The Catamount Sports Network (CSN) is the radio broadcast service for Western Carolina University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Three of Western Carolina's men's sports - football, basketball, and baseball - and one women's sport - basketball - are currently broadcast on a full-time schedule through the year. Select home games for Catamount softball are also broadcast online.
In 2005-06, CSN in conjunction with WWCU-FM expanded its coverage to include the 2005 Southern Conference women's soccer championship and trip to the NCAA Women's College Cup Championship, as well as several games of the inaugural Catamount softball season. That partnership was continued with coverage of the 2006 and '07 SoCon Softball tournament, and again with the 2008 call of the women's soccer SoCon title match.
Entering 2013-14, 11 stations across both North and South Carolina are set to carry broadcasts of the Catamount Sports Network during the 2013 Catamount Football season with five set to broadcast WCU men's basketball and one carrying women's basketball on a full-time basis. Fans can also follow the Catamount Sports Network through unlimited streaming audio online via Stretch Internet on CatamountSports.com, the official website of WCU Athletics. Check below for a complete listing of the Catamount Sports Network's affiliate stations
WCU welcomes back the nine affiliates which comprised the network in 2012-13, led by WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5, on-campus in Cullowhee. The station, which moved its tower into Haywood County near Balsam Gap to Cutoff Mountain in 2005, again serves as the network's flagship station and houses the network coupler and Internet up-link. WWCU-FM is slated to carry football and both men's and women's basketball. A broadcast service of Western Carolina University, WWCU-FM also has an Internet signal for broadcasts online at www.WWCUFM.com.
Also returning are stations in the mountain region that stretches from Franklin to Hendersonville. Real Country 920 AM WPTL in Canton is joined by both Franklin's First Voice, 1050 AM WFSC and 1600 AM WTZQ in Hendersonville as proud returning members of the Catamount Sports Network.
For the seventh-consecutive year, 920 AM WPTL continues as a part of the network carrying both Catamount football and men's basketball broadcasts, while 1050 AM WFSC returns after carrying one game in 2011 before sister station - Western North Carolina Country 96.7 FM WNCC - broadcast the Catamounts. A member of the Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Group, WFSC celebrated its 55th year on the air in May of 2012 by increasing its broadcast strength to 5,000 watts.
Under the leadership of WCU graduate, Mark Warwick, 1600 AM WTZQ begins its eighth year as a CSN affiliate.
Western Carolina welcomes back 540 AM WRGC to the network. A staple of Catamount coverage, WRGC returned to the airwaves at its new strength of 5,000 watts in April of 2012. Billed as "the Best Music Mix for Fraser Fir Country," WRGC plays a variety mix of music with both national and local news and remains a big part of the Jackson County community. WRGC, which picked up a few Catamount baseball games in 2013, will also carry Catamount men's basketball this winter.
WCU's broadcasts return to the airwaves in the Charlotte metropolitan area with two stations that bracket the Queen City. The Catamount Sports Network is proud to again have 1150 AM WAVO - Charlotte/Rock Hill, S.C., and its sister station, 1270 AM WCGC in Belmont / Gaston County.
WCU football as well as men's basketball can be heard across Western North Carolina on ESPN Radio 1310 & 970 AM to round out the 11-affiliate football network. Also, throughout the season, Catamount head coach Mark Speir will be featured on the "Cat Chat" segment every Tuesday with the WISE Guys, WNC's only daily sports talk show. ESPN Radio 1310 AM is based out of Asheville and simulcasts on WYSE 970 AM in Canton, N.C., expanding the Catamount Sports Network's footprint across Western North Carolina. The deal adds an over-the-air presence for CSN in Buncombe County, the largest concentration of WCU alumni in the state.
Catamount Sports Network Personalities:
Longtime play-by-play voice of the Catamounts, Gary Ayers, returns to the microphone this football season, and will be flanked by returning crew members Steve White as color analyst and producer Jeff Bryson in the booth and Greg McLamb patrolling the sidelines.
