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Bulldog Nation - live on BanderaRadio.com

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Get your popcorn ready and catch the excitement of the Bulldog Nation! It's easy to do by listening to BanderaRadio.com for the most extensive coverage of Bulldog sports.

Bandera's on-line radio station continues to expand its programming and owner Ed Hodges is thrilled with the opportunity to tell the world about football and all the other sports events scheduled for the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs this year.

"Every Wednesday throughout the football season, Coach Sine will talk about the highlights of the previous week's game and the outlook for the coming match-up," said Hodges. The Coach David T. Sine Show will air live from 9-10 am. "He may occasionally bring in a guest, and we're looking at the possibility of broadcasting from around the coffee pot at the OST or El Jacalito or something," said Hodges. "We want to get the community involved."

On Fridays, from 11 am to noon, gridiron expert and Courier sports writer Tim McGrath joins BHS athlete and Courier sports contributor Brady Keane to bring listeners an hour of highlights, predictions, schedules and interviews about all of the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog sports activities on Bulldog Nation Sports.

During the Friday, August 16 show, McGrath chatted with Ron Gherman, president of Bandera County Little League, about all the youth sports programs in Bandera County from football, to soccer, to basketball to Little League. Keane interviewed two junior Bulldog varsity players, Joe Rodriguez and Sterling Gardnar, about the new conditioning program under Coach Sine. These articulate young men got listeners excited about what the fans can look forward to seeing on the field this season. The 2013 Big Blue is big, mean, in shape, and mentally ready.

Hodges has appointed McGrath sports director for BanderaRadio.com. McGrath started his professional career in football in 1983 working with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the short-lived United States Football League. He then did stints with the World League's San Antonio Riders and the Houston Oilers. From 1995 to 2001, McGrath worked for the NFL- European League, mostly out of Berlin and Amsterdam, as a coach's assistant, video director and football operations manager. He also did a season with the New Orleans Saints.

With that background, McGrath was a natural to do the play-by-play for live broadcasts of Bulldog varsity games on Friday nights. He will be joined by Steve Chessir, another Banderan with a lot of experience in the game, including years of coaching youth football. Chessir will be providing the color commentary.

"We just went out to test the equipment for a trial run during the Blue and White scrimmage Friday, August 16," said Hodges. "I thought we'd be dealing with a lot of dead air, but those two guys were fantastic. Once they get started, they just go with it!"

The first regular season game broadcast will be Thursday, August 22, when the Bulldogs take on Medina Valley for a scrimmage. The game starts at 8 pm.

Hodges is pleased with the response the station has had from sponsors - the folks who pay the bills. "In order to give those supporters more exposure, we'll rebroadcast the Friday night game at noon on the following Saturday. That will give them double exposure," Hodges said. With the two talk shows, the game broadcasts and the re-broadcasts, listeners will have four opportunities every week to get involved as citizens of Bulldog Nation.

Perhaps the most exciting thing is that it will not only be the people of Bandera, but folks from around the world, who will be listening to sports from the Cowboy Capital of the World.

Hodges said he hoped for 200 hits (listeners) a day on his station when he started up in October of last year. "Not only do we now have 18,700 hits, but they are also listening longer," he said.

With partner Tooter Ripps, Hodges continues to look for new ways to promote the Cowboy Capital. "We play our local singers and songwriters, we have our Radio Playhouse production, and we're planning two singer-songwriter showcases," he said. The first will feature Kathy Bauer on August 27 at 7 pm, hosted by Lisa Beck of Art and Lisa.

"We do the same thing other radio stations do," said Hodges. "We sell sponsorships, we give away stuff, we play music. But we do something no other station does - we focus only on Bandera.

"You can touch the rest of the world from Main Street Bandera through BanderaRadio.com," he said.

Listeners who follow the Bulldogs on-line are invited to throw their popcorn whenever Big Blue scores and join Coach Sine and his players with the Bulldog Nation cheer - Who do you play for? Bandera Bulldogs! Who are we? Bulldogs! How far? All the way! What's the goal? Next level! Win the day and go, Big Blue!

Pictured: Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Brady Keane and Tim McGrath will share everything they know about the Bulldogs on Bulldog Nation Sports, every Friday morning from 11 am to noon on BanderaRadio.com.

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Bandera Bulldogs Sterling Gardnar, Brady Keane and Joe Rodriguez have no trouble lifting BanderaRadio.com's owner Ed Hodges following a summer of two-a-days. They invite everyone to get their popcorn ready and join the Bulldog Nation.

Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Joe Rodriguez and Sterling Gardnar shared their experiences in summer training during an interview on Bulldog Nation Sports, Friday, August 16.