Hofstra junior Daniel Savarino speaks with an air of confidence that is atypical of a 20-year-old. During a recent interview with the Herald, he was as comfortable as could be. His voice never wavered, his tone inflecting at just the right moments to emphasize his comments.
Then again, Savarino is no stranger to interviews. He’s just used to being on the other side of them. Since February 2013, the 2011 East Meadow High School graduate has interviewed dozens of professional hockey players while reporting for Hofstra University’s radio station, WRHU, 88.7 FM.
The 2013-14 NHL season marks the fourth consecutive year that WRHU — part of the university’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication — has had the exclusive rights to broadcast all of the New York Islanders’ games. Alongside Chris King, the team’s permanent play-by-play announcer, Hofstra students serve as color commentators, sideline reporters, update anchors and producers for all of the team’s games. The broadcast is commercial-free, which allows more time for game-related content.
WRHU is the only college radio station in the country to have such an agreement with a professional sports franchise. “It’s exactly like you’d find in ESPN radio, and exactly like you’d find in WFAN in New York City,” said Operations Manager John Mullen, who oversees the students’ work.
Savarino, the station’s student manager and lead reporter for Islanders games, said the students fully understand what it takes to produce a professional broadcast. And often, he said, their work receives praise from opposing teams’ broadcasters. “That’s the biggest compliment we can get,” he said, “is when I hear that we’re not ‘college kids.’”