At age 30, Sam Levitt says he’s ready to jump to the Big League.
After spending time as a radio play-by-play announcer with several minor league baseball clubs, including the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts, Corpus Christi Hooks in Texas, Gateway Grizzlies in the St. Louis area and, most recently, the Amarillo Sod Poodles, Levitt has been called up to the San Diego Padres.
Levitt has been named the new host for pre-game and post-game shows on the Padres Radio Network, which includes San Diego’s KWFN 97.3 FM The Fan, the ballclub’s English-speaking flagship station, plus several other stations in California and Arizona.
In 2021, pre-game and post-game hosts for Padres radio included Chris Ello, Braden Surprenant and Matt Skraby.
“I’m ready for the jump,” Levitt told Times of San Diego. “I’ve been calling play-by-play minor league baseball games for the past eight years. I have the baseball experience and radio experience. I’m extremely grateful that this job opened up. I’m incredibly excited. I can’t wait for opening day.”
Levitt grew up in New York’s Long Island as a Mets fan. “My family members are all Mets fans,” Levitt said. “In high school, I would go to Shea Stadium by myself, sit in the upper deck and listen to the broadcast on my transistor radio. Baseball has always held a special place in my heart.
“Baseball is such a great game. I love the buzz of the crowd, the pace of the game, the ups-and-downs, which really reflect life itself. For six months every year, baseball is always there. It’s reliable. Every night, you can turn on the radio or TV and watch a ball game.”
Levitt was planning a medical career when he enrolled in 2010 at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. “It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college before I seriously considered broadcasting,” he said. “I started calling games with the student radio station, then switched to broadcast journalism as my major and I’ve never stopped since then.”
While still a college student, Levitt worked as a play-by-play announcer on the Big Ten Network for Northwestern athletic events, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball. He also was the producer, anchor and reporter for “SportsNight,” a weekly TV show on Northwestern athletics. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, he also traveled to Cape Cod as the play-by-play broadcaster for the 44 regular season games and postseason games for the Firebirds.
After graduating from Northwestern in 2014, Levitt worked as a play-by-play TV and radio broadcaster for minor league baseball and college athletic games, including Gateway Grizzlies and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (2014-2016), Corpus Christi Hooks (2017-2018) and Loyola University Chicago (2018-2022). He was heard on the Big Ten Network, NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN-Plus, Spectrum Sports Texas and Learfield IMG College Sports.
“Every stop along the way, I’ve learned something new and grown as a person and as a professional,” Levitt said.
In 2019, he became the “Voice of the Sod Poodles,” a Double-A baseball team that was affiliated with the Padres at the time and, later, with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was named the 2021 Minor League Baseball Broadcaster of the Year by Ballpark Digest.
“As a farm team for the Padres, I became acquainted with several Padres broadcasting executives, which certainly was helpful during the interview process for this job,” Levitt said. “Starting in college, it was always my goal to be part of a Major League Baseball broadcast team. I’m extremely grateful to both 97.3 The Fan and the Padres organization for believing in me. I look forward to covering a team that has World Series aspirations, while interacting with San Diego’s outstanding fan-base on radio, social media and beyond.”
Levitt said his personal TikTok account has more than 355,000 followers and 60 million video views.
Levitt has not been on the air for Spring Training games. Padres radio listeners will hear him for the first time on opening day of the regular season this Thursday, April 7, when the Padres are in Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. Padres play-by-play announcers for the 2022 season include Jesse Agler and color analyst Tony Gwynn, Jr.
The start of the 2022 season was delayed by one week until a new collective bargaining agreement was signed between the owners and players.
KGB-FM Celebrates 50th Anniversary
San Diego classic rock radio station KGB FM 101.5, operated by iHeart San Diego, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event held in the parking lot of its Kearny Mesa studios. The station, with roots that stretch to the 1920s, began its progressive, album-oriented rock music format in 1972.
