Region Sports Readies for 2015 Football Season: Bill Hazen Reunited with RSN Sports Team

HIGHLAND, Indiana – The upcoming 2015 football season promises to be among the most exciting in memory, as Region Sports Network finalizes its Northwest Indiana broadcast schedule. For years the undisputed leader in Region prep sports broadcasting, RSN is welcoming Bill Hazen back to the announce team.

Hazen will debut on RSN's coverage of the 50th anniversary of Munster High School football. The Mustangs will host powerful Lake Central Friday night. RSN President and owner Chris Ramirez will provide analysis for the historic evening, with the RSN broadcast airing over Key 90.5fm (WRTW) and RSN will also provide extensive pre and post-game coverage, as well as on-demand coverage of each broadcast through the web site.

“Bill is a veteran who delivers a classic broadcast every time. His body of work speaks for itself,” said Ramirez. “When it became apparent Bill was available, I went all out to get him. I'm glad he's back."

“I am so very pleased to be selected for this assignment,” said Hazen. “I remember many pleasant Friday nights covering football in Northwest Indiana. I think this year has the potential to be one of the most compelling years in memory.

“For years Region Sports has done a terrific job and performed a vital service to sports fans throughout Northwest Indiana,” Hazen continued. “RSN has been a technical innovator too, among the very first to utilize Internet resources to feed game broadcasts back to the studio for airing. It's been fun to be a part of that, and I look forward to our pace-setting broadcasts this year!”

Ramirez, whose company has broadcast nearly 3,000 sporting events, likes what Hazen brings to table. "We've always been open to finding and creating ways to improve on what we're doing. With Bill back on the mic and his expertise at operating remotely without assistance from the studio, we'll be able utilize our resources in other ways," he said.

"An extra pair hands in the studio on Friday nights will mean better in-game production; more on-screen graphics and quicker scoring updates. It usually takes all the manpower available to pull off what we've done traditionally on game night, so this season with the added digital platforms and Bill's ability to manage his entire broadcast on location, this will allow our studio personnel focus on those other duties."

Hazen has worked extensively on sports assignments in Indiana over the past fifteen years. A former TV voice of the Chicago Bulls, he also called the Indiana Pacers in the late '80's. Minor league basketball brought him back to the state in 2000, and he began working with Region Sports in 2002. For the last seven years, Hazen has called the action for the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Last season several of his game broadcasts were carried by ESPN, including the NBADL Semifinals.

Hazen also runs his own broadcast production operation, which creates, produces and distributes syndicated radio programming. Bill Hazen Productions produces programs for Conference USA, which air over a large regional network. BHP's newest production is StadiumsUSA Radio, produced in conjunction with the popular web site. The program is heard nationally each Saturday morning on Yahoo Sports Radio. BHP's other national offering, College Sports Weekly, airs through direct syndication. Approximately 175 radio stations carry programming produced by BHP.


Hazen and Hoehne to Announce NBADL Playoffs: Mad Ants Broadcasts Among Those Featured on ESPN

CHICAGO – The announce team of Bill Hazen and Keith Hoehne will tip off the NBA Development League postseason Tuesday night, as they describe the opening game of the playoff series matching the Maine Redclaws and the defending D-League champion Ft. Wayne Mad Ants. The game will be carried nationally by ESPNU, and will be the first NBADL playoff game aired by the network. ESPN will carry a significant schedule of NBADL regular season and playoff games beginning next season.

Hazen is no stranger to ESPN, having worked on NBA basketball, Major League baseball and NFL football for ESPN International. During the network's infancy, Hazen described the action of the Mesquite Rodeo for the network under a package of telecasts produced by High Bar Productions. Hazen has described NBA action on television for three teams, Chicago, Indiana and Houston. He has served at the Mad Ants' microphone for seven seasons. He has also called college action for most Chicago-area schools, Notre Dame, Missouri, SMU, Marquette and Game of the Week telecasts for the Southwest Conference, the Mid-American Conference and the Summit League (then known as the Mid-Con).

Hoehne is in his third year on the Mad Ants' broadcast team. He works as a project producer for Chicago-based Intersport, as well as the Executive Producer for Bill Hazen Productions.

“I'm so pleased for the NBA Development League and everyone in the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants family,” Hazen said. “Our goal will be to fully capture the action and excitement of the game, and introduce the fascinating stories that are an integral part of this league. The D-League is growing rapidly, and I believe fans will be very impressed with the quality of basketball the league presents.

