For the last several years, I’ve placed those words, in that order, in every pre-game opening to commence a broadcast. I must admit, I don’t have the foggiest idea on when it was first implemented, or even why for that matter, perhaps I just like the sound of it.
Seems fitting to use that phrase here, as I’ve been given the opportunity to express a great range of thoughts regarding this industry that we all love, to all of you for the first time. For that, I am very grateful.
Since this is our inaugural acquaintance, a brief synopsis of who I am.
My friends call me by my last name, always have, and always will. Never really been keen on the first name, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. The last name seems to be a good “radio name”. Even though I can’t physically prove it, I’m pretty sure it’s gotten me out of a speeding ticket or three…
Chances are that you and I share something in common when it comes to this particular profession; starting young. My first “experience’ was “broadcasting” my little brother’s T-Ball games as I sat behind home plate. Later, it became playing NHL ’96 on my Sega Genesis while attempting to call a game similar to the stylings of Bob Cole; as I grew up for a time on viewing the spectacle of Hockey Night In Canada.
I lost a TON of games against friends and my little brother. Trying to call the game and play it was a little too much, but they seemed to like the commentary.
Surprisingly enough, it was’t until my freshman year in college that I even perceived the notion of taking what I did back in the day into a career. I had been enrolled in the theatre department at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas and applied to the University of Oklahoma communications department halfway through the freshman campaign. I was all set to be a Sooner starting sophomore year.
One glaring omission: forgetting to put down a dorm deposit.
No dorm deposit, no dorm.
So, my mother and I (bless her heart) drove to Norman with about two weeks before classes started, only to find apartments that were way overpriced or those that looked like they should have been condemned years ago.
Heading back to Dallas, we passed the University of North Texas in Denton. My mother asked me “Why don’t we check out UNT?” My response was something similar to “Are you kidding me? I got accepted to OU! Why on earth would I want to go to North Texas?”
Well, she was the one behind the wheel, so we made a quick detour. Next thing I knew, I was enrolled at North Texas in the Radio/TV/Film Department, with a tremendous focus on radio, and some on television. There wasn’t a dorm room to be had, but since it was an in-state school, there was money left for a decent apartment.
The three years at North Texas were some of the best of my life. I was extremely fortunate to study under the legendary Bill Mercer, whose credits include voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and World Championship Wrestling, among others. His students have been so successful, they’ve been deemed the “North Texas Mafia”.
His first note about my announcing was “You really don’t have the voice for this, but you can sell it.”
Those that I shared time with in our campus television and radio station have done exceedingly well; Westwood One, University of North Texas Women’s Basketball, Division II athletics, and a plethora of Top 100 markets; in particular Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. I could not be more proud of all of these men, and so many more.
Now, it may surprise you to learn that with all of the “high status” positions that these folks presently occupy, that I reside at the same station that I started at almost a decade ago in small town North Dakota.
How did I end up here of all places? Quite simple, it was the only locale where full-time employment was available, and I had no desire to work overnights at minimum wage to start down the career road.
I must tell you, it does surprise me from time to time to be in the same family of stations at 32 that I was at 22. The role and responsibilities have certainly changed for the better, in addition to way too much honored recognition, but the location remains the same.
No doubt some of you are asking what’s taken so long to move onto the next port-of-call. A lack of motivation to move on, a desire to remain in familiarity? Truth be told, only recently did I stumble upon the answer: it just hasn’t been my time. As Tom Petty once told us all “The Waiting Is The Hardest Part”.
One of the reasons I wanted to contribute to this website is to encourage those of you who feel stuck; regardless of market size. Lord knows I can relate. Ours is a profession that is difficult, demanding, undervalued, often under-appreciated, and if there hasn’t been at least a fraction of second where you have doubted whether or not taking this road was a sound decision, then you are more of a denier than the two candidates we have to choose from come November combined.
It’s ok to doubt. It’s ok not to be fully confident that going down this path was in your best interest. We’ve all been there, some of us are still there.
What makes this site more than just useful is the vast array of content that can be used to enhance your overall skill set. I believe those skills will also make each one of us better individuals, whether we stay in this profession another six weeks, six years or six decades.
For whatever reason, I’ve always been able to express myself more completely via the written word. It’s indeed an honor and a privilege to be able to share stories, ideas and observations here in the weeks and months to come. It’s not my intention to have you agree on every post presented here, but I do intend to do my best to relate to you the passion of sports media that we all share. If I can make you laugh along the way, even more the better.
“Thanks for tagging along for the ride”.
You know what? I like the sound of that too, I think I’ll start using that line for the end of a broadcast.