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News-Herald, WDLZ-FM join forces

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and WDLZ-FM 98.3 announced a joint venture this morning.

The newspaper and radio station will combine to sponsor the area’s All-Roanoke-Chowan teams in eight sports starting with the 2005-2006 academic year.

&uot;This is an exciting new chapter in the history of the All-region team,&uot; News-Herald Publisher Jeff Findley said. &uot;We’ve been working to improve the way we recognize the prep athletes in our area over the past few years and having WDLZ partner with us in that effort will do nothing but enhance the honor that is bestowed upon our athletes.&uot;

The granddaddy of them all, the All-Roanoke-Chowan Football Team, is more than 25 years old, according to News-Herald Editor Cal Bryant.

&uot;Our first endeavor was the All-Roanoke-Chowan Football Team which we have published continually for more than 20 years,&uot; Bryant said. &uot;Since that time, we have made it part of our mission to recognize the student-athletes of our area.&uot;

WDLZ has been a part of sports in the Roanoke-Chowan area since the early 1980s when they began broadcasting prep football.

Gattis Hodges joined the broadcast booth in 1993 when he did color commentary for Hertford County High School football. He began play-by-play duties a year later.

WDLZ and Hodges continued their partnership when they began airing &uot;Talkin Sports&uot; earlier this year. Hodges hosts the show which features local and national guests who talk about a variety of sports, including local prep athletes.

&uot;We want to promote the area and especially the prep athletes in this area,&uot; Hodges said. &uot;We have been affiliated with high school athletics for a long time. It’s part of our blood.

&uot;WDLZ has broadcast Hertford County High School football and went to the state tournament with our teams in the Tarheel Independent Conference,&uot; he added. &uot;This is another way to continue that association.&uot;

The partnership calls for the two media outlets to jointly choose the All-Roanoke-Chowan teams in volleyball, girl’s tennis, football, boy’s basketball, girl’s basketball, girl’s soccer, baseball and softball.

The teams will be published in the pages of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Players and Coaches of the Year will have guest spots on the &uot;Talkin Sports&uot; program.

&uot;This will give us the chance to broaden our horizons,&uot; Hodges said. &uot;We will get to feature some of the sports we have not been normally associated with such as tennis and volleyball.

&uot;We feel this will also benefit those athletes who haven’t gotten recognition over the radio airwaves,&uot; he added.

Both entities cover prep athletics in Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Gates counties.

&uot;We see this partnership as a way to bring recognition to our student-athletes,&uot; Findley closed. &uot;The goal of this newspaper and WDLZ is to support and promote the student athletes in the Roanoke-Chowan area.&uot;