10 months ago

Andy Burcham named ‘Voice of the Auburn Tigers,’ succeeding the late Rod Bramblett

Auburn Sports Properties and Auburn Athletics announced Monday that Andy Burcham, who has been part of Auburn radio broadcasts for the previous 31 years in various capacities, has been named the lead announcer for Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball.

As the new “Voice of the Auburn Tigers,” Burcham assumes the responsibilities previously held by Rod Bramblett, who tragically passed away along with his wife, Paula, in a May car accident.

“I’m thrilled to be selected as the Voice of the Auburn Tigers,” Burcham said in a statement. “While it’s a bittersweet time and I wish the circumstances creating this opportunity were different, I am honored to be following in the footsteps of such legends as Rod Bramblett, Jim Fyffe, and others.”

Burcham worked alongside Bramblett for the previous 25 years broadcasting Auburn baseball and has served as the play-by-play voice for Auburn women’s basketball since 1988.

No stranger to Auburn football, Burcham has also been the pregame and postgame locker room host for Tiger football since 1990 and was the play-by-play announcer on Auburn football pay-per-view and tape-delay broadcasts from 1992-2013.

“With this job, you’re not just the voice of Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball. You’re also the voice of Auburn,” Burcham emphasized. “You represent Auburn every day, and I will never forget that. I have been in this community and broadcasting Auburn games for 31 years. I understand and love Auburn and its tradition. I can’t wait to be a part of it moving forward.”

A versatile broadcaster, Burcham has done radio and SEC Network+ broadcasts for Auburn soccer since 2001, SEC Network+ broadcasts for Auburn baseball the last five years and locally hosted Auburn Opelika This Morning for 12 years while serving as station manager at WANI. A recipient of 15 Alabama Broadcaster Association awards, Burcham began his career in the Auburn-Opelika area as news and sports director for Fuller Broadcasting and Tiger Communications.

“During the very difficult process of replacing Rod, it was very clear that Andy Burcham was the right man to be the new Voice of the Auburn Tigers,” Auburn Sports Properties vice president and general manager Chris Davis explained.

He lauded Burcham as a “consummate professional.”

“He is well respected not only in his profession, but by his coworkers, Auburn Athletics coaches and administration, and in the community,” Davis outlined. “He understands the importance of this role. Andy is a consummate professional who puts great preparation, execution and passion into his work. Most importantly, Andy is a man of great character who loves and cares deeply for Auburn and what it represents. We’re very excited for Andy and can’t wait for the Auburn Family to embrace him in his new role.”

Burcham will co-host Tiger Talk with veteran Auburn broadcaster Brad Law and work alongside Law on Auburn baseball broadcasts.

Law will also serve as pregame and postgame locker room host for Auburn football. Brit Bowen will take over broadcasting duties of Auburn women’s basketball and Auburn softball.

“Simply put, Andy is unquestionably the right man for the job,” Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene added. “His experience as a broadcaster is extensive and his affinity for Auburn is unrivaled. Having been part of the Auburn Family for over three decades, Andy understands what sets Auburn apart and understands the passion of our loyal fan base. He deeply respects those who have come before him and will assume this role with a great deal of humility.”

“Andy is a true Auburn Man,” Greene stressed.

Before his time in the Yellowhammer State, Burcham’s four-decade run in the profession started at Indiana State as an undergraduate student calling Sycamore football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball for student radio station WISU. He also called games at Illinois State and Southern Illinois before coming to Auburn in 1988.

A native of Nashville, Ill., Burcham graduated from Indiana State University in 1983 with a degree in radio, television and film. Burcham is married to Dr. Jan Gunnels Burcham, a 1984 and 1992 Auburn University graduate, who is the Moselle Fletcher Endowed Chair and Associate Dean for the College of Education and Health Profession at Columbus State University.

Quentin Riggins, former Auburn linebacker and Auburn radio sideline reporter (1991-2015) and current member of the university’s board of trustees, said, “I am so excited to hear the news that my friend Andy Burcham will be the new Voice of the Auburn Tigers.”

He added, “Andy and I have walked the sidelines together for years and I can tell you the Auburn Family is getting one of the most talented guys in the business. He will bring his best to the stadium every day and he will bring a little bit of Rod with him as well. A tremendous hire!”

You can read reactions from more Auburn Athletics figures past and present here, including coaches Gus Malzahn and Bruce Pearl.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Alabama’s OWA to reopen amusement park on June 5

OWA this week announced that it will officially reopen its popular amusement park on Friday, June 5, at 11:00 a.m. CT, incorporating enhanced health and safety measures that were developed based on guidance from the CDC and health officials.

