Monday, August 3, 2015

WRAK Continues Tradition at Little League Baseball World Series

Ken Sawyer and Bill Byham at Volunteer Stadium
The faces have changed. So have the uniforms, equipment, stadiums and participating countries. Even the rules have been tweaked. But there is one constant at the Little League Baseball® World Series: the presence of NewsRadio 1400 WRAK.
As a station, we are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Little League

The Williamsport AM station will build on that tradition at the 69th annual Series, scheduled for Aug. 20-30 in South Williamsport, as the exclusive U.S. radio play-by-play station. WRAK has broadcast every Little League®World Series, dating back to the inaugural event in 1947 when it was known as the National Little League Tournament.

No members of WRAK’s 2015 broadcast team were behind the microphone in 1947. However, the current four-man crew’s years of experience more than double the number of Series played.

 “Man in the Crowd” Tom Speicher
Play-by-play announcers Gary Chrisman and Ken Sawyer, color commentators Scott Lowery and Mike Fogarty, and “Man in the Crowd” Tom Speicher have a combined 150 years covering the world’s premier youth sporting event.

“As a station, we are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Little League,” said Troy Lee Poorman, program director for iHeart Media Williamsport, which owns WRAK. “Broadcasting an event for 69 consecutive years is amazing. I think what’s even more impressive is the dedication and experience of our Little League World Series broadcast team.”

Chrisman (42nd year) is in his fifth decade as a Williamsport radio mainstay. For the past 28 years, he has fronted the successful “Chrisman Morning Show” for WRAK sister station, 102.7 WKSB. He is also the owner and play-by-play announcer for Cable Sports Productions, which has televised high school and college football and basketball on regional cable for nearly 30 years. A Williamsport native, Chrisman attended his first Series as a five-year-old.

Sawyer (47th year) was Williamsport’s prominent radio voice from 1970 until he retired from WRAK in 2013. During his award-winning career, Sawyer fulfilled roles ranging from talk show host to sports director to operations manager. He was the voice of Williamsport High School football and basketball for 35 years and Lycoming football for 20 years. He is chairman of the Lycoming County United Way 2015 campaign.

Fogarty (31st year) first worked the Series in 1962 as a member of the Little League grounds crew. Later, he served for several years as a Little League summer camp instructor. He also umpired high school girls’ softball for 35 years. A retired public school teacher, Fogarty works as a realtor.

Lowery (15th year) attended his first Series as a boy when it was played in Williamsport at what is now known as Carl E. Stotz Field, named for Little League’s founder. A former regional director for Little League, Lowery also has worked the Series as a newspaper reporter, official scorer and public address announcer. Lowery coached Little League for 22 years and has been a basketball coach in the South Williamsport Area School District since 1987. He is the executive director of the Lycoming County United Way.

Chrisman, Sawyer, Fogarty and Lowery are all enshrined in the West Branch Valley Sports Hall of Fame.

Speicher (18th year) interviews parents, spectators and special guests and provides tidbits every half inning as WRAK’s “Man in the Crowd.” He is a writer/video editor at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Speicher’s freelance media work includes writing for Viking Update Magazine, serving as a correspondent for CBS Radio News and working as an NFL sideline reporter for Sports USA Radio.

“Our announcers all have unique backgrounds and work experiences,” Poorman said. “One thing they all have in common is passion for the Little League World Series and a commitment to offer listeners the best broadcast possible.”

“We appreciate WRAK’s dedication to the Little League Baseball World Series,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League president and chief executive officer. “For generations, the station’s play-by-play coverage has conveyed the ideals of Little League: character, courage and loyalty. We look forward to working with the broadcast team again this year for what should be an exciting Series.”

WRAK’s crew will broadcast all 32 games of the 69th annual event. International contests through Aug. 24 will air on WRAK sister station, Bill 95.5 FM. As in past years, WRAK’s coverage of the U.S. and world championship games will be carried by Sports USA Radio, which will feed the broadcast to stations throughout the country.

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