Posts Tagged ‘baseball’

Over the course of my journey in broadcasting I’ve gotten the chance to meet and work with some true professionals and great people. Today’s interview here on PBP Stories fits both of those categories as well as anyone can, Justin Barrientos. I got the opportunity to work with Justin back in March for a week during the NCCAA National Championships in Winona Lake, Indiana as well as to learn from someone I have come to greatly admire in this crazy field. You can follow and interact with Justin on twitter here:

Justin Barrientos

Justin Barrientos

How long have you been in broadcasting?
I will actually be celebrating 20 years in broadcasting in July!
The summer that I graduated from High School, I knew that I wanted to get into radio, so I went around to all the stations in Winona (there were 3 at that time), and just looked to see if there were any part time slots open at any of them.  Looking back, it was a kind of gutsy move on my part.  I didn’t have a demo, or any real experience.  One of the stations blew me off, one took my contact information, and said to check back, but one station (KHME-FM) actually had me fill out an application, and said that they didn’t have anything open at that time, but if something opened up, they would be in contact with me.

I checked back almost every week with KHME to see if there was anything there, and “no” was always the answer.  Then, about 2 weeks or so later, they called me in, had me record a little demo, and hired me as a fill-in/weekend announcer, and I was on my way.  I worked at that Lite FM station for 4 years.  When I was a Senior in College, the station was sold to a larger media group from Chicago.  Cuts were made, people left, and my role was reduced, and when I graduated from College, I left and moved to one of the other stations in Winona that had blown me off when I was just out of High School, and joined them (KAGE-AM/FM).
I was hired by KAGE-AM, a Country station, to do the mid-day shift, and the first day I was on the air was a little bit of a disater.  I had to run the board for the show “Party Line” where people called in and tried to sell things they didn’t want anymore, on the air.  I dropped some calls, left mics on, and it just didn’t go well.  The rest of my shift that day went well, but the person who was the Morning DJ on the FM station, a Hot AC station, quit, and they asked me to take that over instead.  I did that for about 8 months, and seemed to battle the owners almost every day.  Some of it was them, but some was me thinking I knew more than I did ( I was only 22 at the time), but it just wasn’t the right place for me at that time.
I will say, I am very glad I worked there, because I learned a lot about myself, and what I needed to do to stay in broadcasting.  It was also there that I got my first taste of sports broadcasting, as I called High School baseball and softball, College softball and Amateur baseball for their sister station, KWNO-AM in 1999.
It was also there, that one of the owners paid me a huge compliment.  I was out covering a High School Baseball game, and the owner was in the control room, overheard the game, and mentioned to the board op, “I didn’t know the (Minnesota) Twins were on today.”  The op said, “They’re not, that’s Justin doing a game.”  The owner then said, “Wow, that really sounds like a Pro broadcast!”
I left there, and in 2000, I joined Hiawatha Broadband Communications to work on a local TV newscast, anchored by the news anchor I worked with at KHME, and that job eventually morphed into sports broadcasting.  I called my first game for them in 2001, and have been there since.



Justin (middle) on color for the NCCAA basketball championships with Matt Digby (left) and Michael Hirn (camera right)

When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
Very early on.  I listened to as much radio as I could when I was younger, because I thought that was what I was always going to do.  TV was never something that I thought about doing.  I listened to radio countdown shows, and sports broadcasts, and always thought I was going to be the next Dick Clark or Casey Kasem!

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
It varies on the sport I’m doing, and how many games I have each week.  I will e-mail coaches for stats and information after their last game before ours, I’ll go over that information or Game Notes, if it’s a College broadcast and do my boards.  On game day, I get there as early as I can, get set up, go over all of my notes again, then run down during warm-ups to chat with the coaches again, make sure I have name pronunciations right, check if there are any number changes, or changes in the roster, and make sure I have the correct starting lineups.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
Currently, I do football, soccer, basketball, hockey, and I’ll get into baseball again this summer!  I also announce parades during the summer, I’ve started to do some PA for soccer, basketball and softball.  While at HBC, I’ve also called some volleyball, danceline competitions, and I did an MMA event!
The MMA was really out of nowhere.  The promoter contacted us to see if that was something twe wanted to try, and he asked for me to do the play-by-play as a condition of us doing the event.  That was a little strange, because I had never done a fight before, and didn’t really follow the sport,  But, he knew me from other sports I had done, and just thought I would be a fit.  It worked because I had a good color announcer.  He was a former fighter, and really did a good job of explaining things.
Same thing with our danceline broadcasts.  We had 2 former dancers as color announcers, and I just played the role of someone who was new to the sport, because I was, and just asked them questions during the breaks in dances, trying to get as much information about the sport as I could in the broadcast.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
We had some great local announcers that I looked up to.  Wayne Valentine was one.  He was the newsman I worked with at KHME, and followed over to HBC.  He taught me a lot, and is a legend in Winona.  Nationally, it ranges from people who did music shows, like Dick Clark, Casey Kasem, Scott Shannon, Bob Worthington and Shadoe Stevens, to those that I listened to doing sports – Herb Carneal, the late Twins announcer, John Gordon (former Twins Announcer), Vin Scully, Gary Thorne, Doc Emerick, Kevin Harlan (he did Timberwolves radio the first few years, and I listened to as many of those games as I could!), Bob Kurtz, John Miller, Bob Costas, and many many more that I know I’m forgetting.
Brad Nessler is another, not only
because he is a great announcer, but he is from St. Charles, MN, which is about 20 miles away from my hometown of Winona, MN.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I really don’t try to emulate anyone, because I don’t want to be an imitation of anyone else.  I want to be me on the air, and I try to have a conversational style that sounds like the way I would talk to my best friend off air.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
I’ve had the great opportunity to call games for the High School I graduated from (Cotter), and the College I graduated from (Winona State University).
In 2006, I did a girls basketball game for Cotter against long-time arch rivals, Rochester Lourdes.  In my basketball and baseball playing days, that was always the game you looked for on the schedule and circled.  You could lose every other game, but if you beat Lourdes, you would be happy.  Cotter Girls Basketball hadn’t had that feeling in a long time.  Going into that game, the Ramblers had lost 47 consecutive games to Lourdes, dating back to the 80’s.  That night, though, everything came together, and Cotter won.  It was a little hard to keep from being a “homer” because that game meant so much to Cotter, and me personally, because it was my school!  The crowd stormed the court after the win, and it was unlike any high school game I had ever done.  I was told later that someone had recorded the game, and they played the end at an all-school assembly the next day, with my call at the end turned up loud!
For Winona State, they are a National Powerhouse in NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball.  I’ve covered them since 2001, and they really took off in 2006.  They won the National Championship that year, but as a TV station, we could only broadcast up to the Sweet Sixteen round, then the National media took over.  We did a Sweet Sixteen broadcast the next year, and they lost the National title game to Barton in the last seconds.  In 2008, again, they tore things up, and we did another Sweet Sixteen broadcast.  This one was simulcast on HBC and FOX Sports North, so our broadcast was seen in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas!  WSU would go on to win the National title again, making it 2 National titles in 3 years.
As cool as that was to be a part of, we had a moment in 2009 with the WSU Women’s team that was more personal.  WSU had not been very strong in Women’s basketball, but they put together a great 2008-2009 season, and hosted a conference playoff game for the first time in school history.  They were the Number 2 seed that year, and needed Number 1 Minnesota State to lose, in order to host the rest of the tournament.  After their game was done, we stayed on the air as long as we could, to see if we could get a final on the Minnesota State game.  Some Winona State players started to huddle around our broadcast area, looking at our live stats to see if they would host, and when it was a final, they started celebrating right around us on the air, making us feel like part of the team!
Justin broadcasting Winona State Warriors football.

