By Steve Tichenor
We recently had Chris Carlin, the radio voice for Rutgers athletics, in the studio as a guest for our podcast. I was thrilled to meet Chris mainly because it felt like an old friend was stopping by. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I was hunched over a radio catching a Rutgers basketball or football game because there was no television coverage.
Thanks to Rutgers entry into the Big 10, those days are over. The Big 10 network covers most of the conference matchups. I have not missed a Rutgers Big 10 basketball matchup yet this season. Back in the Big East and Atlantic 10 days you would be lucky to catch 3 or 4 televised basketball games a year, and you would actually be blacked out on a few football games as well. Now, just about all Rutgers games are available. For basketball and football, whatever conference match up is not covered by the major networks is likely covered on BTN. BTN covers other sports as well. In addition to basketball and football, I’ve watched wrestling matches, women’s basketball and soccer.
Frankly, BTN is the reason Rutgers is in the conference. Many Big 10 purists and the Rutgers academic community have argued that New Jersey’s state university should not even have been invited. But you really can’t argue with commissioner Jim Delany and the rest of the Big 10 brass’s thinking here. They want the New York audience. Tapping into the biggest market in the country means the potential for a huge audience. And Delaney knows a little bit about the area; he’s from New Jersey.
Right now it’s mostly the Rutgers faithful tuning in. When Rutgers begins to have some success, and that will happen, the New York area will take notice. The upside for this market is huge. Just look at “Pandemonium in Piscataway”, a phrase coined by Carlin, when Rutgers beat #3 Louisville in football in 2006. It was on the back page of every major New York newspaper. When Rutgers has success, New York will tune in!
In the meantime, Rutgers fans are being treated to more television coverage than we have ever had before. Chris Carlin recently landed a radio gig in Philly so he no longer covers basketball, but he will be in the booth for football. I do enjoy his coverage on the radio. It’s how I stayed connected to my school. I’ll still tune into to Chris for the pre and post game show, but thanks to BTN as long as a TV is nearby, I can watch the game not listen to it.