NCAA Tournament

Headed for the last clash of the Men’s season, Purdue vs. Connecticut; The Huskies looking to repeat

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP 

Monday, April 8
TV: TURNER Family
9:20 PM- Purdue vs. UConn 
Ian Eagle, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson
Radio: Westwood One
Kevin Kugler, Clark Kellogg and Jim Jackson

During this weekend of the college basketball championship, the Men’s Final Four is generally cleared in most of the big markets on network radio. For years though it wasn’t. In the late 1970s, CBS Radio Sports and Host Communications partnered in distributing the broadcasts.

Host also held the rights to the University of Kentucky whose games were called by the beloved Cawood Ledford. He also did select-games of the Kentucky Colonels of the old American Basketball Association. Cawood was worshiped by the UK fans. The Colonels bowed out of the league and that was it for pro basketball and Louisville. He did Horse Racing on national radio.

UK wasn’t known for its football prowess but Ledford covered the gridiron too. I remember Stockton telling me that his two basketball idols were Ledford and Marty Glickman. I also believe that Glickman and Ledford split a semi-final doubleheader during the NCAA Tournament.

The top five contributors to NCAA Radio during the Final Four (based on time in grade and overall work – in alphabetical order):

Kevin Harlan (5 years) One of the best broadcasters to emerge from the University of Kansas under the tutelage of Tom Hedrick who did Chiefs games. Kevin’s overpowering voice is immediately identifiable.

Kevin Kugler (current – Voice 17 years) Hired by Westwood One in 2008. He’s climbed the ranks, do the Final Four Final, now also doing NFL for Fox while continuing

Cawood Ledford (est,15) Fans and voices considered him tops in the business from the mid-1950s through 1992 when he retired in 1992. For generations Ledford dominated the radio role. (Honoring Cawood, a Kentucky icon

Bill Raftery – He was bestowed as top analyst on CBS’ TV team in 2015. He began in 1993 on radio and overlapped on television in 2002. Raf had done 23 collective years of radio and TV. He and Jim Nantz made for a soft and joint combo. His knowledge of the game as an ex-coach, his wonderful sense of humor and immediate ability to break down any play are marvelous.

John Rooney He’s been an excellent play-by-player for many years, 18 seasons with the White Sox and now 18 in St. Louis and going strong. From 1984 through 2003, he did baseball and football on CBS Radio nationally.

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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