As these interviews have been viewed more and have gone on I’ve gotten offers from some amazing people that I respect a ton(both the people interviewed already and some that are coming up here in the future) to do these, and here is another one I am so grateful to be able to share with you in legendary broadcaster Phil Giubileo. Phil for those of you who don’t know is a legendary voice from New York who came out of Fordham and is currently the play by play voice of the AHL affiliate of the NY Islanders, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Image
Phil, How long have you been in broadcasting?
A long time! I started working professionally in 1995 after graduating from Fordham University, where I worked at WFUV during my time in school, including two years as the station’s Sports Director. My very first paid broadcasting assignment was the 1995 Little League East Regional, where I worked for a syndicator called ISI Sports and called the games for three stations, and earned a whopping $250 and hotel room for my time.
When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a play-by-play announcer until I actually started doing it at WFUV. I did go to Fordham mainly to work at the radio station, as I used to call the weekly sports show, One-on-One, which is (still) New York’s longest running sports call-in show. I was a regular caller during most of my time in high school, and it gave me the itch to want to work in broadcasting. At the time, 24-hour sports talk was very much still a new concept, as WFAN was only a couple of years old at the time.
 
However, once I was working at WFUV, I had the chance to meet Marty Glickman, who coached us in play-by-play. I was hooked immediately once I actually started calling demo broadcasts early in my sophomore year in football and basketball.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
I attempt to be fairly efficient in how I prepare for my broadcasts, and over a long hockey season, it does get easier over time. Typically I spend a couple of hours preparing for my next broadcast, which isn’t always easy or convenient when you have three games in three nights. Fortunately in my situation I see the same teams, and I know the league very well, so it doesn’t take me as much time for instance, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are playing the Connecticut Whale for the 6th time (as they are tonight 2/1/13), as opposed to when they played back on October 12th, which was the season opener.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

 

My primary sport at this point is hockey. I’m in my 7th season of broadcasting for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL. I also do a marathon day of broadcasting women’s basketball once a year for the Big East, as I am the play-by-play voice of the Women’s Big East Tournament opening round, which is exclusively covered on BigEast.tv (i.e., the only round that is not on broadcast television). I’ll be handling that task once again in March, but unlike past seasons where I’ve had to prepare to call four opening round games; there are only three this season.
 Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
I was a complete NBA junkie as a kid (not so much anymore). I looked up to Marv Albert and Mike Breen as far as basketball announcers go. I thought when Breen was calling the Knicks on radio that he was the best in the business at the time. As much as I love baseball, I didn’t really have any announcers that I looked up to, but I enjoyed listening to games on radio as well.
 
It probably wasn’t until I was in college when I started listening to broadcasters differently then when I was a kid, and really started to appreciate the work of a number of top guys. In regards to baseball, there’s nobody better than Vin Scully, but I also liked the work of Jack Buck. I also thought Buck was underrated as a football play-by-play announcer as well.
 
As far as hockey announcers went, I liked Gary Thorne’s call. Great pipes and called a solid game. He was getting a lot of great assignments back in the early 1990’s.
 
In regards to today’s broadcasters, I would say that I honestly am not a fan of most NFL play-by-play announcers on radio. I think the sport (on radio) has devolved into an unabashed homer fest. As an East Coast guy, I like my play-by-play to be somewhat unbiased, yet still have an exciting call. The New York guys (Bob Papa w/the Giants and Bob Wischusen w/the Jets) do come as close as you can get. What you hear from some of these other cities is actually pretty hysterical. As far as TV goes, I think Ian Eagle does a splendid job on whatever he calls, but I like his NFL work in particular.
With baseball, I am still very much a Mets fan, and I really appreciate the work of their whole crew on SNY (Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling), as well as Howie Rose on Mets radio.
 
Since I work primarily in hockey, I have the obligation to listen/watch to as much of it as possible when I’m not calling games, especially since I also freelance for the NHL as well voicing over highlight packages that are broadcast in the arenas during games. Nobody calls a better game than Doc Emrick, and it’s hard to find many who would disagree. Although I am not a Rangers fan, I’m a big Sam Rosen fan, and he does a great job, as does Howie Rose with the Islanders on TV.
 
In terms of hockey broadcasters on radio, I think that John Wiedeman on the Blackhawks radio network. He used to call games for the Islanders, although he left just as I joined the Sound Tigers, so I’ve never had the opportunity to speak with him. He calls a game on radio about as well as you can call one, very descriptive and energetic. There are a lot of very good guys calling games at the NHL level, but there are just as many in the AHL that (in my opinion) are just as good. It’s been great to see a number of AHL announcers move up in the past several years!
Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I try to call my own game. One of the things that I learned from Marty Glickman (and it’s a thought echoed by Vin Scully) is that you have to be yourself. The most unique thing you can bring to the broadcast is YOU.
 
