“Student Correspondents” expand coverage of HS Football, gain real-world experience

by Mike Pavlichko

When I was a student in high school, in the dark ages before Twitter, Facebook, and even MySpace, I knew I wanted to be in radio. I just didn’t have much of an outlet.

Back at Memorial School in Spotswood, I was one of a rotating group of students who read morning announcements, until someone let me give a daily sportscast. The rest as they say is history.

It opened the door to doing PA announcing for Spotswood High School football games, boys basketball, and eventually girls basketball. (I even got the occasional write-up in the paper, as I did in the Home News clipping above from Monday, October 18, 1993.)

It helped me find my style and develop a persona that would serve me well when I arrived at Rutgers and joined WRSU, then graduated and got a job at WCTC, where I covered high school football for 20 years before forming Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Now, Central Jersey Sports Radio is providing that opportunity to students at schools in the Big Central Football Conference. Before the season started, we emailed coaches and athletic directors and told them to put us in contact with any students who wanted to pursue sports journalism.

We got a bite from two students in particular.

Ryan Durstewicz is a senior at Old Bridge High School, where Dom Savino and I met him and other students who were calling play-by-play of the Knights’ game against East Brunswick for the school’s YouTube livestream of the game.

We got Ryan to cover the Old Bridge-Perth Amboy game at Vince Lombardi Stadium last weekend, and aired his interviews with head coach Anthony Lanzafama and runningback Lawrence Hunter on the “Tuesday Night Quarterback” program this week.

Below is Ryan’s recap of the Knights’ win over Perth Amboy:

Meanwhile, Matt Lesnik is a sophomore at Bernards High School, where he is a student of head coach Jon Simoneau, enrolled in his Multimedia 2 class at the high school. (He took Multimedia 1 as a freshman.) Matt got the rare chance to spend some time in the press box with the CJSR crew, watching as we broadcast the Mountaineers’ win over A.L. Johnson at Olcott Field.

Here’s Matt’s postgame story on the Bernards-A.L. Johnson game:

The opportunity to work with Central Jersey Sports Radio is a unique one. Students have a chance to hone their interviewing and reporting skills, with the results for all to hear on our webcasts and site. The hope is it will serve them well when they move on to college, and give them a leg up in what is an intense and highly competitive field.

And it might even be a shameless opportunity to recruit them one day to Rutgers to join the award-winning WRSU Sports Department. (So far as I know, the NCAA has no dead period or recruiting rules for radio!)

And maybe one day, they’ll be calling the games with me or Dom in the press box, showing some other wide-eyed high school kid how it’s done.

Any current high school student who wishes to get involved with Central Jersey Sports Radio as a student correspondent should reach out to Mike Pavlichko at mike@cjsportsradio.com, or on Twitter @CJSportsRadio.


  1. This is a wonderful opportunity you are providing the youth. Kudos to Central Jersey Sports Radio for presenting these chances!

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