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KINGSTON, RI- It’s always been easy to find radio coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Dial Global Sports (formerly Westwood One) has had the exclusive national radio rights to the tournament for quite some time. Few people may realize that Dial Global also has the rights to the women’s championship. Unfortunately for fans of the women’s sport, that national radio coverage does not begin until the regional finals, which begin tonight.
“It’s a growing product.” says Dave Ryan, lead-play-by-play voice for Dial Global Sports’ coverge of the women’s tournament,”We’re trying to get ourselves established by doing the Regional Finals first then the Final Four.”
Since Dial Global has to spread itself thin covering both big tournaments, securing the interest of local affiliates to air a full women’s tournament is a challenge as the men’s product continues to be seen as a better investment.
“It’s all about clearing stations. (The women’s tournament) is such an exciting event I think ultimately we’ll have every game on.” said Ryan
Ryan will be calling the action of Tuesday’s Kingston Regional Final between UConn and Kentucky. He will also be making his debut next week working the Women’s Final Four for Dial Global in Denver. Ryan is no stranger to NCAA championship events, working the Women’s Tournament for ESPN from 2004-2009 and the Men’s Final Four for CBS 3D and its world feed the last two years. This season Ryan called the men’s First Four match-ups from Dayton for the radio network.
“After 23 years doing this it’s good to get new challenges, a new chapter.” said Ryan, ”It’s a fresh experience for me. I couldn’t be more excited”
Ryan will work alongside Ann Shatz in the Regional Final and Debbie Antonelli at the Final Four. Shatz played college ball at Creighton while Antonelli learned under legendary coack Kay Yow at NC State. Ryan plans to take full advantage of the pair’s knowledge of the women’s game.
“You have to rely on your analysts to know the game better than you do.” said Ryan ”Those people are so great at knowing the intricacies of a game you’ll never know.”
Setting up a television production of the NCAA Tournament requires days of preparation. That’s not the case for the Dial Global radio technical crew, which will show up at the Ryan Center site today for the regional final tomorrow. That short window is still enough time for the producer and announcing team to get all the information they need to get set for the broadcast.
“We get two players from each team and the head coaches as well. said Ryan, “One on one time for us is critical. That gives us perfect insight to what we need.”
After the final buzzer of the Final Four in Denver, Ryan resumes his duties for CBS Sports Network covering college lacrosse in the spring and professional lacrosse this summer. Ryan also calls college football and basketball for the television network.
“It’s a year round job” Ryan said about his schedule, “It’s a lot of work. But a lot of fun too.”