Held Friday, April 1, the event included a live morning broadcast of the DSC Show with appearances by former deejays, including Jeff Prescott, Michael Berger, Coe Lewis, Shotgun Tom Kelly and Jim McInnes. Also celebrating its 32nd anniversary was the DSC Show, launched as the Dawn Patrol on April 1, 1990.
For an aerial photo, several hundred people lined-up to form “50” and “KGB.” Personalities who attended included Ted Giannoulas, performing as the San Diego Chicken, and live music from The Sully Band. Vintage cars and motorcycles from 1972 also were on display. The City of San Diego declared April 1 as 101.5 KGB Radio Day.
The 101.5-FM frequency originally signed on the air in 1950 as KSON-FM. The frequency changed to KGB in the 1960s. The KGB call letters have been around since the 1920s. In 1928, Pickwick Broadcasting bought the station and George Bowles was named VP and manager of the station. Bowles reportedly changed the call letters from KFBC to KGB to reflect his name.
San Diego’s Gestalt Brand Lab Helps Redesign Salt Packages
Gestalt Brand Lab, a San Diego branding and marketing agency, has announced it has completed a packaging re-do for salt packager United Salt Corp. of Houston. The new look spanned across product lines that spanned commercial, industrial and consumer applications, Gestalt said.
According to a Gestalt statement, United Salt retained Imagination Café, a brand development firm based in Houston, to develop the master brand platform message, which was “We do what we do for the love of salt.” This led to a refined positioning statement, new logo and tagline, which was “We’re United Salt Corporation. It starts at the source.”
United Salt then also partnered with Gestalt to develop a unifying design concept and aesthetic across United Salt’s portfolio of sub brands, including Flavor House, Melt Away, Ranch House, Sea & Land, Tru-Flo, Tru-Soft and a new industrial line scheduled for launch later this year.
In 2020, United Salt made a strategic decision to refresh the company’s overall brand. “We knew our master brand held equity that wasn’t being fully realized,” said Marcie Peters, president and CEO. “We wanted to unlock that equity, create differentiation and drive value across our entire portfolio of brands.”
Gestalt managing director Brian Munce said, “Our goal was to express the company’s incredible long-term commitment to their customers and generations of personal relationships and quality products across a group of very diverse product lines. USC has an enormous reach and their customers need everything from traditional food flavoring and seasoning, to brining, de-icing and water softening. We needed to ensure a cohesive and modernized brand portfolio across very unique target audiences.”
Brian Lee, founder and president of Imagination Café said, “The strategic collaboration between Imagination Cafe and Gestalt Lab harnessed the creative minds of highly experienced teams to produce an outstanding result that reflects the core United Salt brand principles companywide.”
Gestalt creative director Chad Farmer said, “Every package now features the United Salt master brand logo prominently in the upper right hand corner and each product showcases consumers of the individual products, from people to livestock, to reflect the company’s customer-centric brand focus.”
Gestalt Brand Lab was founded in December 2019 by Farmer and Munce, two former employees of the Lambesis Agency, a high-profile San Diego advertising agency that closed in 2019.
Magic 92.5 is Giving $12k in Free Gasoline
San Diego radio station XHRM-FM Magic 92.5 is giving away $12,000 in free gasoline.
On weekdays until Friday, April 15, the 92nd listener who calls in and identifies the “Magic Song of the Day” will receive a $500 gas card, the station said. Only local residents of San Diego County are eligible for the gas card. Additional opportunities to win a $500 gas card are available on magic925.com.
“Right now, everyone is feeling the pain at the pump and we’re happy to offer a little relief,” said Randy Williams, Magic 92.5 program director and afternoon host who goes by the name R-Dub. “While other radio stations are fooling around with those awkward national contests, it feels good to be filling the tanks of so many San Diegans. This is the best part about being a local radio station, giving back to our local listeners that live right here in San Diego like us.”
Palomar Health is sponsoring the gasoline giveaway.
Magic 92.5 is owned by Local Media San Diego, which also owns and operates XHTZ-FM Z90.3, XTRA-FM 91X and KFBG-FM 100.7.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.