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16 Podcasts To Save You from Sports Radio

If you’ve turned on the radio to listen to local sports talk, you know how frustrating it can be to hear hosts’ inability to stay focused, rude behavior toward callers, poor working knowledge of basic grammar, and scant analysis of the actual play on the field or court. At times it is as if they care more about the feelings of the players and the clothes their coaches wear than what transpires in the game.

Suffer no more! With the growing popularity of podcasts, a few minutes of setup can free you from the shackles of local sports talk. iPhone users can use the great Overcast app (with its sound leveling and gap removing features) or just stick with the stock Apple Podcast app. Android users should download the BeyondPod app; all free of charge.

Simply add the feeds for the below podcasts and you are finally off to an informative, entertaining, and efficient sports talk experience!


N.C. State




Carolina Hurricanes


Public Meeting on Fairview Fire Station Coming Monday

On Wednesday, October 7 at 7pm, the City of Raleigh Fire Department will hold a public meeting on the rebuild of Fire Station Six (Fairview and Oberlin Roads). The meeting will take place at the fire station.


Parade of Homes Begins Tomorrow

For the next three weekends the Triangle Homebuilders Association will be celebrating the Parade of Homes. The county-wide series of nearly 400 new open houses runs through the next three weekends (October 3-4, 9-11, 16-18). The houses will be open from Noon to 5pm each day.

There are 3 good sources of information about the tour:

  • In Print – stop by the homebuilder’s association’s office (near Crossroads) at:
    5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 115
    Raleigh, NC 27606
  • OnlineThe association website, a searchable directory, and an online map are all available on the web.
  • Apps – probably not the best-designed app ever, but the best way to go is to use the Android app and the iOS app . The house listing is scrollable, there is a filter search, a map with pins, and the ability to star your favorites.

The most interesting house on the tour is the one at Yadkin and Alleghany, a 5,961 square foot Modern English house by Dixon-Kirby. Their work is always top notch, but there is always, too, some element of bizarre in their houses.

The largest house on the tour is The Cove, a 7,600 square food house on Brinleys Cove Court (out Six Forks past Durant Rd).

Restrooms are not available in the houses, so please plan accordingly. Also be sure to wear socks and shoes you can easily remove before entering each house. Finally, each house’s parking is curbside in existing neighborhoods, so please be courteous to keep driveways, hydrants, and intersections clear, and be on the lookout for children.


Oktoberfest Coming to Booth Amphitheatre This Weekend

oktoberfestOne of Cameron Village and North Hills’ great traditions from yesterday was Oktoberfest. Hark! the event lives on now at Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre. The event begins Saturday and will feature entertainment, a variety of German foods, biergarten, football-viewing tent with TVs, sanctioned beer-judging competition and more. The schedule for the two-day event is as follows:

Saturday, October 4

  • Noon – Gates open with Chuck Piercy as emcee; Kinder Platz Kid Zone open
  • 1 p.m. – Opening Ceremony, including keg tapping with Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht and other dignitaries
  • Live Music and dancing from the Little German Band throughout the day
  • 1:30 p.m. – Stein Hoist I Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Ladies’ Hammerschlagen (nail-driving competition) I Contest, followed by Men’s Hammerschlagen I Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Stein Hoist II Contest
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races, Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Best Dressed of the Day Contest (Ladies, Men and Children); Egg Race; Fräulein Beer Challenge Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Stein Hoist III Contest
  • 7 p.m. – Kinder Platz Kid Zone closes; Alpine Horn, Tuba Challenge or Yodeling Contest
  • 8 p.m. – Stein Hoist IV Contest
  • 9 p.m. – Fräulein Beer Challenge; Beer Obstacle Course
  • 10 p.m. – Festivities end for the day

