Ian Auzenne ’10
Courtesy Ian Auzenne
Across the country, local terrestrial radio stations are fading out — but not in the “Au-Zone.”

That’s the name of a sports-talk radio show Ian Auzenne ’10 hosts on KPEL-AM 1420, the ESPN Radio affiliate in Lafayette, La.

In the Au-Zone, radio isn’t dying and play-by-play sports broadcasting is the highest form of art.

“That’s what I love to do. That is my passion — doing the sports, doing the play by play, telling the story, setting the scene, trying to describe that picture as it’s happening. I love it,” says Auzenne, the part-time voice of University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball and softball.

The Louisiana native discovered that love of radio at Princeton’s student-run WPRB. In September 2006, Auzenne was a newly arrived freshman with a quiet streak. “Off air, I’m kind of reserved,” he says. “I don’t go out of my way to be sociable.”

The one way he knew to break out of his shell in high school was through public address announcing. In front of a microphone, he felt free to assume a new persona — “the character is on.” But the athletic department at Princeton didn’t need a student P.A. announcer, Auzenne recalls. He was referred instead to WPRB and quickly jumped into the student-run station’s Friday afternoon sports-talk radio show.

“After I did that one show, I was hooked,” Auzenne says.

He came back later that night to shadow DJs Adam Flynn ’08 and the late “Dr. Cosmo” George Mahlberg. Weeks later, when he found himself calling Princeton football and basketball games, he found mentors in professional announcers John Sadak and Tom Criqui ’88, son of storied NFL announcer Don Criqui.

Auzenne, who studied politics, often jokes he went on to minor in politics and major in WPRB.

After Princeton, Auzenne found work in local television news — he’s the executive producer at Lafayette’s KATC — but his heart remained in radio, and he obtained special permission to moonlight as a radio DJ and sports announcer.

Between hosting the Au-Zone, doing play-by-play, and DJing a country music show, he says he once found himself on four of the seven Lafayette radio stations owned by Townsquare Media in the span of 12 hours.

What keeps him going? Auzenne comes back to WPRB’s tagline: “On the air because we care.”

“As hokey as it was back then, in some ways, it rings true,” Auzenne says. “It’s more than just sports. It’s more than just news. It’s more than just music. We are there to serve the public.”