Justin broadcasting Winona State Warriors football.

What advice do you have for young broadcasters just starting out?
Do whatever you can do to get your foot in the door.  Do PA announcing, if you can.  Hang around radio and TV stations (within reason!) to try to talk to some of the people doing the job you want to do some day.  Do internships – you never know where that will lead you!
If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.
HBC was hired in 2007 to be the first TV home of the La Crosse Loggers baseball team, in the Northwoods League.  They arranged for us to have guests during the games, and we had great conversations with Dick Raddatz, Jr, the President of the League.  We also got to talk with Dominic Latkovski, who is in the suit for the BirdZerk, when they came to La Crosse to be entertainment during a Loggers game.  But, the interview that I’ll remember forever during that season was when Bob Brenly did a couple of innings with us.  His son, Michael was on the team, and it was neat to not only talk to a former Major League player, manager and broadcaster, but it was cool to see the game through his eyes as he was watching his son play.  We actually talked to him twice during that season.
Also, just a bit of self-promotion – I have been nominated for 2 Regional Emmy Awards with the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  I was nominated for Sports Play-By-Play in 2009, and a game I did in 2011 was nominated for Best Sporting Event/Game, Live/Unedited.
For the 2009 nomination, I was up against Anthony LaPanta from FOX Sports North, and Tom Hanneman, who did the Minnesota Timberwolves broadcasts for FOX Sports North.  He actually called me after the nominations came out, to congratulate me for my nomination, as I was a first-timer.  He ended up winning that year, but I just thought it was neat that he would call me!
Thanks again for reading another edition of Play by Play Stories. If you know someone you’d love to see interviewed please let them now they can contact me on twitter @michaelhirnpbp


Another great broadcasting interview with Dave Collins has been blessed upon us here at PBP Stories for you to check out below. Be sure to follow Dave and his adventures in radio on twitter at @DMCbroadcasting.
How long have you been in broadcasting?
I started my radio broadcasting career after graduating from The University of Colorado in 2004.  I’m about to begin my 10th year at KSID Radio in Sidney this October.
When did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I’ve always known that I wanted a career in sports and as I got older and watched more and more games on TV, I really began to consider play-by-play and sportscasting as a career.  

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
It depends on the game, but preparation is absolutely vital to the success of a game broadcast.  My current job includes news, sports, afternoon DJ work, voice production and maintaining content on our station website along with game preparation and play-by-play so I simply fit in as much as possible, including nights and weekends.  Several hours go in to each football game, less for basketball, volleyball and baseball but it helps once you’ve seen a team before to focus on the details that help push a broadcast from good to great.  If I were in a situation where PxP was my only major assignment I’d treat it like a full-time job in terms of preparation leading up to the broadcast.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
High school football, basketball, volleyball and baseball (American Legion Baseball)

You’re closing in on 1,000 career broadcasts and have been honored with quite a few  awards, how do you put those in perspective when you look at your career?

Being honored and recognized is a nice validation of the hard work and time that goes in to making a quality broadcast happen.  Even more important to me though is having my PxP peers at the college level give me feedback – positive and negative – so that I can continue to become better at the craft.  The most endearing comments I’ve received come from Colorado Buffaloes broadcaster Larry Zimmer who was a professor of mine at CU and remains a friend to this day.  I grew up in Denver listening to his work with the Broncos and Buffs and he was always my hero in the business.  Having him be proud of my work and support my play-by-play is easily among the greatest achievements in my lifetime.  Also, I get so much more satisfaction out of a parent, fan or student-athlete coming up to me and saying they enjoyed the call, or telling me their “grandparents were listening tonight in Arizona on the Internet stream.”  Knowing that I’m in a position to bring some happiness and enjoyment to others’ lives through game broadcasts is extremely satisfying.
Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
In addition to Zimmer, other voices that I admire in the business include Gene Deckerhoff of Florida State, Dave Koehn of Virginia, Greg Sharpe of Nebraska, Vin Scully of the Dodgers and Jerry Howarth of the Blue Jays.  Brad Nessler is an outstanding TV PxP guy.  I simply love listening to games across satellite radio when I travel and am always listening for new phrasing and descriptive words to add to my vocabulary for Nebraska high school broadcasts.

