#MediaMonday – Philip Catalfamo
Today’s MediaMonday comes to us from Philip Catalfamo, news editor and sports director for Yavapai Broadcasting and Verde Valley Television, which includes The Q 102.9, KKLD 95.9FM, KVRD 105.7FM, KVNA-FM 100.1FM, KYBC 96.3FM, KNVA-AM Flagstaff (ESPN affiliate). Among his duties, Philip hosts “Off the Bench” each Saturday morning, focusing on prep sports throughout Northern Arizona.
Philip, time to share:
“Off the Bench” is a high school sports show focused on highlighting all of the great players, coaches, supportive staff, and administration we have here in Northern Arizona. We focus primarily on the 4-A Grand Canyon Region but have branched out to non 4A schools here in Northern Arizona such as Sedona, Chino Valley, Camp Verde, Northland Prep and more. The show airs every Friday morning on Verde Valley TV and Saturday mornings on KVNA 104.7-FM in Flagstaff.
The sports community here in Northern Arizona is incredible. They are incredibly passionate about their high school and collegiate sports. Being from a relatively large area of Southern California, you do see a high level of passion for high school sports but not much compares to what I have experienced here. Everyone is very close. They bleed their school colors, hate the rival school, and are now seeing their kids or grandkids play in the same program they did. The passion for sports up here is amazing.
I am a news editor/sports director here at Yavapai Broadcasting. As a news editor I take press releases that are sent to me from police agencies, fire agencies/districts, county officials, etc., and condense them for air on our radio stations. As sports director I coordinate guests for my show, handle play-by-play duties for Mingus Union High School sports, and any other sport related issues that may arise.
My passion for broadcasting started when I was a kid. While playing Madden video games on my Nintendo GameCube, I would mute my TV and pretend to do play-by-play for the game which would usually result in a “who are you talking to?” from my parents and sisters as they passed by my room. Ever since then I knew this is what I wanted to do forever. While I was a senior in high school, I was the public address announcer for my high school’s softball team which would lead me to meeting Kevin Pillow who worked for Team 1010 KXPS AM; a local sports talk radio station in Palm Desert, Calif. My mom was actually the one who coordinated the meeting, as my twin sister Darbie had been interviewed on Kevin’s show “Prep Sports Weekly.” Kevin asked about my interest in sports broadcasting and a few days later I was interning on that very same show. I would say about a month in I was the full-time co-host of PSW. While working at KXPS I called my first game, helped run the social media accounts of PSW, and briefly co-hosted another show called “Pure Sports with Geoff Bloom.” At the same time, I worked at KCOD at College of the Desert (local junior college) where I met a great group of people including Jim Eisenacher who took me under his wing and made me feel very welcomed at the station. I am to this day still friends with all of those guys and will always treasure the time I spent there. Once COD eliminated my major (thanks COD) I made the decision to move on from my hometown and attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix where a family friend also attended. At GCU, I worked at GCUTV, gaining more experience as on camera talent. Just like COD, I loved working at GCUTV and met some incredibly talented people including Barry Buetel, producers Gina Sandoz, Scott McDonald, Aaron Stanley, fellow talent Jack O’Hara, Kyle Borg, JP Saar, student producers Connor Brinton, Jacob Spratlin, Thomas Page, Britney Ha-Nguyen and so many others that have turned into basically family members. Once I graduated, I hosted a couple of podcasts and took a broadcast internship with the Palm Springs Power, a collegiate baseball organization. During that time I was sending out applications to everyone and anyone. Some resulted in an interview, some I had to say no to, and most said no in general. With a lot of uncertainty about my broadcast future I sent out one last resume to the wonderful people here at Yavapai Broadcasting. I was contacted by General Manager Mike Puetz and after a lengthy conversation with him, and News Director Paul David, I drove out to Cottonwood for an interview and well…needless to say I got the job.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced so far in my career is confidence. I think everyone struggles with confidence in one way or another. I sometimes go through days where I question my abilities, career choice, and so on. Thankfully I have a wonderful support staff of friends, co-workers, and family that help to make me feel a bit surer of myself.
The biggest highlight of my career so far is calling one of the biggest upsets in regular season Division 1 college softball. Ok, I actually don’t know if that previous statement is correct but it was big. I was in my final season working for GCUTV and the Lopes were taking on the then undefeated, number 1 ranked Florida State Seminoles. This was game one of a two game evening double header. The day before the game, I was working on my preparation for the game and Jack O’Hara had asked me if I wanted to handle play-by-play duties for the first game or the second. Now to be honest, I didn’t expect either game to be close. Florida State was undefeated at the time, sue me. Anyway, I took the first game and Jack would handle the second. What I didn’t expect was a 5-3 GCU lead going into the 7th inning. So with no runners on, 2-outs, and a 2-run lead everyone was feeling confident that GCU, a private school in arguably the worst part of Phoenix, was going to beat a powerhouse program. So on a 3-2 count, Yessie Morrison was able to get Cali Harrod to fly out to Gianna Nicoletti (Who I thought was Maddie Dowdle) and somehow GCU was able to hand Florida State their first loss of the season. It was absolutely incredible and one of my favorite highlights of my career so far.
Like most 20 somethings, I mostly hang out with friends when I am not working. Since moving up to Northern Arizona, I have been doing a lot more hiking which has been a great stress reliever. I am also kind of a foodie. Which is such a gross word to associate yourself with but it’s the only way I can think of to describe my love for food. I love checking out hole in the wall restaurants. It is a great way to try new things and experience different cuisine. Outside of that I watch sports, play video games, and travel as much as I can. I am pretty boring to be honest.
I do not have a go-to place to hang out, but I will say I have a pretty good routine of going from home, to work, to the gym, then back home. So I guess my go-to place to hang out would be my house and the gym. Again, I am pretty boring.