Tag Archives: WWPT-FM

Roundup: WWPT, Afghan Refugees, Dog Festival …

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They might have to rename the John Drury Awards “The WWPT Awards.”

For the squintillionth year in a row, Staples’ FM radio station cleaned up in the annual high school broadcast competition.

The station — 90.3 on your dial! — won 4 categories earlier this month:

  • Best Radio Drama — Original or Adaptation (“The Wizard of Oz,” with Staples Players)
  • Best Sportscast (Zach Brody)
  • Best Sports Talk Program (“Bold Predictions,” with Rory Tarsy, Max Udell and Caleb Tobias)
  • Best Sports Play-by-Play (FCIAC lacrosse championship, Staples vs. Darien, with Cam Manna and Max Dorsey).

Radio is alive and well. Congratulations to all, and of course to instructor Geno Heiter.

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Westporters have responded generous to a call to help Afghan refugees resettling in the area.

A final collection of needed items is set for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, 12 to 3 p.m.).

Men’s and women’s coats; teen and children warm clothes; boots, scarves, warm hats and umbrellas; backpacks filled with school supplies, and household toiletries, towels and cleaning supplies can all be dropped off at  Greens Farms Congregational Church.

Backpacks and school supplies are among the items needed for Afghan refugees.

 

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The weather looks great for tomorrow’s oft-postponed Dog Festival.

The event is set for Sunday (October 17, Winslow Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS, it features demonstrations, fun competitions, police K-9 presentations, kids’ activities, vendors, food trucks, a special appearance by Piglet (the blind and deaf chihuahua) and more.

Tickets are $10 per person, $25 for a family of 4. Dogs go free. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival.

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Interested in the kind of world today’s students will inherit? Do you have ideas how our schools can prepare them for it?

The Westport Public Schools invites all Westporters to an Education Summit next Wednesday (October 20, 6 to 8 p.m., Bedford Middle School auditorium).

Futurist Michael Weiss offers a keynote address, then lead an interactive discussion. It’s part of superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice’s Strategic Plan, aimed at taking our district into the next decade and beyond.

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Three residents of the Gillespie Center are moving on to permanent supportive housing.

Homes with Hope is proud of the success of these formerly homeless men. And they’re asking Westporters to help them succeed.

They’ve created a Signup Genius for donations of bedding, household items, furniture and gift cards. Click here to help.

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Fred Cantor is many things: an attorney, off-Broadway and documentary producer, longtime Westporter and avid “06880” reader.

he’s also the author of “Fred from Fresh Meadows,” a memoir of his many years as a New York Knicks fan.

Now the NBA team has repaid the honor.

A 15-second commercial spot featuring Fred, his brother’s older son and brother’s almost 3-year-old grandson premiered last night, during a Knicks preseason game.

It’s part of an MSG Network promotional campaign spotlighting diehard fans. Fred’s spot focuses on his book, and his 6 decades of fandom.

It was filmed earlier this month in the schoolyard behind his former elementary school in Queens.

Fred Cantor (right), being filmed with his nephew Sam and great-nephew Brody.

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It’s been a while since we ran an osprey update. The other day, Franco Fellah spotted this young bird in the trees over the Saugatuck River, opposite his office on Riverside Avenue. Ospreys epitomize “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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And finally … on this date in 1875, Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

Cam Manna: Staples Sportscaster Is A Winner

Cameron Manna is a talented, passionate sportscaster at WWPT-FM, Staples High School’s award-winning radio station.

He just won a full scholarship to Ithaca College’s prestigious Roy H. Park School of Communications.

That’s quite an achievement. It’s even more remarkable because from 3rd to 8th grade, he had speech therapy. Cam stuttered.

Cam Manna

His determination and grit are as powerful as his passions. An athlete all his life — baseball, football, basketball, you name it — he was equally fascinated by broadcasting.

“In my backyard, I pretended to be Derek Jeter,” he remembers. “But at the same time I wanted to be John Sterling” — the New York Yankees’ announcer.

