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Local prep teams find new radio homes

Several smooth-as-silk voices that have filled the Rogue Valley's sports radio waves are back once again.

Only now, they won't be heard on Radio Medford stations.

Broadcasts of North Medford and South Medford football and basketball games will be available on KEZX Fox Sports 730-AM and KRTA 610-AM, respectively, this school year. Both stations are owned by Opus Broadcasting Systems, which gave Table Rock Sports Network — an independent producer of the broadcasts — a platform when, in June, the network found itself in a sea of momentary uncertainty.

Table Rock Sports co-owner Joe Brett said that Radio Medford indicated in the spring that it wanted to "take the broadcast in-house and be the producers and choose the announcers."

With that scenario on the table, Brett, Table Rock Sports Network co-owner Pete Belcastro and Tom Ersepke, the voice of the Black Tornado, began searching for a new radio home.

Last year, South was on MIX (93.7-FM) and North on KCMX (880-AM).

"We had a moment where we looked at each other and it dawned on all three of us at once that we better get out and find a new home and make this thing go," Brett said.

Enter Opus and the Medford School District, which agreed to give Table Rock Sports Network a three-year renewal after two competing proposals were submitted by Brett and his TRSN co-workers and by Radio Medford.

"What it really amounts to is Joe and Pete have just been great partners the entire time I've been at South Medford," said South Medford athletic director Dennis Murphy, who approved the renewal along with North athletic director Tim Sam, South principal Kevin Campbell and North principal Ron Beick. "They have just gone out of their way to do the best they can with the little bit of money they make or get and are willing to do all of our games, which we think is extremely important, and they stood by us in good times and bad. For me it was an easy decision to stay with them."

Table Rock Sports Network, which broadcast a total of 46 football games and 91 basketball games last season, offers live Internet broadcasts that can be heard on computers, smartphones and electronic tablets. Each recording is archived on the website, usually within 24 hours of the contest's conclusion.

The network, which had been with Radio Medford for 10 years, is celebrating its 20th season. Since 1992, Table Rock Sports has contributed more than $132,000 toward athletic programs at participating schools.

The move to Opus ensures that the Rogue Valley's large sports fanbase will hear all South and North football games, both home and away, as well as most boys basketball games and some girls games. Radio Medford had offered to feature one game for each school weekly, Murphy said.

Murphy added: "Radio Medford is doing a great job. They wanted to get in the game so to speak, and as it turned out we just felt we needed to be loyal and these guys offer us a great product."

KRTA is a thriving Spanish station with "a huge footprint that booms throughout the Rogue Valley," Brett said.

As for KEZX? "It was a no-brainer," Brett added.

Ersepke, a former local TV sports anchor, will return for his second season to handle play-by-play for North. Brett is back for his 15th year as the voice of the Panthers.

Meanwhile, the Ashland Grizzlies have relocated to community radio station KSKQ on 89.5-FM. The Grizzlies had been on KTMT 580-AM. Also, Michael Campbell is set to come back for a second season as the voice of the Crater Comets on tablerocksportsnetwork.com. The Comets had been featured on 105.1-FM.

"We are shopping for a Friday night home for (Crater)," Brett said. "We know for sure if that's not an option, we will come back with Michael on the website and put them directly online."

Brett, who also heads the Table Rock Sports sales team, said TRSN and Opus will look to partner up in the advertising, sponsorship and promotion of San Francisco 49ers and Portland Trail Blazers broadcasts.

For more information on broadcasts or to become a sponsor, visit www.tablerocksportsnetwork.com, search for and "Like" "Tablerock Sports Network" or call Brett at 541-621-7037.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com