OU Radio: New Sideline Reporter

NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department and its multi-media partner, Sooner Sports Properties, made several announcements relative to radio coverage today. The Sooners have a new sideline reporter in football, a new radio flagship for baseball and softball broadcasts and a renewed contract for radio coverage in Dallas.

Toby Rowland, who is on the sports staff at KWTV and KREF radio, will assume the role of sideline reporter for football broadcasts on the Sooner Radio Network. Rowland has done several OU athletic events, mostly on television, over the last five years, beginning with the 2004 spring football game.

Rowland joined KWTV in 1999 as a sports producer and quickly moved to the anchor desk. He anchors sports on the weekends, hosts the Friday Football Blitz during high school football season, and writes and produces a special news/sports series called "Off The Bench."

A graduate of Southern Nazarene University, Rowland has been honored with numerous accolades from his peers. Rowland has won the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters award for "Best Sportscast" in 2004, the Society of Professional Journalist award for "Best Sports Reporting" in 2005, an Emmy for the 2005 Orange Bowl Blitz and an Emmy nomination in 2000.

On KREF, Rowland hosts the T-Row and the Morning Show from 6-9:30 a.m., on weekdays.

"I am truly honored," Rowland said. "Working with OU has been a thrill the last several years. And to get the opportunity to join the broadcast team during such an exciting time for Sooner Athletics is humbling."

The new sideline reporter joins the broadcast crew of Bob Barry, Sr., and Merv Johnson.

Eric Barnhart, general manager for Sooner Sports Properties, a division of Learfield Communications, feels Rowland is a good fit on the Sooner Network.

"We're very pleased that Toby is joining our team," said Barnhart. "He has already proven himself as a quality broadcaster and he works cohesively with our operation and the OU Athletics Department.

"With his personality and insight, he'll add a unique perspective to our broadcasts."

One of Rowland's employers, KREF, Sports Talk Radio 1400, is also taking on a more prominent role with OU. The station will become the broadcast home for Sooner baseball and softball.

"With Randy Laffoon now in an ownership role at KREF, this is an exciting time at the station," Barnhart said. "Randy has an aggressive approach and he already has made a number of positive changes. We like the direction that the station is taking and feel it will be beneficial for our broadcasts to be heard as part of an all-sports format."

KREF already had a role with the Sooner Radio Network and it will continue to carry Sooner Sports Talk, the Coaches Corner and the Sooner Sports Today programming.

SSP also announced Wednesday that it has signed a three-year agreement with KKGM, AM 1630 in Dallas, to continue as a Sooner Radio affiliate in football.

The station will carry full network coverage of OU Football Gameday, plus Sooner Sports Talk with Bob Stoops, Coaches Corner and Sooner Sports Today.

"Dion Mortenson is the general manager at KKGM and he has been a very good partner with us," Barnhart said. "We are happy to renew that partnership and continue to deliver Sooner football to one of our most important markets."

Sooner Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports, manages the multimedia rights for OU Athletics. Other Big 12 member schools represented by Learfield Sports are Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. The company manages the rights for more than 50 collegiate institutions and associations and titles the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup in partnership with NACDA and the USA Today.

Dallas-based Learfield Sports is an operating unit of Jefferson City, Mo.-based Learfield Communications, Inc.

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