TV Bob brings sports to life on screen

By Greg Gulas

TV Bob brings sports to life on screen

The veteran sportscaster spoke of the advantages and disadvantages of the recent marriage of facilities.

BOARDMAN — Bob Hannon has never been one to shy away from giving his opinion.

In fact, he welcomes the opportunity, whether it is from his familiar seat in front of the camera as sports director of WYTV, as the play-by-play voice of Youngstown State football or as the guest speaker at Monday’s weekly Curbstone Coaches meeting at the Blue Wolf Banquet Center.

The New Castle native and Slippery Rock University graduate is in his 20th year at WYTV and this fall will be his 20th season broadcasting YSU football.

He said his role with the Penguins has been his most enjoyable over the past two decades.

“I got in when Jim Tressel was laying the foundation of YSU’s football program. Over the past 19 years it has been so much fun for me to witness the myriad of team and individual accomplishments while broadcasting their games,” Hannon said.

“Jim Tressel- and Jon Heacock-coached teams have represented YSU in a first-class manner. … Because of their leadership, YSU has an impeccable image on the national football scene,” he added.

In December WYTV became a part of the same ownership group as WKBN-TV. While the instant marriage has had its drawbacks, the merger has also had some distinct benefits.

“It used to be Channel 33 against both Channel 27 and Channel 21. With the merger, it has now become Channel 33 and our counterparts at Channel 27 against Channel 21. When I get a breaking story and the same goes for Channel 27, we share,” he said.

A huge positive has been an increase in staffing where there are now five reporters covering sports as opposed to just two in the department when Channel 33 stood alone.

In addition to Hannon and assistant director Bill Castrovince, adding Channel 27 sports director Ryan Allison and staffers Chad Krispinsky and Joe Aulisio to the mix has helped increase nightly coverage.

“With an increased staff we were able to use clips from no less than 10 high school tournament games last month. The additional staff has really helped both stations from a coverage standpoint,” Hannon noted.

A downside to the merger includes losing support staff and some on-air technical problems.

“At first it was very difficult; very challenging. A lot of good people, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes were let go so it was tough to see that happen.

“From a technical standpoint there are still some bugs to work out, but that is slowly being ironed out. Ideally, managers wanted this merger to take place in the spring but that was pushed up several months to this past December,” said.

Hannon was asked about the recent resignation of YSU women’s basketball coach Tisha Hill.

“I felt like YSU was more than patient with Tisha,” he said. “I knew last week that something was in the works because you cannot average 20 losses per year, and still have everything remain status quo.

“You need to recruit locally and I just didn’t see that during her tenure at Youngstown State,” Hannon stated. “This area has some excellent girls high school teams and not every player wants to go away to further their academic and athletic careers. She just didn’t seem to have a good relationship with area scholastic coaches,” he said.

Next week, Brian Kopp, a registered NFL agent, will be the guest speaker.

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