BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech Sports Properties, the multi-media rights holder for Virginia Tech Athletics, is pleased to make several announcements pertaining to their coverage of Hokie athletics in advance of the 2021-22 academic and athletic year.
Evan Hughes, a Virginia Tech graduate and recent recipient of the prestigious Jim Nantz Award recognizing the nation’s top collegiate broadcaster, has been named the new radio play-by-play voice for Virginia Tech women’s basketball and baseball. In addition to his duties with those two programs, the Rockville, Virginia native will continue to provide play-by-play and reporting for ACC Network Extra as he did while earning his B.A. in multimedia journalism as a student at Virginia Tech.
He will also host one of two new podcasts being launched for 2021-22 by the Virginia Tech Sports Network. Hughes will succeed Bryant Johnson, who recently vacated the role to found LyfePULSE: People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, a video production company based in Colorado that will be at the forefront of connecting student-athletes to opportunities within the rapidly evolving landscape of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).
“We are certainly appreciative of the talent, passion and effort that Bryant brought to this role in his time at Virginia Tech and we will miss him in Blacksburg,” Virginia Tech Sports Properties Director of Broadcast Services Jon Laaser said. “However, when this opportunity became available, Evan was the obvious choice. He has epitomized what it means to be a Hokie while a student and brought national recognition to Virginia Tech’s School of Communication. We can’t wait to see what his huge future holds and are thrilled that he will begin his professional career in such a dynamic role right here at Tech.”
“I am beyond excited to join the Virginia Tech Sports Network and get the chance to work with this amazing team,” Hughes said. “This is a dream come true for me and I can’t wait to get started! A huge thanks to Jon Laaser, Whit Babcock, Brad Wurthman and Kyler Pilling for believing in me. And a special thanks to Bill Roth and my time in the Sports Media and Analytics program in the School of Communication for helping me become the person and broadcaster I am today. Go Hokies!”
The Virginia Tech Sports Network (VTSN) will relaunch HokiePod entering the 2021-22 athletic year. HokiePod, VTSN’s podcast channel, will now consist of three separate podcasts to keep Hokie Nation constantly in the know throughout the year. “Hokies Game Plan” will launch on Aug. 12, and will feature Laaser, Virginia Tech hall of famer Mike Burnop, Virginia Tech football defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton and Virginia Tech football offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen.
The weekly podcast will offer listeners weekly analysis straight from the coach’s room and will be available for download on Thursdays. Hughes will host “Hokie Sports Insider,” an additional weekly podcast launching on Aug. 11, and that will focus on all sports at Virginia Tech. Hughes will be joined weekly by coaches and student-athletes from each of Tech’s 22 athletic programs and also provide stories and updates as the seasons unfold. “Hokie Sports Insider” will be available for download on Wednesdays.
The two new podcasts will join Tech Talk Live! which will continue to be available live on Mondays from 7-8 p.m. ET and will be downloadable as a podcast beginning on Tuesdays. “Hokies Walk Through” will continue to air live on home football gamedays, five hours before kickoff, as an interactive platform for fan engagement on Facebook Live. The show is also archived in that space.
“Hokie Game Plan will give our fans access like they’ve never had before,” Laaser said. “What is really exciting about it is following the coaching throughout the season and hearing it straight from the men strategizing it. Meanwhile, Hokie Sports Insider will shine a spotlight on programs that deserve to be represented and through the combination of storytelling and guests will provide a comprehensive view of Hokie athletics. We feel very strongly that these new endeavors along with some of our trademark programs will provide Hokie Nation coverage and access on an unprecedented level.”
Additionally, Virginia Tech Sports Properties has announced affiliate extensions for two of their anchor affiliates, WJFK in Washington, D.C., and WFNZ in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Virginia Tech Sports Network has maintained 100% retention of their affiliate network, the largest collegiate network in the Mid-Atlantic region in each of the last six years.