Ayers has been behind microphone for 27 of the past 28 years at WCU, and has been a familiar voice to the region's sports fans for over three decades. In addition to serving as the "Voice of the Catamounts," the Swain County native has done play-by-play for Pisgah, Tuscola, Franklin, Cherokee and Swain high school football and basketball. Ayers, who is the President of Allison Outdoor Advertising in Sylva, also spent several seasons as the public address announcer for WCU Athletics.
White, who was WCU's first athletics information director from 1967 until 1998, has a vast experience on the radio with Catamount football, men's basketball and baseball. White was honored by the Southern Conference in 2010 by receiving the league's Distinguished Service Award. A 1967 graduate of WCU, he has nearly a half century service to the University and was an eight-time Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) "Outstanding Press Box Service" award winner.
White officially retired from WCU in 1998, but stayed active with WCU on the Catamount Sports Network until 2007 when he took on the role of Director of the "W" Lettermen's Club, a position he held until 2010. He returned to the air waves full-time in 2012 on the Catamount football broadcasts.
Bryson serves as the program's producer, as well as the in-booth host of the pregame, halftime and post-game shows. His radio experience dates back over 26 years. During that time, he has worked at a variety of stations including WZZU-FM in Raleigh; WCHL-AM in Chapel Hill; WKSF-FM in Asheville; and served as the program director at WRGC-AM in Sylva. Bryson is no stranger to the Catamount Sports Network as he worked with CSN providing color analysis for football and men's basketball for the 1995 and '96 seasons. Additionally, he has provided various play-by-play football and basketball broadcasts for Smoky Mountain, Franklin, Cherokee and Pisgah high schools. Bryson, too, serves as a Public Address voice for WCU athletics.
McLamb - a 2000 graduate of WCU - will roam and report from the sidelines for a sixth-straight season after joining the CSN crew on-the-air in 2007. His radio experience includes stints on the weekly sports talk shows, "Sports Talk Live" and "In the Litterbox," both produced on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5. McLamb is also a lead instructor of history at Haywood Community College in Clyde, N.C
Another voice that is scheduled to be heard on CSN this fall include current Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, Daniel Hooker. Hooker, who is the primary contact for Catamount football, will also assist in the production of the pre-game show. The 2001 graduate of WCU also assists with men's basketball broadcasts, as well as handles play-by-play duties for Catamount baseball.
Hooker's radio experience began in 1997 as a student announcer at WWCU-FM in Cullowhee. He served as an on-air personality for daily shifts, as well as helped start an interactive sports talk show, "Sports Talk LIVE," which covered Western Carolina sports. His experience also includes broadcasting Catamount women's basketball during the 2001 season with the aforementioned Crumpler, a season as the play-by-play announcer for the Coastal Plain League-member Thomasville Hi-Toms Baseball team in Thomasville, N.C., and two seasons as the color analyst for the Charleston (SC) Swamp Foxes Arena Football team (af2). He also spent one season on the sidelines during the Catamount Sports Network's coverage of Catamount football in 2001.
Hooker received his Bachelor of Science in Communication with a double-major in Sport Management from Western Carolina in 2001. He is originally from Liberty, NC, and now resides in Cullowhee.
CSN broadcasts using the Tie-Line i-Mix G3 unit, with network breaks during football and basketball transmitted on-site. Also in use are a six-channel Shure M367 Mixer and a Shure PGX2/SM58 Handheld Transmitter and PGX4 Diversity Receiver. Fans can also get involved with the broadcast by commenting on the game again through E-mail at CatamountSports@hotmail.com.
