Bombers to be heard loud and clear Thursday

WESTFIELD – It is time to turn up the volume again as Thanksgiving Day football returns to local radio Thursday. WSKB 89.5 FM will feature a live broadcast of the traditional high school football game between the Westfield Bombers and Cathedral Panthers from Bullens Field, beginning with a pregame show at 10 a.m. Kickoff is at 10:30.
Westfield-Cathedral football on Thanksgiving Day has provided some amazing sights for fans for the past 71 years but or the last several years, the sounds of the game have become dead silent.
There have bone crushing hits, “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd after high-flying catches and dazzling touchdown runs, musical notes from the band, and boisterous cheers from cheerleading squads. They have gone virtually unheard.
Back in the mid 1970s, 80s, and into the early 90s, a radio broadcast crew comprised of Dick Sullivan, John Burke, and Joe Healy, painted a moving picture of Westfield Bombers football games with their call of the action, filling the airwaves on radios all across the Whip City.
Static filled the air for the next two decades as community radio slowly died with the rise of the Internet, television, and satellite radio.
“The Thanksgiving Day game is the iconic game of school boy football in America,” said former state Sen. Mike Knapik, executive director for Westfield State University advancement. “Thanksgiving is about tradition. This (radio broadcast) is a major tradition for our hometown.”
Community radio programming, which returned this past June, took hold once underwriters like Noble Hospital, Westfield Bank, and Westfield Gas & Electric lent their support.
According to Knapik, the radio’s top producer, Peter Cowles, was also instrumental in making that vision heard.
In addition to weekly local programming, WSKB has broadcast the Westfield State football homecoming game, hockey opener at the Mass Mutual Center, and a soccer playoff.
Financial supporters, such as Advance Manufacturing, the Amanti family, Firestone Tires, St. Mary’s High School, Betts Plumbing and Heating Supply, Roots Gymnastics Center, Easthampton Savings Bank, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, Netlogix, and Westfield Mayor Daniel M. Knapik have made the Thanksgiving Day football game broadcast a reality.
Westfield State University seniors Jim Keedy and Nick O’Dell will team together to provide the voices for Thursday’s game. O’Dell, who serves as the sports director for WSKB, will offer play-by-play while Keedy, a former Owls’ football player, will provide color commentary.
The signal, which features a 30-mile radius, can also be heard on cellphones, tablets, iPads, or the TuneIn radio app, featured in the Apple “App Store” or on Google Play.
“Radio is a powerful thing,” Knapik said. “Being live on Thanksgiving Day is going to be fun.
He said that broadcasting this high school football game is yet another way for Westfield State Community Radio to connect with the community.
“Community Radio on WSKB 89.5FM has allowed Westfield State to partner with the City of Westfield in fun and important ways,” he said. “Broadcasting local high school football is a natural fit for Community Radio. It hearkens back to a time when many cities had their own radio station for local programming. Now, Westfield State fills that need and provides exciting student shows as well.”
Community Radio offers a number of shows from 6-10 a.m. Monday-Saturday including The Westfield News Radio Show with Pat Berry, WOW It’s Tuesday hosted by Bob Plasse, and Mornings with the Mayor with Dan Knapik. The shows are targeted towards the community of the City of Westfield in addition to the student-run shows that air later in the day.
Whether you’re at home cooking the turkey, or in the crowd at Bullens Field on Thanksgiving Day, tune in to 89.5 for a little holiday fun.
Look for our preview of Thursday’s big game, including photos of all team members, in tomorrow’s edition of The Westfield News or go online at

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