AAABA radio team

AAABA Tournament broadcasters John DeFazio (left) and Don Stanton are shown July 30, 2015 at Point Stadium.

Don Stanton and John DeFazio called one of the most exciting and memorable moments in Johnstown sports history last August.

The veteran radio broadcast team is hoping the final out of Martella's Pharmacy's 3-2 victory over New Orleans in the 2018 AAABA Tournament title game won't be their final call.

Both DeFazio and Stanton announced Thursday that they have been informed by Forever Media, Inc., that the tournament games won't be broadcast this year. Forever Media operates multiple stations in the region, including WCCL 101.7 FM, which carried the AAABA games involving the local team in recent years. In past years, various AM stations had the games.

Mike Stevens, Corporate Program Director for Forever Media Inc., confirmed that the AAABA Tournament games won't be broadcast by Forever next month.

"We're not going to be carrying it this year," Stevens said. "I really don't have a comment beyond that."

Stanton and DeFazio were poised to work their 33rd straight AAABA Tournament together when the 75th anniversary event begins with the official opener on Aug. 5 at Sargent's Stadium at the Point.

DeFazio had called two previous tournaments before the well-known duo began manning the Point booth together.

"I'm very disappointed to hear this," Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association President George Arcurio III said. "There are shut-ins in the towers and elderly people who can't get to the games anymore who enjoy and rely on the broadcasts. They did a professional job all of these years because they love the tournament.

"I hope it works out and they find someone to broadcast the games. Our group will do what we can to help them."

Stanton and DeFazio are "baseball people" who each played the game during their youth. They are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport and its history.

Each man arrives at the Point several hours before the first pitch on game day, talking to players, coaches, managers and even fans to gather information they sprinkle into their broadcasts. Local and out-of-town managers and coaching staffs know the "radio guys from Johnstown."

"We appreciate everything the station did for us in the past but this is extremely disappointing," Stanton said after calling The Tribune-Democrat on Thursday. "It's been a long time since the station has been covering it. This year, being the 75th anniversary and coming off the first championship for Johnstown. ... I understand everything is about money but the AAABA Tournament is special. It's an event. They've been doing it for such a long time."

Stanton said he has reached out to the Johnstown Oldtimers in hopes of finding another station.

Brian Vuletich, a member of the Oldtimers Board, also is station/sales manager at WCRO 1230 AM, which is owned by Greater Johnstown School District and located in the high school. 

"We'd be happy to do it, but I'd have to work out the details and we'd have to talk to members of our (school) board," said Vuletich, who noted no formal discussions have been held. "I don't know any of the parameters at this point. I don't know what kind of revenue they generate. I'm open to do it as a community thing. The school district has always supported the AAABA and (board) Vice President Gene Pentz even is a member of the AAABA Hall of Fame."

Stanton said he and DeFazio are considering all options and will work with any suitors in order to broadcast the much-anticipated 75th AAABA Tournament celebration.

"We're going to do our best to be on the air and continue the tradition," Stanton said. "It's a tradition. Everybody knows the tournament rolls around and it's going to be on the radio."

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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