Local Coach Receives Prestigious Honor

SUTTON – Sutton High School boys’ head coach Mike Elster has earned one of his profession’s highest
The United Soccer Coaches, a 30,000-member national organization, with members from the youth, high
school, college and professional ranks has presented him with its High School Coach of Significance
The honor recognizes members “who are coaching for character, and using the soccer field to teach life
lessons at the high school level.” Honorees “make an impact within their schools and communities well
beyond their records of wins and losses.”
Each state honors one coach from its ranks. Coach Elster was selected for Massachusetts. “These
outstanding coaches represent the ultimate spirit of coaching while making an impact on player’s lives in
all aspects of their core development both on and off the field,” says Rusty Oglesby, United Soccer
Coaches high school advocacy chair.”
Elster, who is in his 12th year as Sutton’s head coach, 15 th year on the Sutton Youth Soccer Board –
including the last 5 as president, owner of Fortis FC, LLC premier soccer club, and owner of Elster
Training, says he is “humbled” by this honor. “In some ways, this award is the most meaningful of my
career because it recognizes what I believe is most important about coaching. The vast majority of the
students that I coach will not play in college. My goal is to help them develop into good leaders, good
people, and good citizens to have positive impacts on their families, places of employment, and
Robert Magner, one of Coach Elster’s former players and assistant coach since 2012, states, “Mike’s
record as a coach speaks for itself, but his impact as a leader and as a coach in the community is what
determines his worth.” Rob has learned from his mentor that you as an individual can always give more,
to your team, to your family, and to your community. He says that “coach has had a huge impact on my
life first as a player and as a young man, and I appreciate the chance to still learn from him as one of his
assistant coaches.” He reminisces that the team will often read a poem titled Push before big games to
remind themselves, “your biggest challenge isn't someone else; it's the ache in your lungs, the burning in
your legs, & the voice inside you that yells can't, but you don't listen, you push harder.”
Ryan Elster, Mike’s son, former player and current assistant coach knows firsthand what is most important
to his father is not the state championships or awards but rather the impact in life he can make on all of
his players as they make their way through the program. He shares, “Immediately when you enter the
varsity program, principles of leadership, community service, motivation, and the importance of team are
taught in a variety of ways. For example, at the beginning of the season we set goals and not just related
to soccer. We made goals for grades, behavior, yellow cards for dissent, and sportsmanship. He read
articles, told stories, had us watch videos, and more that taught us different lessons on leadership, service
to others, hard work, commitment, and character.” Coach Elster also strives to stay relevant and keep it
light to make his points. For example you may see coach wearing a Yoda mask or wearing a Hulk t-shirt
because although Yoda is small in size, his wisdom and quiet leadership make him a prominent figure
while Hulk, on the other hand, is a symbol of strength, courage, and durability.
Justin Rothermich, one of Coach Elster’s most talented high school soccer players, echoes the important
lessons that Coach taught him about what it means to be a student-athlete on and off the field. “He
showed me that being a leader doesn’t mean just performing on the field, it means leading by example in
your academics and community. He illustrated that the needs of others and the team far outweighs the

