For the first time since 2000, Norm Wamer will not be doing play-by-play of local high school football and basketball games on radio.
Taking Wamer’s place in that capacity on 106.5 WLQR-FM beginning this fall will be another longtime area radio voice, Bill Clark.
Clark and his Courtside Productions staff will broadcast Central Catholic football games on Friday nights, and they will also broadcast local boys basketball games on Friday nights in the winter season.
The decision to bring Clark on board was made by Andy Stuart, who joined Cumulus Media, Inc. as regional vice president/market manager in May. Stuart declined to comment on the change.
Wamer, an employee of Cumulus, will continue his weekday afternoon sports talk show Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. on 106.5.
Wamer first did high school basketball broadcasts on 1470 WLQR-AM in January of 2001, following the death of longtime local radio personality Don King, who had done area high school football, basketball, and baseball games on that station.
Wamer began his high school football broadcasts in August of 2001 and had done both sports each year since. In June of 2009, Wamer’s weekday talk show and football and basketball broadcasts moved to 106.5.
“While I’m personally disappointed, the station will be in good hands on Friday nights,” Wamer said. “I want to thank my color commentator, Paul Michalak, for his amazing body of work, and all the coaches and [athletic directors] that gave us countless hours of their time. I hope people felt we carried on a great tradition established by Don King.”
Clark said Stuart approached him in June about the opportunity, and they reached an agreement shortly thereafter.
“I did not go looking,” Clark said. “They came to me and said they liked what I do. I’m very excited, and I’m looking forward to having a consistent home for all of my different shows and games.”
Clark will purchase air time from 106.5 and sell advertising to cover the cost of his broadcasts.
In addition to the Friday football and basketball games, Clark will also bring his Monday Football Forum talk show from 7-8 p.m. during the fall.
That show, which Clark co-hosts with Pat Gucciardo, Sr., and Tom Guitteau, features talks with coaches and players from two local high school teams each week.
Clark’s son, Jason, will also do a football scoreboard show on Fridays after the Central postgame show.
Wamer had done Three Rivers Athletic Conference football games on Fridays, featuring member schools Whitmer, St. John’s Jesuit, St. Francis de Sales, Clay, and Central.
During the basketball season, he had been doing boys games involving TRAC and City League teams as well as occasional games outside of the those leagues.
Also as a part of Clark’s package with Cumulus, he will broadcast a number of non-Friday girls basketball games on 1470, WLQR’s other station.
“It’s exciting to have somebody come after me,” Clark said. “It’s nice to know that people appreciate the work that all of my people do. We have a great, professional team, and I think that’s what 106.5 liked.”
The past two years Clark had broadcast Central football games l on 107.7 WPFX-FM. Prior to that, he had done Central games on 1230 WCWA-AM, the station on which he had done his boys and girls basketball games since the 1990s.
Clark said because of his successful past relationship doing Central football games exclusively, it was his desire to continue that practice as opposed to featuring multiple teams. He said Cumulus agreed.
“When you’re doing Central games, it’s mostly in the TRAC, so it’s pretty much a good game every week because the TRAC is so strong,” Clark said. “With basketball, I do everybody.”
The new Friday football block on 106.5 will open with an on-site tailgate show hosted by Joe Rychnovsky from 6-6:30 p.m., followed by Clark’s pregame show, the game, his postgame show, and Jason Clark’s scoreboard show with co-host Bill Boyle.
Central opens Aug. 29 at home against Warren (Mich.) De La Salle.