I saw on your website ( ) that you must have a 12 oz can of chilled red bull before a broadcast, why redbull?
There’s something about that chilled, crisp, sweet taste of a Red Bull delighting my taste buds and invigorating my mind as I go through final preparations!  I’m sure it’s partly a mental thing where I “feel” more alert and extra sharp having a Red Bull before a broadcast, and if so, that’s fine with me.  I just love the taste and refreshment, but it truly does make me feel more alert and sharp with the game call.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I don’t ever try to emulate a broadcaster.  I think it’s important for each PxP guy to be his own broadcaster and develop his own style.  It’s always good to listen to others and pick up on phrasing or descriptors, but I would never want to “copy” someone else’s sound directly.
What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

With around 800 games you’d think there are a ton of great stories to share but it’s funny how hard it can be to think of one that is above the rest.  I guess I can say there have been some interesting game nights on the air, unforgettable finishes, some surprises and some hilarious moments around the rest of the traditional, normal broadcasts.  I think that’s what also makes this job so fun, is that you don’t really know exactly what you’re going to have happen on live radio or see in a game when you show up at the event.  It’s an adventure in problem solving very quickly at times!

What advice do you have for young broadcasters just starting out?
Make sure you are committed.  I’ve been doing radio for almost a decade and success in this business doesn’t come working from only 8-5.  It’s a unique industry that requires a lot of dedication, patience, organization, ambition and energy in addition to talent.  As long as you love it, you’ll be fine and will have success.  It’s kind of like sports in that so many people want to be on TV or radio, especially in sports, so you need to be ready to sacrifice certain things in life to pursue lofty dreams in this business.  You need to be prepared to have clear career and life goals, know what it will take to meet them and determine if broadcasting will get you there.
Thank you again to Dave for providing another wonderful interview and best of luck as you head towards your 1000th broadcast.

Today I am honored to share with you an interview with a young broadcaster who is celebrating a birthday today in STAA client Lee W. Mowen. Check out Lee’s STAA profile as he is a rising star to keep an eye on in the world of broadcasting: as well as his Facebook page at

Lee W. Mowen

How long have you been in broadcasting?
I’ve been broadcasting since my freshman year at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, back in late 2006. One of the first things I did while in college was step into the college radio station to get information on how to join. In my honest opinion, that’s one of the smartest things I did while at Wright State. The Wright State Raiders would be the first team(s) I would cover. Since graduating, I’ve been the voice of a pair of hockey teams, two semi-pro basketball teams, and a summer collegiate baseball team, not to mention a small college in Southwest Ohio, an Australian Footy team in Cincinnati, and several high school games with an internet station. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities too, especially becoming a Public Address Announcer for the University of Dayton Flyers and a couple of All-Star games in Columbus.

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
I actually remember wanting to be a broadcaster when I was a little kid. I always thought being an anchor on the newscasts was where I’d be. It took me less than one year of college to figure out being a sportscaster is what I really wanted to become. I have always wanted to be a part of broadcasting in some capacity.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
For me, it varies with how much information I can find. I always spend at least a few hours to seek out information on each team. I’ll print out my information and skim important numbers and points a day or so before the game. On the day of the game, I will arrive a few hours before and highlight what I feel will be important talking points. The amount of time and stats I find varies on who or what I’m broadcasting, honestly.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
I’m now in my second season with the Richmond RiverRats, a summer collegiate league team that use wooden bats. It’s a great organization with terrific people and McBride Stadium is quite a treat to broadcast in. I’m also looking forward to returning to broadcast Dayton Demonz hockey this upcoming season. Some sports I’ve done in the past include volleyball, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, softball, hockey, and Australian-Rules Football. I’m always open into broadcasting more sports, including trying out tennis, golf, lacrosse, roller derby, Ultimate Frisbee, racing, swimming, or any other sport.

What’s your favorite sport to broadcast?

That’s a tough question, because I love broadcasting anything. As long as I broadcast for the rest of my life, I’m not too picky on what sport it is. I will say why I like the sports I’ve called, though. I love baseball because of the relaxed atmosphere, I like basketball and hockey because of the pace of both sports, and I like football and soccer because of the pace changes where anything can happen in a second.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
Let me answer this question first by saying who I always will look up to, and that would be my parents. They have always believed in me and they also have encouraged me to keep pursuing my dream. In the world of broadcasting, I always looked up to Jim Baldridge, who is a former news anchor at WHIO (which is Dayton, Ohio’s CBS affiliate.) Something that always stuck with me was Baldridge’s love of anchoring and bringing the news to the viewing area. That’s something that I hope always shows during one of my broadcasts. In the world of sports broadcasting, I look up to everyone that makes sportscasting their career. I always want to learn about my passion each and every day. I learn every time I tune into a broadcast.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I try to not emulate anyone else, as I call what I see in my view. When I call a game, I want to be as descriptive as possible. I want to bring people a front-row seat when I’m live, which is something I hope I’ve improved on since my first broadcast. I will say that I do take tips and advice from other broadcasters. I’m always looking to improve on my broadcasts, so I learn how other sportscasters tick and what makes a broadcast successful.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
I tell you, I’ve been very blessed with all the opportunities broadcasting. From having a referee screaming profanities during a live interview to getting a chance to broadcast at a minor league ballpark, I’ve got a lot of great stories. One of my favorite stories is when the Sports Information Director, Greg, gave me my Bob Carpenter’s Scorebook. It was my first year as the Sports Director at Wright State’s radio station, and Greg saw how hard I was working to make it a success. I’ve almost filled out the entire book in four years, but it’s been a memento of someone believing in me. I can’t thank the SID enough for that book and for helping me out during college.

On-air, I think my favorite stories have to be at getting the opportunity to broadcast at the schools I went to for elementary, middle, and high school, as well as broadcasting at my alma mater for the visiting team all in the same year. I don’t know how many people listened in from those areas or if any of my friends tuned in that day I returned to Wright State as a visiting broadcaster, but it made me smile just realizing I have had an amazing chance to come back home if you will.

Thank you so much for doing this, it is much appreciated.

Thank you for the interview, Michael! I’m appreciative of the chance to be on your website, and I hope people found it interesting. As I wrap this interview up, I’d like to thank everyone who’s followed and befriended me throughout the years. I’d like to thank people who have given me constructive criticism and I’d like to thank people who have believed in me after all these years. For your friendship, I say thank you.

If anyone is interested in networking with me, just give me a follow on Twitter at @theleewmowen.

You’re a class act, Michael. Hopefully we can broadcast together again sometime.

