STEVENS: Lobo Radio Network Closer to Blanketing The State
Aug. 12, 2009
Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
You're on a dark, desert highway somewhere Northeast of El Paso; cool wind in your hair. The smell of New Mexico mesquite is rising up from the air. You're too young to know any Eagles' lyrics, but you are old enough to know what you want to hear on the radio.
You want your University of New Mexico football, but for some reason you can't find the strong and soothing 50,000-watt voice of the Lobos' mother station out of Albuquerque: KKOB-AM.
It's close to kickoff. You need your Lobo fix. You're starting to sweat inside your Lobo Louie T-Shirt.
What to do? Do you panic? Do you, for a haunting, foolish second, think about trying to find a UTEP Miners' game? No way! You stay calm and simply flip your radio to 1450 on the AM dial out of Las Cruces or maybe 105.1-FM out of Hobbs or even 740-AM out of Carlsbad.
That dark, desert highway never felt so warm and comfortable. Scott Galetti is now sitting shotgun booming out that much-needed play-by-play. Ex-Lobo Kole McKamey is in the backseat giving you the inside scoop on the Mike Locksley offense. The pre-game show on KKOB was outstanding even though Scott Stiegler hogged the microphone - again.
Welcome to the Lobo Radio Network. Such a lovely place and not that difficult to find. The sound of the Lobos comes from Albuquerque (KKOB/KNML), Farmington (KLJH-FM), Gallup (KYVA-AM), Grants (KMIN-AM), Socorro (KMXQ-FM), Las Vegas (KBQL-FM), Las Cruces (KOBE-AM), Ruidoso (KRUI-AM), Santa Rosa (KSSR-AM), Clovis (KCLV-AM), Hobbs (KWMW-FM) and Carlsbad (KATK-AM).
Actually, much of the success for the expansion of the Lobo Radio Network comes from Keith Kowalski of Learfield Sports spending more than a couple of hours on the long and lonely highways of New Mexico.
"There were a couple of times down by Hobbs and Carlsbad where I was on the road for a couple of hours and didn't see any other cars," said Kowalski, who also handles radio networking for nine other universities including North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Louisiana Tech.
When Learfield Sports got the media marketing rights from UNM, Kowalski hit the state on a tour. "I went all over the state," he said. "From Gallup to Farmington to Clovis down into the Hobbs and Carlsbad area.
"I would like to have the inter-states (I-40, I-25) covered so you can drive east, west, north or south and pick up the Lobos. What we are trying to do is build a network that blankets the state."
"Las Cruces is a huge victory for us because that's the home of New Mexico State," said Kowalski.
"I think it's important to the Las Cruces area because we have some of their top athletes playing at UNM," said Paul Krebs, UNM's Vice President in charge of athletics.
"They also have great high school football, great athletes in general, and we want those athletes to come to the University of New Mexico. (KOBE) wouldn't be doing this if they didn't think it made business sense.
"The more affiliates the better, even if their signals overlaps. It's not just a way for the athletic department to message effectively into those markets, but also a venue for the university to reach those communities. We want to convey to those communities that we look at them as a partner and that they are important to us."
Mike McKay, Executive Vice President at KOBE, said even though his station is "in the heart of Aggie country," he felt a New Mexico Lobo presence was important to the Las Cruces community.
"A lot of our great athletes that head north are from Mayfield (High) and Onate (High) and Las Cruces High," said McKay. "A lot of our students from Las Cruces will go to New Mexico. We have listeners down here who want to follow the Lobos in football and other sports.
"There are also a lot of people in our community who have gone to New Mexico and graduated from UNM and they still have ties to the Lobos. We`re glad to have them."