NEW YORK (WFAN) – That’s a wrap on the fourth annual Fantasy Phenom finals at Mike Francesa’s end of summer bash. Now we need your vote to help decide this year’s winner!
Six talented hopefuls — four solo acts and a duo — had a chance on Friday to impress Francesa, the live crowd at Bar A in Lake Como, N.J., and the voting public. Only one will end up with an on-air shift at WFAN.
Read up on our finalists and play the media of their performances below. Then click here to vote for your favorite.
Polling will be open from 6 p.m. Friday through noon on Monday, with the grand prize winner to be announced next week.
Good luck to our finalists!
1. Demetri Adrahtas from Long Beach, N.Y.
Demetri is a special education teacher at Valley Stream South High School, where he is also the head varsity soccer and girls varsity softball coach. Since he could remember, this sports fanatic has dreamed of playing center field for the Mets or being a sportscaster. The Fantasy Phenom Challenge has given him a shot at fulfilling one of those lifelong dreams. When not coaching, playing, watching, listening to or talking about sports, Demetri spends his time working out, traveling and watching movies. He is a big kid who still plays video games and reads comic books. Demetri lives in Long Beach, N.Y. with his wife Kristin. They are excitedly expecting their first child.
Listen to Demetri at Bar A:
2. Matthew Shortis from Baldwin, N.Y.
Matt Shortis has worked in the New York sports scene since 2007. He got his start covering Islanders games for Bloomberg radio, while still a student at Hofstra University. During his time at Hofstra he served as sports director of WRHU-FM. He currently is a play-by-play announcer covering high school sports for MSG Varsity and spends his morning hours as a personal trainer at Equinox on Long Island. Matt is a lifelong Yankee fan and is passionate about sports, health and fitness. He met his wife Kathleen at Hofstra; they live in Baldwin with their 1-year old twin sons Jack and James.
Listen to Matthew at Bar A:
3. John A. Schiavone II from Far Rockaway, N.Y.
John is a lifelong resident of Far Rockaway and a lifelong sports fan. He pursued his interest in radio at school as program director of both WHCS Hunter College Radio and WBCR Brooklyn College Radio, as the voice and coordinating producer for the inaugural season of WBCR’s coverage of the Brooklyn Bulldogs and as an intern with WNYC Radio’s morning show, The Takeaway.
He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and will begin a Master’s program in television production there in the fall. You can hear him every week as co-host of the Downtown Sports show on WBCR.
After four consecutive years as a WFAN Fantasy Phenom Challenge semifinalist, John is making his first appearance in the finals, and he’s as determined now as ever to achieve his sports radio dream.
Listen to John at Bar A:
4. Jonathan Lauder from Belleville, N.J. (Duo)
Christian Heimall from Riverdale, N.Y. (Duo)
— Jonathan was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, the oldest of two boys. A passion for sports started at a young age, as a serious interest in basketball turned into a love of all sports. He was introduced to sports broadcasting at Hofstra University, where he was a four-year member of the sports department at the student-run radio station, WRHU-FM. In addition to play-by-play for multiple sports, he also hosted and produced various sports & news talk shows. Since graduating in 2010, his broadcasting experience includes work for Major League Baseball, the New York Islanders, 1500 AM WGHT, the NBA, and MSG Varsity, while he is currently broadcasting for Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Wall Street Journal Radio Network. He is also employed as a media teacher at Tenafly Middle School, and is studying for a Masters in Sports Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Jonathan has followed local sports for many years, and is also an avid listener of both local and national sports talk radio. “My dream is to host a sports talk show in the New York market, and being a finalist in the Fantasy Phenom Challenge is an incredible opportunity,” he says. “I am also really excited to once more work with my great friend Christian, with whom I spent many hours broadcasting radio shows at Hofstra.”
— An avid sports fan since early on, Christian is the oldest of three boys in a military family and has spent much of his life living in the south and Mid-Atlantic. He moved into the broadcasting world in college where he spent four years as a member of Hofstra University’s student-run radio station, WRHU-FM. During that time he was an active member of the sports department hosting multiple talk shows as well as serving as a play-by-play announcer for a variety of sports. Upon graduating in 2011 he spent two summers in Vermont as the play-by-play voice of the Vermont Mountaineers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Currently he is a Graduate Assistant at Manhattan College where he serves as a Sports Information Director and broadcaster for nine of the schools Division 1 teams.
Christian is die-hard Red Sox, Celtics, New York Giants and New Jersey Devils fan. “The WFAN Fantasy Phenom Challenge has been an absolute blessing,” he says. “The one thing I’ve missed most since graduating college is being in a studio and discussing a variety of sports topics. I’m thankful for the chance to prove myself and to be able to do it with one of my best friends in Jonathan.”
Listen to Jonathan & Christian at Bar A:
5. Ralph Bednarczyk from Floral Park, N.Y.
Ralph Bednarczyk is a native of Floral Park, NY, Attending Hofstra University, where he was a 2-year Sports Director at the University’s award-winning campus radio station, 88.7 FM WRHU. He currently holds many different roles has several national air credits on ESPNU, ESPN3.com, Big Ten Network & CBS Sports Network. He has been a WFAN listener since 1992.
Bednarczyk is the lead Play-by-Play voice of Verizon FiOS1 Sports on FiOS cable systems in New Jersey and Long Island since 2009, broadcasting a busy schedule of college sports (Hofstra, Rutgers, Princeton) and High School sports in both regions. Since 2006 he has held a variety of roles at St. John’s University, including Multimedia Director from 2008-2011 and broadcaster since 2006. In 2009, he was awarded the athletic department’s Frank T. McLaughlin Memorial Award for “going above and beyond the call of duty.”
He has also been the fill-in voice of St. John’s Men’s Basketball airing on Bloomberg AM 1130/WFAN.com for the last 4 seasons. Beginning in 2012, all St. John’s University broadcasts are produced and streamed on ESPN3.
Other roles including hosting various Championship and live stream media days and awards show coverage on BigEast.tv for the BIG EAST conference since 2007 and Play by play for NCAA Championships for NCAA.com/TNT since 2011. Since 2007 he has been the lead Play-by-Play voice of the CUNY Athletic Conference (Div. III) Television Package of Basketball and Volleyball for regular season and championship coverage.
Off the air he keeps busy working as a statistics datacaster with MLB.com and game logger at NBC Sports.
For the past 9 summers, Bednarczyk has enjoyed being one of the lead instructor’s at Hofstra’s Sportscasting Institute summer camp for teens working with many great friends and mentor Ed Ingles.
Listen to Ralph at Bar A:
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