One of the things I “give up” each summer when I move here to our humble cottage by the lake in SW Michigan, is access to TV, and this was a concern for a while many years ago—but really not too big of a concern at that. For a few summers, we were able to go the age-old “rabbit ears” route and pick up a few stations out of South Bend. But once everything turned digital and all sets had to have that capability or a converter attached, I agreed that I could live without TV during my summer months here. What this means, of course, is that I miss out on any hockey or baseball games that I might have an interest in—such as the current exciting Stanley Cup playoff series between the Blackhawks and the Kings.
A friend of mine down a few cottages asked me the other day how I could follow the hockey action listening on the radio, and why I didn’t make the short drive over to a nearby sports bar/restaurant where the games would be featured on several large screens and where there would be plenty of cold draft beer available.
I told him that seeing the action was nice but that the real excitement always seemed better on the radio broadcast. I told him that I “discovered” hockey a long time ago by inadvertently tuning into a radio broadcast one night while exiled to my bedroom during my parents’ New Year’s Eve party.
I’m not sure if my answer clarified things very much, but my friend just shook his head and looked at me in a very strange way and let it go and walked back to his cottage to relax in front of his TV (his set has that converter/adapter thing!). Of course the game we wanted to see was on a channel he could not pick up, so it was a moot point, and I happily settled for the Blackhawks’ radio broadcast.
Ever since I was a kid of about ten, when I really began following the White Sox, I became enamored with the voices who gave me the thrills and excitement, and I couldn’t wait for the next game to hit the airwaves during those summers when I was young. In fact, through listening to game after game, living and dying with my White Sox heroes, I decided that I wanted to be one of those “voices” someday—to be on the radio and get paid for it.
And at this same time, thanks to the accidental introduction to Fort Wayne Komets hockey that New Year’s Eve, I became an ardent fan and follower of an exciting hockey announcer by the name of Bob Chase, out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, on WOWO Radio. From that point forward, I would forever imagine myself broadcasting games with the same enthusiasm and passion.
Did that ever turn out the way I’d dreamed? Not really. I chose a career as an English teacher and coach, and that kept me busy in other ways but with the same kind of enthusiasm and passion for thirty-four years. For a brief period of my life, when I taught high school in Florida, I fulfilled my vow of being on the radio someday when I worked part-time at a small AM/FM station as an on-air announcer. Never did get to do play-by-play, but it’s been all good just the same.
So when anyone looks at me in a strange way when I tell them I prefer the radio, for the most part, over the TV coverage, I smile and know what they’re thinking. But I know that there still is magic in radio…CortlandWriter