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Leitner Returns to Padres Booth After Cancer Scare

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Less than one month after a cancer scare, Padres’ longtime play-by-play announcer, Ted Leitner returned to the broadcast booth this week.

On May 29th, Leitner tweeted he had cancer, announcing he would be stepping away from the Padres’ radio booth indefinitely.  On May 31st, Leitner underwent successful surgery to remove a golf ball sized tumor which had a 95% probability of being cancerous, but ended up being benign.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” Leitner said during his first Padres broadcast since the surgery. “I’ll talk more about — not so much what I’ve been through — but what you’ve done for me out there, you Padre fans. I thank you, I thank you, I thank you.”

During the game, Leitner, known by Padre fans as “Uncle Teddy,” spoke about the outpouring of support he received and the moment he learned his tumor was benign.

“How could that happen?” Leitner asked. “Why would that happen? I believe and always will believe it was you folks reaching out with your thoughts and your prayers. I believe it 100 percent. And I thank you, my children thank you and my grandchildren thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now, baseball.”

The 71-year old Uncle Teddy has been the radio voice of the Padres since 1980.  “Returning yesterday was my biggest Padres game of all time,” Leitner said with The Scott & BR Show on San Diego’s The Mighty 1090 in what was an emotional and at times giddy interview.

After broadcasting two home games this week, Leitner will not be traveling for the road trip to San Francisco and Texas as he continues his recovery from surgery.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

 

Sports Radio News

Ken Selvaggi Named New General Manager of ESPN Louisville

The longtime television veteran will bring his forty years of experience to ESPN Louisville and enhance their presence with Louisville athletics.

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ESPN Louisville has announced the hiring of a new General Manager. Ken Selvaggi will take over the brand and stay in Louisville after leaving WAVE-TV late last year.

Ken Selvaggi will be joining the group’s management team alongside Vice President Drew Deener and Program Director Andy Sweeney. ESPN Louisville owns ESPN 680 Louisville, 105.7 Frankfort and 93.9 The Ville.

Chad Boeger, President of ESPN Louisville on the hire, “Ken brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ESPN Louisville. He is a strong leader in the media industry. We are thrilled to have him join our staff as we launch our broadcast partnership with the University of Louisville.”

Selvaggi joins the cluster after previously being with WAVE-TV (Louisville) where he served as Vice-President/General Manager for more than a decade. During his tenure at WAVE, the station was awarded the Kentucky Broadcasters Association Station of the Year in 2019
and 2020, an Emmy for Overall Excellence in 2017 and Edward R. Murrow awards for Overall Excellence in 2014 and 2019.

Leadership Louisville

Selvaggi’s career spans more than 40 years in broadcasting with stints as General Manager at WSFA-TV in Montgomery, Alabama and KSNT-TV in Topeka, Kansas. He also brings experience as a former News Director at three West Virginia television stations with his longest tenure being ten years at WSAZ-TV in Huntington/Charleston.

He also was special projects producer at WHAS-TV in Louisville, news and sports producer at
KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and news director at a National Public radio station in Pittsburgh.

The television veteran is happy to embrace the position. “I am excited to join the ESPN Louisville team of great professionals who do compelling work to serve the community. We have outstanding content for listeners on multiple platforms and will be expanding our local
offerings even more in the coming months that will serve our audience and business partners well.”

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Indiana Radio Voice Joe Smith To Retire After 2022 Football Season

Smith has spent the last 40 seasons as the pre-game, halftime and post-game host and the upcoming Indiana football season will be his last.

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Indiana University

This season will mark the 40th for Joe Smith, the longtime radio host for Indiana University. After this season’s football campaign, it will be his last.

The pre-game, halftime and post-game voice of Indiana Hoosiers football and basketball has announced he will be stepping away from his post following the final football game of this upcoming season.

“Joe Smith has been an integral and versatile member of the IU Radio Network broadcast team for the better part of 40 years,” Don Fischer, Indiana’s play-by-play man said. “At one time or another, Joe has served as the broadcast engineer, football spotter, statistician, and our pre-game, halftime, and post-game host through those four decades.”

The Daily Hoosier

Smith quipped that it’d be difficult to keep him from being alongside Fischer for his own milestone. “I would not miss Don’s 50th season for anything in the world. Don is a true friend and to share the booth with him one final year, well, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Smith plans to remain on as host of the football post-game show, while mentoring his eventual replacement. He also serves as Sports Director at Sarkes Tarzian talk WGCL Bloomington (1370).

Retirement has been a popular topic recently with collegiate vocal institutions. Mick Hubert, the voice of the Florida Gators announced last week he is retiring following the baseball team’s season. Gene Deckerhoff also announced he will wrap his career soon. The voice of the Florida State Seminoles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finish with the Bucs 2022 season.

In 1998, Smith was named Indiana Sportscaster of the Year. He was honored 2003 with an induction into the Indiana Sportswriters/Sportscasters Hall of Fame. Last August he was the latest inductee into the Monroe County (Bloomington) Sports Hall of Fame.

Smith continued, “IU has meant so much to me and my family, and I can’t wait to watch [football] Coach Allen build the Hoosiers back into a Top-25 program. I also want to thank [VP/Director of Intercollegiate Athletics] Scott Dolson for his support and for allowing me to close out my IU career on this incredible high note.”

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Danny Parkins To Texas Governor: ‘Kiss My Ass’

“You don’t care about Chicago, you are using Chicago as a red herring, as a slur.”

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The mass shooting that took place on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas captured the attention of the nation.

Remarks from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot in the aftermath of the tragedy got the attention of Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score in Chicago.

Gov. Abbot brought up the fact that Chicago has a gun violence problem even though gun laws in the city are among the strictest in the country.

Parkins took issue with the Texas governor trying to score political points by dunking on Chicago in a moment of tragedy.

“You don’t care about Chicago, you are using Chicago as a red herring, as a slur,” Parkins said. “And if we want to talk about Chicago, we can talk about Chicago with facts…What about Chicago? Kiss my ass, Greg Abbot. I can’t stand it, man. It’s so insulting.”

What about Chicago is often a talking point from one side of the gun control issue that suggests despite having such tough laws on firearm ownership, thousands of people each year in the city end up shooting victims. Therefore gun control laws don’t work to prevent mass shootings.

Parkins used that phrase for good last year, putting on the What About Chicago Radiothon. The station fundraiser in 2021 raised more that $660,000 for Athletes for Justice and Austin Harvest.

Parkins explained Wednesday that the problems in the Windy City are multi-faceted. Yes, gun violence issues exist, but Parkins said “it is a problem that many, many, many, many people care deeply about and are trying to solve, but it’s a separate problem.”

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