Inspired by Buddy D, now heads same shows as the sports legend
Kristian Garic’s goal became to work in radio after growing up a fan of the late and legendary WWL sports commentator Bernard “Buddy D” Diliberto.
Today, the Luling resident has not only accomplished that goal, but he mans the very same position Diliberto did for years, hosting drive time sports talk as well as pre and post game shows on WWL AM and FM.
In the midst of the first football season since taking on that role, Garic says he’s having a blast.
“So many individuals go to work everyday and don’t love their job. I get to host the drive time radio show on the most legendary radio station in the Gulf South,” Garic said. “I love doing it.”
Though he holds the same spot Diliberto did for more than 50 years before his passing in 2005, Garic said those shoes will always be impossible to fill.
“I do what he did, but not as good as he did it,” Garic said. “There will never be another Buddy Diliberto. But I take the job very seriously … I told my dad not too long ago that I can’t believe I’m hosting the same radio show I listened to for years, even out of state when I was in the service, that Buddy Diliberto hosted.”
Garic said one of the true perks of the job is getting to work alongside former Saints veterans Bobby Hebert, Deuce McAllister and Zach Strief.
Hebert, the charismatic and always boisterous “Cajun Cannon,” was one of Garic’s heroes growing up, leading the Saints as its quarterback to the team’s most successful run ever to that point.
“He’s so full of character and he’s incredibly smart and knowledgeable,” Garic said. “I love how animated he gets. He has a great passion for football.”
Garic said the most challenging part about working with Hebert might just be attempting to slow the Cannon down when he gets rolling.
“If I talked as much as he did, I’d be exhausted,” Garic said with a laugh. “But it’s so easy to work with him because you just throw the ball up and he knocks it out the park. You do have to be ready for anything … I about have to wear some protective shoulder gear because he’ll get going and be poking you and elbowing you. Bobby does his homework, though. He reads constantly … he’ll never be ill-prepared.”
Garic became WWL’s Saints’ sideline reporter at quite the fateful time: in 2009, the week before the team went on to win its first Super Bowl.
“If I talked as much as he did, I’d be exhausted” – Kristian Garic
That in itself was the realization of a dream of his. Though he was a New Orleans native, Garic and his family traveled much as his father joined the U.S. Army when Garic was just 10 months old. Garic himself went on to become a U.S. Marine for four years and traveled around the globe. But in several of his stops in this country, he was still able to listen to WWL radio and its far-reaching signal. He said the station kept him connected to his roots on a daily basis.
Now it’s his voice carrying over that long range, and he wants to make that platform count. One of the subjects Garic has been most passionate about reporting on has been the saga of Hahnville High School and senior quarterback Andrew Robison.
Garic has maintained from day one that the LHSAA’s ruling to make Robison ineligible for his senior season due to recruiting allegations was unjust.
“It’s a documented case of a kid and a school done completely wrong by the LHSAA,” Garic said. “It was tone deaf and handled with no compassion whatsoever. I’ve long felt the LHSAA was a broken, flawed governing body … you’re seeing a 16-year-old kid punished by a group of adults.”
Last week an arbitrator ruled the sanctions against he and Hahnville were unjustified and that no recruiting took place.
For Garic, who was a loud voice of protest throughout the nearly three month situation as it unfolded, it felt like vindication.
He credited the Robison family and Hahnville High for continuing to fight.
“They stayed the course and punched back at the bully,” Garic said.
Garic added he regrets not speaking up on other cases similar to Robison’s in the past and vowed to change that going forward.
“I feel guilty that I didn’t get involved with this soon enough, 10, eight, five years ago,” Garic said. “I should have. I can’t go back, but I can really beat the drum for others in the same position.”