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Radio station won't let Rowland out of contract to work for Thunder

By Mel Bracht Published: September 20, 2008
Sportscaster Toby Rowland says his opportunity to join the Oklahoma City Thunder as the television sideline reporter has been blocked by "The Ref” radio network.

Rowland, a sports reporter/anchor for KWTV-9 and talk show host for KREF-AM 1400, "The Ref,” said KREF management has refused to let him out of the final year of his contract with the radio station to join the Thunder in a full-time capacity with the broadcast team. He said KWTV had agreed to let him out of his final three years of his TV contract.

Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney said the team had no comment on the story. KREF general manager Mike Holt could not be reached for comment.

"I'm crushed,” Rowland said. "It would have been a dream to get to work for an NBA team, especially one here in my hometown. The Thunder seems to be a first-class operation and (team chairman) Clay Bennett — a guy who I've had some dealings with — has always been great. It would have been a dream to get to work in that situation.”

Rowland's attorney, Jim Priest, said Rowland is considering filing a lawsuit against The Ref.

"There is a problem with the contract itself, and there is also a problem with the conduct of The Ref in connection with keeping Mr. Rowland from pursuing this opportunity,” Priest said.

Rowland, 34, a 1995 Southern Nazarene University graduate, has worked for KREF for six years.

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