Sunday, October 5

  • Noon – Gates Open with Chuck Piercy and Ernie McAllister as emcees; Kinder Platz Kid Zone Open; Egg Race and Chicken Dance Contests; Fräulein Beer Challenge
  • 1 p.m. – Live music and dancing throughout the day; Beer Obstacle Course; Ladies’ Hammerschlagen II Contest; Men’s Hammerschlagen II Contest
  • 2 p.m. – Stein Hoist V Contest
  • 3 p.m. – Beer Awards Announced; Best Dressed of the Day (Ladies, Men and Children)
  • 4 p.m. – Wiener Dog Races; Best Dressed Dog Contest
  • 5 p.m. – Stein Hoist VI Contest
  • 6 p.m. – Closing Remarks; Oktoberfest ends

Tickets for Saturday are $20 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under.Sunday tickets are $15 for 16 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 15, free for 5 and under. Two-day tickets for 16 and up are also available for $30.  Beer Judge Tickets (including commemorative glass and unlimited beer sampling for the day) available for $45. Discounts available for seniors, as well as active and retired military. To purchase tickets, visit the Booth Amphitheatre Box Office, call 1-800-514-3849 or visit http://triangleoktoberfest.org/buy-tickets/


Traffic Circles Removed from Currituck Design

neighborhoodRoundaboutThe Raleigh City Council recently approved a traffic calming project slated for Currituck Drive in the North Hills subdivision. The project design, intended to engineer cars into keeping speeds in the 20s, includes curb extensions and medians. The intent is to convey a sense of traffic calming by including an element every 5th house along the street.

Original plans called for two neighborhood traffic circles (one oblong and one circular) as well as bumped out corners of an existing 4-way stop intersection. The approved design, however removes all of those options. The oblong circle has been replaced with a median on both sides of the intersection and the true circle will likely be replaced with a 4-way stop.

The project is expected to begin this summer in the summer of 2016.


125 Concerts to Rock Your Summer

2014-08-22 21.06.44Summer always brings great concerts to the Triangle, and 2015 may be the best yet. From April to September there are 125 big acts coming to the area’s venues, with more announcements coming! From 1st-tier comedians to one of only 15 North American dates for the Rolling Stones, there is always something to do here this summer. See venue key at the bottom for info links.

Click the “Summer ‘15” tab (at the top) for the updated list.


Cameron Village Planning Parking Decks

Raleigh’s original shopping center, Cameron Village, has seen a renaissance over the past two decades. The renovation began with the removal of several outdated parking structures from the  struggling center. A full complex facelift was then completed, and the general public has responded enthusiastically. With not only the replacement of several surrounding outdated office and retail buildings, but also the addition of many new apartments, Cameron Village finds itself one of the most sought after addresses in Raleigh by young professionals.

While the changes have made Cameron Village wildly popular, the availability of parking at the center has become a deal-breaker for some. To meet the new demand for parking, Cameron Village management has released new renderings of parking structures that will be completed by this time next year.

The first phase, pictured below, will be a one-level deck over the surface parking on Daniels Street, extending from Noodles & Co to the end of the strip where Seagrove Pottery was. The open air parking level will connect to shopping areas with carefully placed staircases. Phase Two continues the parking experience across Daniels Street and will completely wrap the block which houses Outdoor Provision Co., Village Draft House, and the ABC Store.

“We are excited to offer super convenient parking for our customers,” said Wynne Lorth, a vice president of the center. “Not only will be adding quantity of parking, the new structures will convert existing surface parking into a premium experience that is always dry and cool; especially needed on those hot summer days.”

Existing Cameron Village parking with rendering of new premium parking.



Let The Madness Begin!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; tourney time. Time to fill out those brackets, because after all, this is one of the necessary forms for living in Raleigh. The best brackets are CBS’, because they show the times of the games. (pdf).

Another format for the games is chronological. While it is too early to post relevant lines, it is time to post the times and networks of the games. The region is denoted with the letter “E”, “W”, etc.

