Photos by Rome City Schools
For those Wolves Football fanatics who can’t make it to games in person, or football lovers who simply wish to tune in to coverage of Rome High School football, look no further than WRGA in Rome. Rome’s football games will be covered live on WRGA 98.7 FM and 1470 AM.
Bob Shannon, who got his start in sports radio with WRGA in 1973, will be providing the play by play alongside long-time friend, Ken Suffridge, who will provide color during the show. After the game, Kevin Karel will cover the coaches show with Head Coach John Reid.
Let’s get to know the men behind the microphones.
Kevin Karel is a longtime member of the Northwest Georgia broadcasting industry, and he began his career in 2007 at WBHF in Cartersville. Here, Karel co-hosted the morning drive program and covered high school athletics including the 2008 and 2009 Cartersville High state championship baseball seasons.
In 2012, Karel came to Rome as a news reporter for WRGA and was later named news director before transitioning to sports director as Rome Radio Partners launched 99.5 The Jock, a program that focuses on sports, in 2014.
Since that time, Kevin has taken on play-by-play broadcasting duties for the Rome Braves and for Berry Men’s and Women’s basketball. He won the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Gabby Award” for Best Sports Play-by-Play Broadcast in Division AA in both 2018 and 2019. He also received the “Gabby Award of Merit” in Division A in 2016.
As previously stated, Karel is the host of the weekly John Reid Coaches Show on the WRGA Rome Wolves Pregame.
“The thing that I have loved most about getting to cover the Wolves is just getting to know Coach Reid. It’s only been a few weeks, but we have developed a strong, professional relationship,” said Karel. “For most people, they only get to see him on the sidelines. I have got to see the side of him that cares deeply about the kids, because the reality of it is, almost all of them are going to have to do something besides play football to be successful in life. You can tell he really cares about them.”
Bob Shannon began his broadcasting career in Vietnam aboard the U.S.S. Arlington on KARL radio. He also served aboard the Navy’s only other communication ship, the U.S.S. Annapolis.
After four tours of duty in Vietnam, Shannon came home and decided to hone his broadcasting skills by attending the WIXY School of Broadcast Technique in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Through the years I have worked at about 25 radio stations in nine states with duties ranging from on air to play-by-play sports, on air music shifts, music and program directorships to general manager and president and CEO positions,” explained Shannon.
He continued, “I came to Rome in early 1973 to broadcast baseball, football and basketball on WRGA and was fortunate to be paired with veteran broadcaster Lee Mowry. Lee taught me the trade of play-by-play sports on radio.
“I actually have a photo of me in a WRGA booth at Barron Stadium from 1973 while I was covering the annual Shrine game here in Rome. I started with WRGA when I first came to Rome, so when I was given the opportunity to come back and work for WRGA calling Rome High School football games, it was almost full-circle for me.”
Ken Suffridge began his broadcasting career at age 16; “I have been a Master of Ceremonies since I was 16 years old, and I’m 83 now. Radio broadcasting is a talent that God gave me; in fact, my mother used to tell me that if you did not use your talents, you are sinning,” smiled Suffridge.
Suffridge spent 18 years as public address announcer for the Dekalb Chargers and the Northeast Mustangs, one season as board operator at WGAA for the Cedartown Bulldogs, including an aftergame Scoreboard Show and three seasons providing color commentary on WZOT, Hometown Radio for the Rockmart Yellow Jackets.
“We are 100 percent Wolves,” said Shannon. “It is Wolves or nothing!”
Be sure to tune in to WRGA 98.7 FM and 1470 AM to catch Karel, Shannon and Suffridge call the Wolves. The games will also be streamed for listeners. Visit 995thejock.com for details.