The heightened health and safety measures are being implemented for guests and team members to ensure the well-being of everyone visiting OWA, which is located in Foley, Alabama.

The new policies, which can be found here, will include health screenings for guests before entering The Park at OWA, installation of additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the resort, enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices, and added signage to encourage social distancing.

“Our entire team has worked tirelessly the past few months to get The Park ready for guests. We are excited to see guests enjoying the rides and share special family moments once again,” stated Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s director of marketing/PR.

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“We have always taken great pride in our Parks’ safety and cleanliness,” she continued. “The upcoming Park reopening will be no exception as we continue to implement recommended health and safety practices to ensure our guests have a great experience.”

Additional steps are being implemented to accommodate social distancing, such as limiting the number of guests allowed in the amusement park at one time. Riders will continue to purchase an attractions wristband to enjoy a day filled with unlimited access to amusement park rides. Guests wishing not to partake in any attractions can purchase a $5.00 Non-Rider Pass, which allows guests to enjoy strolling The Park and watching loved ones without having to purchase a full-priced ticket.

Downtown OWA businesses began reopening in April consistent with state health orders and continue to welcome guests using recommended health and safety standards.

Restaurants now open at OWA include Groovy Goat, Crazy Donuts, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant, Trattoria Pizza & Italian, Hershey’s Ice Cream Parlor, C’est Le Vin Wine Bar & Shop, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon.

Retailers currently open include Fairhope Soap Company, Parker & Co. (a women’s boutique), Alvin’s Island, The Spice & Tea Exchange and Body Tune Plus.

Brandon Styles Live is currently welcoming guests to both his Magic and Variety shows six days a week. Clash eSports Center, OWA’s state-of-the-art video gaming venue, and Sweet Tooth at OWA are set to open on June 5 in conjunction with the amusement park.

The Park will be open seven days a week during the summer season. Learn more at OWA’s website here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Auburn offering on-campus instruction beginning with second summer mini-term

Auburn University on Friday announced plans for its second summer mini-term that include a variety of instructional delivery methods, including on-campus instruction.

In March, the university announced its decision to suspend on-campus instruction for the full 10-week summer session and the first of two summer five-week mini-terms following guidance from public health officials due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision announced Friday comes following months of careful preparation, with the recently amended State Health Order allowing for increased access to educational institutions beginning June 1.

Beginning June 29, Auburn plans to offer multiple course sections during the second summer five-week mini-term through a variety of instructional delivery methods. Consistent with the updated order, the university’s options incorporate important measures designed to protect students, faculty, staff and the broader campus community.

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“Following the Governor’s guidelines, Auburn is preparing to start re-opening our campus to students slowly,” stated Auburn University Provost Bill Hardgrave.

“While the pandemic has not affected our ability to offer quality instruction, it did restrict our options for delivering instruction,” he continued. “With the new guidance from the state, we can utilize instructional delivery modalities that will enable our campus to implement important protocols as we prepare for the broader re-entry of students this fall.”

In addition to the face-to-face and online options Auburn traditionally offers, the university will also offer blended and Hyflex courses. With blended courses, students utilize both face-to- face instruction and remote learning. Hyflex courses provide a structure that gives students the flexibility of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online or doing both through synchronous delivery. As the university prepares to implement physical distancing guidelines across campus, both blended and Hyflex options will reportedly enable students to experience some face-to-face instruction while remaining flexible to accommodate the institution’s safety protocols.

Auburn advised that more than 3,000 students are currently registered for courses in the second summer mini-term, with almost 150 faculty slated to teach. By working with their colleges and schools, faculty can select which of the four modalities best align with the learning outcomes for their courses to deliver instruction. The type of delivery method will be published so students can make informed choices when building their course schedule.

Opening academic buildings and offering face-to-face instruction during the latter part of the summer will allow the university to begin implementing several new protocols developed for students preparing to return in the fall.

Among these, the university will employ a mobile COVID-19 health check for all students and faculty, and appropriate social distancing will be followed in classrooms.

Following the university’s transition to remote teaching this spring, all faculty going forward are being asked to create a “syllabus B” in the event of a resurgence of the coronavirus that requires the institution to once again transition to full remote instruction.

“The second summer mini-term will allow us to glean important information for the fall,” Hardgrave concluded. “The current plan is to implement some key elements for summer that we see as necessary for fall and prepare to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to learning environments that support the well-being of our campus.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

What Jobs to Move America misses as we reopen Alabama

As the economic crisis due to the coronavirus has impacted our state, Alabama’s job creators and our state’s workers have been focused on reopening our state and getting back to work.

Before the coronavirus, Alabama’s economy was strong and one of the biggest challenges many Alabama businesses faced was filling vacant jobs with skilled workers. The gap in skills and lack of training prevented many in our state from connecting with Alabama’s job creators to receive a good-paying job.