needs of the individual, a life lesson I brought with me beyond my high school years”, Rothermich shared.
He sums up the impact Coach has had on the Sutton program and its players, “It is safe to say that
without Coach Elster, Sutton High School soccer would not have had the success that it has had, and I
would not be the player or the man I am today.”
Coach Elster has served the town’s recreational program since 2003. Sutton Youth Soccer vice president,
Shawn Rogan, points out that “the town program’s board positions are volunteer and even though Mike
has a soccer club to run and a varsity team to coach, he spends countless hours ensuring children who
don’t have the resources or skill to play at the club level have access to a competitive, fun program. We
have approximately 500 kids who get their start in soccer because of this program. Considering today’s
“win at all cost” attitude, how refreshing is it to have a person like Coach Elster who looks at what is best
for the young person over what is best for the bottom dollar?”
In addition, Coach Elster has his varsity boys’ team lead free clinics for Sutton Youth Soccer players to
remind them the importance of giving back to your community. This is fun for the young players but also
reminds the High School students that they are always role models to kids in our community – both on
and off the field. Brian Jankins, Sutton Youth Soccer boys coordinator, reflects “A resume that includes 4
State Championships would typically be the most significant line item for many but in the case of Mike it is
just a small part of who he is. He leads by example and develops champions on the field and more
importantly champions in life. His players truly understand giving back to the community. I realized very
quickly that his coaching goes way beyond creating good players; it’s all about developing young people
into becoming the best version of themselves.”
Coach Elster has not confined his impact on the Sutton community to just its soccer programs.
Understanding our communities fight with cancer, in 2004 he and his family began putting together an
annual tournament each season called “Kicks for Cancer”. The Sutton Youth Soccer U6 and U8 teams
participate in multiple 3v3 games throughout the day. Both the girls and boys varsity soccer teams at
Sutton coach and officiate the games. The money raised from the event is then donated in honor of
someone who in the Sutton community who has been affected by cancer to the charity of their choice.
One example of the good work done through this event involved a young girl in town who was struck with
cancer. The funds that year were donated to a room at the UMASS hospital where parents and children
could go during treatment.  Lily’s Pad was formed with the help of the donations created through the Kicks
for Cancer tournament.  Every year it is a new story but Coach Elster and his players are a constant
Dan Delongchamp, Sutton High School Assistant Principal, states, “It is important to know that Michael
doesn’t coach with the primary focus of winning championships. Mike is acutely aware that he is raising
young men. His players learn countless lessons on community service, leadership, and giving back to
society through this experience.”
His son Ryan, summarizes his father’s impact as, “He is not just a soccer coach, but a teacher whose
responsibility is developing the next generation. He never stops learning or finding new ways to do this
which is why he will always be successful. Of course, success for him can be defined by how far the team
goes and what they win, but more important for him is the impact that the players have within their
community and people who they come across after they have left the program. By influencing the
community of Sutton in a positive way, he has inspired and educated his players to take all of what they
have learned and share it with others.” This is what it means to be a coach of significance.
Press release wclc developer oct 2019

Hit a Home Run – Sign the CBA!

Contact: Martha Assefa - 508-667-6209
Hit a Home Run – Sign the CBA!
Worcester, MA -- Last week marked 15 months that the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition (WCLC) has been working to secure a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) for our community.

HIT a HOME RUN, SIGN the CBA!” Press Conference
9:00am, Thursday, October 24th, 2019
at the Corner of Madison and Washington Streets
(123 Washington St), Worcester

The CBA is a road map to ensure that Worcester’s renaissance is through both community and economic development. Join the WCLC at 9am Thursday 10/24/19 for a press conference at the corner of Madison St and Washington St, (123 Washington St), Worcester, amid the construction as we request that we “Hit a home run, sign the CBA.”
The six-person Worcester Community Labor Coalition negotiating team is in positive negotiations with the City Manager and The Worcester Red Sox. At this press conference we are requesting that Madison Properties come to the negotiating table. We have reason to believe that they will come to the table, but they have not sat down with the WCLC yet. WCLC believes that the community deserves to have a face to face conversation on the CBA with the developer to outline the issues the community seeks to address.
The Worcester Community Labor Coalition lent its support to the ballpark project through community testimony at numerous City hearings on the subject. Our testimony not only lauded the potential for good economic development that the project could bring but raised the idea of negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement directly with the community to ensure the maximum benefit possible from the project.
The Worcester Community Labor Coalition works to ensure that economic development is community development. Our coalition represents a broad array of labor and community interests in Worcester and Central Massachusetts. As community groups, religious congregations, businesses, neighborhood associations, labor unions, and their partners we are proud to represent the community’s interests in economic development projects. This coalition has formed a community benefits agreement supported by over 40 community organizations to ensure that the ballpark and surrounding development center our community in the process.

#RailersRadioHour will now take place on Wednesdays from 12-1pm
 on Unity Radio 97.9fm, streaming at and Facebook Live!


Worcester City Council Candidates Forum


Unity Radio to Air Holy Cross Women's Basketball, Men's Ice Hockey and Women's Ice Hockey in 2019-20


Dale Lepage and Steve Bourassa Talk
Worcester Jazz Festival 2019

Click Image to watch!
Ernie community event pic

Interview with Executive Producer & Founder Ernie Floyd

This article originally appeared on Worcester Magazine

Ernest “Ernie” Floyd loves nothing more than hearing happy people on the radio. As executive producer of Unity Radio and the host of his own evening listening program, Smooth Grooves, Floyd is motivated to create an avenue through which local residents can contribute to the community.