At Greens Farms Elementary School, 5th grade teacher Moira Matthews encouraged him to follow his dreams. He never forgot that.

The summer before 9th grade, Cam attended a broadcasting camp run by Bruce Beck. The lead sports anchor for WNBC-TV has covered Super Bowls, World Series, NBA and NHL finals, US Open golf and tennis, the NCAA Final Four and the Olympics.

That could be intimidating for a young teen. Especially one who would stammer at the beginnings of sentences, and over certain words.

He was teased at GFS and Bedford Middle School. “People made jokes,” Cam says. “But I just used that as motivation.” He now wears a bracelet with 2 sayings: “Never give up” and “Stay scrappy.”

He never thought his stutter would prevent him from being a broadcaster. In high school, a teacher suggested he consider another career. But he had much more support — including his parents, and radio production teacher Geno Heiter.

“He never says no to an idea,” Cam says of his mentor. “He loves what he does. He gives us his absolute all, from the time he gets up till he goes to bed. He teaches leadership skills, and grooms us to be better people.”

Heiter returns the praise. “Since freshman year I have had the privilege to witness Cam evolve exponentially in areas of leadership, organization and empathy. He always delivers.”

From day one of 9th grade, Cam found a home in Heiter’s classroom and studio. The more he learned, the more confident he became. And the more responsibility he was given, the more he grew.

He was mentored by older students. He got to school at 6 a.m., for early morning shows. As a sophomore, he and longtime friend and broadcast partner Jake Gersh called some games. Last year, they won awards.

This year, as a senior, Cam is a WWPT executive coordinator.

Cam manna, in action.

“When I put my headset on, I’m in a different world,” Cam explains. “I turn on the intensity, and bring people in.

“I know I won’t play in the NFL or MLB. But there’s nothing better than talking about sports. When I’m broadcasting. I’m almost a part of the game. Just in a different way.”

Staples’ girls basketball’s double overtime loss in the 2020 FCIAC championship game was one of his highlights. “Jake and I were courtside at Trumbull,” Cam recalls. “We were in the center of all that intensity.”

Cam loves the WWPT team. But throughout Staples, he has continued to play on other teams. There’s football in the fall. This spring he’s part of Wrecker baseball, hoping to repeat as state champions.

The young broadcaster is grateful for the opportunities he’s had in Westport: mentors, technology, speech therapy. He gives a shout-out too to WWPT sportscasters who preceded him — role models like Cooper Boardman and Jack Caldwell.

Meanwhile, Cam returned every summer to Beck’s sportscasting camp. Beck returns the favor. He listened to Cam’s call of that FCIAC basketball game, and sent the audio file to ESPN. That earned him a spot on the network’s “Kidscast” of a New York Nets-Los Angeles Clippers game last spring. COVID canceled the chance. But more will come.

At Bruce Beck’s broadcasting camp.

Ithaca boasts one of the nation’s top communications schools. It’s Beck’s alma mater — and he told Cam about the Park Scholar program.

Over 500 students applied for the award, which covers all tuition, room and board. Only 20 were selected for interviews. Eight — including Cam — were ultimately selected.

Park Scholars are passionate about broadcasting and related fields, and thrive on personal challenges. Cam’s ability to conquer his stutter certainly counts.

Park Scholars are also involved in community service. At Staples, he and friend Owen Ziegler started Renew Sports. They collected used equipment at the Westport Y and ASF, then donated it to organizations like Wakeman Boys Club.

Cam will continue initiatives like that at Ithaca. He also hopes to talk to youngsters with speech impediments, inspiring them just as Moira Matthews, Geno Heiter and Bruce Beck did for him.

His dream is be the New York Knicks’ play-by-play announcer. He knows there’s a long road to Madison Square Garden, and will be happy at every stop along the way.

“I love doing this,” Cam says. “It doesn’t matter where, or what the money is. I’m just so happy bringing stories to life, and helping a community.”

