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Florida Station Hires Blind Football Analyst

Ferguson notes, “anybody listening to sports live on the radio can see the game in their mind just like I do.”

Brandon Contes

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WNZF, a News/Talk radio station in Flagler Country, Florida, just north of Daytona Beach announced they’ve added Trent Ferguson as their morning sports anchor and high school football color analyst.  What makes this hire unique?  The 20-year old Ferguson is and always has been blind.

Ferguson draws inspiration from another blind announcer in Florida, Tampa Bay Rays color analyst for their Spanish broadcasts, Enrique Oliu.  In preparation, Ferguson takes notes, bringing a wide variety of player stats and facts to add to the broadcast while listening intently to his play-by-play partner to follow the action.

Ferguson has been a contributor to WNZF in recent years, co-hosting a podcast, Outta Sight Sports with station Sports Director, Rich Carroll.  The title offers a pun for Ferguson’s blindness, showing the broadcaster doesn’t try to hide the fact that he can’t see with his eyes.  Ferguson notes, “anybody listening to sports live on the radio can see the game in their mind just like I do.”  The podcast is also sponsored by a West Palm Coast optical business that even offers free eye exams to the referees called out by Ferguson during his “bad call of the day” segment.

“I love that,” Ferguson told Fox 35 in Orlando.  “I embrace stuff like that, and some people say that, ‘well I don’t want to say that, I don’t wanna mention the word blind cause I don’t want to offend you.’ Like I said, it doesn’t offend me.”

In his new role as sports anchor and football color analyst, Ferguson takes over for the retiring Dave West who said in the station announcement, “I can’t think of a better person to carry on the WNZF sports legacy.” 

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Ryan Hoppe Joins Beckles and Recher on WDAE 95.3 in Tampa

Ryan Hoppe announced that he would be joining WDAE as the new executive producer for Beckles and Recher.

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Ryan Hoppe

On Thursday, popular Tampa podcaster Ryan Hoppe announced that he would be joining the iHeartRadio team as the new executive producer for the station’s afternoon drive show, Beckles and Recher.

95.3 WDAE confirmed the news in a retweet with a welcome message.

Hoppe is also the host of popular local podcast, Hoppe Hour which was nominated for Best Local Podcast. Hoppe has been nominated for Best Radio Personality as well by The Best of the Bay magazine.

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Sports Radio News

Toucher and Rich: There’s No Way Dennis Eckersley is Retiring

“There’s got to be some sort of gig waiting for him. And to be quite honest, maybe NESN was just small potatoes for a guy like Dennis Eckersley.”

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On Monday, Dennis Eckersley announced that this season would be his last with NESN, the Boston Red Sox and in baseball broadcasting. However, some in Boston don’t think Eckersley will truly be done once the season ends.

On Toucher and Rich, co-host Rich Shertenlieb said this can’t be the end of the broadcasting career of Dennis Eckersley.

“He’s way too young to be truly retiring, I think,” said Shertenlieb. “This can’t be it for him. There’s no way this is it. He’s too into it, he loves it too much, he’s good at it and he’s not old.”

“It’s a lot of travel, that’s the thing,” added co-host Fred Toucher.

Shertenlieb chimed back that he could have options in regards to his schedule.

“You could be somebody that’s just doing home games,” offered Shertenlieb. “You could also be someone who could be at a desk.”

Shertenlieb was adamant that Eckersley would have a chance to make it somewhere else, somewhere perhaps more national.

“There’s got to be some sort of gig waiting for him. And to be quite honest, maybe NESN was just small potatoes for a guy like Dennis Eckersley,” said the Toucher and Rich co-host. “Maybe he’s just outgrown it and he’s just too talented to only be at a regional network.”

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Sports Radio News

Chicago Bears Reportedly Leaving WBBM After 2022 Season

Sources tell the Sun-Times the decision has been made that WBBM, after airing the Bears since 2000, are giving up the rights.

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According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Bears will have a new radio home after the 2022 season when their deal with WBBM ends.

Sources tell the Sun-Times the decision has been made that WBBM, after airing the Bears since 2000, are giving up the rights. The source said the Audacy-owned station loses money on the Bears.

“We are focused on having a great 2022 season with WBBM and Audacy,” said Bears Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Scott Hagel said.

The report also says it’s likely the radio rights go to either Good Karma Brands-owned ESPN 1000 or iHeartMedia’s Rock 95.9 landed the rights.

Play-by-play announcer Jeff Joniak and color commentator Tom Thayer are both expected to keep their positions with the Bears. Joniak is the Sport Director at WBBM.

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