ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the second time in two months, Robert Portnoy has been hired as a radio voice of the New Mexico Lobos.
This time as The Voice.
On Friday, Learfield Sports announced Portnoy as the new play-by-play broadcaster for Lobo football and men’s basketball games. He replaces Scott Galetti, who had called the games the past five years.
“I’m really excited,” said Portnoy, who was hired in February to broadcast Lobo baseball games. “I’ve fallen in love with this community and the way it supports the University of New Mexico. This is a dream job for me.”
Learfield and its local entity, Lobo Sports Properties, oversee all management, radio affiliates and personnel for the Lobo Sports Network. Lobo Sports’ general manager Joe Weiss said Portnoy received a three-year contract, which begins July 1.
Weiss said Galetti’s contract expires June 30.
“We thought it was time for a change,” Weiss told the Journal. “ … We had a conversation with Robert on Wednesday of this week. We were thinking about it for a while longer, internally.”
Weiss said Portnoy also will host all radio and TV coaches’ shows, as well as being the master of ceremonies for banquets, luncheons and other public appearances.
“Robert brings us a lot,” Weiss said. “He’s professional throughout, articulate, and is just so good (at) how he carries himself. He’s polished and professional in everyday life, not just on the radio but at golf courses, restaurants, wherever. Everyone respects him in the community.”
Weiss said former UNM assistant coach Scott Didrickson will remain as men’s basketball color man, a position he has held the past five seasons.
Portnoy, however, will have a new analyst for Lobo football games. Greg Remington, who had that position from 2000-07 and again from 2010-12, and his wife, Patty, plan to move to New York this spring.
“My wife and I have decided to tackle the adventure of living in the big city,” said Remington, who was sports information director at UNM from 1987-2010. “We’re going to give that a try. We’ll still be coming back on occasion and are trying to rent our house here. But we’ve been planning to go to New York for some time.”
Portnoy, 46, 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.
He has lived in the city since being hired to do play-by-play for the Albuquerque Isotopes in 2006.
In February, Portnoy left the Isotopes to work full time for KQTM-FM, with his primary duty as play-by-play announcer for Lobo baseball.
KQTM President Joe O’Neill said Portnoy will call Lobo baseball again in 2014 but won’t work for the station during the football and basketball seasons.
“We lose Robert as an everyday guy,” O’Neill said, “… We’re excited for him to continue broadcasting Lobo baseball on the station. We are very happy for him and his family. This is a great opportunity, and Robert Portnoy is the right guy for the job.”
Portnoy said calling UNM’s baseball games “has been huge, and makes me feel like I’m already part of the Lobo family. I want to thank Joe O’Neill for the opportunity.”
KKOB-AM (7770), owned by Cumulus Media, carries Lobo football and men’s basketball games. Weiss said Learfield has a contract with Cumulus for another year, and “new contracts are being discussed.”
He said KKOB had nothing to do with the decision, that it was made by Learfield and UNM. Weiss said he informed the station of the change Friday.
Learfield has contracts with 19 radio stations across the state.
In a news release, UNM athletic director Paul Krebs said, “Robert will be a great addition to our football and men’s basketball radio broadcasts.”
Weiss said,: “We appreciate the work Scott has done for us over the years and wish him all the best in his next endeavor.”
Galetti had some mighty big shoes to fill when he replaced Mike Roberts in 2007. Roberts had been the voice of the Lobos for more than four decades but was removed by UNM and Learfield. He made his dissatisfaction known.
“I’m in shock,” Roberts said at the time. “You’ve got to feel that sometime something’s got to end, but you would like to think it would be handled differently, I guess.”
Roberts’ ouster became a hot and controversial topic in Albuquerque.
Galetti had a similar response to Roberts’.
“It was a big surprise, kind of a punch to the gut, if you will,” Galetti told the Journal. “But it’s business. … They just informed me my contract wasn’t going to be renewed. I had inquired about it, and honestly I didn’t think it was going to be an issue.”
Galetti said he learned of the decision Friday morning in a meeting with Learfield representatives. “I thought I was going to the meeting to sign a new contract,” he said.
“But I’ll have fond memories of the university, and it was a fun ride working with Learfield and the university.”