KATV Withdraws Inman; UA Names Barrett the 'Voice'

by Lance Turner  on Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2007 5:29 pm  

Chuck Barrett, left, and Scott Inman, right.

KATV-TV, Channel 7, on Tuesday withdrew news anchor Scott Inman as a candidate for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks play-by-play announcer role, just as a statement from the UA announced Chuck Barrett for the post.
The two news releases — one from the Little Rock ABC affiliate and another from the UA Men's Athletic Media Relations department — came within minutes of each other.
In its statement, KATV said "a recently conducted viewer study" showed Inman "is the 'most-watched' and 'best-liked' news anchor in Arkansas," but that KATV leadership had decided to "focus [its] energies on our primary mission of delivering the most accurate, up-to-date local news possible." It said it was withdrawing Inman as a candidate for the job.
KATV did not provide specifics about its viewer study.
In the UA statement, Barrett, the UA's men's baseball team play-by-play announcer and former host of KARN-AM, 920's "Sports Rap," was named the next football announcer for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The decision was announced "mutually" by the Arkansas Razorbacks Sports Network, which KATV owns, and the UA.
The announcements come after news reports last week said the UA and KATV had reached an agreement "in principal" to name Barrett to the position as the "Voice of the Razorbacks."
Athletic director Frank Broyles would neither confirm nor deny those reports, but said an announcement could be issued this week and that a deal is still being worked out.
As part of the job, Barrett will host "The Houston Nutt Show" and a new program called "Razorback Football TV Classics." He'll also help coordinate and host video and audio content on the newly redesigned Razorback Web site, www.hogwired.com; and handle voice-over work and hosting for departmental commercials, videoboard features, practice reports and other special content. Barrett will also handle some speaking engagement responsibilities on behalf of the Athletic Department, the UA said.

See both news releases at the end of this story.

Fans and media have been watching eagerly for a decision. A week ago, it appeared the UA and KATV were at a stalemate: Broyles was adamant about wanting Barrett, and KATV General Manager Dale Nicholson was firmly behind Inman for the job. A contract between the two entities was ambiguous as to which party had a final say.
Barrett will fill a post left vacant by the death of Paul Eells, the long-time KATV sports director who had been "Voice of the Razorbacks" since 1978. Northwest Arkansas broadcaster Mike Nail had filled the post on an interim basis this past season.

KATV-TV, Channel 7, Statement
In a recently conducted viewer study, KATV has learned that Scott Inman is the 'most-watched' and 'best-liked' news anchor in Arkansas. In addition, our entire news team was recognized as the local news leaders in Arkansas, said KATV President and General Manager Dale Nicholson. "After careful consideration of how our viewers can best be served, our leadership team has decided that our news anchors and reporters, including Scott Inman, should focus their energies on our primary mission of delivering the most accurate, up-to-date local news possible. Therefore, Scott is no longer a candidate for play-by-play announcer for Razorback broadcasts or coaches' shows."

University of Arkansas Statement


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Chuck Barrett has been named the next football play-by-play announcer for the Arkansas Razorbacks, it was announced mutually by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network (ARSN) and the University of Arkansas on Tuesday.

Barrett has served as a member of the ARSN football broadcast team for 13 seasons. He joined ARSN in 1994 as the host of the scoreboard and half-time show. The following year, he began his role as the pre-game and half-time host as well as the producer of the football broadcasts.

In addition, he has been the play-by-play voice of the Razorback baseball team for the past 15 seasons. The Clarksville native has served in that capacity since Arkansas’ inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference in 1992.
"Chuck is a long-time member of the ARSN team and has broadcast Razorback athletics for more than 15 years,” Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles said. “He is well-known for his work on Razorback football and baseball broadcasts. He grew up in Arkansas and has an appreciation for the passion and enthusiasm of Razorback fans all over the state. We are excited that he will be expanding his role on the football broadcast.

“We are also very grateful to Mike Nail for his work this past year on the football broadcasts and the Houston Nutt Show,” continued Broyles. “Mike will continue in his duties on the basketball broadcasts and the John Pelphrey TV Show.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to be the play-by-play announcer for Razorback football,” Barrett said. “Having grown up in Arkansas, I understand how important the radio broadcasts are to Razorback fans. I have the utmost respect for the broadcast and will continue to work on making it the very best. I appreciate the confidence that ARSN and the University have shown me by allowing me to fill this truly special position. It would be impossible for anyone to fill the shoes of legends like Bud Campbell and Paul Eells. I’m simply looking to be a small part of the special connection this state has with the Razorback program.”

Along with football and baseball play-by-play and the Razorback Football Report duties, Barrett will also take on additional responsibilities with the University of Arkansas Athletic Department. These duties will include hosting the Houston Nutt TV Show and new Razorback Football TV Classics, coordinating and hosting video and audio content on the Razorback Athletic website, www.hogwired.com, handling voice-over work and hosting of all departmental commercials, videoboard features, practice reports and other special content. Barrett will also handle some speaking engagement responsibilities on behalf of the Athletic Department.

ARSN is a division of KATV and owns the rights to the radio broadcasts of the University of Arkansas football and basketball games. KATV LLC is owned by Allbritton Communications Co. of Washington, DC, which also owns WJLA-Newschannel 8/Washington, DC; WHTM/Harrisburg, PA; WSET/Lynchburg, VA; WCIV/Charleston, SC; KTUL/Tulsa, OK; and WJSU/WCFT/Birmingham, AL.


More on the Play-by-Play Debate
Jim's Column: It's a new 'voice' [The Playing Field]
Two Papers: Barrett the Next ‘Voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks’ [Arkansasbusiness.com]
UA Says No-bid ARSN Deal Not 'Out of the Ordinary' [Arkansasbusiness.com]
KATV: We Don't Want Razorback Play-by-Play Question in Court [Arkansasbusiness.com]
Maybe the best 'insider' look at UA broadcasting ever [The Playing Field]
Breaking News: It's Barrett [The Playing Field]
Jim's Column: Barrett, by a Landslide [The Playing Field]



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