Today we are happy to bring you another incredible interview as we are happy to be joined by another Sports Talent Agency of America ( client in broadcaster Stu Paul.

Stu Paul

Stu, How long have you been in broadcasting? 

  • I’ve been a sports announcer for 31 years.  In addition to sports, I have also served as a newscaster and disc jockey early in my career, but it was mostly sports. I started in small stations in upstate New York and worked in New England for a while. Then I got to do minor league baseball, minor league hockey, CBA hoops as well as college and high school football in places like Eugene, Oregon, Roanoke, VA, Hagerstown, MD, Tulsa, OK., Davenport, IA, Utica, NY, Jacksonville, FL, San Antonio, TX, Nashville, TN and now in the Baltimore area in Maryland.  Sometimes I would go back and forth between cities as in one part of the year, I would be doing baseball and another part of the year, I would be doing basketball and hockey.  I didn’t really mind it a bit since I was doing what I loved to do.  Only drawback was being away from NYC and my friends, relatives and family, but since I knew I could not start out in New York, I had to pay my dues elsewhere and man, has it been worth it!
When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
  • As soon as I learned that I was not going to be the next Mickey Mantle.  I knew that I was not going to be a professional athlete once I became a teenager.  I always enjoyed talking about sports and even my mom suggested that I should give it a try.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

  • I usually try to spend at least 2 to 3 hours in preparing for a broadcast.  I try to surf the internet, checking out different team’s websites, newspaper websites as well as chatting with other broadcasters, coaches, managers and players to get as much input as I possibly can.


What sports do you currently broadcast?
  • Right now, I am currently broadcasting Delaware State Football and Basketball and have broadcast some high school and college baseball games locally in the State of Maryland.  I had also broadcast professional baseball for more than 20 years, ranging from the Short Season Class A level to the Triple A level.  I hope to get back into the pro game and hope to still get a shot at the major leagues.


Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?

  • That’s a great question.  Growing up in New York City, I had the pleasure of listening to many great announcers.  One of them happens to be Marv Albert, the longtime Knicks and Rangers radio voice, who also happened to attend the same high school as I did (Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York City).  In addition, I enjoyed listening to Frank Messer, Bill White, Jerry Coleman and Phil RIzzuto on the Yankees broadcasts and Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner on the Mets’ broadcasts.  Another great announcer (who eventually became a friend of mine) was Merle Harmon, who broadcast the New York Jets football games in the 1960s and early 1970s.  He broadcast on WABC Radio, albeit he was based in the Midwest.  He had broadcast major league baseball for years (Kansas City Athletics, Milwuakee Braves and Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers) as well as college football and basketball and worked for the ABC, NBC and TVS Networks.  Howard Cosell liked him on ABC-TV and hired Merle as the Jets’ voice without Harmon applying for the job himself.  In all of his years with the Jets, he never lived in New York City.  He would stay in a hotel and he would commute to and from NYC to cover the Jets.  I wished he did baseball in New York City because he would have become a household name there.  He did so in NYC with the Jets.  Going back to Albert, he, too, became a giant in the industry as he eventually worked for NBC-TV, CBS-TV and also with TNT doing NFL football and NBA basketball and he is still great.  His work ethic is second to none and I admired him and the others as well.


 Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
  • I feel I have emulated Bob Murphy, the late Mets’ broadasting great because of his enthusiasm, positive outlook on the game and his knowledge and professionalism.  I have sort of emulated Merle Harmon in football as well, but tried to be careful not to copy those guys at all.  Of course, Albert in Basketball and hockey as well. Plus, Curt Gowdy on baseball.

You went to school in New York, you’ve worked in Texas and Nashville but are now back on the east coast, which part of the country has been your favorite to work in?

  • Oh, definitely, the East Coast because I grew up there.  I still have friends and relatives in New York City and the surrounding area and being on the East Coast, gives me the opportunity to catch up on long lost friends and relatives.

Which sport that you’ve called would you say is your favorite?


  • No doubt, baseball.  I love the daily grind every day and plus the challenge between the batter and the pitcher.  The sport also gives me time to “fill” between pitches and gives me a chance to show my passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the game. 

You are inspiring to myself and young broadcasters everywhere to never give up. After your fall in 2011 you were told you weren’t being brought back by the Nashville Sounds, how did you find the strength to heal physically and mentally and move on to bigger and better things?

  • Man, it wasn’t easy.  Believe me.  2011 was the worst year of my entire life.  The year before, my dad was diagnosed with dementia and when 2011 came along, it got worse.  His behavior was so bad that my sister had to move him from an assistant independent living place to a hospice and he stayed there until he passed away last February.  It took a toll on me financially as well as emotionally and mentally.  Then I was feeling the pressures trying to accumulate more sales with the Sounds, then my car had a serious problem that cost a lot of money (LOL, still have the car and it’s running well), then my horrible accident when I slipped and fell down a flight of steps when exiting Prinicpal Park in Des Moines, Iowa on July 19, 2011 and was laid up in the hospital for 3 months.  I spent 3 weeks in Des Moines’ Iowa Methodist Medical Center and then flown back to Nashville, where I went to Bethany Rehab and Health Center where I stayed for the duration of my recovery.  Glad that workman’s comp covered everything! I had to undergo surgery on both legs and my shoulder.  I ruptured the quad tendons in both legs and had a complete tear on my rotator cuff in my right shoulder.  Fortunately, the surgeries went well and I went through physical therapy and have since recovered.  I returned to work on October 31st, 2011–only to be fired 4 days later.  I knew that the sales numbers were a factor, but honestly, after undergoing a traumatic experience like I did in the summer, I thought I would be given a chance.  I was upset and disappointed, but that was the Sounds’ prerogative and I have moved on! They are now behind me and I now work for SFMSports.Net and getting the chance to do Delaware State Football and Hoops, which was a blast this past year.  I also got to do the Cal Ripken World Series and some local baseball.  I was NOT going to let “defeat” defeat me.  After all, I’m a New Yorker and New Yorkers are tough.  I said to myself that “you’re too good of a person and an announcer to let adversity stop you.  You have gotten this far and I must keep going!”  Going back to the accident that I had, I never went through anything as horriable as I did that fateful night in July, 2011.  The staffs, doctors and nurses at both places where I recovered were wonderful to me and they helped make an unpleasant situation into a pleasant enough one.  Gosh, looking back on that year it was “when it rains-it POURS!”.  Nothing went right for me and I’m slowly but surely still picking up the pieces from 2011 and what I had to go through in dealing with my late father’s illness.  I never ever want to go through that EVER AGAIN!

