Radio Talk & Pop-Flys: 2012 Indians Radio Network Workout
On August 16 & 17, the Indians hosted several of Indians Radio Network Affiliates for an annual workout on Progressive Field. Attendees lived in a Major League Player’s shoes for a day by dressing and in the clubhouse, taking batting practice, pitching and fielding. TribeVibe stopped to chat with one participant, Rusty Cates of WMAN in Mansfield, OH, to get his take on the day, his experience in radio and some of his favorite Indians memories.
TribeVibe: How many times have you been to the Indians Radio Network Workout?
Rusty Cates: I’m a repeat offender. It’s one of the greatest days of the year for us [radio broadcasters] we get to be on Progressive Field running around. We can sit in the dugout, take a few swings at home plate, catch a few fly balls and just have a great time with the other guys in the network. It’s great – especially when you’re a big Indians fan. I’m a lifelong Tribe fan.
TV: Growing up did you play baseball?
RC: Yep. I played Little League until 6th grade. I was pretty much that kid who stood in the far outfield – the spot where the coach places kids who won’t hurt the team much. In my adult years I’ve played church league softball, but I still like the game and do what I can while I’m on the field.
TV: Tell us a bit more about your radio station.
RC: [It’s a] News talk station in Mansfield, Ohio. We run a lot of the big talk shows like Glenn Beck, but weekends and evenings we do a lot of sports talk. I host a live sports talk program every evening from 6PM-8PM.
TV: How long has WMAN-Mansfield been a part of the Indians Radio Network?
RC: That is a good question and I’m sure it goes back 50 years at least. I grew up in the same city I work in – Mansfield. There was never a time in my life that I can’t remember WMAN not having the Indians.
TV: We have a lot of aspiring broadcasters we read TribeVibe. Tell us, how did you get started in radio?
RC: I’ve always wanted to be involved in radio. I went to school and studied communications at Bowling Green and worked at their radio station there in the ‘80’s and worked my way up.
TV: As a fan, does it feel any different being part of the Indians Radio Network?
RC: Well, I’m definitely an Indians fan, but even more so because I have some responsibility to the Indians [organization]. I write the promo bumps for on-air, I get to work on content that helps sell the Indians and I run the feature spots in the morning. I feel like I’m first hand, helping to deliver Indians baseball talk to the fans of the Mansfield area.
For 7 months we’re all about the Tribe, that’s a huge chunk of the broadcast year. So, our promotion and sales teams do whatever [they] can to get the Indians out there. The station IDs are changed to promote the Indians; we run at least one promo an hour about the Indians; we run all the ancillary programing about the Indians; game updates; manager’s minutes in the morning, game highlights. Once a week I’ll even call up Bobby D and chat and use that as a weekly feature. Every week at 7:10AM in the morning and he answers the phone like clockwork – it’s amazing.
We know the people of Mansfield love the Cleveland Indians. Even if they aren’t winning they are still apart of Cleveland’s summer, part of life and people still talk about it – it’s tradition.
TV: What’s your favorite Indians memory?
RC: When the Indians made it to the playoffs in 1995 and we were in the American League Championship, I had a chance to get some tickets and my wife and two daughters were with me and I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that I would witness the Indians getting that far in the playoffs. We were able to attend as a family. It was the year that people put bubble gum on top of their hats; high socks were a big deal, even Sister Mary [Assumpta] and the nuns were out! There was just so much pop culture that came out of that moment of the Indians in the playoffs.
To catch the Tribe on the radio in your region, check our list of Indians Radio Network Affiliates on Indians.com
-TribeVibe contributor Erin Parker