(Hat tip: Victoria Capozzi)

WWPT-FM (90.3) broadcasts Staples baseball games this spring. Cam Manna will be on the diamond — not behind the mic.

Staples Players: Sorry, Wrong Number!

During the pandemic, we’ve all done a lot of listening.

Podcasts have boomed. Audiobook sales soared.

And — as Staples Players have discovered — there is a huge audience for old-time radio broadcasts.

The nationally recognized drama troupe pivoted last fall to radio shows. Produced virtually on Sunday evenings, they were a surprise — and welcome — addition to our vastly curtailed entertainment calendars.

This spring — the 3rd season in a row without a mainstage production — Players is back on the internet. Four shows are planned, starting next Sunday. It’s time to gather round the radio — well, the laptop — for sure.

The series kicks with “Sorry, Wrong Number” this Sunday (February 7, 5 p.m. — — yes, you’ll have plenty of time before the Super Bowl).

Orson Welles called 23-minute thriller  “the greatest radio script ever written.” A woman accidentally overhears a phone conversation about a planned murder. Terror followa quickly, as the plot unfolds in real time.

Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long wanted variety in their 4 shows. They sure have it.

“Little Women” (February 28, 6 p.m.) and “Dracula” (March 14, 6 p.m.) follow. The series concludes with “The Marvelous Mellow Melodrama of the Manager of the Mislaid Manor” (March 26, 7 p.m.), a madcap comedy that will be Players’ first-ever freshman and sophomore-only production, of any kind.

Roth and Long — and their actors and tech crews — love the radio show format. The cast is not tied down to one character for 3 months. They can create multiple personalities — with diverse accents and back stories, and grow rapidly as performers.

Sophie Rossman stars as the woman who overhears a murder plot in “Sorry, Wrong Number.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

Musicians and sound effects people have plenty to do. So do costumers, hair and makeup designers, who create special looks for the actors. They’re never seen by audiences, but they help each cast member get into his or her role.

The radio shows are intended to be performed in the Black Box theater — with social distancing, of course. But in the event of a sudden quarantine (as happened last fall), the show can be done entirely remotely.

Each performance is available on www.wwptfm.org. They are not aired on the radio station itself, due to FCC restrictions on commercials. (Highlights of each show include clever Player-produced ads for local businesses.)

Audiences appreciate the format. “People listened lots of different ways last fall,” Roth says. “Some tuned in during dinner. Some turned off the lights, built a fire and listened that way.” The length of the shows — from 23 to no more than 75 minutes — lends itself to those kinds of rituals.

The Super Bowl — this is number LV — is a relatively new American ritual. Decades earlier, Americans gathered around the radio in another communal radio.

Thanks to our new pandemic normal — and Staples Players — we can all do that again.

Staples Players Give Familiar “Carol” A Fresh Twist

The pandemic — and longer, darker days — have moved most entertainment indoors.

Streaming movies and board games are fun. But they can get old.

Somehow though, “A Christmas Carol” never goes out of fashion. Now there’s a new/old way to enjoy Charles Dickens’ 177-year-old classic: a live radio show.

Staples Players livestreams the ghost story this Sunday (December 13, 6 p.m.). It’s the 4th in a series of shows replacing the fall musical. The first 3 — “The Wizard of Oz,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” — were smashes.

“People sat together, relaxed, ate dinner and listened in,” says Players director David Roth. “They were totally into it. We’re thrilled we can introduce everyone to the pleasure of listening to stories.”

Great enthusiasm — by listeners and actors alike — impelled Roth and co-director Kerry Long to keep going. But in keeping with their longtime goal of stretching both their cast and audience, there’s a twist to the 1843 story: Ebenezer Scrooge is played by a female

“These days, there’s a big movement in theater and film to look at different types of people for roles,” Roth explains.

“Samantha Webster was a show-stopper last year as Rosie in ‘Mamma Mia!’ She did a great job as the mother in ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ She was the strongest person to audition. She’s a natural.”

