By Jeff White
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Say good-bye to Cavalier Call-in.
Say hello to the Farm Bureau Insurance Coach’s Corner with Al Groh.
The University of Virginia football coach’s weekly radio show has a new name and a new format.
“We just have one purpose, and that’s to try to make the show more interesting, informative and therefore enjoyable for those people who tune in,” Groh said today in his McCue Center office. “To get away from an hour for 12 weeks of the same person talking on one end to a limited group of repeat callers from the other end, and to cover lots of different areas of Cavalier football.”
Most notably, the show no longer will include calls from fans. Such a move is not unprecedented. Virginia Tech, in fact, announced Tuesday that it has adopted a similar policy for Frank Beamer’s radio show.
“The show needed a new spark to pick up the pacing,” Bill Roth, who hosts Beamer’s show, told The Roanoke Times. “I thought it was getting a little stale.”
Starting Aug. 31, the Farm Bureau Insurance Coach’s Corner will air live from the McCue Center each Monday from 7:05 to 8 p.m. The show’s host is Dave Koehn, the Voice of the Cavaliers, and fans still will be able to pose to questions to Groh by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We wanted to liven it up,” Groh said. “We think it’s got greater potential than the other way around.”
A typical show might include a recap and discussion of the previous game, a conversation with a current UVa player, assistant coach or staffer, a segment on how former UVa players are faring in the NFL, an interview with an NFL player who attended UVa, a scouting report on UVa’s next opponent, a look around the ACC, Groh’s choice for student-athlete of the week, and a breakdown of a key play from the Cavaliers’ most recent game.
“What we really want to do is show as many angles of the program as possible,” Koehn said. “We feel like bringing in players, assistant coaches, and former UVa stars will accomplish that and make for a more entertaining program for our listeners across Virginia.”
Groh said that if, for example, the Wahoos excel in pass protection on a Saturday, offensive line coach Dave Borbely might be a guest on the show two nights later to discuss his group’s play.
“We’re trying to broaden the base of areas that we touch upon and information that we bring,” Groh said, “and bring a lot more personalities into the show.”
Like most in his profession, Groh periodically fielded calls from critical fans on his show.
“Obviously, human nature being what it is, negativity of any type affects people, but most particularly it affects a team,” said Groh, who’s heading into his ninth season as coach at his alma mater.
Sometimes that negativity is “well-deserved,” Groh noted, but he’s confident the new format will result in a better show.
“One of the things that we found was that sometimes after some of our best games, we got the least amount of callers,” he said. “So now we’re sitting there with an hour of, ‘Everybody seems pretty pleased. How are we going to keep this thing going?'”
Under the new format, Groh said, UVa will have “the whole time frame covered with what we think will be good interesting football information.”