A.M. Beaver County

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Bob Barrickman Remembered By Colleagues For Passion, Dedication, Knowledge, & Kindness During “A.M. Beaver County”

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“He was a great, great broadcaster…but he was a better human being.”

The recent news of the passing of Beaver County Radio’s Bob Barrickman opened the vaults of memory banks all throughout the county, and few had more in their vaults than those who worked alongside him during a sports broadcast. Current Beaver County Radio sports broadcaster Mike Azadian and former Beaver County Radio sports broadcaster Tom Hays reminisced about working with Bob on the December 7 edition of A.M. Beaver County.

Azadian, who joined the BCR Sports staff in 2020, learned very quickly what made Bob stand out as a broadcaster…including the parts where one does not stand out. “He was not about himself, he was about the kids,” Azadian stated. “I learned that it was that…you present the game, you talk about the kids, and you don’t make it about yourself. A lot of people in society today do that, and I learned that from Bob.”

That sense of empathy that Barrickman had towards high school sports and its athletes was also showcased when the game was over and analysis became the focus. “Bob was never really ‘pushy’,” Azadian added. “If a game was a tough game, Bob would ask good questions and tough questions, but he wouldn’t do anything to try and embarrass a coach or a player…he wasn’t about making people look bad.”

The Thursday night broadcast of the PIAA Class 4A football championship between Aliquippa and Bishop McDevitt, which Azadian will call with Bruce Frey, will be dedicated to Bob Barrickman.


The news was even tougher for Tom Hays, who had known Bob since their days in the late 1970s as co-workers for the Beaver County Times, before the future Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame Broadcaster (Bob in 2008) would recruit the future Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame Broadcaster (Tom in 2019) to join Beaver County Radio in the mid-1980s. From then until Hays’ retirement in 2020, the duo called countless championship and playoff (let alone regular season) contests in basketball, football, and other sports for Beaver County Teams.

“Bob was the absolute best,” Hays stated. “His passion for Beaver County high school sports [was] second to none. His knowledge is unbelievable. His preparation was unbelievable. I mean, I put a lot of time into every broadcast that I did…but Bob probably doubled that amount of preparation time.”

More so than the legendary broadcaster, Tom remembers Bob as a man without few rivals in Beaver County.

“He was a great guy, and that is not a cliché. That is a fact. Beaver County has lost a legend…I don’t think, in my life, I’ve ever met a finer gentleman than Bob Barrickman.”

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Carnegie Free Library Of Beaver Falls To Host “A Novel Noel” Christmas Fundraiser On December 9

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

Beaver Falls isn’t done celebrating the holiday season just yet.

The Carngie Free Library of Beaver Falls will be hosting “A Novel Noel” on December 9 from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM at the library on 7th Avenue in Beaver Falls. The event will feature catered food, beer, wine, live music, and decorations centered around this year’s theme of “Christmas Around The World.” Local author Mollie Cox Bryan will have a meet-and-greet book signing beginning at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $40 with proceeds going to the Library, and they can be purchased by clicking this link here.

Chris Cosky, who is on the board for the Carnegie Free Library, spoke to Matt Drzik on the December 7 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk about the amounts of fun that are set to be had, as well as the importance of the event’s fundraising. “It’s a holiday celebration, and the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls,” Cosky stated. “You will help foster the programs that are in place right now and keep them going for months; and also help fund programs for the future.”

To see/hear the full discussion with Chris, click on the Facebook Feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County

VIDEO: Talking Police Staffing & Borough Operations With Ambridge Police Chief John DeLuca

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

Underneath the chaos of the national headlines that dominated the year 2020, a local change to law enforcement has anchored a multi-year progression for the Ambridge Borough Police Department.

That change came when the then-chief of the Beaver Falls PD, John DeLuca, was hired by the Ambridge PD in that same position (interim until 2021). Two and a half years later, the police staff has increased to 21 members, including a jump from 8 to 15 full-time staff. Chief DeLuca spoke to Matt Drzik about this and more during a sit-down on the December 5 edition of A.M. Beaver County.