That is why I was encouraged to see companies like New Flyer, North America’s largest bus manufacturer with a world-class manufacturing facility in Anniston, released a Community Benefits Framework (CBF). Among many principles of the CBF were increased opportunities for Alabamians with apprenticeship programs in addition to the execution of sustainable business practices and diversify hiring for management and manufacturing jobs.

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But like many businesses in Alabama, this pandemic quickly shifted priorities for New Flyer. New Flyer focused on short-term survival to ensure their long-term viability in Anniston so that many Alabamians would have a job waiting for them.

Like many businesses across the country, New Flyer of America made the difficult choice to halt production and idle their facility in Anniston due to the speed and gravity of coronavirus. While there was short-term pain for many in our community, New Flyer’s decision to reopen earlier this month has put many in Anniston back to work.

Sadly, Jobs to Move America (JMA), a progressive Astroturf organization with a chapter here in Alabama, chose to amplify their self-righteous campaign against New Flyer. JMA since engaging in Alabama has worked alongside out-of-state labor unions to spread baseless mistruths and targeted Alabama’s job creators, including Mercedes-Benz that employs over 4,000 in our state.

While Alabamians were concerned where they would get their next paycheck, JMA accelerated the pace of their baseless and unfounded attacks. As Alabama business fought to stay open, JMA elevated the attacks that only proved their intense focus on pursuing anti-jobs and anti-Alabama policies far outweighed anything else.

Be sure, JMA’s self-serving game here in Alabama is not over. As New Flyer has judiciously moved to reopen the Anniston facility and put our neighbors back to work with good jobs that offer economic mobility with extensive on-the-job and classroom training, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, JMA continues to employ its same tactics to endanger workforce morale when all people want is to work again and earn a living.

New Flyer has undertaken extensive measures to protect employees with stringent social and physical distancing guidelines, continuous cleaning and sanitization measures and additional Personal Protective Equipment requirements for employees, while JMA in return, continues to strike fear through false claims.

450,000 people in our state are out of work. Now is not the time to take advantage of a crisis but rather it is time to reopen and give employees their jobs again without outside groups like JMA setting up even more obstacles between Alabamians and their next paycheck.

If we want good-paying jobs in Anniston and across our state, especially as our country faces historic job loss, vilifying companies that provide those jobs and mentorship opportunities puts no one at an advantage. On the contrary, it damages our state’s reputation of being pro-business and pro-jobs that could stunt further job creation when so many in our state need a good-paying job.

Sen. Del Marsh is President Pro Tempore of the Alabama Senate. He represents District 12, including Calhoun and Talladega counties. Marsh was elected to the Senate in 1998 and was reelected for a fifth term in 2014. He was first elected President Pro Tempore in 2010.

6 hours ago

7 Things: Doug Jones blames Trump for the coronavirus pandemic, Alabama Public Health Department dispels rumors about numbers, no ‘rush’ to press charges in Minnesota and more …

7. Sessions supporters still argue he did the right thing in recusing himself

  • In 2017, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation of Russian interference into President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and Trump has used Sessions’ recusal as a point to criticize him regularly. 
  • Despite Trump’s criticism, Sessions has maintained that recusal was required due to federal regulations, and now he’s said that these regulations “basically has the impact of law” and “you’re not able to investigate yourself,” adding that U.S. Attorney General William Barr, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Attorney Generals Mike Mukasey and Ed Meese, and U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) all agree with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself. 

6. Birmingham may extend mask ordinance

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  • Friday, the Birmingham City Council is going to vote on whether to continue the mandatory mask city ordinance until June 12, which is set to expire on May 29 after first being put in place back on April 28.
  • Birmingham is the only city that requires people to wear a mask in public. Council President William Parker said that wearing a mask “is an intentional act of kindness because you’re helping to protect those around you.” He added that while they “can’t legislate morality, we just want our citizens to understand the importance of covering their face when they are in a public space.”

5. It’s looking more and more like we’ll have football by fall

  • State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has said that while Auburn University and the University of Alabama don’t make the decision to have football this fall, but “every indication is that is going to happen.”
  • Whatley also said he’s hoping Auburn can have students return to campus by the end of June, adding that the university is “committed to getting students back on the Auburn campus.”

4. Trump has signed an executive order against social media companies

  • President Donald Trump was fact-checked by Twitter, which he said were “editorial decisions,” and now it has escalated to him signing an executive order to challenge the liability protections that prevent social media sites from lawsuits due to the content on their platforms.
  • Twitter responded by targeting another Trump tweet. They are granted these protections because they’re considered “platforms” instead of “publishers,” but Trump said that he’s “fed up with it” since Twitter has a reputation of targeting conservatives.

