Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina Athletics today released plans for covering the Catamount football team this fall including live audio, video, and weekly coaches show that moves live-on-location to Bryson City Outdoors in Noble Hall on the WCU campus and will be streamed on Facebook LIVE.
Eight radio stations across western North Carolina are slated to carry Catamount football on the Catamount Sports Network (CSN). In Asheville, fans can follow both road and home games on WISE Sports Radio 1310 AM and 102.9 FM, with the signal simulcast on sister station WYSE 970 AM in Canton. Longtime CSN affiliate 540 AM and 105.7 FM WRGC “The River” returns to the lineup, as does 1050 AM and 104.9 FM WFCS “Franklin’s First Voice” in Franklin and north Georgia. Locally to Cullowhee, WWCU-FM 90.5, which originates on campus, will carry the CSN flag.
CSN has also again partnered with Stretch Internet (www.stretchinternet.com) and PrestoSports to provide unlimited free streaming audio through WCU’s athletics web site, CatamountSports.com, giving WCU a worldwide reach.
Longtime play-by-play “Voice of the Catamounts” Gary Ayers returns to the microphone this fall for his 34th season over the past 35 years. He will be flanked by returning crew members in producer/host Jeff Bryson and WCU alum Greg McLamb, who will both patrol the sidelines and provide color commentary for four home games this fall, with Daniel Hooker, WCU’s Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations – and WCU football contact – joining Ayers and Bryson in the booth for eight of the 12 games this season on color commentary.
Each week, the CSN pregame tailgate show starts 60 minutes prior to the scheduled kickoff time and includes comments from head coach Mark Speir, in-depth game analysis and information, in-game scoreboard updates, as well as other special and highly anticipated interview features such as the Two-Minute Drill which takes a lighter-side approach to introducing WCU football personalities to listeners.
Western Carolina will again produce television broadcasts for each of its six home games this fall that will air on ESPN’s online platforms, ESPN+ (subscription required) or ESPN3 (cable/satellite subscription required). Handling the broadcast on four of the six games – Sept. 14 vs. North Greenville, Oct. 5 vs. Gardner-Webb, Oct. 26 vs. Furman, and Nov. 16 vs. Samford – are Daniel Hooker from the Catamount Sports Network, and a former CSN color analyst, Rik Richards, who spent the 2009 season alongside Ayers in the CSN booth. Richards, a former arena and indoor football coach with over 20 years’ experience ranging from the collegiate to professional ranks including a 2005 Atlantic Indoor Football League (AIFL) championship in Richmond, Va., brings a wealth of football knowledge to the TV broadcast booth.
Two of WCU’s home games – the season-opener against Mercer (Aug. 31, 6 pm) and the “Blue Ridge Border Battle” with ETSU (Nov. 9, 3:30 pm) – will both air on the Nexstar linear television network in addition to the online ESPN stream as the “Ingles SoCon Game of the Week.” A third WCU football game – Oct. 19 at Wofford (1:30 pm) – is also slated to be shown on Nexstar. Local television personality Pete Yanity from WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, S.C., and former SoCon student-athlete football Jared Singleton will have the call on the games shown on Nexstar.
The Catamounts play on Fox Sports South on Saturday, Sept. 7 at North Carolina State with broadcast plans for the regular-season finale at Alabama yet to be unveiled. On the call for the game in Raleigh are Tom Werme as play-by-play, James Bates as color analyst, and Stormy Buonantony on the sidelines.
Bolstering coverage of Western Carolina football this fall, the Catamount Sports Network and WCU Athletics Video Operations will again produce a weekly coach’s show with Western Carolina head football coach Mark Speir – this year, though, the crew takes the show on the road AND will broadcast LIVE. Every Monday night at 7:00 pm, fans are invited to Bryson City Outdoors located in Noble Hall in the heart of the WCU campus for “Catamount Football Weekly,” for an interactive question-and-answer Facebook LIVE show that will air on WCU Athletics’ Facebook page (fb.com/catamountsports).
Bryson City Outdoors and its Cullowhee TapRoom located at 723 Centennial Drive in Cullowhee, features 14 taps pouring an ever-rotating selection of craft beer, cider, and wine, while also offering a cold selection of craft beers and ciders in bottles and cans.
Western Carolina opens the 2019 season this Saturday, Aug. 31 as a part of a Labor Day weekend celebration that includes a “Purple Out” – fans encouraged to wear their WCU purple to the game – and postgame fireworks. The Catamounts host the Mercer Bears with kickoff at 6 pm at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, opening both the regular and conference season schedule. Tickets for this weekend’s game are going fast – fans are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance and avoid the lines at the ticket windows on Saturday.
Saturday’s postgame fireworks are presented by Ingles and iHeartMedia partners, 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3.