By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
It appears Tony Caridi will continue not only as the play-by-play announcer of West Virginia University but also as host on the MetroNews Statewide Sportsline call-in show.
Caridi made his own announcement of the inevitability of that on Friday night in Summersville while emceeing an “Inside the Huddle” fundraiser for the United Way of Southern West Virginia.
West Virginia recently sold its broadcast rights to IMG College in a contentious bidding fight, ending a long association with West Virginia Radio Corp., and that put Caridi’s position as the WVU play-by-play announcer, which he held since replacing Jack Fleming in 1996, in jeopardy.
“We’ve been talking, and everything has been positive,” said Caridi of his negotiations with IMG, being quoted in the Beckley Register-Herald. “Everything’s on course, and I would think that we will have an announcement early next week that everything’s good and I’ll be back.”
Caridi came to Morgantown in 1984 following his graduation from Syracuse University with a communications degree.
Caridi found himself in the middle of the battle that erupted between John Raese’s WVRC and WVU. Raese’s group filed complaints and lawsuits that forced the rights to be rebid after first being awarded to IMG.
IMG again won the rights, with WVRC not bidding.
“Any time there’s change, you just have to put things in the proper perspective on both sides,” said Caridi. “It’s going to be different. But I think the overall goal is the same, and that is to produce a superb product.
“Through the years, we’ve built a reputation as one of the best in the country. Now, the big thing for all of us is going to be to continue to put it at a high level.”
Caridi is also the sports director for MetroNews, a West Virginia Radio Corp. company, and has hosted the MetroNews Statewide Sportsline — a statewide sports radio talk show — since 1986.
Apparently his relations with that show will continue as he indicated it was a matter of major concern during the negotiations.
“Sportsline has a very strong legion of listeners,” said Caridi. “I think the program has been a lot of fun for me, and a lot of people across the state appreciate it. I think it’s grown through the years, and they kind of count on it.
“That’s just one of several things we had to deal with, and, fortunately, it all worked out.”
IMG is currently in the process of putting its new network together and currently has affiliates in 17 cities.