The 2008-09 season will mark the 53rd straight year Ball State sports will air on stations associated with Backyard Broadcasting, which owns seven stations in Indiana -- WLBC (FM 104.1), WERK (104.9), WXFN (AM 1340), WURK (FM 101.7), WHBU (AM 1240), WHTI (FM 96.7) and WHTY (FM 93.5). In addition, the Ball State Radio Network will include XL 950 AM in Indianapolis, and ESPN 1380 AM in Fort Wayne for the 2008 football season. Ball State football's pregame show will expand to one hour, and Ball State's director of corporate sales and broadcast services, Jeff Weller, will host the pregame and halftime shows.
Morry Mannies will return for his 53rd season as the "Voice of the Cardinals" for Ball State football and men's basketball. Mark O'Connell, a former Ball State quarterback and punter, will return for his eighth season as the Cardinals' color analyst. This year's sideline reporter will be Rick Johnston, a Ball State student who will be participating in an immersive learning opportunity. The Ball State Radio Network will also use Ball State students as color commentators on women's basketball broadcasts and as interviewers and hosts on other radio shows.
Ball State men's basketball games will continue to air on WLBC, while the women's basketball games will move to WERK FM 104.9. Coverage for the women's games will increase to include all home non-conference games and the complete Mid-American Conference schedule. Jay Garrison will be in his third year as the play-by-play voice of Ball State women's basketball, and his eighth year as a part of the broadcast team.
In addition to the game broadcasts, the new contract entails a one hour Monday Night with the Red and White show, live from Cheeseburger in Paradise. The show will expand to one hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will air on WERK, FM 104.9 and be hosted by Mannies. The Ball State athletics department will also air a new show called "Cardinal Talk", which will air live from Mancino's on Thursday's from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on ESPN AM 1340. Cardinal Talk will feature updates and features on all Ball State sports and will be hosted by Weller, Garrison and Mannies throughout the academic year.
WLBC will co-sponsor the Cardinal Walk, a fan appreciation walk from the buses to the locker room by the Ball State football team at each home game, and four Backyard Broadcasting stations will air live from Scheumann Stadium on game days.
The Ball State football team opens the season Thursday at 7 p.m. vs. Northeastern at Scheumann Stadium. Pregame entertainment will include the Virgin Millionaires in Arby's Tailgate Town presented by MAX FM 93.5, and the postgame entertainment will feature a fireworks display.