What advice would you give to someone trying to make a living in this business?

  • I tell them to have faith in your abilities, but above all, be very patient and positive and persistent.  It is not easy to land a job in this business, especially the first one.  I advise everyone to grab a tape recorder (hopefully this time you can get past security on this) and practice broadcasting events at actual places.  Critique your work and learn how to write.  It is important.  Practice reading aloud, too.  Send out stuff to radio stations, minor league teams, colleges and be sure to network.  The more you get to know people in this business, the better you are in landing a job.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get anything right away.  If you have to start out doing news and disc jockey work like I did, do it.  Learn all the aspects of the business if you can.


You can check out Stu’s STAA profile at

Dave APUS Aug 2012
Today I am honored again to bring you a great interview. I had a chance to speak to NSAA Executive Director and Wake Forest football analyst Dave Goren. Dave and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association  and STAA are co-hosting a huge Awards Weekend that will take place from June 8-10th in Salisbury, North Carolina and will feature ESPN personality Dick Vitale as well as New York Times bestselling author Mitch Albolm. For more information on the weekend please check out their link at
You can follow Dave on twitter @NSSA_DaveGoren
How long have you been in broadcasting?  Started in college in 1977… so 36 years (YIKES!).

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do? 
From the time I was in high school.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast? 
Now, my only broadcasting is as analyst for Wake Forest football during the fall, and a weekly radio sports commentary.  For football, I start by attending spring and then pre-season practices, and probably do between an hour and two preparing for the game each week.  For the commentaries, it’s a matter of coming up with an idea, and then getting the writing to flow.  It is also usually an hour to two-hour process.
In my tv days, preparation for anchoring usually began with reading the morning newspaper cover-to-cover (not just sports).  I would typically be in sometime between 2 and 3pm for the 6pm sportscast.  I would try to get the 11pm sportscast laid out before I left for dinner or for covering a game.  Depending on whether there was a game to cover, I would be back by 8:45 to start preps for the 11.

What sports do you currently broadcast? 
Radio analyst for Wake Forest University football on the Wake Forest/IMG Sports Network.  Occasionally freelance ofr others, including ACC Digital Network.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting? 
I grew up about 40 miles outside of Boston, so I listened to all of the Boston guys – Ken Coleman, Ned Martin doing the Red Sox; Johnny Most with the Celtics; Don Earle and then Bob Wilson with the Bruins; Gil Santos with the Patriots.  Then, there were the local tv guys, such as Don Gillis.  All of them were institutions in New England and helped us as fans form that lifelong connection to the teams they covered.
Nationally, I was a big fan of Curt Gowdy – such a distinctive voice.  Same with Charlie Jones and Jim Simpson on the AFL games on NBC.  Dick Enberg and Marv Albert doing college basketball in the late 60s and early 70s.  Ray Scott, the incomparable Vin Scully.  Then, there were some of the more underrated guys, such as Frank Glieber on CBS.  Lindsey Nelson, Chris Schenkel, Jim McKay, Jack Whitaker.  All great with their use of language.
Later on, Al Michaels became, in my opinion, the gold standard for play-by-play.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way? 
I’m sure I’ve taken a little bit from each of the people I mentioned, but I have always just tried to be me. 

What advice do you have for young broadcasters trying to make it in the industry?    
As I stated above, be yourself.  Prepare diligently, write often (the more you do it, the better you’ll become), practice frequently (even if you’re using a hairbrush as a microphone).  Stay away from shtick — gimmicks can work for a time, but eventually people get tired of them.  Develop relationships with people in the industry, whether they can be directly beneficial to you or not.  Always be willing to help others – even if it is not beneficial to you.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us? 
There are a handful of stories that I seem to focus on:
·       I covered Wake Forest football as a tv reporter for 18 seasons, most of them losing season, until they broke through and won the ACC Championship in 2006.  I remember walking out of Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, after they had beaten Georgia Tech, saying to myself, “Wake Forest just won the ACC Championship.”  In a business where we overuse the word unbelievable, for me, it truly was.
·       A high school football player had been paralyzed from the chest down after a car accident.  The story we did with him, on his willful determination to walk again was very powerful, both in words and pictures.  A good photographer can help make a story great.  If you have a good relationship with your photographer, you can almost know what the other is thinking, and what that person wants.  Great teamwork, makes great tv.
·       Did a story on a young hockey player who had a neuroblastoma, an often fatal cancer.  We did a follow-up with him a year or so later, on Thanksgiving night, after he had been cured.  And the emotion, especially from his dad, was gripping.
·       In my last year in tv, it was opening night for high school football.  We were live at 5 and 6pm from tailgating in the parking lot.  As I was walking into the game, a mother and father of a player stopped me and introduced themselves as the presidents of that school’s booster club.  We had a nice informal chat and then I went into the game.  At halftime, I took the first half video and went back to start editing the highlights.  During the second half, my photographer called and said the game was delayed by a serious injury.  It was the son of the people I had met walking into the game.  He died two days later.  We showed only still frames of the player from the game (the actual hit that caused his death could not be seen on video) in our stories over the weekend. 
On Tuesday of the following week, I received a call from a friend of mine who was also a friend of the family’s.  They had seen the still photos and wanted to know if they could possibly get one to display at their son’s funeral.  I called our art director and asked if he could make it happen.  He had seven photos of the boy ready for me when I got to the station.  My friend picked them up and delivered them to the family.  During the 5pm news that day, my phone rang.  It was father, sobbing, saying, “Thank you so much for doing this.”  I could barely respond.  Can you imagine the father of a 15-year-old boy who has just died, picking up the phone to say “thank you?”  As sad as that story was, that simple gesture probably meant more to me than anything I covered in 24 years in local tv sports.

