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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Talking sports with Aggie Talk


Every Tuesday night, UC Davis gets the opportunity to discuss the week in sports on KDVS’ “Aggie Talk”

Sports talk radio is a staple for sports fans across the country. It provides a venue where fans of all different sports can talk about those teams, players and events they are most passionate about. On Aggie Talk, UC Davis gets its own place in the sports talk world. For over three decades, KDVS has been covering sports, but in his second year as sports director, Andy Clausen wanted to make sure that he brought athletics to the forefront. Many radio veterans, such as Andy Reichwald of Sunday Night Baseball and Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz, have lent their voices to KDVS in the past, but Clausen hopes to extend its reach even further.

“I think I brought the sports department back into the fold,” Clausen said. “We want student broadcasters to sound as professional as possible. It’s a place where people can gain a solid background in radio and sports while gaining a solid background in sports, while still putting out an entertaining product and putting out something that people want to listen to.”

With Aggie Talk, students and sports fans in the Davis area have a show in which they can discuss not only the UC Davis Aggies, but professional sports from all over the country as well.

For fellow sports director Michael Aridi Barake, a second-year communications major, Aggie Talk is a a place for sports fanatics like him to do what they love to do most — talk about sports.

“Aggie Talk is an opportunity for students (and fans) who are interested to get on board and do something productive with the hobbies and sports that they have a passion for,” Aridi Barake said.

As a largely volunteer-run station, it is important to get people with a passion for what they are doing. Aridi Barake sees the opportunity he has as a marriage of two passions.

“It was kind of a perfect blend of my love sports and my love for performing arts,” Aridi Barake said. “I did theater in high school, and I always wanted to work for a radio station.”

Aggie Talk, which airs every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m., aims to provide the people of Davis a place to talk about sports, both local and national. While it may not have the budget — according to Clausen, the show itself draws no funding from the Athletic Department — or the reach of a commercial radio station, Clausen and Aridi Barake share a goal, and that goal is to give both host and listener a professional experience that won’t let the dated equipment or diminishing funding hold back the pursuit to put on a great show.

The show, and station, rely greatly on two fundraisers, one every spring and fall, to stay on its feet.

“If you’ve ever been in our studio you can see that it’s really old,” Clausen said. “Literally one of our broadcasting boxes is held together by tape.”

This doesn’t keep the KDVS crew from putting out high quality content, and Aggie Talk is no different. The show’s format is simple and free-flowing. For the first half, the hosts typically cover Aggie sports, and each host has a sport that they’re particularly passionate about.

“You can tell where people’s interests lie, but for me, I’m a huge basketball fan and a huge soccer fan,” Aridi Barake said. “There are a lot of people around me who enjoy talking basketball, and it reflects that in Aggie Talk.”

Despite personal preferences, however, the hosts strive to make it an all-encompassing show which casual fans and hardcore fans can get behind. Though Aggie Talk has no official connection to the Athletic Department, Clausen and Aridi Barake do their best to bring on guests from within athletics and work hard to keep the program’s listeners informed.

“We don’t get told what to talk about,” Clausen said. “We’re very independent. We work with [the Athletics Department] in that they run the sports that we cover.”

For the second half of the show, the hosts of Aggie Talk move more towards the national sports scene, during which they cover any headlines or stories which they feel the listener may want to hear. If something comes up that may warrant an increased conversation, the format may get switched up.

“Luckily our format is very loose,” Clausen said. “The host’s job is steer the conversation where he wants it to go.”

In a time where off-the-field issues may dominate the sports media, Clausen and Aridi Barake try to avoid any issues which may be dominating the other media. If something comes up that warrants a greater discussion, it is up to the hosts and the guests to keep the discussion civil, as long as it fits the format of the show.

“We’re not trying to emulate other stations or channels,” Clausen said.

The hosts tend to agree that it is not their job to use the show as a soapbox, steering clear of political issues and hot-button topics.

“We’re just a small-time, student-run radio station in the middle of nowhere,” Aridi Barake said. “I don’t think we’re really qualified to pretend that we know the details.”

They try to let the off-the-court topics come out naturally, rather than force the issue.

“If it’s something we legitimately feel interest about, we’ll do it,” Clausen said. “It doesn’t always make for good radio, because we’re all probably going to get in a huge argument about it. We try to do things that will make our listener want to pay attention.”

Aridi Barake thought it only right to end his interview the same way they end the show:

“Aggie Talk, 7 to 9 on Tuesday! Tune in, 90.3 FM, KDVS, Davis. And, like we always say, ‘Go Ags!’”

The show is also available on KDVS.com. For inquiries about the show, contact Andy Clausen at sports@kdvs.org.


Written by: Bradley Geiser — sports@theaggie.org


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