During the golden age of the 1950’s, it was Ray Charles’ soul music which dominated the radio. But Saturdays were reserved solely for college football.
And somewhere in this golden age, sports broadcasting icon George Blaha found a soulful voice of his own.
For the better part of the last four decades, that voice has come to represent years of Spartan football history — and just as many years of Detroit Pistons history.
But in all the years of uttering “Touchdown, MSU” or “Count that baby and a foul” it never gets old for Blaha, and there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing.
“I always wanted to be a broadcaster in a city that had hardworking, blue collar people and I am very, very fortunate to be a broadcaster in the Detroit area and in the state of Michigan because we have those kinds of people here,” Blaha said.
In 2002, Blaha was named an honorary alumnus of MSU. The honor was Blaha’s third alumnus achievement, as he received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from the University of Michigan.
His father, Vernon, was a doctor and stressed the importance of higher education, so Blaha attended prestigious schools. However, his dream of becoming a play-by-play broadcaster was always his number one priority.
“One thing you don’t want is somebody unhappy at their work,” Blaha said. “You can’t very well be successful that way.
“I think it was Vin Scully, in my opinion the greatest play-by-play announcers of my lifetime, who said ‘broadcasting is a great example of the old adage that says, find something that you love to do and if you can do that at your profession then you will never have to work a day in your life.’”
Blaha said his decision to attend U-M came down to a “coin flip” by his family.
“Notre Dame, on the other hand, was a very conscious decision,” he said, adding that it stemmed from his mother being raised Irish Catholic and her father loving the Irish.
But before the Fighting Irish or the Wolverines, Blaha unknowingly started where he would finish. In 1953, Blaha was in attendance when a school by the name of Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science played its first football game as a member of the Big Ten at the University of Iowa.
“Of course, I had no idea what a watershed moment that would be for me career-wise, but I knew that it was a big game and my dad was very kind to take me to the game,” Blaha said.
MSU won the game, 21-7, and would go on to win the Rose Bowl that year.
Since that day, Blaha has watched more than 400 MSU football games and the number of Pistons games he has broadcasted is upward of 3,000.
“And it really doesn’t feel like work to me, although there is a lot of preparation that goes into every broadcast,” Blaha said. “If I didn’t find it interesting and did not truly enjoy it then I might realize how labor intensive it is, but it really has all been a labor of love.”
The Spartan brand has been engraved into Blaha’s legacy, and along the way, the players he has watched have grown to be some of his best friends. Among them is 1979 NCAA National Champion and former MSU basketball star Greg Kelser, who today broadcasts alongside Blaha as the Pistons’ color commentator.
“It’s always exciting to have the opportunity to sit down and call a game, number one, but then to know that I am doing it with a person who has been at this for so long, yet I have not been able to. … I don’t think anyone could ever say they have seen a diminishing of his passion,” Kelser said.
To read the rest of this article visit The State where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
K&C Masterpiece: Cowboys Could Add 30 Million More Viewers To Super Bowl
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings.”
The matchup in this year’s Super Bowl is set, and the game will undoubtedly be the most-viewed program on TV this year. But if the Dallas Cowboys were taking part in the game, it’s safe to say the ratings would be astronomical.
The Cowboys divisional playoff game against San Francisco drew 45.7 million viewers. It was the second-most watched divisional round contest on record.
The NFC championship between San Francisco and Philadelphia drew 47.5 million.
On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, K&C Masterpiece host Kevin Hageland said had the Cowboys made it to Philly, the viewership would’ve been even better.
“I know the game sucked, but that just shows you, because the Cowboys were like almost 8 million above every other divisional game, this could’ve gotten to 58 (million),” Hageland said.
Kevin added that if Dallas had gone all the way, the audience tuning in would’ve easily eclipsed some of the highest-rated programs of all-time.
“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings,” he said. “Even with the new system and so many people streaming and everything like that.”
Usually the Super Bowl averages around 100 million viewers. Hageland said a Cowboys Super Bowl appearance in this day and age would’ve set the new top ratings mark for years to come.
“My estimation would be you would add approximately an extra 30 million people,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Angelo Cataldi Bans Andy Reid’s Voice From WIP Morning Show
“25% of the people who voted in our poll and said they admire and respect Reid more than Sirianni, you 25% have not been paying any attention for years.”
As Super Bowl LVII approaches, many storylines have emerged. One includes Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid facing off with the team he coached for 14 years, the Philadelphia Eagles. Reid is a beloved figure in NFL circles, but 94WIP morning host Angelo Cataldi couldn’t hold back his disdain for the coaching legend.
On Tuesday morning, Cataldi mentioned he couldn’t believe Reid was so highly regarded in NFL media circles. The longtime host said Reid was never truthful during interviews.
After playing clips that included Reid saying the Eagles “were a good team” and how the Chiefs “would need a good game plan” to grab a victory, Cataldi took issue with the generalities Reid spoke with. When asked what he expected from an NFL head coach, Cataldi compared Reid to current Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni.
“I was expecting something like Nick gives me every time,” Cataldi said. “I hate Reid ’cause he never won me the Super Bowl, I hate Reid that it took him six years to get there, it took Nick two, and I hate Reid because he never bothered to share a damn thing. If you’re out there, with 25% of the people who voted in our poll and said they admire and respect Reid more than Sirianni, you 25% have not been paying any attention for years.”
Cataldi — who admitted “I don’t like the man, and I’ve never liked the man” — said he received more than 300 emails about Reid, noting he didn’t realize he was “widely regarded as the all-time Andy Reid critic” in Philadelphia.
The 94WIP host added listeners will not hear the voice of the “phony, fraud” Reid any longer on his morning show.
“I do not control the other dayparts here. I don’t control the newsroom. I’m done playing anything said by Andy Reid. ‘Cause I learned over 14 years it’s a waste of time.”
Seth Payne: Ross Tucker is Stealing My Takes Without Attribution
“He is the manager that takes your ideas and then sends them up one level without any attribution whatsoever.”
Seth Payne cannot say he wasn’t warned. When Ross Tucker joined Payne and Pendergast on Sports Radio 610 in Houston earlier this week, the seven-year NFL veteran told Payne that his take was so good that he would be stealing it.
“You know what, Seth, that is a great point that I am going to use the rest of the week in all my media stuff,” Tucker said when Payne suggested that the Philadelphia Eagles “earned” an injury to the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks by taking advantage of poor blocking schemes that included using tight ends to block NFL sack leader Hasson Reddick.
A listener named Burch tweeted evidence to Seth Payne of Ross Tucker following through on his promise.
“If the rest of you out there can be more like Burch and let us know when people are stealing our good takes, they can have our bad takes,” Payne’s morning show partner Sean Pendergast said on Tuesday morning.
The duo then played the audio, which they said appeared to come from an unidentified CBS show. In it, Tucker says that the Eagles “earned those injuries” and used tight ends being assigned to block Reddick as his justification for the take.
“I think it’s pretty obvious what kind of a boss Ross Tucker is, like what kind of a manager,” Payne said. “He is the manager that takes your ideas and then sends them up one level without any attribution whatsoever.”
Ross Tucker is no shortage of platforms to spread the take around. He is on multiple Audacy sports talk stations during the football season. He also makes regular appearances with Dan Patrick and SiriusXM as well as hosting his own podcast.
“This is what you get from these Princeton types,” Payne said of being ripped off. “This is how they get where they are in the world.”