If there is anything else you’d like to include or add please feel free to do so as I’m sure the readers would love read it. 
Being in sports media can be a wonderful way to earn a living, travelling all over to cover some of the biggest sporting events on earth.  Just be mindful of the tradeoffs you will make.  Because most events happen at nights and on weekends, that is when you will be working.  Have a best friend who’s getting married during a local tv “sweeps” month?  Sorry, you can’t be in the wedding.  You want to go hang out with your friends on a Friday or Saturday night?  Sorry, not til 11:45 or later.  Married and your wife wants to go out to dinner with another couple?  Good luck with that.  Married, with kids?  Good luck spending much time with them at night.
I’ve been fortunate the last four-plus years, no longer having to cover daily sports, to be able to spend quality time with my family, while my two boys are still young enough to be living at home.  I wouldn’t trade my career for anything, but it sure has been gratifying to watch them grow from kids to young men.

Thanks for joining us for another edition of PBP Stories. Today we are fortunate enough to talk to New Mexico State University radio/tv play by play voice Jay Sanderson. Check Jay out on twitter:
Jay Sanderson

How long have you been in broadcasting?

I got my start in broadcasting when I was 17 years old.  During my junior year in high school at Douglass High School (a small rural high school in Kansas), a friend and I joked that we should get our own TV sports show.  We watched sports on TV together all the time, and that was when SportsCenter became what it is with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann.  We thought it would be cool.  Over time, it evolved from a joke to something we decided to pursue.

The city of Douglass had its own local cable access channel that played rotating graphics with community announcements.  There was no video element.  Matt and I called city hall, got on the agenda for the next city council meeting and made a presentation asking for an hour each week on the city channel.  Much to our surprise, they said yes.

After the meeting, we said “ok, now what?”  We had no camera, no editing equipment and absolutely no clue how to make a TV show.  Fortunately, the principal of the high school, who had minored in journalism while he was in college, also had an interest in broadcasting.  When he got word of what we had accomplished, he called us to his office, told us the school would purchase all of the necessary equipment and create a TV broadcasting program.  The principal taught the class for the remainder of the school year, and we all just kind of learned as we went.  The next year, the school offered the class to all students, brought in an alumnus, who was the weekend anchor at one of the Wichita TV stations to teach the class.  He was there 2 hours a day, taught the class and then went back to work.

Looking back on it, it is an unbelievable stroke of good fortune for all of those things to happen for us, and I’m so glad it did.  I fell in love with the work and knew I had found what I wanted to do with my life.

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?

I had some idea at a young age that I was into broadcasting.  My grandmother loves to tell the story of how during one of the games of the 1985 World Series – Kansas City vs. St. Louis – my family and I are ALL die hard Royals fans, which is very hard to be! – I sat in front of the TV and called play-by-play of the game.  She says that I had no idea anyone was hearing me, so much so my grandfather muted the TV and listened to my call.  While, I think some of the stroy has evolved over the years, especially now that I’m actually in the business, I don’t doubt that I did it.  I have always paid attention to what the announcers said during games and how they said it.  I think the broadcasters of my youth shaped me and what I wanted to become.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

The preparation time, obviously, depends on the sport.  For football, I’ll spend an exorbitant amount of time getting ready.  25+ hours at a minimum and usually a lot more.  There’s just so much information available for football and there are so many different layers to the game as well as the calling of the game, that it’s so vital to be prepared.  Growing up, Kevin Harlan was the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, the team I grew up loving.  He is so good and it was such a treat to listen to him.  He’s ultimately prepared for games.  Now Mitch Holthus is the voice of the Chiefs.  I’ve been lucky enough to learn from Mitch in a one-on-one setting and I’ve seen how he preps for football.  I follow their model and spend a lot of time doing little things, like watching video of the next opponent to get a feel for what they do and who the key players are.  Video study helps a lot.  So football is incredibly involved.

For basketball, I probably spend 8-12 hours in preparation.  Again, I look at film whenever I can and then I pour through the game notes, talk with SIDs, coaches, and other broadcasters.  I look for stories.  It’s so easy to just throw stat after stat after stat during a basketball game, but I’d much rather tell a story.  Shooting percentages mean nothing, unless there’s a story to be told.  For example, it means nothing that a player shoots 42 percent from the field.  However, if he is a senior shooting 42 percent, and during his junior year he shot 17 percent, now that tells a story.  So I look for a good story or two for each player in the game.  I also look for story lines to develop for each team.  You may not get any of them in, at least you may not remember you did, but if you take the time to develop some stories, and lock them in your brain, they’ll subconsciously come out during your call without even realizing it.  That’s why prep is so important.

Baseball is similar, especially from the storytelling perspective.  For me, preparing for baseball is similar for basketball, although, I don’t spend quite as much time in game prep, because the nature if the game is that it’s every day.  You’re going to remember things about your team more readily day by day over the course of the season.  The most of my prep comes before the first game of a series to get myself familiarized with the opponent.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

Right now, I call volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball all on TV.  I’m also our fill-in for football.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some outstanding mentors in broadcasting.  My main influence is the man who taught our high school class, Jim Kobbe.  Jim was a TV anchor and reporter who did some play-by-play on the side, and is unquestionably the best writer I’ve ever worked with.  It will be very difficult to find someone who is ever a better writer than he.  Jim is no longer in the business, but I still visit with him and get his feedback about my work.

As I mentioned, I have also been blessed to live in markets that broadcast professional sports with some outstanding play-by-play men.  The Kansas City Royals have been called for 45 years by Denny Matthews, a Ford C. Frick Honoree in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  His insight, knowledge and style of calling baseball is underrated nationally.  He, in my opinion, is second only to Vin Scully in terms of ability to call a baseball game and make you feel like you’re there.

Kevin Harlan and Mitch Holthus have been the voices of the Kansas City Chiefs in my generation, and there aren’t many football people better than those two.  Of course, Harlan has gone on to national prominence, and Holthus is as knowledgeable about the game of football, from an Xs and Os standpoint as you’ll ever hear, but yet, that doesn’t get in the way of a call.  He is also great on TV basketball calls and is working for ESPN in the Big 12 during football’s off season.

How did the New Mexico gig come about?