Samantha Webster starred in “Mamma Mia!” This year, she serves as Staples Players president. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Webster and her entire cast are enjoying rehearsals — virtually. Due to ever-changing COVID restrictions, Roth and Long decided to do the entire show remotely. Each actor — and the tech crew sound effects — logs in from home.

It’s not easy. But it worked well with “Wonderful Life.” It’s life — and live theater — during COVID.

TPlayers have fun emphasizing the ghost story aspects of “A Christmas Carol.” That’s how Dickens wrote it — and it fits in with what Roth says was a mid-19th century tradition: telling ghost stories at holiday time.

“We’re keeping the ghosts as scary as we can make them,” he promises. “We’re not Disney-fying this.”

The cast is also spending time polishing their British and Cockney accents. “They’re quite good,” Roth notes.

Players’ costume crew designed mock ups for “A Christmas Carol.” They did not create the actual costumes — it’s a radio show, after all — but it was an important exercise for when they return to a real stage. Above: a “mood board” by Ella Grace Worraker.

As with previous Players’ shows, this production will include “old-time” radio show ads for area businesses.

“We encourage Westport listeners to shop and eat locally,” Roth says. “We’re glad we can help support the town merchants who have always supported us.”

Of course, those ads will be heard by many people far from Westport. That’s the magic of a radio show — in our new COVID-and-digital age.

(“A Christmas Carol” will be livestreamed at 6 p.m. this Sunday, December 13, at www.wwwptfm.org. The show is not funded by the Westport schools’ budget. Donations are welcome; click here.) 

Roundup: Betty Lou Cummings, Wizard Of Oz, Painting With A Twist, More


Back in the day — the mid-1950s — Betty Lou Cummings was a Michigan State University cheerleader — one of the first female cheerleaders in the entire Big Ten.

After moving to Westport, she became a cheerleader for Westport. She volunteered with a host of organizations — the Westport Library, Senior Center, CLASP Homes — and led the fall Apple Festival for 2 decades. She was elected to the Representative Town Meeting.

In the 1990s, she served as Westport’s 2nd selectman. She ran as a Republican, with Joe Arcudi.

In 2011, the Republicans gained control of several town boards and commissions, after a 14-year hiatus. “We’re back!” Betty Lou told WestportNow.

Now 86, Betty Lou Cummings still cheers for causes that are important to her. Yesterday, Michigan State played Rutgers in football. She dressed in green, gamely grinning through the bad loss.

She also cheered for her presidential candidate. But the longtime Republican is not supporting President Trump.

She’s a Joe Biden fan — as the sign outside her Saugatuck Shores home proudly shows.

In fact, the former Republican 2nd selectman is now a registered Democrat.


When Staples Players fans around the world turn in to tonight’s broadcast of “The Wizard of Oz” (6 p.m., WWPT, 90.3 FM; for the livestream, click here ), they’ll enjoy an old-fashioned radio broadcast, complete with sound effects, music and local ads.

Actors who normally perform on stage have been rehearsing — via Zoom, and occasionally together — for weeks. But other members of the high school’s award-winning troupe have been hard at work too.

Players head of computer sound effects/sound designer Brandon Malin sends along these behind-the-scenes photos. Here’s the live sound effects equipment in the WWPT-FM radio studio:

And here is the control room, where all the magic happens:

(Photos/Brandon Malin)


Painting With a Twist — the fun, quirky, do-it-yourself-together spot in the Julian’s Post Road shopping center near South Maple — is closing. Their last day after 7 years is December 12.

In a note to their fans, they say “the plaza where we are located is being converted for another use.”

They add:

We have had such fun, rewarding experiences with all of you and we carry so many happy memories of helping you celebrate your personal milestones, your festive gatherings with friends and family, and your creative nights out. We hope we have given all of you an escape from your cares and some joyful, festive time that has inspired you and uplifted your spirits.

