Ever since Dick Nichols first jumped on the station’s airwaves in 1964, KGY Radio has been the voice of high school football in Thurston County.
Noel Wall is continuing that long-standing tradition with Red Zone Talk.
Now in its sixth season, Red Zone Talk is an hour-long weekly program on 95.3 KGY focusing on coverage and insight on prep football in the South Sound.
The show covers a dozen Thurston County high school football programs, including Black Hills, Capital, North Thurston, Northwest Christian, Olympia, Rainier, River Ridge, Rochester, Tenino, Timberline, Tumwater and Yelm, as well as Shelton, offering recaps and reviews of upcoming match-ups and profiles on athletes and coaches.
“Red Zone Talk came about because we wanted a way to cover more than just one team or game each week as play-by-play broadcasts would limit us to,” said Wall, who has more than 20 years of experience as a broadcaster. “By dedicating an hour each Friday, we can cover all 13 local varsity programs with a re-cap of the previous week’s game and a preview of that night’s match-up.”
Originally slotted as a half-hour show, Red Zone Talk has increased to an hour program to accommodate the high number of high school football teams in the area.
“I used to do play-by-play in Grays Harbor and there, every town has a single high school, and each town gets behind their high school. Here we are in a position where we have six major high schools and a handful of smaller schools,” Wall said. “So, it’s nice to be able to grow the show to an hour.”
While limited in time, should an episode have a few extra minutes, Wall and co-host Dave Weber make sure to include information and stories on the other fall high school sports, such as soccer and cross country, as well as a “Where are They Now” segment that spotlights past local high school greats who have moved on to play collegiately.
“We strive to include coach and player interviews when possible. We are also covering the other boys and girls fall sports as time allows,” Wall said. “The area has some fine talent in cross country, volleyball, soccer and other sports, so it’s nice to get a chance to talk about them a bit. Print coverage of high school sports is more and more difficult to find, and Red Zone Talk gives us an opportunity to fill some of the gaps.”
Red Zone Talk will continue in its current format throughout the high school football playoffs, which begin with district games November 8-9 and run through until the state championships on December 7.
“It’s been a good season so far. Having the new team, Northwest Christian, to cover has been fun,” Wall said. “Yelm has maybe exceeded expectations a little bit. They’ve really looked good and River Ridge is still in the mix for the playoffs and seeing Tumwater do so well has also been a lot of fun. We’re really looking forward to the playoffs.”
Once Red Zone talk ends, Wall and Weber will shift over to the Hoop Talk. The show, which focuses on local boys and girls high school basketball, will enter its second season in mid-November.
“If we need to blend them together, we will,” Wall said about combining the two shows as football season ends and basketball begins. “This basketball season we’re adding Pope John Paul II and all the girls basketball teams so we will be up to covering 28 teams. Basketball is big around here and there are a lot of good teams to cover. So, adding Hoop Talk is something we really wanted to do for a while. We would love to think we might be able to continue into baseball season as well in the future, but we will see.”
Sponsored by Olympia Orthopaedic, which has been in Thurston County since 1972 and is the largest full-service orthopaedic group in the South Puget Sound area, Red Zone Talk airs Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. on 95.3 KGY and is available for podcast on Spotify or streaming on KGYfm.com. Past shows are also available, and listeners can email the program at RZT@KGYradio.com to suggest show ideas.