12:15 – Notre Dame(3) / Northeastern(14) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
12:40 – Iowa St.(3) / UAB(14) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
1:40 – Baylor(3) / Georgia St.(14) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
2:10 – Arizona(2) / Texas Southern(15) (Portland, W, TNT)
2:45 – Butler(6) / Texas(11) (Pittsburgh, M, CBS)
3:10 – SMU(6) / UCLA(11) (Louisville, S, TruTV)
4:10 – Xavier(6) / BYU/Ole Miss(11) (Jacksonville, W, TBS)
4:40 – VCU(7) / Ohio St. (10) (Portland, W, TNT)
6:50 – Villanova(1) / Lafayette(16) (Pittsburgh,E, TBS)
7:10 – Cincinnati() / Purdue() (Louisville, M, CBS)
7:20 – UNC(4) / Harvard(13) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
7:27 – Utah(5) / Stephen F. Austin(12) (Portland, S, TruTV)
9:20 – NCSU(8) / LSU(9) (Pittsburgh, E, TBS)
9:40 – Kentucky(1) / Hampton/Manhattan(16) (Louisville, M, CBS)
9:50 – Arkansas(5) / Wofford(12) (Jacksonville, W, TNT)
9:57 – Georgetown(4) / Eastern Washington(13) (Portland, S, TruTV)

12:15 – Kansas(2) / New Mexico St.(15) (Omaha, M, CBS)
12:40 – Michigan St.(7) / Georgia(10) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
1:40 – Northern Iowa(5) / Wyoming(12) (Seattle, E, TBS)
2:10 – West Virginia(5) / Buffalo(12) (Columbus, M, TNT)
2:45 – Wichita St.(7) / Indiana(10) (Omaha, M, CBS)
3:10 – Virginia(2) / Belmont(15) (Charlotte, E, TruTV)
4:10 – Louisville(4) / UC Irvine(13) (Seattle, E, TBS)
4:40 – Maryland(4) / Valparaiso(13) (Columbus, M, TNT)
6:50 – Oregon(8) / Oklahoma St.(9) (Omaha, W, TBS)
7:10 – Duke(1) / N. Florida/Robert Morris(16) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
7:20 – Iowa(7) / Davidson(10) (Seattle, S, TNT)

7:27 – Oklahoma(3) / Albany(14) (Columbus, E, TruTV)
9:20 – Wisconsin(1) / Coastal Carolina(16) (Omaha, W, TBS)
9:40 – San Diego St.(8) / St. John’s(9) (Charlotte, S, CBS)
9:50 – Gonzaga(2) / North Dakota St.(15) (Seattle, S, TNT)
9:57 – Providence(6) / Boise St./Dayton winner(11) (Columbus, E, TruTV)

Of local note: Former NCSU guard Archie Miller coaches Dayton. Former NCSU assistant coaches Arizona. Former Duke guard and assistant Tommy Amaker coaches Harvard. Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley coaches Buffalo. Former Duke Assistant Mike Brey coaches Notre Dame. Former UNC assistant Jarod Haase coaches UAB. Raleigh native Dez Wells stars for Maryland.

Former Clemson coach Cliff Ellis coaches Coastal Carolina. Former Clemson coach Larry Shyatt coaches Wyoming.


Fury 325 Test Run POV Hits Internet

Carowinds’ Fury 325 will open this summer as the 5th tallest roller coaster in the world, and will be the most discussed coaster on the continent this year. On Wednesday the track saw its unmanned maiden voyage. A point-of-view camera was mounted and footage is now posted on YouTube.

The 325’ high coaster is 20’ taller than the Statue of Liberty, and will be the highest and fastest for Bolliger & Mabillard. The firm known for engineering the smoothest coasters ever built sees itself well into the 300 foot zone with this coaster. It’s a zone that Intamin has dominated over last decade and a half. Hopefully B&M can bring their brand of well-managed lateral Gs to this class of coasters.

Looks like some track tuning still remains as well as much landscaping. It appears the coaster has a fantastic fine del capo under the pedestrian plaza followed by a splashdown into a lake. This should be a dynamite addition to the NC side of Carowinds, and will attract visitors from around the world to this hidden gem of a park.