Ambridge’s staff also includes several officers designed to focus on drug crimes in the borough, and two full-time SROs working at Ambridge High School. But other municipalities near Ambridge–particularly Conway, Baden, and Freedom–are short-staffed to the point of serious merger consideration. Chief DeLuca knows this and says that his staff is willing to help out when needed (and vice versa: “They kind of go back and forth; if we need them or they need us. We kind of bounce back and forth together.”

To watch the full interview with Chief DeLuca, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Christmas On Merchant Returns To Traditional Setup For 2022 Celebration On December 9

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

After two years of flipping things around to accommodate the restrictions of certain mandates and ensure public safety, Ambridge is returning to a more familiar plan to ring in the Christmas season.

Christmas On Merchant returns to the borough of Ambridge on December 9, presented in part by the Ambridge Regional Chamber of Commerce. This year citizens will be returning to the sidewalks to see the parade going down Merchant Street between 4th Avenue and 14th Avenue, after two years of the “reverse parade” format in which the citizens drove through the streets due to the pandemic. Over 30 entrants will be marching down the main street of Ambridge for the first time in three years–if not longer.

Bill Roehm

ARCC director Bill Roehm joined Matt Drzik on the December 1 edition of A.M. Beaver County to preview this year’s event, and Roehm does see the return to tradition being a positive for the community. “It was neat, it served its purpose, I think it was a cool event and glad to say–proud to say–that we did that for a couple of years,” he said, referring to the 2020 and 2021 parades. “But [we’re] really, really happy and excited, and I think the community is as well. The feedback that we’ve gotten has been really, overwhelmingly positive that we’re back to that traditional style of parade again this year.”

Also returning after a two-year absence will be the events at P.J. Caul Park, in which there will be children’s activities, cookies and punch, ice sculptures courtesy of Ice Creations, and food trucks courtesy of Annie Lee’s Southern Kitchen and Ambridge Italian Villa. Plus, Beaver County Radio will have live Facebook coverage of the festivities beginning at 5 PM and parade coverage at 6 PM, while the Prize Caddy and Personality Prize Wheel will be in action all throughout the evening!

If you’d like to know more about the parade, you can visit the ARCC’s Facebook Page or email Bill directly at director@ambridgeregionalchamber.org.

To watch the full interview with Matt and Bill, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Rochester Carol Sing & Light Up Night Moves Back Indoors To Celebrate The 2022 Christmas Season

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

After one year of absence and another year of taking things outside, the song and celebration of Rochester’s welcoming of Christmas returns to its familiar annual indoor habitat.

The 6th Annual Community Christmas Carol Sing and Light Up Night returns to Rochester High School on Sunday, December 4, presented by the Beaver Valley Choral Society and the Rochester Area School District. The day will center around a collection of traditional Christmas carols sung by the BVCS and those in attendance, in conjunction with the Rochester High School Chorus and Band.

BVCS director emeritus Ray Rotuna and artistic director/principal conductor Sharon Burchill joined Matt Drzik on the November 29 edition of A.M. Beaver County to preview this year’s event, which will be held inside Rochester High School after the outdoor celebration of the previous year. Attendees will be directed to the school’s natatorium by the “town crier” of the festivities, and they’ll be encouraged to sing traditional Christmas carols with the BVCS and Rochester students. “That was one of the goals of this community event,” Burchill said, “to get people singing, and to bring the carol sings back.”

There will also be a presentation of “The Night Before Christmas” featuring Larry Brosius and Diane Brosius in full time-appropriate regalia, the return of Santa’s Workshop and the Candyland Garden, and drawings for gift cards from Santa’s Elf Bag. Kids can write letters to Santa and Christmas Cards to deployed soldiers, enjoy festive drinks and holiday cookies, and meet Tucker The Reading Dog from the Rochester Library. Plus, Beaver County Radio will be broadcasting live from the Carol Sing & Light Up Night, with the Personality Prize Wheel free to spin for a chance at awesome prizes!

The event is free, but the BVCS and RASD are asking that a donation of a non-perishable food item be brought for the Frye Transportation bus, which will be filled with food to be donated to the Families Matter Food Pantry.

To watch the full preview with Ray and Sharon, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Discussing Photography With Emmanuel Panagiotakas

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“I want to show the beauty for what we have around Beaver County and in the Tri-State area.”

