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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Sports

Eschenfelder relishes his role as sportscaster


For as long as Kevin Eschenfelder can remember, he wanted to work in the sports industry. The UH Clear Lake graduate is living his dream as a sports talk show host at Comcast SportsNet Houston.

He joined CSN Houston when it began broadcasting in October after more than 20 years with Fox Sports Net, continuing as the face that fans of the Rockets and Astros have seen before and after games for 18 seasons.

Eschenfelder

Kevin Eschenfelder

“I had a guy I knew in high school tell me, ‘You’re the only guy who for as long as I’ve known you knew what you wanted to do and you’re doing it.’ For that, I’m so grateful,” Eschenfelder said.

Even in high school, when Eschenfelder interned at Home Sports Network and Newsradio 740 KTRH, he had the passion for the profession.

“I would just keep coming to work — I didn’t get paid. But I would keep coming to work for a year and a half and nobody ever said anything. Everybody thought I worked there except for the people in the sports department.”

Eschenfelder’s passion burgeoned as a child from watching his father.

While Eschenfelder was in elementary school, his dad was a statistician and spotter for the Houston Oilers, allowing him to sit in the radio press box while watching and learning from professionals.

However, his employer’s transition to the Houston market hasn’t been as dreamy.

CSN Houston, which hosts the Tony Levine Show during the football season, is still searching for a distribution deal with national carriers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse or regional carriers such as Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable.

Now, only 40 percent of Houstonians can watch any programming that the network features, and CSN Houston isn’t profiting, said Astros owner Jim Crane.

“Without coverage, the network is not making money and so without the other (carriers) signing up and paying, there are things that can happen as the entity draws down on its credit,” Crane said to the Houston Chronicle in May. “As that goes on, we run out of money, and we are going to have to make some tough decisions.”

Still, Eschenfelder said he didn’t think twice about joining the upstart company, which has focused on covering regional sports, including UH. In addition to the Tony Levine Show — a 30-minute weekly television show — CSN Houston also broadcasts Levine’s weekly press conference, The James Dickey Show, and The Todd Buchanan show.

Working at CSN Houston allows him to continue covering the teams that he has watched his entire life and the university he attended. CSN Houston’s top-notch facilities didn’t hurt either, he said.

CSN producer and UH graduate Josh Young said Eschenfelder and he don’t separate what they enjoy from work.

“When I go home, it’s not like I ignore sports. It’s what I do,” Young said. “But it’s fun to come to work everyday knowing that I enjoy what I do. I couldn’t imagine working at some law firm and have a paper due at the end of the month.”

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