What is your history with the city of Worcester?

I was recruited to come to Worcester through basketball as a result of my high school years in Boston. I was born and raised in Roxbury and I attended Boston English High School. The basketball coach greeted me when I walked through the door on the first day. I was only an OK player at the time. I had the height, he had the interest, and I worked hard. By junior year, I made the team. At that time, they had scouting reports that regularly went around the city. Once my name was on there, the word was out. Holy Cross was one of 250 schools that recruited me. They sought me out more than anyone else. Villanova, Western Kentucky and Marshall were all final choices of mine, but I decided to go to Holy Cross because I wanted to stay close. My mom was alive at the time and I wanted to her to see me play.

Can you describe your career thus far?

I pursued a tryout with the Milwaukee Bucks and a position at ESPN before ending up in Europe. I eventually came back to Worcester from Dijon, France and got reacclimated. I wanted to go into communications. In 1987, Greater Media Cable was introducing cable advertising in the area and I went into sales. My third year in, I knew it was time to reach out and support the community. I had spoken to young people throughout my time in college, so I knew I wanted to get involved with You Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club. I had passion for empowering young people through media and I saw that the Worcester Youth Center was going through a lot of challenges within the community. Participants of the Worcester Youth Center were sometimes misunderstood. I wanted to project a positive image of who they really were. I formed Pride Productions and we launched the Youth Unity half-hour television show. I taught students at the Ionic Ave. Boys and Girls Club how to interview, operate a camera and edit. Our show was produced out of Shrewsbury Public Access at the time. They welcomed me when I wanted to pursue the idea. They ran with it for a good strong year. Greater Media Channel 3 turned into Charter and we ran it on Channel 3. In ’95, I received the Visions Community Award as a Young Leader. I remember a gentleman calling me on behalf of the Telegram and Gazette to tell me that I won and I hung up on him because I thought it was a joke. On my mission to support young people in the community, I had always felt backlash and I received opposition. I was constantly on the radio or in the paper speaking my mind. The word “teen” had a bad connotation in those days. That marked a rough period in reference to how the city was tackling youth issues. The city wasn’t ready for a youth revolution because of the negativity associated with Worcester’s youth at the time. When the Telegram called me about the award, it was one of the first positive turns for me. Sen. John Kerry was the honorary speaker. We springboarded into the community with open discussion after that.

How did you come to launch Unity radio?

In 2012, we took a look at the media landscape and realized we felt good about Pride Productions coming back through radio. We wanted to add to the growth of the city. A mutual friend of mine was operating an internet radio station out of his garage. I was interested and intrigued by it. I asked various questions. I had a little radio experience announcing games at Holy Cross. I said to myself, if you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it yourself. I caught it just right, because the FCC at the time was in the moratorium for radio licenses and they were only going to open the window to apply for licenses for nonprofit institutions. I raised enough capital to hire an engineer and an attorney. Fortunately, we were able to receive approval. That was 2013. We operated through the internet from 2013-2017. As an internet radio station, we were graciously housed at Becker College. I became an adjunct professor, allowing me to create stronger ideas through connections with students. Jeannie Hebert from Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce believed in our vision going forward. At our golf tournament last October, we raised enough funds to get the antenna up. Hank Stolz came on and I told him that we were in the process of developing the station. I had a signal, he was podcasting. We combined our resources. Talk of the Commonwealth and Worcester Magazine came together for the election in November. We covered it from beginning to end. A week later, we were consistently on air with Hank Stolz, Tony Economou, Gary Rosen, Walter Bird Jr. and Dale LePage. Later on, Podcast 508 joined as well as the Chamber of Commerce. In March, we decided to move downtown as we developed a relationship with Cliff Rucker. Now, we’re adding additional programming with an AM station called Galaxia Boston as well as sports programming with Ike McBride and Joe Paskalis. The Mass Pirates and the Railers are supporting us. The station is growing.

What was the highlight of your athletic career at Holy Cross?

Being drafted in the fifth round by the Milwaukee Bucks was probably the highlight. But before that, I made a big splash as a freshman – to say the least. I hit a big shot against Providence. Providence versus Holy Cross was the NBC game of the week. I was playing against guys who I had competed with in high school, guys who used to eat me up. I was so focused. The final play was designed for our sharpshooter, Ron Perry. Everybody knew who would take the last shot; they double-teamed him and the ball came back to me. I looked up and shot it like I was in the final scene of a Walt Disney movie. I hit the shot and the crowd rushed the floor and picked me up.

