Expanding opportunities, Wilmington Blue Rocks partnership enables students to call pro baseball live

Expanding opportunities, Wilmington Blue Rocks partnership enables students to call pro baseball live

Expanding opportunities, Wilmington Blue Rocks partnership enables students to call pro baseball live

Rowan Today, April 6, 2021

An expanded partnership between Rowan University and the Wilmington Blue Rocks minor league baseball franchise enables student broadcasters to call games live from WGLS-FM on Rowan’s main campus.

The April 5 announcement came during Neil Hartman’s Pizza with the Pros program, a weekly networking opportunity that is available to all Rowan students in which the former broadcaster invites sporting world professionals to speak with students. The Blue Rocks partnership builds on a program started in January with the Delaware Blue Coats, a G League franchise of the Philadelphia 76ers.

“One of my priorities is to expose our students to as many professional opportunities as possible, and this partnership with the Blue Rocks provides a tremendous in-person experience calling games and gaining valuable training as an undergraduate,” said Hartman, an Emmy Award-winning former anchor with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. “We now offer the opportunity for our students to work in both professional basketball with the Blue Coats and minor league baseball with the Blue Rocks. It’s a unique combination that makes our program stand out.”

The Blue Rocks, which this spring began play in the High-A East league, is a minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

Hartman, who teaches in Rowan’s Sports Communication & Media program and directs the Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact, said the new partnership will enable about six to eight students to take rotating shifts providing play-by-play and color commentary roles during the Blue Rocks’ 60 home games this season and three to four others to serve as producers/hosts. In addition, Hartman said, there may be front office internship positions developing with the Blue Rocks organization.

For generations, Rowan Radio WGLS-FM has trained student broadcasters who not only call games for University sports teams but produce news, public service and music programs that air live 24 hours a day.

Rowan Radio has broadcast Blue Rocks games since 2011 but, for the most part, the relationship did not afford students a behind-the-mic opportunity to call games.

Rowan alumnus John Sadak '00, M'03, who this spring became the play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, said the experience of calling professional games is invaluable for any aspiring sportscaster.

“You’re getting tangible tape that can result in jobs,” Sadak said.

WGLS Sports Director Gary Erdelyi, a senior Journalism/Radio, Television & Film double major, said though he’s called games for virtually every varsity sport Rowan fields, he’s thrilled about the new opportunities, for himself and for Rowan students to come.

“I’m excited both for the students and the station,” said Erdelyi, who aspires to a career as a play-by-play broadcaster for a pro team. “The new partnerships are a  wonderful way to not just build experience but to grow sports on Rowan Radio.”

Students interested in broadcasting Blue Rocks games must submit a cover letter and resume to sportscam@rowan.edu by 11:59 p.m. on April 11. Auditions will be held Wednesday, April 14.