It came out of nowhere.  I was on my way to a high school football game last September when I got an e-mail from Jon Chelesnik and the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA – telling me of the opening.  Because I was getting ready for a game, I didnt think much about it at the time.  After the game was over, however, I got home, reread the e-mail and sent in my application.  In my head, I told myself, “well, I’ll just throw my hat in the ring and see what happens.”  I hit send, the e-mail went out and I really didn’t think too much about it.  I was stunned when I received a phone call the following Wednesday asking to schedule telephone interviews.  I interviewed with two different people, they went well, and I got a follow up phone call the next day to offer me the job.  So I went from not thinking about it much on a Friday to having a division-I job the following Thursday.  It all happened much faster than I ever imagined it would, but I guess it was just meant to be.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?

I don’t know if there’s any one person I try to emulate. I got to where I am by calling a game from my perspective.  I dont want to be Vin Scully, I don’t want to be Al Michaels.  I want to be me.  I listen to a lot of different announcers as I travel around and I try to identify what I like about their call and what I’m not so wild about.  If I think there’s something they do with their call, I may try to add it to a call of a game on occasion to see how I like it, but those times are rare.  I’ve learned traits and characteristics from those I consider great – like the description of Kevin Harlan.  I strive for that kind of description, but I don’t try to be him.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

Asking what a favorite on-air moment is like asking ‘what is your favorite breath of air.’  I feel like God put me on this earth to be a broadcaster, and I enjoy every single second I get to do this for a living.  That doesn’t just include the time actually on the air.  That’s the cherry on top, so to speak.  I love the prep, I love learning about people, I love getting to tell their stories.  I love the wins, I love the losses. I love everything about my profession. Being an announcer is a visceral experience for me.  I love it deep down to my core, every bit of it.

Thanks for joining us for another interview with a great broadcaster and friend of mine based out of Chicago, Illinois by the name of Brian Snow. Brian is the creator of and does a wonderful job of bringing you coverage of tomorrow’s athletes today. Check him out on twitter @BigSnowman40.

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How long have you been in broadcasting? 17 years

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do? Since I was about 10 or 11

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast? About four hours per game day

What sports do you currently broadcast? Baseball, basketball, football, volleyball

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting? Jim Durham, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Wayne Larrivee, John Rooney

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way? Depends on the sport.  When it comes to basketball, it’s Jim Durham.  His description of the scene and knowledge of the game and players involved are impeccable and the excitement he emits was amazing.  For baseball, it’s a combination of Jack Buck, Vin Scully, and John Rooney.  Same reasons as Jim Durham, but because it’s baseball, in their own way they can all tell a story effectively and keep the fans engaged.  Wayne Larrivee and Kevin Harlan do the job for me for football.  Painting the picture, keeping the fans involved and getting the fans up to date in case they missed the beginning of the broadcast is wonderful.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?  Last year with Marist High School boys basketball.  They gave me two miracle finishes and both of them went viral.  Since then I have been dubbed with the phrase “It ain’t midnight yet y’all!”  The phrase just came out because the setting was perfect.  Bogan was one of the big dogs in the tournament and the #4 team in the Chicago area and Marist was the giant slayer.  I just kept thinking of the Cinderella references that Brent Musberger used when calling Boise State’s upset of #3 Virginia Tech in college football in 2010 when he said “Cinderella lives ladies and gentlemen!”  The rest is history

If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.  DON’T EVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!!  Yeah I would like to be making more money doing this, but the kids and the clients that broadcast with me and my organization make it go for me.  I have learned so much about how to run an effective business doing my sportscasting and also how to keep my broadcasts old school effective.  The haters are going to hate, the detractors are going to do what they do and all the people that are on the outside looking in are going to give you their opinion.  If it is what your heart wants then tell the other folks that you are sorry and that you have to follow your heart.  Follow your heart and pursue your dreams with a dogged passion that NO ONE ELSE CAN duplicate!  It’s your dream…you must protect it…cultivate it….make it grow into a reality.


“Commitment to Tomorrow’s Champions”.  That’s been the underlying force behind veteran play-by-play man Alvin Washington.  One of the co-founders of ISNet Sports Media, Washington has been with the company since its inception at Chicago State University in 1995.  Having cut his proverbial chops with the Chicago State women’s basketball team, Washington has had the opportunity to call events in such iconic venues as Soldier Field, U-S Cellular Field, Wrigley Field and the United Center.

How long have you been in broadcasting?

2013 marks my 18th year doing sports, 24th overall.
When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
Mass communication seminar at a university in New Orleans in 1988

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

usually 2 days; six hours if I know the opponents really well.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, water polo and softball.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?

Considering I’m African-American, most of the broadcasters i saw growing up were athletes.  However, further proliferation of technology in the media world has allowed me to look up to such current luminaries as Greg Gumbel, Stuart Scott, Mike Tirico, and baseball’s last Black man to do play by play for the Major Leagues, Paul Oden.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?

I study those who are at the next level, but in the end, I can only be me.  And in these past 18 years, I think I’ve done a good job of doing that.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?

One thing I love doing is picking random commentators who may be off from their beat to join me on the broadcast and it becomes an instant classic for the both of us.  One that comes to mind was a 2005 Sweet 16 basketball game in Illinois between Waukegan and Glenbrook North.  I grabbed a sportscaster from the host school (Loyola-Chicago) station
join me on the call.  It turned out to be a memorable night indeed.  Oh yeah, some kid named Jon Scheyer was playing.
If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.
The Internet age has slowly allowed minorities to further themselves in the world of play-by-play, especially at the college level.  It is my sincere hope that they understand what it takes to be the best at this craft, because it doesn’t come overnight.


Welcome to another interview here on PBP Stories and thank you so much for reading the blog. If there’s someone you’d like to see interviewed please tweet me @michaelhirnpbp and I’ll see if I can get them on for an interview. Today I am thrilled to bring to you an interview with someone I have an immense amount of respect for, and a guy who has taught me a lot in broadcasting and a man I’m luck to call a friend in Wisconsin based broadcaster Don Wadewitz.

How long have you been in broadcasting?

