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Wilkins Rises Up The Ranks In NYC

Jason Barrett

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It’s not an easy road for an aspiring network-level sports play-by-play personality, but not much deters Jacob Wilkins.

He only knows one way to pursue his dream job — with passion and persistence.

Wilkins, who earned his broadcast journalism degree from Penn State in 2010, works as a sports update anchor for WFAN-AM (the nation’s first all-sports station), CBS Sports Radio and Sirius XM Radio. Based in New York City, he also handles play-by-play duties for Stony Brook University women’s basketball.

Just four years after leaving the College of Communications, where he stayed busy in a variety of roles with ComRadio, Wilkins has already handled play-by-play duties for a short-season Class A baseball team and completed assignments for mlb.com, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, MSG Varsity, CBS Sports and YES Network.

“There are just so many opportunities out there,” Wilkins said. “So far, New York has been a great place. It’s where I’m from, not that I’m tied to the city, but I’ve been able to stay busy.”

As if balancing several jobs was not enough, Wilkins created more work for himself last fall, launching a regular podcast titled “Let’s Talk” that recently welcomed College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. Previous guests include New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, Fox Sports play-by-play man Kenny Albert and YES Network host Bob Lorenz.To listen to the podcast, click here.

Wilkins has also interviewed Penn Staters for the show, including Carmen Finestra (Class of 1971), the co-creator of “Home Improvement” and former supervising producer for “The Cosby Show,” and Mitch Lukevics (Class of 1976), director of minor league operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wilkins, 26, had pitched an interview-style show to a few outlets but found limited interest. After brainstorming with a family friend, he decided to do the show himself, hoping the podcast would eventually draw interest and wider distribution because of its quality.

“The toughest part was getting the first guests. It was sort of streaky,” Wilkins said. “Fortunately, we got a couple of good ones early, and it’s found a rhythm. It’s still not easy — and I spend more time working on the podcast, just lining up guests and scheduling, than the other jobs — but it’s worth it.”

As Wilkins pursues his network dream job, his commitment to networking, with a sincere interest in getting better and getting to know people in the industry, provides an unmistakable calling card. He’s driven and sincere about meeting media and sports personalities. He’s authentic, not a schmoozer or someone simply collecting contact information.

“I’m constantly learning and networking is something you try to improve on,” Wilkins said. “It’s about developing relationships and learning how to better present myself as well as really listening to people. I’ve tried to be fairly ambitious and find people who support that ambition.”

To read the rest of the story visit Penn State University where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

DNVR Sports Files Injunction Against Bonneville Over Denver Sports Brand

“We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community.”

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After Bonneville International unveiled new branding for its Denver Sports properties, digital outlet DNVR Sports has filed an injunction to stop the radio company from utilizing the brand and logos.

In a Twitter thread, ALLCITY Network CEO Brandon Spano claimed DNVR Sports has already seen listeners, viewers, and readers confuse the two brands. “We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community,” Spano tweeted.

“Our branding was created purposefully, to be different from the way sports networks traditionally looked,” he said in another tweet. “To represent the city of Denver in a simple way while removing us from the gloss and pretentiousness of sports media. To create something that brings people together.”

Spano added that ALLCITY sent Bonneville a cease-and-desist letter last week, but claims the company failed to respond, so an injunction has been filed.

The Denver Sports branding utilized by Bonneville — which encompasses 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver — features a black and white city skyline as well as the Rocky Mountains inside a hexagon with block lettering. The DNVR Sports logo is a rectangle, similar to the city of Denver flag, with the sun centered between the mountain peaks and a block “DNVR” below the rectangle.

The complaint filed by StudioIP LLC — the law firm representing ALLCITY — claims the branding used by Bonneville constitutes “trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade dress infringement, dilution by tarnishment, and tortious interference arising out of Bonneville’s trademark infringement of Plaintiff’s trademarks,” according to Westword.

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Sports Radio News

Ray Didinger Returning to 94WIP

“Didinger will be a member of the new morning show with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94WIP once Angelo Cataldi officially retires.”

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Longtime Philadelphia sports personality Ray Didinger stepped away from his media roles at NBC Sports Philadelphia and 94WIP in 2022, but he couldn’t stay away forever.

Didinger will be a member of the new morning show with Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on 94WIP once Angelo Cataldi officially retires.

The 75-year-old returned to NBC Sports Philadelphia late in 2022 as a member of the Eagles Postgame show and decided to return to the venerable Philadelphia sports radio station as well.

Didinger will work on an as-needed basis for DeCamara and Ritchie, contributing to news surrounding the Eagles. Known for his yellow notepad, Didinger has covered the franchise for more than 50 years.

After his retirement, Didinger was the subject of an episode of NFL Films Presents… in December, at the time telling Cataldi he had stayed busy in retirement.

“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run.

“Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”

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Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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