With less than two hours remaining before kickoff, the busiest person at Yager Stadium isn’t wearing pads or holding a whistle.
That designation belongs to Miami University’s fire-eating music man of a play-by-play announcer whose voice has appeared on stage and in Oscar-winning films.
For almost three decades, Steve Baker has served as the “Voice of the RedHawks,” primarily calling Miami football and men’s basketball. He’s also been Miami’s broadcasting director since 2001, overseeing all media production for the athletic department.
“I like the chaos,” said Baker. “It puts a lot of stress on you, but it’s what makes the job fun.”
Before uttering a word over the loudspeaker, Baker sets up the stadium’s PA system, checks all video equipment and hosts a donor function in the parking lot. It’s a daunting schedule. This Saturday, he’ll oversee a volleyball production after the football game against Akron University.
This multi-faceted role falls in line with a broadcasting career that was completely unexpected.
“I got into radio totally by accident,” said Baker. “I do enjoy it because I like painting that picture for people.”
Baker left his hometown of Brookville, Ind. in 1977 to become a music instructor. He entered Miami as a 30 instrument-playing singer, but his college experience was short-lived. After eight weeks on campus, his mother fell ill and lost her leg, and Baker returned home to his family.
He began working at WOXY-FM, an Oxford station that was making little impression as an automated Top 40 station in a college community.
“The owner of the station said it had a negative 10 rating,” said Baker. “Nobody listened and 10 people hated it.”
The station’s staff surveyed Miami’s campus and began crafting a playlist that reflected the students’ tastes, leading to 97X, one of America’s first modern rock stations.
“Our first core artists were Madonna, Prince, U2,” said Baker. “There were literally hundreds of bands that we broke. It was a sound that caught on.”
The format went on to earn national accolades, including four placements on Rolling Stone’s reader poll of best American radio stations. It also led to Baker’s 15 seconds of national fame when actor Dustin Hoffman imitated Baker’s 97X station ID in 1988’s highest-grossing film, Rain Man.
97X’s broadcasting deal with Miami athletics allowed Baker to develop a sports broadcasting career that began in the early 1980s with high school sports in Indiana, Virginia and Florida. Starting as an audio engineer, Baker rose to football and basketball announcing by the late 1980s and held the role until 1997, when Miami took over production of radio broadcasts and hired another announcer.
This led to a seven-year absence from announcing that was born out of Baker’s loyalty to 97X.
“I didn’t feel like it was honest to the radio station to work there and then go announce,” Baker said.
To read the rest of this article visit The Miami Student which is where it was originally published
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”