ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Portnoy will be calling Lobo baseball games for KQTM-FM
Less than two weeks before spring training begins, the Albuquerque Isotopes have a big opening to fill. And it has nothing to do with the roster.
On Thursday, Robert Portnoy — the radio voice of the Isotopes for the past seven seasons — announced he is leaving that position to broadcast New Mexico Lobo baseball games and perform other duties on KQTM-FM (101.7).
Portnoy replaces Scott Galetti, who called UNM baseball games the past three seasons on the station. Portnoy will also be a full-time employee at KQTM.
“This was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make,” the 46-year-old Portnoy said. “It’s been the best time in my professional career, and I thank the Isotopes immensely for allowing me to grow professionally as a broadcaster and person.”
Isotopes general manger John Traub said he already had received about three dozen inquiries about the opening by early Thursday afternoon, before it had even been announced.
“This is one of the best jobs in all of minor league baseball, and I know we’re going to be able to find somebody very qualified in short order,” Traub said.
And his hiring deadline?
“We better have someone when the season starts two months from now,” Traub said with a laugh. “But I fully expect we’ll have somebody in place within the next couple of weeks.”
Isotopes games have been broadcast on KNML-AM since their inception in 2003 and will be again this season.
This is Portnoy’s second stint at KQTM. He was host of the station’s original local afternoon sports talk show in the fall 2008. He left in the spring 2009 once the Isotopes baseball season rolled around.
He says his decision to switch from pro baseball to the college ranks “is twofold. I’m really excited to get back and work with (KQTM President) Joe O’Neill. I enjoyed getting the station off the ground and doing the sports talk show when it first started.
“And it’s also a chance to become part of the Lobo family and do Lobo baseball. I’ve really grown to love the way that the community supports UNM.”
Portnoy is a Stanford graduate who majored in communications and English. He and his wife, Tamara, have two children, and the couple owns the recently opened Xtreme Hang Time Trampoline Park.
“That’s another primary reason for the move,” Portnoy said. “The opportunity to be home more for my family and the business is big.”
Traub said: “Being away from home for 72 road games is a huge commitment, and I really understand the desire to be with his family and his business.”
The Lobo baseball team plays its first game Feb. 15 at home against Oklahoma State. O’Neill said his station will carry a minimum of 30 Lobos games this season, and he wanted to upgrade the broadcasts to the level of the program. The Lobos have made the NCAA Tournament the past three seasons.
“In an effort to provide the very best content to your listeners, you want to get the best available,” O’Neill said. “And to have Robert, with his experience, it’s going to make for great broadcasts for Lobo baseball this season.”
Portnoy will also be a frequent contributor on the station’s afternoon sports talk show, “The Locker Room” with Bob Brown, and continue to work for ProView Networks calling high school basketball games through March.
— This article appeared on page D6 of the Albuquerque Journal