“There are some very good broadcasters in the league, as well. It's great to see them have an opportunity for exposure through the ESPN family of networks.”

For more information on the NBADL, its member teams and the playoffs, visit their web site: For more information on Bill Hazen Productions, visit


StadiumsUSA Radio Celebrates 1st Anniversary

CHICAGOStadiumsUSA Radio celebrates its first anniversary Saturday morning on Yahoo Sports Radio. The hour-long weekly program will be heard at 7:00 AM CST, and will also be available for direct download after airing. A featured guest on the program will be former NBA and college basketball standout, Artis Gilmore. Also, writer Cliff Cristl will talk about Green Bay's legendary Lambeau Field.

StadiumsUSA Radio is a collaborative production between the StadiumsUSA web site ( and Bill Hazen Productions ( Mark Madorin is president and founder of the popular web source for stadium information. He is featured weekly in a special segment called Talking Shop, which takes listeners inside the stadium industry and explores issues and trends. Hazen hosts the program, which is produced by Keith Hoehne with production assistance from Jeff Schmidt and Bo Carter.

StadiumsUSA Radio explores the shared stadium experience, introducing listeners to athletes, coaches and stadium professionals who share their memories and ideas. It is a natural extension of the web site focus.

I think it's more immediate on the radio, and I think you can sense the passion,” said Madorin in a recent interview. “I wanted to get interviews with key people in the industry and athletes who competed in those facilities, and we've been able to do that. It's been a wonderful part of being on radio, with guests like Joe Theismann, Fred Lynn and play-by-play people from around the country.”

StadiumsUSA radio began production on November 17th of 2013. The debut program reported on the growing use of glass playing surfaces, and their potential in multi-sport environments. The program found its broadcast home on Yahoo Sports Radio in August of 2014, with the show making its YSR debut on August 30th. The network recently celebrated the addition of its 500th affiliate.

I am so pleased for Mark and everyone associated with this program,” said Hazen. “StadiumsUSA Radio is plowing new ground, and it's a great thrill to be involved with it.

I believe listeners are interested new dimensions of sports coverage, presentations and approaches that are beyond the standard fare. StadiumsUSA Radio truly represents this new frontier in sports broadcasting.”


Bill Hazen Productions Celebrates 1,000th Edition of Today in Conference USA

CHICAGO – This Friday Bill Hazen Productions will produce and distribute the 1,000th edition of Today in Conference USA. This special edition of the program will mark a major milestone for the conference's flagship radio sportscast, which has been in continuous production by BHP throughout each athletic year since 2010.

Originally known as the Conference USA Daily Update, the short-form sportscast was first heard exclusively through the Internet. BHP assumed production of the program on February 1st, 2010, focusing on improving the show's content and production values.

Late in the Spring, BHP proposed a plan to expand beyond the Internet and syndicate the program to radio stations within the C-USA footprint. The proposal also recommended the name of the program be changed to Today in Conference USA.

WIXC Radio in Titusville, Florida, then under the operational leadership of broadcast veteran Ken Allen, was the first radio station to clear the program. Commonly-owned WHOO in Orlando soon followed. WRVC Radio in Huntington hopped on board one day later. The program signed on with eleven radio stations for its first year, and the syndicated network has grown steadily since then. Many stations carry the program more than once a day, and each program can be heard directly through and

“This is where it all started,” said Bill Hazen. “I had been developing and producing programs for minor league teams and sports leagues, but I wanted to take the concepts we had and apply them to collegiate sports broadcasting. Conference USA made that possible with Today in Conference USA. Our other programming has all been built on that foundation, so this program is very special for us.

“We believed at the time that the economics of radio broadcasting were beginning to change,” Hazen said. “We felt that a number of stations would seriously consider a third-party independent regional short-form program with local ties through the individual conference schools. That concept has proven to be correct.”

“It was something that began as a file posted on our website every day,” remembered C-USA Assistant Commissioner Russ Anderson in a College Sports Weekly interview. “We've really enjoyed watching it grow. It has given us tremendous exposure. Now it's something that's out in a lot of our markets and people can hear it in their car when they're driving to work.”

The original idea for C-USA syndicated radio programming came during the 1990's, when Conference USA was based in Chicago. While most of the media attention was on television resources, Hazen was impressed with the conference's radio assets.

