CCU broadcast trio brings action, chemistry to radio

In broadcasting, to be called a homer is normally not a good thing, unless of course you are doing the broadcast for a specific team, as the team broadcasters. Then, the fans listening expect you to show some love and passion for your school, while still giving an accurate account of the game.

The Coastal Carolina University football broadcast team of Matt Hogue, Layne Harris, and Joe Cashion exude passion for their team, the Chanticleers.

Now in their 10th year of calling the games on the radio, the trio has traveled along with the team to bring the excitement of the games into living rooms, cars, and everywhere a radio can be heard.

Serving as the play-by-play voice of the Chanticleers, Matt Hogue began his journey with CCU during the 1997-1998 basketball season. Those were the days of Mike Hopkins, former coach for the Chants.

“Matt was hired by Buddy Sasser to come in and bring radio in-house. He was also hired as an assistant sports information director. So he spent half the time working in the sports information office and the other half putting basketball on the radio.” says Wayne White, former sports information director.

Hogue, who spends around 40 days a year on the road calling games, recalls, “At first, it was just basketball. As the program grew, and obviously as football came along, we started to add more programming. Football was the big ticket. It really became a dream job, in a way, because then we had the opportunity to do all the things that a network would do. We had a chance to add stations and build a network.”

Along with building the network, building a broadcast team would be a big step. “Layne Harris’ name kept popping up.”, says Hogue. “He had done a lot of work with Buddy Sasser. I knew Layne from work we had done years before with some television packages. I felt like it was important to have someone that had a local connection and a connection to the university.”

Layne Harris, who also serves as the play-by-play voice of the Myrtle Beach Seahawks, had worked locally for many years doing television broadcasts, but the CCU broadcast was his first on the radio. “Matt and I had worked together years before doing some CCU basketball games on TV. When he reached out to me, I was excited and thankful for the opportunity,” says Harris.

Harris would serve as the color analyst on the broadcast. “I tell people all the time, I’m not the voice of the Chanticleers, I’m the guy that talks when the voice is catching his breath.”

Harris’ southern accent and presentation is the perfect complement to the professional broadcaster Hogue. Their distinctly different voices allow the listener to easily tell who is speaking, an important trait for any radio broadcast where the listener has to paint the picture in their mind as the announcer describes the action.

Joe Cashion would come into the fray as the sideline reporter for the team. “The sideline person tends to be window dressing, but with Joe, he’s more of a third member of our team.” Hogue says.

“Joe had been calling high school football in the Camden area. I didn’t know him, but had heard him from time to time when driving through that area. He actually contacted me to see if we had anything going on with the football broadcast. “

Cashion provides a unique view of the game, watching and interjecting from down on the field. “Having worked together for the last ten years, we’ve really developed a sixth sense on when to go to him.” says Hogue. “Every break, we check with him. If he has anything, then we’ll cue him up for that when we return.”

Cashion relates, “I try to add something that maybe Layne and Matt haven’t mentioned, some historical note, or a rules interpretation from an official. From upstairs, they can’t talk to an official, but I can.”

Cashion is currently active in the National Guard. “I put on a uniform and go to work every day. I am part of an eight-person detachment that covers the guard story.” He’s been deployed twice in his military career, the first was to Bosnia-Herzegovina during 2001-2002. From May to October 2010 Cashion was deployed to Afghanistan.

Working on the sidelines might be the most dangerous position in broadcasting, “In nine and a half years, I have not been hit, knock on wood, but it’s been close. A couple of weeks ago, the other team kicked one out of bounds in front of me. They piled up in front of me. I had to turn and get out of the way.”

“It might be instinct, but as I see the play start to move toward me, I try to get out of the way so that I don’t take a whack down there.”

Now in their 10th year of broadcasting the games, the trio has really developed quite a friendship off the air. “There is really a camaraderie. The three of us have been doing this since game number one. Being with these guys, I enjoy it immensely,” says Cashion.

White reflects on what it’s like to listen to a game, “Layne really gives you a lot of insight and explains in simplistic ways what’s happening on the field. And then you’ve got Matt bringing you all the play by play, and with what Joe brings you down on the field, he’s always down there sticking his nose into everywhere. Those three really play well off of each other.”

“The biggest thing people may not realize about the way we go about our operation is, there is a lot of preparation and a lot of behind the scenes effort that happens before game day.” says Hogue. “That’s something that our team takes great pride in.

“For us, if it’s a road game we make sure to get to the game site Friday very early, so that we can assemble all of our equipment, and test our connection, so that we eliminate the unexpected.

“The goal for us is that we have to be on the air for every second of the broadcast, without fail. That has to happen every week, and that doesn’t happen by happenstance. There is a lot of work that goes into that, making sure that you have the right connection for that venue. And, that could be a variety of different technologies we use to do that.”

All of the preparation, all of the travel, it really comes down to bringing the action to the fans. Hogue says, “My role is to be an extension of the fans, and we have great fans. That’s what I try to be, obviously with some realism and with some fairness as to what’s really going on in the game. But, I try to be an extension of our fans.  And I don’t have a problem with that. I enjoy being their voice. I’m not there to make the other team sound better than they are; I’m there to be the extension of our fans.”

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One response to “CCU broadcast trio brings action, chemistry to radio”

  1. Rich Taylor says:

    I have known Matt Hogue since his undergraduate days at the University of South Carolina. Back then, the campus radio station, WUSC, was the sole entity to broadcast the Lady Gamecocks basketball games. I was selected in a student open competition to be Matt’s color analyst.

    I realized that Matt was special the very first game we broadcast together. It was on December 1, 1990, and the opponent was Georgia Southern. I arrived at the old Carolina Coliseum about an hour before tip-off, only to find Matt already set up on Press Row with an immaculately organized array of info that included detailed info on every player on BOTH teams, team notes and the programs’ histories, and just about every imaginable factoid that might possibly be used at some point to make the game’s broadcast just that much more informative and entertaining.

    Remember, this was a USC-Georgia Southern WOMEN’s basketball game, and the radio listening audience on what was then a station with a signal that extended about a half-mile on the clearest of days, was probably in the teens. Yet Matt had prepared as if he was doing play-by-play for the Super Bowl. Matt was all of 19 or 20 then, and has obviously never looked back. He is a pro’s pro and CCU is INCREDIBLY fortunate to have a man of his dedication and talent in its fold.

    One more thing. As over-used a cliche as it may be, Matt truly is a better husband, father and friend than he is a broadcaster. Anyone who know Matt will tell you this in an instant. The Chants are darn lucky to have such a terrific man, in and out of the booth, on their side. Go Chants!

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