However, I do think about what certain broadcasters do very well and try to ensure that is part of my broadcast, but in my own way. So when I call a hockey game, I want to make sure that I’m covering all of the basics (time, score, description of the play) because those are still the most important things to bring to a broadcast on radio. However, I really like that Doc Emrick is great with varying his vocabulary, and I like that Howie Rose will bring some levity and humor at times to his call (his ability to do this definitely comes from his extensive baseball work), but isn’t a “catch phrase” guy or tries to be overly witty.
 
I was fortunate enough to learn about hockey play-by-play under former St. Louis Blues voice Ken Wilson, who called games for 20 seasons. He was also highly regarded as a baseball announcer, where he worked for a number of teams and called some big moments (including Pete Rose’s record breaking hit). Ken really called a great game, both on radio and TV. He did have one big catch phrase (Ohh Baby) that was shared with John Davidson (who used it frequently when he was an analyst), but he taught me a lot about how to effectively call a game, which was important considering that I was hired to work in the USHL without any hockey experience whatsoever in 2003.
 
I call pretty much a straight up game, without a ton of “bells and whistles”. By that, I try to make the game the experience, and not (as other announcers sometimes do) make it about me. Hockey is a fast-paced, hard-hitting sport, and I use my voice to describe it as such. So yes, I get very excited during my call on a big hit or a fight, or a big save/goal. What I don’t do is quote movies or make up catchphrases that try to show off my pop culture knowledge or wittiness. There are opportunities to bring that part of my personality to the game, but not at the expense of the on-ice action.
What was it like to work under the legendary Marty Glickman (a legendary man, athlete and broadcaster in his own right, people please go look him up)
The most amazing experience one could have as a young broadcaster. I wouldn’t be in this business if not for Marty. I could spend hours and hours here recounting stories, but instead, here’s a link to an article I wrote a few months ago that gives a little insight on my time with Marty:
Outside of sports you’ve worked for some who’s who in terms of broadcasting like Sean Hannity and Curtis Sliwa, how much did you learn from those experiences and what was that like?
I worked at WABC for a couple of years, as well as one of the first online broadcasters (talkspot.com) in the late 90’s, and they were both great experiences. I learned important skills like how to be a good show producer as well as how to drive a good talk show. As far as my sports broadcasting goes, working with those guys really didn’t do much in that regard, but in terms of hosting talk programming, I learned a lot into how to grab an audience and hold them.
 
Mostly it was a lot of fun. I once produced a four-hour show for Curtis about White Castle burgers. He would often do off-the-wall topics that were engaging to fans regardless of your political leanings, and that made it fun to listen to. It wasn’t national politics 100% of the time as you see today in the major markets. Even Sean Hannity was different on radio when I was at WABC when compared to his national program. Back then we were on from 11pm – 2am, and he also covered local topics as well as the national ones. There was definitely more time (re: less national sponsors, etc.) and as a result, the programming was definitely more interesting.
 
What I might have learned from these guys (who are both heavy hitters in the talk world, especially Sean) is that it’s very important to be good to the people that you work with, and treat them with respect. Just because someone gains national popularity shouldn’t mean that you still can’t be a nice person. Some people forget about that and let their egos get in the way—and it’s still ok to have a big ego (it’s hard to carry a national show w/o one), but you can still treat others with respect—it’s not mutually exclusive.
 
I also learned how to cover major events. While in Seattle I was a senior producer for the news/politics channel, and I covered Columbine and the whole Bill Clinton/Monicagate scandal. I had never covered that level of breaking news, so it certainly added skills for my overall broadcast toolbox.
What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
Well, my favorite single game broadcast experience was a triple-overtime game that the Danbury Trashers won up in Glens Falls against the Adirondack Frostbite during the 2005 Colonial Cup Playoffs. It was an amazing game between two rivals, and the game didn’t end until nearly 2am. Barry Melrose and Steve Levy were co-owners of the Frostbite and both attended the game. They sold beer until they ran out sometime during the 2nd overtime. There was a good crowd and they were lubed up. Made for a fun atmosphere!
 
In terms of something a little different—I called a minor league game once with Joe Pott (the old Sonic Crosstown Clash between the River City Rascals and Gateway Grizzlies) and during one of the games in Sauget, Illinois (was GMC Stadium at the time), we had to deal with the experience of a streaker who jumped onto the field and ran from foul pole to foul pole before finally getting tackled and removed by security.
 
We wouldn’t give the guy the respect of describing what was going on, so we basically talked over the event (basically there’s an idiot causing a disturbance that is delaying the game type of stuff), but we had quite a laugh over it during the commercial breaks.
Thank you so much for doing this Phil, it is much appreciated.
You’re quite welcome! I always enjoy the opportunity to talk about broadcasting, and I do think it’s important to give back to those who wish to be part of the industry. It’s a great industry and I love calling games. There are certainly quite a few challenges, especially personal ones, which go into doing this for a living, so you really have to take a personal inventory of what you want out of life if this is something you’re going to pursue. I don’t think many younger guys and gals who want to do this really think about the potential personal sacrifice that they’re making by choosing to work as a sports broadcaster—especially those who wish to get rich off of it—because as most of us know, that’s not happening for 99% of us.
 
Comments
  1. […] To read the rest of the interview, click here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s