The artists and I will all miss seeing your smiling faces and spending time in our beautiful studio, surrounded by all our colorful art and all the great music that ignites the soul.

But we still have almost 2 more months! So we hope you’ll come and enjoy some time with us. Plan your girls night out, holiday party, company team building event, date night, child’s birthday party, or just join a public class to forget your concerns and have some fun!

If you’d rather, you can paint in the comfort of home with one of our Twist at Home kits.


And finally … Jerry Jeff Walker died Friday, of complications from throat cancer. He was 78.

Best known for writing “Mr. Bojangles” after spending a night in a New Orleans drunk tank — though the song was not, as many people think, about the legendary tap dancer/actor/singer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson — Walker was also an enormously influential figure in the Austin music scene. He helped create “outlaw country,” popularized as well by Willie Nelson and others.

Post-Isaias Roundup: 78%, 90.3 FM, More

As of noon, 9,800 — 78 percent — of Westport’s Eversource customers remained without power. There is no indication when restoration will be complete.

The number of impassable roads is 14. The Department of Public Works expects all to be passable by tomorrow. At that point, DPW will work on the roads with hanging trees or other obstructions. After that, they’ll embark on a thorough town clean-up.

Westporters (and Norwalkers) worry about this situation on Post Road West. The lines are drooping lower by the hour. As soon as blocked roads are cleared, crews will take care of this — and a similar very visible situation on Avery Place. (Photo/Diane Lowman)


He was the Hero of Superstorm Sandy. Not to mention many other natural disasters — blizzards, wind storms, locust plagues — that have befallen Westport in the past decade.

Now Nate Gibbons is back, as wise and informative as ever.

The fire inspector can be heard on a continuous loop on WWPT-FM (90.3), the Staples High School radio station. He offers an astonishing array of information: what’s opened and closed, where to charge your devices, how to keep safe while using generators and extension cords, the latest on the Longshore golf course, and hundreds of life hacks.

And he does it all in a folksy, comforting voice combining the best of Brian Lehrer, Garrison Keillor and FDR.

There’s not much good about our current weather crisis. But Nate Gibbons makes it almost bearable.

Nate Gibbons


Les Dinkin was at Compo Beach today. He noticed:

  1. It’s very empty. Sure, it’s a beautiful August Saturday. But most Westporters have a few other things to do right now.
  2. A reminder about remembering all the things we take for granted. As someone whose power came back about half an hour ago, I could not agree more.
  3. Trees and bushes in the Compo neighborhood look very brown. Les wonders if it’s from the wind. Or perhaps salt water from the storm?

(Photo/Les Dinkin)


Jeff Seaver sends along this message from John Dulligan, government liaison for Altice, the parent company of Optimum. Suffice it to say, Jeff is not impressed:

As you probably know, this storm caused widespread damage. The vast majority of the service-related issues for our customers relate to commercial power impacts. To the extent that there are impacts on our plant due to the storm, we need to ensure the situations are safe prior to proceeding. We are working as fast as we can to restore services if the outage is not related to loss of commercial power. There can certainly be scenarios where power dips (on then off) which is typically the result of our services coming on and dropping again.


And finally … let’s update Sam Cooke’s 1963 classic with the words: “Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got no power …”

WWPT: COVID Did Not Kill The Radio Star

When school closed in March, radio production teacher Geno Heiter wondered how he could keep WWPT-FM on the air.

The answer was right in his basement. The longtime musician had plenty of equipment there. His students were used to broadcasting remotely, for sports.

In a matter of days, 90.3 was back on the air.

Heiter oversees every show from his Milford “control room.” They take place during regular class time, and in afternoons and evenings too.  Students — er, the on-air talent — see each other via Google Hangouts. They plan their general talk, sports talk and music shows that way, communicating and improvising and entertaining in real time. If you didn’t know it, you’d think they were all hanging out together at 70 North Avenue.