Worcester Telegram Interview with
Unity Radio Founder, Ernest Floyd


WORCESTER — Ernest “Ernie” Floyd is looking for a tall building. More specifically, Mr. Floyd needs a building downtown to place the antenna that broadcasts Unity Radio (97.9 WUTY) throughout the city. Since founding WUTY in 2013, he has strengthened the nonprofit station’s link to the city through an ever-evolving slate of programing, from music to news to sports to cannabis. WUTY moved to Waldo Street last year and switched stations from 102.9 to 97.9; meanwhile, the station received approval to upgrade its license to 100 watts. In order to make use of WUTY’s new broadcasting power, though, Mr. Floyd has to find a building for its antenna. The stronger signal will allow more people to find 97.9 on their dials.

What does WUTY’s presence downtown mean for the station and its listeners?
We’re in the thick of things as the voice of the people. We can help translate what’s happening downtown — in businesses and city hall — to the community. We can also translate what’s happening in the community to the downtown. No matter how much development is happening, it doesn’t mean anything if residents don’t know about it and aren’t around to experience it. And you don’t just want the people outside of the city to appreciate Worcester: You want the people inside it to appreciate it, too.

Do you have a building in mind?
It would be ideal to get on top of the Mercantile Center. We’d be close to Waldo Street and in the center of the city. We will be able to enhance the quality of our signal and reach more people. It will go a long way toward helping us become more attractive to businesses interested in underwriting what we do. At the same time, it will position us to create programing geared around the morning drive and expand our coverage of news, weather and sports.

How has your new programming reflected the growth of the station?
We have a good mixture of content now. We have the mayor and city manager in for regular interviews. The Worcester Chamber of Commerce has a show. We have the Worcester Railers on, the Mass Pirates and a sports show called “Unsupervised Sports.” And the station will start broadcasting Holy Cross sports soon. We also have a cannabis show called “Cannabis 101″; it’s an educational show on the industry, Wednesdays from 1 to 2. And we have a wellness show called “Talking Wellness.” We’ve made the station more community based, more local. Our heart has always been with the community — to give a voice to people who don’t have one.

How do you gauge your listeners’ response to the programming?
Our success is based on social media. People react to ours shows, congratulate us, and give us feedback. We know that we’re getting a response out there, because we see it on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. For example, we covered the dedication of the Betty Price Playground. I knew her and knew her family. Not a lot of other outlets would cover an event like that, but we went out there and covered it and had a huge reaction on social media. The name of the playground has been corrected.

How did you get your start in radio?
I came across a computer in a garage playing music: It was internet radio. I was fascinated. I could only imagine what I could do in the community if I had my own signal; I come to find out, in 2012 when I started pursing a license, the FCC opened up a window for a couple days to allow nonprofits, churches and schools to apply for a low-power license. There was a moratorium on all other licenses. I raised the money, and by 2013, we applied for it and won.

Where were you broadcasting from?
I went to Becker Collage, and they showed me their media facility, Hawk Studio. It hadn’t been occupied for two years. They had a cable system in there, and they had a room with a whole bunch of garbage — old furniture, broken wood. I became an adjunct professor there and taught for a couple semester, creating a communications course. I also started building my nonprofit organization — Pride Productions — back up. We received a grant from the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce to renovate the media room; Becker gave us support, as well. We were supposed to be a vocal studio, but it ended up being a radio station.
We were broadcasting on the internet until 2017, then we had our first on-air broadcast for the elections that year through a partnership with Hank Stolz and Worcester Magazine.

You’ve been working with teens and young adults since the early 90s. How have you continued that work at WUTY?
We have a group called the Alliance Media Group, and we think it will be the heart and soul of the station. It’s made up of high school and college students who work at the station as part of a work-study program. It’s a win-win for everybody involved; we get the talent the eagerness and the excitement of the students, and the schools get the students off campus into a radio station where they can learn a skill.
We have these high school kids who’re articulate, and they’re able to reach their peers through their broadcasts. These kids can do it, trust me. They can be just as articulate and insightful as the adults. They can handle talking to the city manager and mayor. I take pride in that.