2013 Catamount Sports Network Football Affiliates:
WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 - Cullowhee, N.C. (Football, Men's & Women's Basketball)
WAME 92.9 FM - Statesville (Football)
540 AM WRGC - Sylva, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
550 AM WAME - Statesville (Football)
920 AM WPTL - Canton, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
970 AM WYSE - Canton, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
1050 AM WFSC - Franklin, N.C. (Football)
1150 AM WAVO - Charlotte, N.C. / Rock Hill, S.C. (Football)
1270 AM WCGC - Belmont, N.C. / Gaston County (Football)
1310 AM WISE - Asheville, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
1590 AM WHBN - Bryson City / Swain County (Football, Men's Basketball)
1600 AM WTZQ - Hendersonville, N.C. (Football)
Online at www.CatamountSports.com
2013-14 Catamount Sports Network Affiliate Bios:
WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee will again serve as the flagship station of the network, housing the network coupler and Internet up-link from which the broadcast will be disseminated. A broadcast service of Western Carolina University, WWCU is a classic hits station with many specialty shows and is the only FM station in the Catamount Sports Network. The station has carried a variety of Catamount athletic events on its airwaves over the past three seasons. In addition to broadcasting CSN's coverage of football, men's and women's basketball, WWCU has also carried Catamount soccer from the Southern Conference and NCAA Championships, as well as Catamount baseball and softball broadcasts.
Statesville's station, Country Legends 550 AM and 92.9 broadcasts 24 hours a day to Iredell County and surrounding communities playing classic country music.
A staple of Catamount coverage over the years, 540 AM WRGC, is the local source for news, weather and information of interest to the local community. WRGC returned to the airwaves at its new strength of 5,000 watts in April, 2012. Billed as "the Best Music Mix for Fraser Fir Country," WRGC plays a variety mix of music with both national and local news and remains a big part of the Jackson County community and a staple of Catamount coverage.
920 AM WPTL in Canton, N.C., features a "great blend of today's stars and legends of country music." WPTL, a locally-oriented, full-service radio station, features a live morning show with John Anderson and the best country music along with hourly news, weather and community events.
1050 AM WFSC is the heritage community radio station in Franklin/Macon County, N.C. With a full-service format that focuses on local news, sports, weather and community events, WFSC has a unique relationship with its community dating back to 1957 when WFSC signed on the air as the first radio station in Macon County and the first broadcast voice in far western North Carolina. Broadcasting 24 hours daily, seven days per week, "Franklin's First Voice" - 1050 WFSC's format consists of heavy local news and information focused on the residents of Macon County. A member of the Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting Group, WFSC celebrated its 55th year on the air in May of 2012 by increasing its broadcast strength to 5,000 watts.
Charlotte, N.C. / Rock Hill, S.C.
1150 AM WAVO prides itself on playing "the greatest music ever made." The sister station of WCGC-AM, WAVO is based just south of Charlotte in Rock Hill, S.C., and plays classic American standards from artists of yesterday and today.
Belmont, N.C. / Gaston County
1270 AM WCGC has served Gaston County since the 1950s, broadcasting at a strength of 10,000 watts at 1270 on the AM dial. The call letters - WCGC - stand for We've Covered Gaston County! The family-oriented Christian radio station is on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Asheville, N.C. / Canton, N.C.
ESPN Radio 1310 and 970 AM is based out of Asheville and simulcasts on WYSE 970 AM in Canton, N.C. The two stations are members of the five-station Asheville Radio Group which also includes Mix 96.5 FM WOXL; 98.1 FM the RIVER and 105.9 The Mountain. 1310 and 970 carries ESPN Radio programming while producing its own local afternoon show, the WISE Guys.
AM 1590 WBHN is 500 watts and has served as the "Voice of the Great Smokies" since 1964. It returns to the Catamount Sports Network in 2013 for the first-time since 2008. WBHN is a locally-owned and locally-oriented, full-service radio station playing the Best Country: a mix of Prime Country, Classic Country, and a little bit of Bluegrass blended in. With local, state, and national news and the latest weather report every fifteen minutes, WBHN broadcasts 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Serving Swain and Eastern Jackson counties with a coverage area from Nantahala to Dillsboro, WBHN is looking forward to celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2014 with an upgrade to 5,000 watts.
WTZQ 1600 AM, "Henderson County's Timeless Favorites" has built a reputation of being a locally-based, community-involved radio station that dates back to 1963. Its unique music mix is augmented with regional news, local news, weather and Henderson County current events.