Since entering Beaver County in the early 2020s, Emmanuel Panagiotakas has done just that. The owner and lead photographer of Emmanuel Fine Art Photography in Beaver has taken photos of nature and cityscape throughout Beaver County following years of doing so in the Pittsburgh region. The Greece native joined Matt Drzik on the November 21 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk about his journey to Beaver County and some key tips to wintertime (and anytime) photography.

“Number one: you have to understand how light works,” Emmanuel spoke. “It is the time of day where the light’s for you to see it better in your pictures. The outside light is too much with the light bulb light–you know, that artificial light.” Emmanuel defines artificial light as any light that isn’t ambient, and also speaks of “light pollution” that can corrupt the purity of the image the photographer desires.

Another key component to photography: stability. “This is one of the best tips I’m going to give you: use a tripod if you use a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex),” he added. “If you don’t, use your iPhone or another phone…I know my iPhone, it will stay still for a second and after a second I can absorb even if have enough light. I think it’s a pretty good way to go with an iPhone too.” Emmanuel also suggests planning out and timing shoots of 10-15 minutes on one particular shot, and learning from your mistakes and trying again if a shoot doesn’t get the best shot.

Along with his website, (link above), Emmanuel’s works and updates can be found on his Facebook page and his Instagram profile. For the full interview with Emmanuel Panagiotakas, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: From Home Rule To The Holidays, A Discussion With Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“I got to tell you…this is the best time of the year for Aliquippa, man, and I just love this time of year.”

Those words from Aliquippa mayor Dwan B. Walker relayed the current whirlwind of positive change surrounding the city, all while the tradition of Quips football staying in the picture during November returns to reality once again. The mayor made a quick visit to the Beaver County Radio studios on the November 18 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk with Matt Drzik about the latest updates about the city.

One of the biggest updates came just nine days ago, as the city strongly voted “Yes” on a Home Rule Commission that will be set in motion so that Aliquippa can move to a Home Rule Charter system within the next couple of years. “This is a part of our exit plan to come out of distress status next year,” Walker stated. “Part of that plan was for us to reevaluate the former government and bring it more into fruition, [and] how it can affect the people and have more of the being and buying into that.” Walker reiterates that the change isn’t a knock on the previous government, but simply a change to get the community more involved.

Walker also recently represented the city in Washington, D.C. as he took a tour of the White House and got to meet and talk with President Joe Biden about the financial support that cities like Aliquippa need to help with their infrastructure. While the process is slow, the mayor acknowledges that the recently elected team of Josh Shapiro, John Fetterman, and Chris DeLuzio–along with the re-elected Rob Matzie–will continue the process of refurbishing Aliquippa in the same direction it had been going.

As far as the parts that allow Mayor Walker to call it “the best time of the year,” the giving and festive nature of the Christmas season has permeated Aliquippa in several ways. One city club donated over 40 turkeys with dinner sides to families throughout the area for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the holiday cheer will continue as the city will celebrate their “Light Up Night” on December 1–further details can be found on the mayor’s Facebook page. All of this mixed with the Aliquippa football team’s current success carrying a 10-0 record into the WPIAL semifinals…and the mayor’s stance on this time of year being the best becomes full of substance.

To check out the full conversation with Mayor Walker, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Beaver Falls To Get “Merry & Bright” With Annual Christmas Parade On November 26

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

Santa Claus is coming (back) to town.

That town is Beaver Falls, who will be hosting their annual Christmas Parade–the theme this year is “Merry & Bright” on November 26 at 6:00 PM, with pre-parade festivities and Santa’s post-parade gathering with the city’s citizens taking place at Neighborhood North: Museum Of Play on 14th Street beginning at 3:00 PM and following the parade, respectively. Beaver County Radio will have live coverage of the parade that night as well.

Parade Committee members Paula Durish, Nancy Valentine-Jones, Rochelle Burks, and Christine Kosanovich joined Matt Drzik on the November 16 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss the planning and process of putting the parade together–a process that is still continuing and will do so up until the start of the parade. “I have forms in my office in the city building, the city clerk’s office on the second floor,” Durish said. “We [also] have forms on our Facebook page, and all of the information has been available for months.”

