Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

I hope that you’ve been enjoying all of the great interviews we’ve been able to bring you here on PBP Stories so far, because we’ve got another one for you today in the voice of the Dallas Cowboys Brad Sham. Growing up I was (and still am) a HUGE Dallas fan, so being able to get to interview the voice of America’s Team and a man I have the utmost respect for in Mr. Sham is a true honor for me. Mr. Sham will be one of the guest speakers at the STAA Sportscasting Seminar that is taking place in Salisbury, North Carolina on Monday, June 10th.

Brad Sham

How long have you been in broadcasting?

The first broadcasting work I ever did was as a sophomore in high school on my school radio station, doing a football scoreboard show. So I guess I started in 1963. The first professional work I did for money would have been for a commercial radio station while I was in college, probably 1969.

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

Before I ever did it. I was in high school. I realized the announcers went to all the games. I knew I wanted to do that.
How much time do you spend preparing for a broadcast?

Depends on what it is. For a Cowboys game, there’s some every day. Interviews and stats review of all games on Monday, watching tape of the next opponent starts Tuesday, internet research every day. There’s a few hours of work every day. Some days more than others.

What sports do you currently broadcast?

Varies year to year, but the last couple it’s been pro football, college football and college basketball. 

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

I was a Chicago kid, so my first hero was Jack Brickhouse, who did the Cubs and White Sox TV and the Bears radio, among other things. And I always admired the smoothness and versatility of Jack Buck, and becoming friends with him before he died was a huge thrill. Frank Glieber and Verne Lundquist were role models and teachers while I worked with them starting in the mid 70s. And certainly Pat Summerall, whom I was lucky enough to call friend. And I look up to Vin Scully with no hope of ever being anything like him.

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


There’s no one I emulate, because I think we have to be ourselves. But I listen to everyone to try to get tips. The Rangers’ voice, Eric Nadel, is a good friend. If every radio play by play person in every sport could pay attention to detail and relate it as effortlessly and seamlessly as Eric makes it sound, the industry would be a lot better.

In 1977 you started with the Cowboys and spent 7 seasons alongside the legendary Verne Lundquist, how did that come about and what was that like for a young broadcaster?

I started with Cowboys’ broadcasts in the middle of the 1976 season. Wikipedia has it wrong. I worked with Verne 8 years. I was hired to work at KRLD in Dallas, and working on the Cowboys broadcasts with Verne and occasionally Frank Glieber and Bob Lilly was one of several duties I had. It was an enormous break and I tried to learn from Verne every time I sat next to him. We’re still great friends today.

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

I got into the business to become a baseball broadcaster. The first sport I did play by play was basketball. And at this point I’ve done more football than anything, and I’m more identified with it. But I don’t know if any of them is a favorite.

What do you enjoy most about broadcasting games for a living?

There’s no one thing. I’m just passionate about the whole process. I love the preparation and the challenge of the live broadcast. There’s nothing about the job I don’t love.

I read a piece on ESPN Dallas after the passing of Pat Summerall where you said  “
Professionally, he should have been the model for every television play-by-play person”, how big of an influence was he on your career?

When I do anything on television, I still see his face and hear his voice. What Pat did on tv doesn’t translate to what anyone does on radio, but on tv, a lot. And the way he carried himself and the person he was is something I try to emulate every day.

I’m sure that there have been many in your illustrious career, but are there any memorable stories from the booth you can share with us that stick out to you?

There have been a lot. One of the first that comes to mind is being part of the only game John Madden ever did on radio. Cowboys-Raiders preseason the year Aikman retired. Babe was doing tv and Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ p-r man, got John to do it. John will tell you today it was one of the most fun days he’s had in broadcasting.

What do you make of catchphrases and gimmicks used by younger broadcasters to get noticed nowadays?

Hate ’em. I’m a big believer in letting the game come to you. They don’t work for me.

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

You need to love it. You need to work harder than everyone and don’t be primarily concerned with the money. And know that YOU control your attitude. No one else does. Don’t obsess over what you can’t control and worry about what you can. Be honest.

Be sure to follow Mr. Sham on twitter @Boys_Vox and get registered for the STAA One Day Ticket to Sportscasting Success if you have yet to do so.
Until next time, have a great day and an even better tomorrow.

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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 http://www.isnetamerica.com 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.