“I had good friends at the conference in Rex Lardner, Russ Anderson, Brian Teter and Erika Amstadt Hirschfield,” Hazen remembered. “We would get together for lunch and toss around ideas for enhancing conference exposure. I brought the idea forward at one of those lunches.

“The technology wasn't quite there then...certainly not where it is today. But now the job can be done very well here in Chicago, even though the conference is based in Dallas.”

Today, BHP produces four regularly-scheduled programs. Talking Conference USA Football/Basketball is a 15-minute weekly show which takes listeners inside each sport in season. Listeners hear firsthand from coaches, players and administrators throughout the conference. A special segment, Conference USA by the Numbers, tells fascinating and unique stories about C-USA teams through statistical analysis. The segment is unique in broadcasting.

BHP also produces two nationally-syndicated programs, College Sports Weekly and StadiumsUSA Radio (produced in conjunction with the StadiumsUSA web site). In total, programming produced by Bill Hazen Productions now airs on 175 radio stations throughout America each week.


BHP Mourns Passing of Broadcaster Bill Gourley: “Wizard of Wilmette” Leaves Many Friends

CHICAGO – The team at Bill Hazen Productions is mourning the passing of longtime Chicago football analyst, Bill Gourley. Gourley died last week, soon after celebrating his 77th birthday with his family.

A former college and high school football coach, Bill Gourley first drew prominence as a football analyst for his work on Northwestern football radio broadcasts in the early 1980's. He was teamed with Chicago broadcaster Duane Dow on what was then known as WAIT Radio (820 khz).

“That's where I first heard him,” remembered Chicago broadcaster Bill Hazen. “I was working in St. Louis (at KMOX Radio) and was driving back home to Chicago. I remember thinking how very good Duane and Bill were together.

“Northwestern was in the middle of the longest football losing streak in the nation, but the broadcasts were upbeat and compelling. Duane and Bill upheld the long and time-honored tradition of so many Chicago broadcasters who covered non-competitive teams through the years. That was a wonderful broadcast team.”

One year later, Gourley was the analyst on Hazen's first Chicago sports broadcast, a Northwestern football game at Syracuse also airing over WAIT. Dow moved to television for the game broadcast.

Gourley would also team with Dow on USFL football games, as part of the broadcast team for the Chicago Blitz of the USFL. He later worked with Will Watson on Northwestern football. He also served on the broadcast team for the Aloha Bowl.

In the fall of 1987, Gourley was teamed with Hazen for the telecasts of Northern Illinois football during the Jerry Pettibone era. The two were also paired for the IHSA State Finals and numerous Chicagoland prep broadcasts through the years.

Gourley's football knowledge. developed from years of college and high school coaching, gave audiences a unique and entertaining view of the game. He had worked as an assistant coach at Brown University under Chicagoan Len Jardine, as well as head coach at North Park. His high school coaching included stints at North Chicago and Hoffman Estates.

When Gourley retired from coaching, it was Northwest suburban broadcaster Bruce Blair who reached out to him and suggested he should give broadcasting a try. Gourley debuted on high school football broadcasts airing over WWMM-FM (92.7 mhz) in Arlington Heights, where he drew the attention of broadcast executive John Hokin who was seeking an analyst for Northwestern football.

On the air, Gourley brought a fresh enthusiasm to game broadcasts while keeping the game simple and easy for fans to enjoy. He shunned much of the game's jargon, in favor of terminology that was more easily digestible. Few broadcasters told better stories about the game than he did.

Gourley was a student of the game and enjoyed studying film of the teams he covered. He often said he had a case of “square eyeballs” from watching so much film. Like many coaches, he was very skilled at rocking the images back and forth over and over again with a special projector control used by football coaches. This allowed him to analyze formations and blocking schemes, which he then simplified for the audience.

“Today we often hear the term “talent” applied to game announcers,” said Hazen. “But Bill had talent, real talent. His was the special stuff he brought to a broadcast...that which was unique to him. Broadcasting revealed his knowledge, his enthusiasm, his goodness and his sincere understanding of the audience. It was all natural.

“I think many people within the industry know how partial I was toward Bill professionally, but we also shared a wonderful friendship through the years. Bill had tremendous pride in his family and friends, and he was never at a loss for a story about their achievements. He also had great compassion for the struggles of others. He was a true friend.”

BHP extends its most sincere condolences to his wonderful wife, Carol, as well as his family and many friends in teaching, coaching and broadcasting.