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History of Razorback Voices Offered in New Butler Center Book

Voices of Razorbacks

Established more than sixty years ago, the Razorback broadcasting network was a pioneering effort in collegiate sports. With announcers such as Bud Campbell and Paul Eells at the microphone, it has become an enduring feature of life in Arkansas. The Razorback network, from its modest beginning to its growth into a major force in sports broadcasting, is the basis of Voices of the Razorbacks, by Hoyt Purvis and Stanley Sharp, which has just been released by Butler Center Books.

The Razorback broadcasting network helped build interest in the Razorbacks and a loyal following for them but also forged strong links among Razorback fans and the broadcasters who became "voices" of the Razorbacks. A sense of kinship developed within the audience, and the broadcasts of Razorback sports became an essential part of the state's culture.

Although an announcer today may say, "This is the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College," the Arkansas broadcast network is a direct descendant of the Razorback network Bob Cheyne assembled in the early 1950s at the direction of Athletic Director John Barnhill. There had been earlier broadcasts of Razorback sports, including games announced by Bob Fulton in the 1940s, but the Razorback network Cheyne developed help turn broadcasters into cultural icons.

Voices of the Razorbacks traces the history of the broadcasters and the memorable events and highlights over the decades, and it features interviews with many of the key figures in that history. It is hard to find anyone in Arkansas, or Razorback fans anywhere, without special memories of listening to or watching broadcasts of Razorback games. Voices of the Razorbacks brings all those memories back.

Co-author Hoyt Purvis has taught journalism, international relations, and political science at the University of Arkansas since 1982. He established the first sports journalism course at UA and taught it for twenty-five years. Co-author Stanley Sharp of Booneville, Arkansas, has followed Razorback sports all his life and has a master's degree in journalism from UA.

Voices of the Razorbacks is available from River Market Books & Gifts, 120 River Market Ave., and from the University of Arkansas Press, Butler Center Books' distributor. Butler Center Books is a division of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). The Butler Center's research collections, art galleries, and offices are located in the Arkansas Studies Institute building at 401 President Clinton Ave. on the campus of the CALS Main Library. For more information, contact Rod Lorenzen at (501) 320-5716.