Alumnus Says Success in On-Air Radio Comes From Earning Trust of Local Audiences

Joe Cats Joe Catenacci ’06 knows being a successful on-air broadcaster means more than just reporting the news. He insists it includes caring about the audience you serve and earning the trust of the community—your listeners and readers. An alumnus of the Caldwell University Communication Arts program, “Joe Cats” has become a well-known on-air personality in the Wilmington, North Carolina market. He was recently named host of “The Sports Connection”, a radio talk show produced by The Big Talker radio stations 93.7 and 106.3 and the Port City Daily, an online daily newspaper.

A native of Helmetta, NJ, he has been a morning news anchor and a sportscaster for stations WBNE/WLTT/WUIN/WSFM the last six years in the Wilmington market. The most rewarding part, he says, is going out in the field and getting to meet the listeners and readers and receiving their feedback and “getting to know the coaches and players”. 

“We’re all about local”, says Catenacci, of his station and program that can be heard Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m. The show’s format begins with high school athletics and then moves on to professional sports. It includes coach interviews, comprehensive game analysis and the latest scores. Some of the most recent guests include two NFL players–Khary Campbell of the Washington Redksins and Connor Barth, the current kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a native of Wilmington. He can be heard the rest of the week doing sports updates on four of the 14 stations in the Wilmington market. Part of his ability to uniquely “see” the sports story, comes from his own background as a player for the Caldwell University’s Men’s baseball team. 

Recently, Catenacci connected with one of his former Caldwell classmates, Salhedin Gary, who produced the music for “The Sport Connection”. He knew Sal’s talents from their days back in the Caldwell University edit room and he was happy that he found him on Face book and they could work together.

Catenacci’s knack for talking sports started when he was a child. His mother would hear him in his room “broadcasting the video game,” he says. 

He looks back with appreciation for the curriculum in the Communication Arts program at Caldwell, which included courses on radio broadcasting and broadcast journalism. He is grateful for how Professor Bob Mann pushed him and for his blunt, valuable professional advice. His success is of no surprise to Mann, chair of the Communication Arts department, who says he knew Catenacci had what it takes to make it in the media. “I could tell that Joe not only had talent but the drive to make it in radio. A lot of students get discouraged by having to move to another area, but he understood that it is tough to start here in the New York market. Joe is a perfect example of what our Communications program at Caldwell can produce.”

After graduation, Catenacci looked for media work between Richmond, Virginia and Charlestown, South Carolina and was happy to land in Wilmington, a place he says has lovely beaches and a community where the listeners “appreciate it when we cover them.”


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