As far as the requirements for a float, band or other group to be in the parade? According to Valentine-Jones, there’s only one: “Don’t be Santa Claus. There’s only one and he will be at the end of the parade.”

The parade will be bookended by activities at Neighborhood North: Museum Of Play, which serves as the site for Winterfest and Santa’s arrival due to the ongoing construction of Library Park. The construction will also be moving the town Christmas tree to a new location, near the city building and the WesBanco building on 7th Avenue. The parade committee extended their thanks and gratitude to Neighborhood North executive director Christine Kroger for her giving of time and space to the day’s festivities.

To watch the full interview with the Beaver Falls Christmas Parade Committee, click on the Facebook feed below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News

VIDEO: Beaver Valley Choral Society Introduces Choral Conductor Scholar Program; Miah Sirianni Is First Recipient

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

“First and foremost, you have to be a fine musician. But there’s so many other skills you have to learn, and we’re helping her learn those. That’s our goal.”

In 2022, the Beaver County Choral Society launched their inaugural Choral Conducting Scholar program, designed to give collegiate students the experience to not only conduct the singers and orchestra, but ultimately to plan, organize, polish, and execute a full performance piece from start to finish.

Miah Sirianni, inaugural Choral Conducting Scholar for the Beaver Valley Choral Society [Image courtesy BVCS]
Miah Sirianni, a native of Buffalo, New York and current student at Duquesne University, became the first recipient of the Choral Conducting Scholar position, where she has already “dipped her toes” into working and conducting with the BVCS and Treble Youth Chorale. She was joined by Artistic Director Sharon Burchill and Vice President Pat Stagno on the November 14 edition of A.M. Beaver County to talk about her journey to learning and working with the Beaver Valley Choral Society.

“I came to Duquesne to pursue my Bachelor’s in Music Education,” Sirianni stated, “and through that I really found out that conducting was another one of my callings, if you will.” Sirianni found out about the BVCS through one of her professors at Duquesne who knew Mrs. Burchill, and that led to her obtaining this position: “I’m so fortunate and so grateful to the BVCS for all the opportunities they’ve given me.”

“We are having a ball with Miah,” Stagno added. “We’re really proud of her, and we’re really pleased to support young conductors and musicians, and one of the missions of the Beaver Valley Choral Society is to encourage and support young people…that’s the next generation of musicians, and we need to be behind them.”

Sirianni joined the BVCS as Choral Conducting Scholar for the Christmas concert season, but the plan–according to Burchill–is to have her become more heavily involved in the spring/Easter concerts. “For the spring, she will have a piece that she will introduce to the choir, teach the choir, conduct from beginning to end, the whole process,” Burchill said. “She’s going to be able to walk through, with mentorship, how to do that whole process, and she’ll conduct them at all the concerts.”

To watch the full conversation with Sharon, Pat, and Miah–click on the Facebook feeds below!

Part 2:

/ A.M. Beaver County

What Benefits Do Veterans Have?: A Discussion With Cullen Wright & Christina Lonigro

(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)

With Veterans’ Day being celebrated, many veterans in Western Pennsylvania and across the nation still have to deal with the confusion and misinformation that might lead them to live a life with fewer benefits than they realize they have access to.

To wade through the confusion and tumult, Christina Lonigro and Cullen Wright came on the November 10 edition of A.M. Beaver County to discuss the different “baskets” of healthcare options that veterans have. Wright is a retired US Army Colonel, now serving as Director of the Veterans Initiatives Program with Advocate Health Advisors.

“Our main message is that these systems–there’s four systems with VA, CHAMPVA, TriCare For Life, and Medicare–they can co-exist,” Wright stated. “And they can co-exist without impacting those military benefits negatively.” Wright stated that one of the biggest concerns and desires for veterans is to have dental coverage, and that it can belong in a plan with the right execution and organization.

The local Advocate Health Advisor service is the Mike Namath Agency, with whom Lonigro is associated. Veterans or other individuals that would like to know the ins, outs and whereabouts of Medicare in their plans can contact the Namath Agency by calling 724-847-3290.

To listen to the full conversation with Cullen and Christina, hit the play button below!

/ A.M. Beaver County, News