Behind the scenes — virtually — as the staff collaborates on a WWPT-FM broadcast.

And make no mistake: These teenagers are good. They’ve snagged guests like Monday Night Football and Olympics sportscaster Mike Tirico, and New York Knicks and ESPN announcer Mike Breen.

Tomorrow (Friday, May 8, 7:30 p.m.) they’ll chat with Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN’s “First Take.”

“I get the ball rolling. They run with it,” Heiter says modestly.

To see (and hear) how well they run, click here.

WWPT-FM advisor and radio production teacher Geno Heiter, in his Milford basement “control room.”

WWPT Rocks National Radio Awards

You don’t have to be a Staples student to love WWPT.

Plenty of folks in Fairfield County with no connection to the high school tune into the station — 90.3 FM — for news, sports, music, even dramatic readings.

It was one of the first high school radio stations in the country.

Now the John Drury High School Radio Awards confirm: It’s also the best.

For the 2nd year in a row.

Yesterday at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, “Wrecker Radio” walked off with the top prize: Best High School Radio Station.

But that’s not all.

Individual staff members won for:

  • Best News Feature Story (November 11, 2018: Jack Gersh, Cameron Manna)
  • Best Sports Play-by-Play (Basketball final, Trumbull vs. Darien: Greg Settos, Jake Gersh)
  • Best Sportstalk Program (Open Season – 2.o “The Return”: Jake Thaw, Nick, Kornfeld
  • Best Sportscast (A Sports Update: Greg Settos)
  • Best PSA (Don’t Text and Drive: Ben Gross)

The entire station also won Best Radio Drama – Adaptation for “A Christmas Carol – Act 1 of 2.”

WWPT-FM members who attended yesterday’s national awards ceremony in Illinois (from left): Brad Cox, Greg Settos, Reilly Caldwell, Jake Gersh, Cameron Manna and adviser Geno Heiter. (Photo/Jack Caldwell)

Those were not the only nominees from Staples. Others included Greg Settos for Best Newscast; Brad Cox for Best News Feature Story; Reilly Caldwell and Settos for Best Promo; Seettos and Lefty Penderakis, Jack Borowsky and Mark Didio, and Jake Gersh and Cameron Manna, Best Sportstalk Program (3 separate nominations); Art Shapiro and Settos, and Brad Cox, Best Sports Play-by-Play (2 separate nominations); Ethan Frank, plus Cox, Zach Iannacone, Will Rosenthal, Tim Luciano for Best Public Affairs Program (2 separate nominations); Jake Gersh and Isabella Siskind (Best PSA, 2 separate nominations); Gersh, Siskind, Dylan Mace, Dan Chu, Oscar Hachter, Jack Noble, Ben Howard and Matt Hirschler (Best Radio Drama – Original).

Congratulations to all, and of course adviser Geno Heiter.

Now set your radio to 90.3 FM!

(Hat tip: Jack Caldwell)

Jack Caldwell Covers The Super Bowl

WWPT-FM — Staples High School’s award-winning radio station — produces great sports broadcasters as regularly as the New England Patriots used to win Super Bowls.

Jack Caldwell is the latest in that long and storied line. He’s smooth and steady. He prepares well. He knows his stuff. He’s good.

In addition to play-by-play, he does music and news. This year’s, he’s WWPT’s executive director. In his spare time, he’s broadcast director for the student newspaper Inklings.

His sports cred comes naturally. He comes from a long line of baseball fans. His grandmother told stories of listening to Vin Scully call Brooklyn Dodgers games; together, Jack and she discussed their favorite (and least favorite) announcers.

His father Chris is in sports marketing. He’s worked at every Super Bowl since XXXIV (that was in 2000, for you non-sports fans). So Jack and his dad have never had a chance to watch the big game together.

This year — as an early graduation present — Chris took Jack to Minnesota. He tried to get 2 tickets, but wasn’t sure if he could. They decided they’d watch Super Bowl LII together — even if that meant doing it at the hotel.