North Carolina Loses The Great Teacher

2015-02-08 12.59.14On the evening of Saturday, February 7, UNC lost perhaps its most important family member of the school’s storied history. Coach Dean Smith had suffered from dementia for many years, and his life ended quietly. The irony that such a sharp mind that steered so many storied comebacks would not be able to mount one in his own life is a bitter pill to swallow. That we are not in control of our fates is just one of the lessons Smith taught us.

There are hundreds of great stories being passed around these days about great Smith moments. Mine came after reading his book Multiple Offense and Defense. It is a fantastic, concise X’s and O’s manual for running several of the offensive and defensive sets Smith used in the first half of his coaching career. There are also great lessons about team play, running structured practices, acknowledgment of the groundbreakers that came before us, and the beauty of math in the game we love. That final point led me to corral my own stats for the team, which eventually blossomed into my Tar Heel HOOPla website 20 years ago.

In the book Coach Smith explained his system for evaluating offensive and defensive efficiency, and stated that his team’s goals are to exceed 0.85 points per possession and to keep the opponent below 0.75 points per possession. The book was written before the advent of the 3-point shot, leaving me to wonder about how much that rule changed the stated goals. Woody Durham hosted a weekly call-in show with the coach and I was able to ask him my question on the air. He first stated,”Very good! You’ve done your homework,” then stated his updated goals of 0.95 and 0.85, respectively.

Apparently I’m not alone in being fascinated by the statistics basketball brings us, as evidenced by the popularity of Ken Pomeroy’s work. Pomeroy’s stats differ from Smith’s because Smith considered a possession to end when a field goal is attempted while Pomeroy considers it ending when the other team gets possession of the ball. Pomeroy reaches this figure by subtracting offensive rebounds from field goal attempts, making Total Possessions an irrelevant statistic. Smith’s method, on the other hand, leaves a Total Possessions differential which reflects the true rebounding, making his method much more useful.

When I was in Chapel Hill for college and dental school, I only had a couple of brushes with Dean Smith. One morning my dental class sat in a hallway waiting to take an exam. A hush fell on the group as Dean Smith walked down the hall by us after completing an appointment with one of our professors. It was as if we all wanted to be put into the game. We all got a chuckle at how we responded, but also were impressed that someone like Dean Smith thought that highly of our teacher.

I was lucky enough to get to sit behind the bench in ‘93 to watch the eventual National Champions play Duke on Senior Day. Committed recruits Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis sat in front of me while uncommitted Rasheed Wallace sat two seats toward midcourt. Wallace, of course, chose UNC over his hometown Temple, and Smith would later proclaim Wallace to be the best player Smith coached. The photo above is from the book Return to the Top, and shows me right behind Stackhouse and McInnis. Jim Valvano sat across the court doing his final full broadcast. Phil Ford, one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, and Bill Guthridge, one of the best big-man coaches in the history of the game, were 10 feet in front of me. It was an incredible experience to be a spectator around these great masters of their craft. Of course from that angle one gets an appreciation of the vertical elements of basketball, but I was also able to appreciate the level of focus players from each team carried.

We essentially lost Coach Smith several years ago with the onset of dementia. Unlike other coaches, Smith retired and made few public appearances. In one of the many pieces of irony surrounding Smith, he was always proud of his ability to teach, yet could have taught us all so much about the game and life after retiring from coaching. Smith could be ruthless in team practices, slicing giants to pieces with his words. However those were  players (and families) into which he had emotionally invested. He would never have felt comfortable criticizing the play of players he didn’t know, so he never pursued the chance to teach us more.

Smith learned basketball from Phog Allen who learned basketball from the game’s inventor, James Naismith. While Smith may be gone and the building bearing his name may not stand for the remainder of our lives, Smith leaves an indelible mark on both the game and the culture of the State of North Carolina through not only his bountiful coaching tree, but also through the many of us whose lives were enriched by his work.


City Lays Markings for Currituck Obstacle Course

20150204_140922The City of Raleigh is planning for major traffic changes on Currituck Drive. The residential street is slated for curb bumps, surprise medians, and the city’s first residential mini-roundabouts. The street will also gain a sidewalk on the north curb to match the existing one on the south curb. According to plans, the project’s goal is to slow traffic to around 30mph. This will be accomplished by placing an irregular feature every 5th house in order to establish a culture of “speed calming”, but will contain no vertical elements (speed bumps).

Projects such as those on Rainwater Drive and Mourning Dove Road were the first to integrate lateral interruptions to traffic in Raleigh, however the Currituck project will be the first to implement the mini-roundabout. Two such designs will be used at the street’s intersections with Macon Place and Tyrrell Road. The island at Tyrrell, a perpendicular cross intersection will be a pure circle and will not require any additional streetscape to support the feature.

The feature at Macon, however, is oval, biased against Currituck traffic. This crossing, pictured, occurs during a steep hill, and visibility is not very good (looking uphill). Likely this will be the surprise element that will cause the most accidents (on a street with very few accidents in its 50 year history).

The City Council will review the plan and welcome public comment in their December 3 meeting. If the plan is accepted construction will occur during the coming Summer, if Fall of 2014 leaves are picked up.


History Making Heels and Wolfpack Prepare for Battle

With both NCSU and UNC coming off of thrilling home wins over Top 10 opponents, tonight’s showdown looks to be another great chapter in the rivalry’s rich history. Last year’s epic overtime battle was a modern era classic, and while many of the players return for tonight’s game, the primary factors are completely different.

The NCSU team has only recently found its identity. We knew they had a talented backcourt, but the the inconsistent play in the first dozen games really hampered the team. They keys to NCSU tonight are two-fold:

  • While point guard Cat Barber continues to bring outstanding athleticism but sputtering smarts to the game, transfer Trevor Lacey has become an all-conference level performer. Nobody is talking about how Lacey can do everything that T.J. Warren could do, but the truth is, he isn’t far from consistently being that level of player.
  • BJ Anya is a great shotblocker who is foul-prone. If he can stay on the court, NCSU’s frontcourt can match up to UNC’s.

State’s play is straightforward, but UNC’s is not. The first part of this 2015 season has been a trying one for UNC fans. The team, sporting with 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, has struggled to show any kind of cohesiveness and consistency. However dissecting the Heels reveals some things about this team that the babbling, mantra-driven local sports radio media fails to see.

  • Against the 5th most-difficult schedule in the country thus far, UNC has held opponents to only 0.78 points per possession. That’s the best defensive of any UNC team in the 19 years I’ve tracked this statistic. That’s a period where the school has won 2 National Championships, been to 5 Final Fours, and put dozens of players into the NBA. The goal is to keep teams below 0.85, and this team is surpassing the stated goal by an impressive amount.
  • UNC is averaging 4.5 more possession than opponents, the largest
    margin in the tracking period, too. This means that this team is the best rebounding UNC team in the last two decades.
  • UNC is the #4 team in the nation in defending the 3-pointer (and that’s including the stats from the Notre Dame game).
  • UNC is averaging 0.90 points per possession on offense. That ranks
    #15 in the 19-year period. (goal is to be >0.95)
  • UNC is turning the ball over on 14.4% of its possessions. That’s a fairly average performance compared to other years.
  • UNC is shooting 31% from 3, good for a #271 national ranking (345 ranked). They are #302 in 3 pointers made in each game.

With UNC’s weakness being outside shooting, one would think UNC would play to its strengths, however they are attempting 24% of their shots from beyond the arc. Usually Roy’s teams can shoot the 3 well, and only take about 22% of their shots from behind the arc.

The keys for UNC moving forward are establishing Joel Berry as the primary PG, moving Marcus Paige to the SG, narrowing the rotation, and running the offense through Kennedy Meeks.

Much attention is on Marcus Paige, however the statistics show that UNC falls apart offensively when Kennedy Meeks leaves the game. For UNC to win tonight, they need an excellent game out of Meeks, and to shut down the Pack offensively.

In the last 20 years NC State is 1-14 after beating Duke or UNC. I expect NCSU to struggle shooting the ball tonight, and for UNC to win this chapter.  Revenge for tonight’s loser comes in 5 weeks, though, where NCSU may play their best Dean Dome game in quite some time. We’ll see…


25 Predictions for 2015

It’s that time of year. As a new one rolls around we look forward at the trends and events that will likely impact our lives in Raleigh. In no particular order, here is a glimpse into the crystal ball:

  1. 2014 was a banner year for electronic security breaches, and 2015 will continue the pattern. Banks and retailers, now facing higher than ever write-offs due to security breaches, will fully embrace cardless payments, and ApplePay will be huge. ApplePay is so secure and so easy, we will see iOS gain back some noticeable American marketshare from Android. A related technology we will see will be a payment by car; an ApplePay and Google Wallet extension in new cars allowing quick payment in drive-thru windows and turnpike tolling gates.
  2. As a result of new, secure payments and the end of predictable market corrections, we will see a solid year for brick and mortar retail.
  3. In food trends 2015 will be the Year of Cauliflower, and we will see it everywhere.
  4. Wake County will see sizable increases in property taxes and sales tax rates.
  5. Some Hibernian property will have a fire (they always do).
  6. After recently releasing their worst album, U2 will scale back their existing tour plans, and will not perform in North Carolina this time around.
  7. Raleigh will extend the route of its ever-popular Christmas parade.
  8. Raleigh will join in on the donut craze that has hit both Durham and Cary, with a donut shop opening in downtown or Hillsborough St.
  9. After much success with a seasonal store, A Southern Season will open a permanent store in Cameron Village.
  10. As with each year, we will say goodbye so some restaurants, but probably fewer old favorites than in 2014. Unless they are able to make changes to generate a serious amount of buzz, we are most likely to lose Zoe’s Kitchen, some Moe’s locations, Flying Biscuit (it will be a terrible year for Raving Brands), Crowley’s, Mia Francesca, Taj Mahal, and a few Subway locations.
  11. 2015 will be a huge year for straight-to-internet movies, and will be a difficult year for movie theater houses. Large movie complexes have less marginal overhead per screen-showing, so we will only see a slight reduction in their showtimes offered. However it will be very difficult for The Varsity in Chapel Hill to make it. Raleigh’s Ambassidor Cinemas, with 12 total screens over 4 locations, will likely scale back operations, too, especially at the Six Forks location.
  12. Publix will announce an alternate North Raleigh location.
  13. 2015 will see a surge of bluegrass-inspired local bands forming in Raleigh.
  14. 2015 will bring national exposure to Vivian Howard and her show “A Chef’s Life”.
  15. 2015 will be an off year, but nonetheless a strong one, for James Beard nominations in North Carolina.
  16. The Velvet Cloak property will be sold and plans to raze it and replace it with a mixed-use project will surface.
  17. Once again, Raleigh will continue its oppressive assault on drivers in neighborhoods by reducing speed limits on more wide, neighborhood streets to 25mph. They will also erect more of those contrived islands meant to annoy and slow drivers.
  18. UNC and NCSU will field bubble teams in football, once again, that will get absolutely no national attention.
  19. The entire KMart chain will close and RadioShack will close many stores in 2015. JCPenney will close many stores nationally, but the North Hill store will unfortunately remain open. (can you at least keep the lightbulbs replaced?)
  20. A new mall will be announced for the I-40/42/70/540 area between Clayton and Fuquay. It will focus on serving the Johnston County market.
  21. The Carolina Hurricanes will finish their worst season on record amid rumors of the franchise moving to Las Vegas.
  22. In downtown Raleigh we will see the closing of a Mexican restaurant and opening of a South American sit-down restaurant.
  23. In Men’s Basketball Duke will make the Final Four, UNC will lose in the Final Eight, and NCSU will not make the tournament.
  24. Due to legal pressures, hostile behavior by executives, a backlash against surge pricing, and taxi and lobbying powers, Uber will fail nationally (much like Aereo did).
  25. And in the world of dentistry: electric toothbrushes that log activity, much like a FitBit, will hit shelves and be quite popular, especially models designed for children and teens.
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