“Athletes are remembered by old bats, gloves and jerseys, and autographs they can sign on a photo” says Marc Blau, sports-radio fan and museum organizer. “With broadcasters, the memory is their voice”
This summer many of those voices began being accessible at the Shanaman Sports Museum’s web site, www.tacomasportsmuseum.com. Initial broadcasters with Pierce County and South Sound emphasis as far back as 1949 are recognized in the museum’s new Clay Huntington Broadcast Center.
Based on the Center’s information, biographic portraits of some of the broadcasters have been added to our TALENT segment, alphabetically by first name: Dick Calvert, Ron Crowe, Mike Curto, Bob Field, Adam Gordon, Jerry Geehan, Tom Glasgow, Mason Halligan and Don Hill.
To be added in the weeks ahead are others on the list, including: Bill Doane, Dan Bartolovic, Rod Belcher, Thom Beuning, Bud Blair, Mike Blowers, Chuck Bolland, Ed Bowman, Dave Harshman, Jerry Howarth, Brock Huard, Damon Huard, Clay Huntington, Larry Huseby, John Jarstad, J Michael Kenyon, Carl Lambert, John Lynch, Doug McArthur, Scott Overbo, Don Poier, Art Popham, Ahmad Rashad, Bob Robertson, Keith Shipman and Steve Thomas. Stay tuned.
Dick Calvert broadcast the Tacoma Stars of the MISL from 1985 to through 1988. Calvert has an extensive history of soccer broadcasting, working for both the North American and Major Indoor Soccer leagues. He has been the announcer for MCA championships and official starter for NCAA golf tournaments, and for WCC basketball. He was the featured announcer on three World Cup broadcasts.
He was the “Voice of the Rebels” for the University of Nevada Las Vegas and has broadcast the college’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer games.
Although retired from the national radio booth after five decades covering sports, Calvert continues as UNLV athletics-department announcer. (CHBCenter,2014)
Mike Curto, the long-time Tacoma Rainiers broadcaster, has stories to tell about minor league baseball He grew up listening to San Francisco Giants broadcasts, and the dream of being a baseball broadcast was etched in his brain. First there were campus-radio broadcasts at University of California Berkeley and spring-training games for the Oakland Athletics in his senior year, Then several minor-league assignments. (Remember the Lafayette Leopards in Indiana?) He finally got a good gig, two years with the San Diego Padre’s Class A affiliate, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. That led to the Tacoma move in 1998, Throw in a couple of fill-in Mariner’s broadcasts.and the 2001 Pacific Coast League co-championship team to round out his experiences
Curto’s style is to focus on the players. He believes listeners want to hear about the men on the field, not the men in the broadcast booth. This year he returns for his 16th season with the Rainiers. (CHBCenter, 2014)
[Carl Lambert & Ron Crowe] Ron Crowe is a color commentator, teamed over the past 20 years with Carl Lambert broadcasting local sports events on, variously, KUPY, KMO and KLAY. Crowe had a lengthy career resume as a high school and college athlete.in the late 1950s, including freshman basketball and the varsity squad before transferring to Western Washington University in his final collegiate season. Crowe owns an insurance agency and has spent several terms as mayor of Puyallup. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Bob Field was an animated, descriptive, all-around best hockey broadcaster around. He served as play-by-play voice for all seven years of the Tacoma Rockets. His phrase “They SCORE!” was said to tax the power of any tube-type radio of its day. Field spent his youth between Canada and Philadelphia. After the Navy he concluded his service while stationed in Tacoma. From there he worked as a salesman for his radio sponsor, Columbia Breweries of Tacoma, and began his play-by-play career.
After the hockey team folded he called Seattle hockey games for Channel 13 TV. He moved to Spokane, then retired and moved to Westport in the early 1960s where he opened a fish-and-pet shop.
He died in 1992, age 68. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Jerry Geehan is remembered as the dean of sports broadcasters in the Pierce County area. He attended the College of Puget Sound for two years and began his broadcast career at Tacoma’s KVI in 1932.
In 1937 he became the first broadcaster for the Tacoma Tigers of the Western International League. In 1938 he joined KMO, probably Tacoma’s first play-by-play broadcaster, handing WIL baseball and PLC and CPS games. He also had a daily radio sportscast.
Geehan became KMO’s sales manager in 1943, and two years later became general manager. In 1953 he was general manager of Channel 13 TV. He was owner and general manager of KTAC Radio from 1952 to 1969. He also served as the chairman of the board of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters.
Geehan was married for 62 years. He died in 2001, age
88. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Tom Glasgow is in his 12th year as sports director on KOMO-AM. He is also the lead announcer play-by-play announcer on college football and basketball games on Root Sports.
