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Maria Taylor, Ernie Johnson Share Memories Of UGA Graduation Speeches

Maria Taylor talked on The Steam Room podcast with Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley about delivering the 2021 commencement address at UGA.

MIchael Quirk

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Dorothy Kozlowsky

ESPN analyst, host, and sideline reporter Maria Taylor can often be heard on the airwaves speaking proudly of her alma mater, the University of Georgia. She got to do one better on May 13, delivering the commencement address at her alma mater, giving the Class of 2021 both advice as well as perspective.

May 13 also marked the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of the University of Georgia, a school Taylor’s grandmother, Lavonia Matthews was unable to attend when she graduated high school due to that very reason. Taylor spoke about the significance of being able to represent the school on behalf of her later grandmother.

The Georgia-native graduated from The Grady College with a degree in journalism in 2009, and also earned her MBA from UGA in 2013. Taylor recently appeared on the Steam Room, co-hosted by Charles Barkley and fellow UGA alumni Ernie Johnson, who also delivered the commencement address in Athens back in 2017. Barkley asked each to describe their nerves before giving the speech.

“You definitely have some butterflies, but the excitement of being able to do that and the honor of being able to do that far outweighed any of that,” Johnson said. “I can’t even describe the honor and the privilege that that was.”

“I was more nervous to give the commencement speech than I am doing most shows that we do,” Maria Taylor said, noting the live audience and gravitas of the moment. “You recognize what an honor that really is.”

Sports Radio News

Joe Benigno Returns to WFAN

It was announced that Benigno would have a weekly call with WFAN Tiki and Tierney every Monday during the football season host on the weekends solo and with former partner Evan Roberts.

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Joe Benigno

On Friday’s Carton and Roberts, the show teased a major announcement and they delivered. Joe Benigno, a fixture at WFAN for 25 years, was returning to the station.

Benigno, who announced his retirement in October of 2020, is back in a more limited capacity than what was his previous afternoon timeslot. It was announced that Benigno would have a weekly call with WFAN midday show Tiki and Tierney every Monday during the football season. Also, he would be hosting both solo and with former partner Evan Roberts on the weekends.

“I think it was time to do something, and the opportunity to arose to be with my guy,” Benigno said. “Just doing it one day a week. I’m not looking to be back every day, but one day a week, a couple days a week, filling in, whatever. I’m ready to go. The opportunity to work with Evan once a week, I couldn’t pass it up.”

Benigno had been doing his own podcast, Oh the Pain, since last September. Benigno;s return will commence on Saturday, September 10.

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Sports Radio News

John Rooney Offers to Let Dan McLaughlin Call St. Louis Cardinals Postseason Action

“This is all John Rooney and the radio side,” Dan McLaughlin said. “He never had to do that. Ever. I was floored. I had no idea. I was emotional. All I ever wanted to do is call Cardinals postseason baseball.”

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John Rooney, Bud McLaughlin

When the Major League Baseball season ends and the sport switches to the postseason, national television takes complete control of the television product. No more regional sports networks. That’s not the case with radio calls, however, and it’s because of that the St. Louis Cardinals have the potential for a really special broadcasting moment.

The Cardinals are in a good position to make the playoffs and if they do, the team’s radio play-by-play voice John Rooney will step aside for the Cardinals’ television play-by-play voice to participate.

“This is all John Rooney and the radio side,” Dan McLaughlin said. “He never had to do that. Ever. I was floored. I had no idea. I was emotional. All I ever wanted to do is call Cardinals postseason baseball.”

Rooney said he was considering the idea after Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III brought it up to Dan Farrell, the man in charge of the team’s broadcast operations. Rooney then discussed it with the other on-air members of the radio crew.

“It was (unanimous) in thinking it was a great idea,” Rooney said. “Now is the time to do it.”

McLaughlin said that he was floored when the idea came up. “In a business that is so territorial, he had the ultimate class to ask me to join them,” McLaughlin said. “I will be forever indebted to John and the rest of the radio crew. They have been so good to me.”

Rooney said he will be glad to step aside a bit in the playoffs if the Cards get there.

“I’ve worked so much postseason over the years,” he said. “He needs to experience that.”

The idea came from the city’s hockey run to the Stanley Cup championship in 2019. Then, Chris Kerber (the St. Louis Blues’ radio voice) allowed John Kelly (the Blues’ the team’s television voice) to take over the play-by-play duties for the second period of the contests in the Finals.

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Sports Radio News

Yankees Announce John Sterling/Suzyn Waldman Talking Bobblehead Giveaway Night

On Friday, August 19th the first 10,000 fans that get to the Yankees game will receive a bobblehead featuring John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

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John Sterling

On Friday, the New York Yankees announced a bobblehead giveaway that will honor the two radio legends that voice the team’s games. On Friday, August 19th the first 10,000 fans that get to the Yankees game against the Toronto Blue Jays will receive a bobblehead featuring John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, the two longtime Yankees broadcasters.

The team made the presentation in a thirty second promotional video in which you see both John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman in the booth, listening to their talking bobblehead.

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