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 2012-13, nine stations across both North and South Carolina are set to carry broadcasts of the Catamount Sports Network during the 2012 Catamount Football season with three 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.
CSN is led by the lone FM signal in the group, 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 in 2012 is a trio of 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 sixth-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 seventh year as a CSN affiliate.
Western Carolina welcomes back a familiar station at a different frequency for 2012 as 540 AM 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 over the years.
WRGC will also carry Catamount men's basketball in 2012-13.
This year also marks WCU's return to the airwaves in the Charlotte metropolitan area with the addition of two stations that bracket the Queen City. The Catamount Sports Network welcomes 1150 AM WAVO - Charlotte/Rock Hill, S.C., back to the network after a one-year hiatus, and its sister station, 1270 AM WCGC in Belmont / Gaston County.
WCU Football can be heard across Western North Carolina on ESPN Radio 1310 & 970 AM to round out the nine-affiliate network. Also, throughout the season, Catamount head coach Mark Speirwill 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.
Gary Ayers is set to return to the microphone as the play-by-play voice for both football and men's basketball in 2012-13. All told, Ayers has been behind microphone for 26 of the past 27 years 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.
Also returning to the air waves during football season this fall are Jeff Bryson in the booth and sideline reporter, Greg McLamb. Bryson, a 22-year radio veteran ranging across the state, has also served as a Public Address voice for WCU athletics since 1998, while McLamb - a 2000 graduate of WCU - will patrol the sidelines for a fifth-straight season.
Bryson's radio experience dates back over 25 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.
McLamb joined 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, who earned his Masters degree from Auburn, is also a lead instructor of history at Haywood Community College in Clyde, N.C.
Other voices that are scheduled to be heard on CSN this fall include current Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations, Daniel Hooker and Steven Crumpler. 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.
Crumpler is slated to continue his role for a sixth season as the play-by-play announcer for Catamount women's basketball. A 25-year veteran of radio, Crumpler is a former program coordinator of WWCU-FM in Cullowhee. Before arriving in Cullowhee, Crumpler served as the student station manager at WSIF-FM in Wilkesboro, NC while obtaining his associates degree in broadcasting from Wilkes Community College in 1997. During the same period, Crumpler also worked as an announcer for the 100,000-watt super station WKBC-FM/AM in North Wilkesboro. All told, the Whiteville, N.C., native has called Catamount women's basketball for eight combined seasons dating back to 2000.
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.
2012 Catamount Sports Network Affiliates:
WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 - Cullowhee, N.C. (Football, Men's & Women's Basketball)
540 AM WRGC - Sylva, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
920 AM WPTL - Canton, N.C. (Football, Men's Basketball)
970 AM WYSE - Canton, N.C. (Football)
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)
1600 AM WTZQ - Hendersonville, N.C. (Football)
Online at www.CatamountSports.com
2012-13 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.
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.
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.