Riders Next Play by Play Voice Must Embody New Team Culture
Published: Friday, Feb 9th 2024, 2:02pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
We found out last week that the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Harvard Media announced “an evolution” of their partnership. With that came news that a new play by play voice is going to be sought after by the team and their broadcasting partner. We discussed this on The Piffles Podcast and since then, I’ve been asked many times by many people “who is going to be the new play by play voice?”
Simply put, I don’t know. I have a few names in my mind that I think could fit the role, but in fairness to everyone, I’ll keep those to myself for now. BUT, I do know what I want out of the new hire.
To start, I’ll make it clear that it was the former CKRM Program Director’s choice to hire the last guy and it was NOT the Saskatchewan Roughriders decision. And it will be the same way again this time around. Harvard Broadcasting will have the final say in who the position goes to… but I have a feeling this time the Riders will have much more sway in the decision.
The last couple years for the Saskatchewan Roughriders have sucked. Both on and off the field. Back-to-back 6-12 seasons where the team didn’t win a game after Labour Day, including one of those years being a home Grey Cup year has fans growing impatient and upset with the team. Season ticket numbers are down and it’s finally obvious to Riders President & CEO Craig Reynolds that the culture of the entire organization needed to change. Including the play by play voice.
And no, I’m not blaming a radio broadcaster for the team’s record. However, when your radio broadcaster is arguing with fans and players online (while also talking about how social media is a cesspool, ironically) and calling out the league and league officials on game broadcasts, it has a bad look on the team, rightly or wrongly. Still, the casual fan assumes the “voice of the team” actually works FOR the team. While technically incorrect, the voice does still represent the team and the Riders as a whole need to get back to having someone in that position that is professional and represents the team with class.
Since hiring Head Coach Corey Mace, we’ve seen the team culture start to shift. With all the free agency rumours and signings we’ve seen this week, we are getting a bit clearer of an idea of what this new Roughrider culture will be.
So, what do I want from the new play by play voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders? The too long, didn’t read version is someone professional who knows not to argue online all day long. Someone who doesn’t go on a radio broadcast and RANT (incorrectly) for 10 minutes about people they’ve never met. Someone who just does the job and interacts with fans in a professional manner (see Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg’s broadcast teams). That’s it. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
And as for the actual play by play? I don’t want to hear how many times the QB licked his finger. I don’t want someone to go absolutely nuts over a 3 yard gain. Radio play by play is a different beast, your listeners can’t see the field, so you need to describe what’s happening, paint the scene for the listener. What down and distance is it? From what yard line? What is the formation? All things people want to know, but haven’t been accustomed to over the last two years. I hope the new person understands that because the last one didn’t.
The long version… well, it all depends on what the role entails. Will this new voice also host 620 CKRM’s SportsCage (it’s a Harvard role, after all)? Should those two roles be separated finally and we get one host of the show and a separate play by play voice? Can that person work WITH the former voice and their unpredictability? Will they even have to?
I have more questions about this than I do have answers. I just hope the new voice ACTUALLY knows what they are getting themselves into, because I don’t think that was ever fully explained to the last few people in this role. The last couple of voices were told “here’s a show… go” and were pretty much given no coaching whatsoever. That has to change.
Ultimately, I just want someone to represent the team the way they DESERVE to be represented, the way the FANS deserve to be represented. Someone that embodies the new culture of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
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