Past and present members of the WFUV community came together to honor Bob Ahrens, executive sports editor and mentor to many at WFUV, for his 20 years of service at “Forever Fordham – A Celebration of Sports Journalism at Fordham with a Special Tribute to Bob Ahrens.” The event was the first to be co-sponsored by WFUV with the communications and media studies (CMS) department, as events have been held separately in the past.
“A Celebration of Sports Journalism at Fordham” sought to highlight the already active exchange between CMS and WFUV, as many students participate in both, as well as encourage greater collaboration between the two entities. “We’ve been working to curricularize a lot of what WFUV has already been doing,” said Jacqueline Reich, chair of CMS. Ahrens has been recognized as a key player in the educational aspects of WFUV. Ahrens taught courses at Fordham as an adjunct, including audio production, advanced sports broadcasting and ethics of sports broadcasting as well as mentored students through WFUV’s internship opportunities. “We have a long history at WFUV of staffers contributing in the department (CMS) and teaching courses,” said Chuck Singleton, general manager at WFUV.
Speakers honored Ahrens with personal anecdotes of their time working under him within the WFUV sports department. Of the 94 recorded attendees, many had worked with Ahrens during their time at Fordham and now hold positions in the sports media field, while others came from other journalistic professions.
Connell McShane, FCRH ’99, an anchor at Fox Business, recalled how the start of his time at WFUV and Ahrens’ appointment coincided in 1997. McShane discussed his work as a producer on Ahrens’ first endeavor at WFUV, a radio documentary on Jackie Robinson that would later be added to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. “Bob wanted to go big from day one and he taught us that we could go big from day one,” said McShane.
Daniel “DJ” Sixsmith, FCRH ’15, recalled Ahrens’ teaching methods in his remarks, including how he was often asked to “describe the room” in preparation for play by play broadcasting. Sixsmith recounted an A-10 Championship at the Barclays Center in which Ahrens specifically placed a blind man next to Sixsmith, forcing him to describe the game in detail. “Bob is always saying describe the picture for someone as if they couldn’t see the game,” said Sixsmith, “that was just part of the ride, and I’m just extremely grateful that I got to be a part of it.”
Stephanie Gaitley, head coach of Fordham Women’s Basketball, added to the list of speakers, with Mike Breen, FCRH ’83, voice of the Knicks closing out the night’s remarks. “All we can say is thank you, thank you for maintaining the standard and thank you for caring so much,” said Breen.
Drew Casey, FCRH ’17, sports manager at WFUV listed Ahrens’ estimated statistics, including 12480 bagels brought in over 20 years for the Saturday WFUV call-in radio show “One on One,” 1000 episodes of “One on One,” the covering of 3,500 Fordham sporting events and the unedning repetition of the phrase, “let me put it this way,” over Ahrens’ lifetime.
Ahrens was presented with a plaque featuring a golden bagel to honor his 20 years of service. “It’s been a great ride over 20 years. I’m very proud of all of you,” said Ahrens upon receiving the award. However, Ahrens assured the room that he would not “disappear from the woodwork” just yet. He plans to continue consulting for now, despite his retirement. “The station was a great place to work – seeing the students, how they’ve progressed over the four years and where they’ve gone since they’ve left,” said Ahrens.