3. Charges against officers involved in Floyd death won’t be rushed

  • The four police officers in Minneapolis that were involved in the death of George Floyd have been fired, but now, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said that they aren’t going to “rush” to press charges on officers.
  • Freeman said they’re going to “do this right,” and went on to ask the public to “give me and give the United States attorney the time to do this right, and we will bring you justice. I promise.” However, after the death of George Floyd there has been an outbreak of looting and rioting throughout the city.

2. No, your whole family won’t be counted if you test positive

  • The Alabama Department of Public Health has put rumors to rest that if you test positive for the coronavirus then everyone in your household will be counted as positive, clarifying that those who are counted in the case numbers are those who test positive through a clinical lab, commercial lab or the Bureau of Clinical Laboratories.
  • In Alabama, the ADPH is also not including antibody tests in the positive coronavirus cases, and while they aren’t counting people who live in the same house as someone who tests positive in the case count, they do suggest that those people consider themselves positive and “[e]veryone in the home is instructed to quarantine for 14 days from the date of the case’s onset of symptoms.”

1. Jones doesn’t just blame Trump for the coronavirus

  • In a live-stream with Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) to discuss the coronavirus, Jones answered the question of what he would say to people about how high the death toll in the United States has gotten. Jones said that he doesn’t “think we’re at a point where we should be pointing a whole lot of blame.”
  • Throughout his comments, Jones said that there is blame to be placed on China, the Worth Health Organization, and President Donald Trump and “the administration and their early responses.” Jones went on to say that reopening states right now is “premature.”

21 hours ago

Jones: ‘Whole lot of blame to go around’ for COVID deaths — Points to Trump administration, China, WHO

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Thursday hosted a live-streamed availability with Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris regarding the coronavirus.

Jones and Harris each made opening remarks, including updates on Alabama’s COVID-19 data as well as ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic.

The two officials then answered questions from members of the media that were submitted ahead of time.

For example, Jones was asked, “What would you tell people now that the number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. has surpassed 100,000? Many commentators are blaming the White House response. And are the current reopening strategies of Alabama and other states premature?”

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“Well, you know, look, I’ve seen the commentators — and I don’t think we’re at a point where we should be pointing a whole lot of blame,” Jones answered, before appearing to do just that.

“There’s a whole lot of blame to go around,” he continued. “I think we have to point to China for some of the issues that they raised. I was disappointed at some of the early response from the [World Health Organization], even though we could have done a better job with testing in this country.”

Jones then placed some “blame” at the feet of President Donald J. Trump and his administration.

“I’ve been disappointed in the administration and their early responses,” the junior senator advised. “You talk about ‘cavalier attitudes,’ I think the president had one early on. All of that has, perhaps, affected where we are in this country.”

“But I think the key right now is where we are today and what we’re planning on doing going forward,” Jones added.

He subsequently questioned the notion that reopening strategies for Alabama and other states in general are “premature.”

Jones outlined that reopening can be done safely if people continue to listen to health experts like Harris and follow social distancing/sanitation guidelines.  Jones urged Alabamians to wear masks in public.

“I don’t think that reopening is inconsistent with trying to stop this spread by [doing] the same things that people have been saying since this virus came to this country,” he said. “And that is to social distance, that is to make sure you wear the masks… to protect you and others. If we continue to do that, if we could just get used to that — I think that’s been the biggest issue right now. Some people just don’t want to be told to do it, and I get that. But the fact is if people could just get used to doing this, we could stop the spread.”

Earlier in the live stream, he was complimentary of recent state-level efforts led by Harris and Governor Kay Ivey related to the pandemic.

“Alabama is still seeing a significant number of cases. We have begun to open up, and we’ve begun to open up — I think — carefully and wisely, following the science,” Jones commented. “And I think the governor has done a very good job of trying to get two messages out. Yes, we want to open up, we want to get the economy rolling again. But at the same time, we’ve got to do it safely. And it’s that latter message that I’m not sure folks are hearing as much. You only have to see the pictures from the beaches and other places in Alabama and around the country to see that folks are not quite getting the message that this virus is still out there, it is still dangerous, it is still deadly. And we want to open up, but opening up is not inconsistent with what we should be doing to protect ourselves and our families and our communities.”

Jones further remarked that Harris “has done a great job” helping lead Alabama’s response to the pandemic.

Other topics covered during the live stream included Jones’ hope that live sports can return with fans in attendance this fall, as well as Harris explaining that while increased testing could explain a portion of Alabama’s rising number of positive COVID-19 cases, community spread is occurring in multiple hotspots.

You can watch the entire live stream below:

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn