Trent Ferguson is living a dream. Ever since he started listening to satellite radio when he was very young he has wanted to be on the air. Now 20, Ferguson is the new morning sports anchor and high school football color commentator for WNZF-FM, 94.9 in Flagler County Florida. Ferguson prides himself on calling it like he sees it, even though he has been blind since birth.
Radio Ink: What got you interested in radio?
Ferguson: My love of radio started when I was about four years old and I was listening to XM Satellite Radio with my grandfather. I listened to the 60s Channel. When I was about five or six I started to call into DJs requesting songs from the 60s and the DJs were amazed that I knew so much about 60s music at my age.
My love for play-by-play came from listening to another graduate of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, my friend Enrique Oliu, the Spanish color commentator for the Tampa Bay Rays. Every time I go to games now, from the sixth inning on, I go up and sit in the press box with him.
Radio Ink: You are going to be doing high school football games this fall. How do you call ball games?
Ferguson: I go off of the play-by-play man to see the play, then as the color commentator I give some stats or say something like “That was a great play to the right side, a nice fade route that they have refined in practice.” Then whenever there is a lull in the game I offer up stats on the player or the game.
I have a Braille typing machine to take notes, I have a Braille typewriter to put things on Braille paper, I have a hand-held recorder that I can refer to with notes and stuff, I also have a computer in front of me with an app that reads things. I try to memorize as much as I can, and I write a lot of Braille notes.
Radio Ink: How did you land the job with WNZF?
Ferguson: I met Flagler Broadcasting VP/GM David Ayres when I was a sophomore in high school at a 2014 ribbon-cutting for a new station. We started talking and he commented to others that this kid knows more about our stations than we do. They asked me to record some “No Texting While Driving” spots in 2015, and then in 2016 I was on a talk show hosted by Ayres and in the hallway I met personality Rich Carroll. We started talking sports and he suggested we start a sports podcast. We called it Outta Sight Sports. That was in May of 2016, and then this January David Ayres put our show on the air.
Radio Ink: Tell us about a new feature on your show.
Ferguson: We are about to start a feature on our show called “The Bad Call Of The Day,” sponsored by a West Palm Coast eye doctor, Eye-Style Optical. I will see a bad call in a game, and say something like, “That pitch was six inches off the plate, hey ump, you couldn’t see that?!? That ump needs to go to Eye-Style Optical where I will pay for their eye exam.” We are just having a little fun with it.
Radio Ink: It’s obvious you don’t consider your blindness a hindrance; you actually embrace it.
Ferguson: The Lord made me who I am for a reason and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even if I could have sight I wouldn’t take it because I feel that it was in his plan for me.
Radio Ink: What is your advice to others who may be in a similar situation as you?
Ferguson: Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t use your blindness as an excuse. People aren’t going to hand things to you, you have to work on them yourself. Go knock on doors. That’s how I did it. No matter what you’ve got going on realize that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
Thanks to Trent Ferguson and WNZF-FM, 94.9