Throwing broadcast legends awaySince I have done sports broadcasting in the past, I have really come to see that good radio sports broadcasting is a dying art, and that teams and programs don't often appreciate what they have until it is gone.
Rumors have abounded since his departure that the great John Ward, the longtime "Voice of the Vols" was forced out at the the end of the 1998 season. Rather than voluntarily saying "It is time for me to go," it has been the talk of many folks in Tennessee sports circles that Ward was quietly told "it is time for you to go." Ward didn't really want to go, but UT made him-the University has never admitted to this and probably never will.
No offense to Bob Kessling-I really think he is a fine broadcaster, but if you've ever heard John Ward, or even heard old tapes of John Ward, Bob Kessling sounds like a kid at a high school community access station by comparison.
If true, Ward wouldn't be the first famous sportscasting voice to have been told to take a hike because they were too old. The Reds made a big to-do over the retirement of Joe Nuxhall a couple of years back-I was even at Great American Ballpark on Joe Nuxhall night, and still have my Joe Nuxhall bobblehead. Only later did we learn from Nuxhall's own lips that he didn't want to go, he was forced out. The "gossip" is that the Reds' organization wanted to do the same to Marty Brennaman, but as a former Cincinnati resident I can verify that what likely saved Marty from a similar fate is the fact that he holds a status in that city only slightly lower than Christ.
I'm not against new, young talent in the arena of sports radio. However, what I have often found is that a lot of these younger men who replace the legends from the era of the radio broadcast of products of the TV (ESPN) sports explosion of the late 80's and 90's, and they cut their broadcasting teeth in television in many cases. I can tell you from experience that radio is different-it requires greater descriptive ability and a very fast mouth. You have to assume your listening audience can't see the game and isn't watching. We throw away the old boys who can teach the youngsters how its done as if they are old trash. As a result, we get younger radio broadcasters that just are not as good and may never achieve the legendary status of their predecessors.
We need sports radio men who love radio and don't care much for television-it will make for a far better radio broadcast.