Glasgow, a Tacoma native, began his broadcast career in 1981 at KIRO-AM as producer for sports broadcasts headlined by Bob Blackburn, Wayne Cody and Pete Gross.
After serving as reporter, sports anchor and talk-show host, Glasgow became sports anchor on KIRO-TV. He co-hosted Northwest Sports Report and Pac-10 Tonight.
Earlier he spent two seasons as play-by-play voice of the Vancouver Grizzlies, before the team moved to Memphis. In addition he has hosted pre-game and post-game shows for the Washington Huskies, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners. He lives in Issaquah. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Adam Gordon was not content to simply announce sports events, he built a career as an executive producer and program creator. He spent 15 years before the microphone and 15 years behind the mike.
Gordon attended Washington State University and got his startin broadcasting in 1988 with the Spokane Chiefs. In 1990 he took over as broadcast director for the Tacoma Rockets. From there he worked as broadcaster and producer for the International Hockey League, the Houston Aeros Hockey Club, and the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. He also had stints in Tokyo television, Certified Public Accountants, Microsoft., the Versus Network, NBC, Root Sports and the Pac12 Network. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Mason Halligan was active in civic and sports events in Tacoma In 1953. His passion for the city prompted him to run for political office. He broadcast midget car races from Athletic Park and wresting matches from the Armory and worked in the press box in the late 1940s doing commentary for Tacoma Tigers baseball games. He was a promoter of Tacoma’s Soap Box Derby and pro wrestling in Tacoma. In 1946 he co-published Spot Light Review, a sports free sports newspaper.By trade he was an insurance agent. While working for KTAC Mason conducted numerous interviews with visiting sports icons, even getting Gorgeous George to chat and Bob Hope to joke. He had health issues and died in 1972, age 49. (CHBCenter, 2014)
Don Hill was for many years Tacoma’s “voice of baseball”. He was the regular radio announcer of the Tacoma Giants and Cubs games from 1960-1971, most of the time on KTAC. Hill came to Tacoma from the Midwest as the Tacoma Giants began Pacific Coast League play at the new Cheney Stadium. Hill was renowned for his road-game recreations, in the days when teams did not send broadcasters on the road. Hill and his wife Connie made it difficult for Tacoma listeners to discern he wasn’t watch the game in person, Connie gathered information from teletype or phone from the ball park. From a few simple words Hill could fashion a 15-minute yarn describing each pitch and, on occasion, even a fake argument on a close play that he imagined could have occurred, He used sound effects in the studio including a recording of crowd noise and a cow bell for celebrating a home run.
Hill’s given name was Dwight Herrick. He broadcast for 14 years previously in cities including Omaha and Columbus. His signature call was “How’s that Giants fans!” His career covered over 50 years and 10,000 broadcasts. He died in 2002. (CHBCenter 2014)
Bob Corcoran was movie host and later a late-night talk-show host on KTVW, Channel 13. Turmoil was to be expected at Channel 13 in the ’60s and ’70s — the station was limited to showing scratchy black-and white movies and was near bankruptcy several times.
Corcoran faced the black-and-white camera unflinchingly for two hours or more, with no props, few guests and a lot of opinions. Some of his eventual guests included Ralph Williams, auto salesman, State Senator Martin Durkin and former governor Albert D. Rosellini.
“I was assembling a good package of movies,” Corcoran said at the time.. “I just took it easy until my movies could be added to the schedule.” He said he had TV rights to 182 movies. “Counter-programming, that’s what it is,” Corcoran said, “At 9 PM there is a carload of movies, so I’m going to talk. At 11 PM there are news programs galore, so I’m going to show my movies.”
He bought airtime and sold commercials for his movies himself. Corcoran frequently hawked items from the B&I, a circus-themed shopping center. Corcoran had earlier been involved in promotions for the B&I, including during the time of Ivan the Gorilla..
Later, Corcoran became a candidate for the state House of Representatives. His Democratic opponent, an incumbent candidate, asked for “equal time” to compensate for Corcoran’s saturation appearances. Corcoran turned the show over to his wife Lee, but instead of following a threat of “appearing as a guest on his wife’s program”, Corcoran purchased a different hour of political time each weekday. New TV station owners ended the program.in 1972. He didn’t go to the Legislature, but he did stay active in South Sound politics, he co-owned a radio station in Pierce County, and then joined the Archdiocese of Seattle as a foundation development officer. He retired from the archdiocese in 2000.
Additional information from CHBC. While working at Channel 13 Corcoran formed a production company which handled professional wrestling events and University of Puget Sound football games. He sometimes broadcast a radio sports program from the B&I. He died in 2014, age 83. (VOS, and CHBCenter, 2014)