year … only to call me the next day — not only to thank us for coming but for not holding a grudge against him or his team for his misdirected frustrations toward us.

This brings up an interesting issue for broadcasters … and for me as well.

Unless you are directly working for an organization that pays your salary (ie., most professional sports teams, like the Redskins, Eagles, Sixers, et al either directly pay the announcers or have direct influence with their broadcast partners), you are really doing a disservice to your audience by “clouding” the truth and playing favorites to schools or groups—usually in exchange for getting something in return.

I have built a career on discussing the facts—both positive and negative—about whatever aspect of sports that I am covering.  I don’t know if it’s the changing media attitudes in society, people only hearing what they want to hear, or the fact that everyone now has the ability to edit communications through a simple click of a device.  But I think it’s been one of my strengths as a person and as a media member to try to be objective and fair in covering all angles of the subject matter, which includes covering as many teams as possible. 

Hope you enjoyed the “quiz!”   Thanks for reading, listening and for expressing your opinions (whether I agree with them or not) to me during the past sports broadcast year.  Feel free to keep the comments coming—I always enjoy hearing others’ viewpoints and look forward to continuing to share the information I can provide our customers!

 

Winter Sports 2019 All-Stars

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.

Time to take our final look back at the 2019 standout players as decided by local Lehigh Valley coaches, athletic directors and administrators in the RCN viewing area.

Here is a rundown of “all league players” that were sent to our attention:

2019 EPC WR All-Stars (1)

2018-19 Colonial League Girls Basketball All-League Team

2018-19 Colonial League Boys Basketball All-League Team

2018-2019 EPC Girls Basketball All Star Team

2018-2019 EPC Boys Basketball All Star Team

If there are any other awards or honors that you would like us to mention, please email them to me at chris.michael@rcn.net so that we may recognize the outstanding accomplishments of our girls and boys student-athletes in the RCN viewing area!

Also, thanks to our local athletic directors and league administrators for forwarding the above names to my attention!

Quick programming update…

Coming up on this Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program, our Skype guest will be Fox Sports’ Jermaine Ferrell, who covered the Virginia Men’s Basketball team’s National Championship run.

Ferrell said the atmosphere in the gym on the final night was as electric as any sports venue he was ever at.  He shared with me and will give us several interesting storylines surrounding the Cavs’ run that he plans on talking about on Thursday, in addition to giving us his thoughts on what the title means for the DMV region.

Jermaine also recently featured a story on the first-ever all-women announcing crew in professional sports, for the Red Sox minor-league affiliate, and will give us some details on the historic first broadcast that took place last week.

We’ll also be talking about local golf as well as recapping Tiger Wood’s tremendous comeback victory at the Master’s last weekend as well as last weekend’s big Blue-and-White game at Penn State with Morning Call College Football Beat Writer Mark Wogenrich.