April 27, 2009

Northern Star Broadcasting is awarded radio rights to Laker Hockey and Laker Basketball

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State University has partnered with Northern Star Broadcasting to provide radio coverage of all LSSU hockey and basketball games beginning with the 2009-10 season.

Northern Star Broadcasting, which has been a marketing and publicity resource for the LSSU Department of Athletics for several years, has signed a two-year contract to provide live play-by-play coverage of all LSSU hockey and most basketball games, and air weekly coaches shows. Today's Hits 99.5 YES FM will serve as the new home of Laker hockey broadcasts, while basketball games will air on Talk Radio 1400. Broadcasts will also be streamed on the net.

Play-by-play talent for Laker hockey and basketball will be announced at a later date.

"We are excited about the potential of reaching a different market and taking advantage of Northern Star's enthusiasm for promoting local events," said Kris Dunbar, LSSU director of athletics. "Northern Star Broadcasting submitted several bids for LSSU radio rights over the years, and this time they presented a great offer that we have accepted. We have always been impressed with their marketing creativity and their unconditional support of the University. Now that they are officially part of the LSSU family, we can make the most of their energy and resources."

"Wow!  What a treat!  I am so excited to have this opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the great sports programs at LSSU," said Tim Ellis, Northern Star Broadcasting operations manager. "Being a local boy, growing up all I ever knew was LSSU sports.  Other kids grew up thinking U-of-M or MSU was it, but not for me. It was always the Blue and Gold of LSSU for me. Thirteen years in radio has allowed me to sharpen my skills in promotions and getting the word out. I plan on putting every one of those years to good use in letting people know just how lucky we are to have LSSU Athletics in our own backyard! We have some great ideas already in progress like a new and expanded Pre Game Hockey Show, live from the Taffy Abel Arena, coaches shows for hockey and basketball, and some fun contests through the year for both hockey and basketball. Plus ticket giveaways, player interviews, we are going to make sure Sault Ste. Marie knows our Lakers! Who knows, you may even see Seamore and Foghorn doing air shifts on our stations. I couldn't be happier right now, LSSU and NSB.... I like the sound of that!"

In the past, Northern Star Broadcasting has brought Laker athletes into the broadcast booth to serve as guest hosts, put reporters on the street to interview Laker fans, conducted the Jeff Jakaitis Hobey Baker Vote-a-Thon and sponsored contests such as the spring break trip give-away and Lucky Laker Fan Box give-away.

"The Northern Star staff has done so much over the years to add to the fun of Laker hockey and basketball," Dunbar said. "I'm anxious to see what ideas they come up with for the upcoming year. And, on behalf of our coaches, players and fans, I'm very thankful that all of the Laker broadcasts will be live as opposed to tape-delayed. Northern Star Broadcasting has gone to great lengths to adjust programming and accommodate live broadcasts."

"Being both a former Laker student and hockey alum, this is a very exciting time for me," said NSB station manager Doug Laprade, who was a member of LSSU's 1988 national championship hockey team and a volunteer hockey coach in the 1990s. "As I help to guide the Northern Star Broadcasting - Sault Ste Marie family of stations, adding Laker Athletics to our programming will definitely help with our stations' exposure in the community. As a player, it was always very important to have radio and media coverage, and I couldn't be more thrilled to represent the company which now will broadcast all Laker Hockey and all Laker Basketball games. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with everyone at LSSU and to help grow the exposure of Laker Athletics."

Sovereign Communications previously held the rights to Laker broadcasts for five decades.

"Radio Soo and Rock 101 served LSSU for many years and brought the most-memorable moments in Laker hockey and basketball history to the listeners," Dunbar said. "While we feel it is time to move in a different direction, we thank the staff at Sovereign Communications for their long-time commitment to LSSU."