In total, about 23 years! Yikes. In case you care, here’s the long story…

I started out in high school working afternoons at WHKQ in Racine, Wis. They had just gone to an automated system and needed someone to monitor the system from about 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and some on weekends. It was an easy listening station so it was easy to get homework done. I did a bunch of odd jobs around the station too, including mowing the lawn and serving as a “security guard” for a money game they did for remotes.

Then, after I switched from print journalism to broadcast journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I started hosting a local music radio show called the Wisconsin Jukebox Radio Show. I got into local music thanks to my supervisor at my student job who was a member of The Gufs, who eventually got signed by Atlantic Records.

I was the first radio show to have a website…I even had a website before our station started one. I had bands from around the state come in studio for an interview and then they’d play live music on my show. For our station, this was really cutting edge stuff and I was honored to be the first recipient of the Don & Kay McNeill Award for Cretive Efforts in Student Broadcasting. Danny Pudi, star of the NBC show Community, received the Chris Farley Scholarship at the same awards ceremony. We see who’s career took off more thus far!

I did very little sports broadcasting while at Marquette but hooked up with the Racine Raiders, an adult amateur football team from my hometown, after graduation. They had just lost their broadcaster of several decades and were looking for a backup for the new two-man team. After filling in in 2002, they added a sideline reporter role that I would do when all three members of the broadcast team were available for a game. I took over the main broadcast duties during the 2011 season, becoming just the third regular broadcaster for the team in 50 years.

The Raiders gig led to opportunities to do high school sports on WRJN, the sister station of WHKQ (now WEZY) where I got my start in the broadcasting business. The connections I’ve made through adult amateur football then led to a position as the voice of a now defunct professional indoor team and my current position broadcasting high school and college sports in the Whitewater, Wis. area.

When did you know that it was what you wanted to do?
My dad has a letter I sent him when I was about ten years old that says, “Hold on to this card because it’s going to be worth something one day when I’m on Monday Night Football” or something close to that. I used to read the newspaper to my grandparents at an even younger age so, while I didn’t KNOW it, I’ve known I wanted to do this for most of my life.

How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?
I went to a talk with Dick Enberg last year and my wife came with me. Enberg said he spends three hours of prep for every hour he’s on the air. My wife not so subtly elbowed me and said, “Don’t even think about it.”

So, to balance one passion, my wife, and another passion, my sports broadcasting, I probably spend about four to six hours prepping for each game, a little under the three hours I got elbowed about.

Enberg also said his first radio job paid him $1 an hour. I recently figured out what I get paid for most of my broadcasts. When you figure in my travel to my full-time job (an hour-plus), the parking in downtown Madison, the minimum 30 minute drive to a broadcast and the hour or so drive home from a broadcast, I net about $.37 an hour on the conservative end. Enberg had it good.

What sports do you currently broadcast?
I currently broadcast football (high school and adult amateur), basketball (high school and college), baseball and softball. I’ve also done a little lacrosse, which is by far the most difficult sport I’ve ever done.

Who are/were the people you look/looked up to in broadcasting?
I look up to anyone who is trying their best to make it in this crazy profession. Everyone in this business has something they can teach me.

Is there anyone you emulate, and if so in what way?
I wouldn’t say I emulate anyone but I think you’ll notice a little bit of Matt Lepay (Wisconsin Badgers) and Wayne Larivee (Green Bay Packers) in my football calls and Ted Davis (Milwaukee Bucks) in my basketball calls. Still, I have my own style and I cherry-pick good things I hear people doing, regardless of what level they’re at currently.

What Was Your Most Challenging Assignment?
A friend was the head coach of a local college lacrosse team and they wanted to try broadcasting their games online. He asked me if I could help them get online broadcasts going and do a couple just as a trial. I never turn down an opportunity so I said I’d be glad to. Then he hit me with the news. The next game was just a few days away. I barely knew what lacrosse was at the time so I started looking online for as much information as I could find. I picked his brain, I spent hours on the Internet and, lucky for me, ESPN was doing wall-to-wall lacrosse all weekend so I got a lot of opportunities to listen to a lacrosse broadcast, even if it was a television broadcast. Luckily, he teamed me up with a guy who ended up being a great commentator and the broadcast went well.

What is your favorite on air story you can share with us?
The Racine Raiders made a bowl game and the game was played in the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Needless to say, we were ecstatic to have a chance to broadcast a game from a current NFL stadium (all of the Raiders home broadcasts are from a former NFL stadium!), even if it’s not the most modern facility. At the time, we were still using a large bag, analog cellphone. This was right as the digital conversion was starting to take place.

Little did we know, the Twin Cities area had just gone all digital. To get analog service, you had to pay extra, basically like a roaming charge. We call in to the radio station and it asks for credit card information. We figured we’d have to do this once and then we’d submit the credit card bill noting the charge and get reimbursed. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Basically, every 30 minutes or so, we had to hang up, dial in again and enter the credit card info. Well, after doing this a couple of time on a card, the credit card company marked the card as possibly being used frauduently. We entered another card number. After the second time doing this, it got marked and was unusable. We ended up going through about eight credit cards and were actually out of cards to use and having to ask other staff members to use their credit cards just to keep the game on the air.

When all the dust settled, we got the game broadcast without losing much of the action as we were dialing in. When we figured out all of the bills on the credit cards, we paid nearly $300 to put that broadcast on the air. We lost a little money on that one.

If there is anything else or any stories you really want to share please feel free to do so.
I’ve been surprised by how willing people are to help you out in this business. For how cut throat it can appear and is, it’s refreshing to know that people are looking out for one another and generally happy for someone that is able to make it to the top through hard work and perseverance. There’s a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” in this business and it’s easy to see the cup as half empty rather than half full. It’s important to surround yourself with other peers in the industry that know when you need a kick-in-the-rear or a pick me up. It’s also good to surround yourself with others in the industry who are going to challenge you. I get motivated when I read friend’s social media postings and they’ve got a gig that night and I don’t. At that moment, I typically ask myself, “What are you going to do so that doesn’t happen tomorrow?” Then I go out and do something, anything, that is going to help me achieve more, even if it’s just listening to my latest broadcast and identifying where I can get better or sending an email to a contact just to touch base.

Make sure to check out Don’s website at and on twitter @DonWadewitz


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.
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 (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 ( 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.