Sunday morning, Jack’s dad surprised him with 2 tickets.

Jack Caldwell and his dad at the Super Bowl.

Before the game on Sunday morning, Jack attended an event with broadcast personalities Trey Wingo, Tony Romo and Cris Carter. After, he chatted with them. When he said he was an aspiring broadcaster, Romo and Carter posed for this photo with him.

You’ll notice Jack’s wearing his WWPT logowear. Fans were allowed to do “mock” broadcasts on a set at US Bank Stadium. This was Jack’s first broadcast ever with his father.

I’m not a betting guy, but I bet Jack’s broadcast was better than any other fan who stepped into that booth.

It was a working weekend for Jack. He watched and learned as much as he could.

WNBC reporter Bruce Beck — an avid WWPT-FM supporter and mentor — allowed Jack to shadow him as he worked.

On Saturday — despite 6 inches of snow — he explored many media sites, and visited the ESPN set. The Lombardi Trophy was there. Well, an ice sculpture replica of it, anyway.

As for the game: Jack’s a Jets fan; his dad likes the Lions. Going in, they were “reluctantly” rooting for the Eagles. But when the training scene from “Rocky II” was shown as Philadelphia’s hype video, they were won over for the night.

It was a fantastic weekend. There’s nothing like sharing the Super Bowl with your dad.

Especially when you can take a photo like this, moments after the final whistle.

BONUS STORY ON JACK CALDWELLAs a sophomore, knee surgery forced Jack into a wheelchair for 6  months.

His favorite sport to call is ice hockey. When the Wreckers made the state semifinals — at the “Yale Whale” arena — he worried he could not get to the press box.

WWPT friends and family helped him up, then helped him set up equipment. He called the game — an overtime Staples win.

That support meant a lot to Jack. It meant even more when that broadcast earned him a 2nd-place award in the national John Drury radio competition.

Last year, Jack and the station won honors in every Drury category they entered.

WWPT-FM faculty advisor Geno Heiter (left) and student broadcasters jump for joy after earning 12 John Drury Awards.

The Super Bowl — seeing media row and shadowing Bruce Beck — was a fantastic experience. Jack learned a lot about “real world media,” and looks forward to sharing that knowledge with everyone involved in media at Staples.

For his senior internship at May, he’ll work on the “Anna & Raven Show” on Star 99.9 FM. He hopes to study broadcast journalism in college (he will hear from schools in March).

After that — well, like other WWPT sportscasters, the sky’s the limit.

The Super Bowl was an important weekend, Jack says.

“I got to have a real fan experience,” he notes. “So if I begin to cover events for real in broadcasting, now they won’t seem as daunting.”

Two Christmas Carols

Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert is the music department’s gift to the town.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

On Friday night, Steve Ruchefsky and Rondi Charleston threw their annual holiday party, at their beautiful Myrtle Avenue home.

Like many gatherings around Westport, it was a warm, wonderful way to catch up with friends of all ages.

But Steve and Rondi’s party was extra-special. Their daughter Emma — now a student at Berklee College of Music — joined with fellow former Orphenians for a few Christmas songs.

No offense to any other party with carol singers, but — well, take a listen:

 

Thanks to Emma Ruchefsky, Joe Badion, Bailey Claffey, Ian Goodman, Nick Massoud, Nick Ribolla and Sarah Quagliarello for reminding us all why music may be the greatest gift of all.

SPECIAL HOLIDAY BONUS: Last week, Staples’ Audio Production and Theater 3 classes combined to produce a live radio broadcast of “A Christmas Carol.”

It includes all the voices from Charles Dickens’ classic — plus music, clever sound effects, even old-time radio ads for products like Pepsodent.

If you missed it on WWPT-FM, just click here. Instructors Geno Heiter and David Roth, and dozens of students, offer a perfect soundtrack to your holiday.

And so — in the immortal words of Tiny Tim — “A Merry Christmas to us all!”