Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas may be college basketball’s household names when it comes to television, and that’s just fine with one of the best and most versatile play-by-play men in the business.
“I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Dan Shulman.
As ESPN’s lead announcer for college hoops, the 47-year-old Canadian will be courtside with Bilas on Saturday night when top-ranked Kentucky meets Florida in Gainesville.
So how did a Canadian become the World Wide Leader’s top play-by-play man on two of its biggest sports?
Shulman worked three years at the University of Western Ontario campus radio station before graduating in 1990 with a degree in actuarial science. Six months as an actuary, however, caused him to try radio full-time.
He started at a station in Barrie, Ontario, 50 miles north of Toronto. A year and a half later, Shulman moved to a Toronto sports station. Five years after that, he transitioned into television where he did the Toronto Blue Jays games for seven years.
It was seeing him work the World Basketball Championships, however, that caused ESPN to hire Shulman in 1995 for college basketball. He began working exclusively for ESPN in 2002. He became Sunday Night Baseball’s lead announcer in 2011.
Major League Baseball ends just as college basketball begins, which makes for a heavy travel schedule.
“I estimate I sleep in a hotel room about 140 nights a year,” said Shulman via phone Thursday from his home in Canada. “The travel part is not glamorous, but it’s a means to an end. I’m blessed to have the job that I do.”
Wait a minute; aren’t all Canadians crazy hockey fans?
“As a young kid, hockey was the only thing I knew,” Shulman said. “I was 10 when the Blue Jays came to Toronto and I was hooked on baseball from the day they got here.”
Shulman played high school basketball, but his first exposure to American college basketball came when his family visited his grandparents in Florida for spring break.
“This was March of ’83, the year where North Carolina State made the Cinderella run and won the national championship,” said Shulman. “I was hooked. Everybody else was going to the beach and I’m just sitting and watching basketball all day.”
He is also a huge football fan — his favorite team being the Green Bay Packers, so Shulman is “still stinging” from the NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks.
“If my career had taken a different bounce, I could have just as easily been a hockey/football guy,” Shulman said.
Instead, he is a baseball/college basketball guy.
“Sometimes people will come up to me and know me as a baseball guy and hardly even know I do basketball,” Shulman said. “Sometimes people will come up to me as a basketball guy and hardly even know I do baseball.”
The pace of the two sports is different, presenting unique play-by-play challenges.
“I liken it to during baseball season, I’m walking on a treadmill, then on Nov. 8, or whatever it is, someone triples the speed of the treadmill and I’ve got to get going fast,” he said. “I’m equally comfortable doing both, to be honest with you.”
He’s also comfortable working with different partners. Shulman said his goal is to get the most out of his analysts. It shows.
“One of the producers I work with makes the analogy that we’re a basketball team and I’m a pass-first point guard,” Shulman said. “That to me is about the highest praise I can get. I don’t need to make the basket, I prefer the assist.”
He sometimes gets an assist on the road. Two of his three boys are huge sports fans. His 14-year-old wants to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. (He’s at 19.) His 21-year-old is looking forward to attending the ACC Tournament in March.
“It kind of alleviates some of the loneliness for me from being gone so much,” Shulman said. “If I can take my kids with me and show them a really good time that’s a good thing for everybody.”
Just as making that career switch was a very good thing for a certain Canadian.
“I love being a play-by-play announcer for games,” Shulman said. “I’m lucky that the thing I wanted to do is the thing they hired me to do and they’ve allowed me to keep doing it.”
Credit to the Lexington Herald-Leader who originally posted this article
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.
Brent Dougherty Signs New Deal At 104.5 The Zone
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Things are going very well for 104.5 The Zone. The Cumulus station is coming off of a strong Fall ratings book, and now it has secured the future of its signature show Brent Dougherty has a new deal that will keep the 3HL host on the station for the foreseeable future.
“I am blessed to be able to work with the most talented people in radio, both on and off the air,” Dougherty told BSM. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Brent Dougherty has been part of The Zone since 2008. He was well-known to Nashville sports fans long before that, having previously served as the Sports Director at 1510 WLAC.
Dougherty announced his new deal last week on Twitter. On Monday, he told Barrett Sports Media that re-signing was a no-brainer, given his teammates.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to work with Dawn Davenport, Ron Slay, and Joe Hunk on a day-to-day basis. We know that there is always room to grow. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and will continue to do that every day. Win every day – always and always.”
While all of the teams currently in Nashville were already there when 3HL launched in 2010, Dougherty knows the landscape is so much different now with a population boom and the changing options for sports media. He says that he is optimistic that both the show and 104.5 The Zone will play a prominent role in shaping sports fans’ conversations in Middle Tennessee for years to come.
“We as a radio station have tried to grow with Nashville hand-in-hand. 104.5 The Zone is the voice of Nashville sports. It was that way when I came to work at this radio station in 2008. We are blessed to have such loyal and passionate listeners and are so thankful for their participation and their desire to take ownership over what we do.”
David Schultz Out At 105.5 WNSP
“I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions.”
WNSP is looking for a new afternoon show. A source tells Barrett Sports Media that David Schultz has been let go.
Schultz served as the Program Director as well as the host of The Game Plan in afternoon drive. Michael Brauner has been his co-host since last April.
David Schultz came to Mobile in August of 2019, replacing Creg Stephenson and Randy Kennedy, who is now heard on crosstown rival Sports Talk 99.5. Before coming to Alabama, Schultz hosted mornings on 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is also a former contributor to WQAM in Miami.
“To the listeners of WNSP, it has been my honor and pleasure driving you home from work since August of 2019,” he wrote on Twitter. “I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions. I appreciated your patience as it took this ‘yankee’ a bit to get used to his surroundings. Thank you very much for bringing me into your homes, cars, and phones.”
The station’s permanent afternoon plans are far from solidified. BSM has learned that Mark Heim — who currently hosts The Opening Kickoff on the station — will cover the shift in the interim.
Audacy, New York Mets Announce Addition of Keith Raad, Pat McCarthy
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast.”
Raad joins the crew after spending last season announcing games for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He has also been the voice of Wagner University football and women’s basketball since 2017.
McCarthy — the son of Philadelphia Phillies television voice Tom McCarthy — has served as the voice of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA-affiliate of the Phillies. He has filled in on Phillies broadcasts during the past two seasons, in addition to working as a football, and men’s/women’s basketball announcer for Princeton and St. Joseph’s Universities.
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast,” said Andy Goldberg, Executive Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer, New York Mets. “Having Keith called up from Brooklyn, and being a local New Yorker to keep it in the family is what the Mets are all about.”
Raad will serve as the play-by-play and color commentator on the club’s broadcasts, while McCarthy will host the pregame and postgame shows, and step into the play-by-play role held by Howie Rose during select broadcasts.
“As we round the bases towards Spring Training, we’re proud to officially welcome Keith Raad and Pat McCarthy to our popular coverage of Mets baseball alongside Mets Hall of Famer Howie Rose,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “Once again, the Mets offseason has created anticipation and optimism for the 2023 Amazins’ and we’re looking forward to being the audio home for every moment on-air and digitally.”