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How Steve Baker Became Voice of the Redhawks

Jason Barrett

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With less than two hours remaining before kickoff, the busiest person at Yager Stadium isn’t wearing pads or holding a whistle.

That designation belongs to Miami University’s fire-eating music man of a play-by-play announcer whose voice has appeared on stage and in Oscar-winning films.

For almost three decades, Steve Baker has served as the “Voice of the RedHawks,” primarily calling Miami football and men’s basketball. He’s also been Miami’s broadcasting director since 2001, overseeing all media production for the athletic department.

“I like the chaos,” said Baker. “It puts a lot of stress on you, but it’s what makes the job fun.”

Before uttering a word over the loudspeaker, Baker sets up the stadium’s PA system, checks all video equipment and hosts a donor function in the parking lot. It’s a daunting schedule. This Saturday, he’ll oversee a volleyball production after the football game against Akron University.

This multi-faceted role falls in line with a broadcasting career that was completely unexpected.

“I got into radio totally by accident,” said Baker. “I do enjoy it because I like painting that picture for people.”

Baker left his hometown of Brookville, Ind. in 1977 to become a music instructor. He entered Miami as a 30 instrument-playing singer, but his college experience was short-lived. After eight weeks on campus, his mother fell ill and lost her leg, and Baker returned home to his family.

He began working at WOXY-FM, an Oxford station that was making little impression as an automated Top 40 station in a college community.

“The owner of the station said it had a negative 10 rating,” said Baker. “Nobody listened and 10 people hated it.”

The station’s staff surveyed Miami’s campus and began crafting a playlist that reflected the students’ tastes, leading to 97X, one of America’s first modern rock stations.

“Our first core artists were Madonna, Prince, U2,” said Baker. “There were literally hundreds of bands that we broke. It was a sound that caught on.”

The format went on to earn national accolades, including four placements on Rolling Stone’s reader poll of best American radio stations. It also led to Baker’s 15 seconds of national fame when actor Dustin Hoffman imitated Baker’s 97X station ID in 1988’s highest-grossing film, Rain Man.

97X’s broadcasting deal with Miami athletics allowed Baker to develop a sports broadcasting career that began in the early 1980s with high school sports in Indiana, Virginia and Florida. Starting as an audio engineer, Baker rose to football and basketball announcing by the late 1980s and held the role until 1997, when Miami took over production of radio broadcasts and hired another announcer.

This led to a seven-year absence from announcing that was born out of Baker’s loyalty to 97X.

“I didn’t feel like it was honest to the radio station to work there and then go announce,” Baker said.

To read the rest of this article visit The Miami Student which is where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Peterlin Takes Over Night Show On 92.3 The Fan

“”Being the guy that you turn on after a day of listening to Ken and Anthony or Andy and Jeff or Nick and Dustin is truly an honor and a privilege. I won’t take that for granted.””

Jordan Bondurant

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92.3 The Fan in Cleveland now has a permanent host for its nightly show in Jonathan Peterlin.

Peterlin wrote in a post for the Audacy station’s website on Tuesday that his show will be called Overtime with Jonathan Peterlin and will air each night starting at 7 p.m.

“This is a dream job,” he said. “Being the guy that you turn on after a day of listening to Ken and Anthony or Andy and Jeff or Nick and Dustin is truly an honor and a privilege. I won’t take that for granted.”

Peterlin had been the afternoon update anchor at 92.3 The Fan since 2016, even hosting on weekends and on a fill-in basis. Prior to that, he spent three years in a similar role at Yahoo Sports Radio.

He wrote that listeners in Cleveland will not need an introduction or reintroduction to who he is.

“You know me and I know you,” he said. “We’ve spent the past nearly 7 years getting to know each other on a daily basis…We were there for each other. Along the way I hope that I’ve earned your trust. Through the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs.”

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Sports Radio News

Layoffs Hit Pro Football Focus

“The reduction in workforce comes less than 18 months after securing a $50 million investment from Silver Lake.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Pro Football Focus has laid off 16 employees, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

The reduction in workforce comes less than 18 months after securing a $50 million investment from Silver Lake.

The company, which Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth owns a majority, still employs just over 200 people.

NFL reporter Doug Kyed was among the layoffs. Kyed had been at PFF since July 2021.

Additionally, 11 interns were also let go.

While PFF remains popular and profitable from a football analytics perspective, there had been a shift since the Silver Lake investment into attracting more sports betting and fantasy football customers. The FOS report indicated a chunk of the $50 million funding was used to develop an iPhone app.

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Sports Radio News

Laurence Holmes: Tim Jenkins Twitter Beef With Mike North Proves The Score Has Gotten Smarter

“Where now every show has a film guy. Like we’re not just out here just guessing. To a certain extent we are, but we go get confirmation and information from people who are smarter than us.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Former NFL quarterback Tim Jenkins had an interesting back and forth on Twitter with former 670 The Score host Mike North over Bears quarterback Justin Fields. Jenkins broke down a piece of film from Chicago’s game against Green Bay on Sunday, saying he didn’t agree with the notion that Fields doesn’t go through his progressions and is more of a runner.

North disagreed, saying wide receiver Dante Pettis was wide open on that particular play, and that Fields missed him.

Jenkins responded, saying North’s take was “not intellectually honest.”

In his weekly appearance on Bernstein & Holmes on The Score, Jenkins talked about the exchange not knowing North’s connection to the station.

“There’s a radio guy up there, Mike North, he was real mad,” Jenkins said. “And I tried to handle it gently because like listen, the first thing in his bio was he was born in 1952. And if my grand-pappy is on Twitter roasting somebody, I hope to handle them gently. And I tried to.”

Host Laurence Holmes said it was truly a meta moment for their show and the station. He talked about how having access to a guy like Jenkins is a sign the station, like many others have done across the country, have grown with the game.

“It speaks to the evolution of this radio station,” Holmes said. “Where now every show has a film guy. Like we’re not just out here just guessing. To a certain extent we are, but we go get confirmation and information from people who are smarter than us.”

The discussion turned to the evolution of the quarterback position in the NFL, and Holmes noted that there are some who just don’t recognize that the game has changed and called for a quarterback to be able to throw accurately but pick up yards and keep plays going with their legs.

“I’m here for the nuance, but people continue to ignore what is a trend,” Holmes said. “And I don’t mean that as a pejorative. The trend in the NFL is dual-threat quarterbacks. Look up and down the rosters.”

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