Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OSU Football

Tomorrow night, Ohio State opens it's 2010 season against Marshall. The game will now be carried on television and one AM/FM combination radio station.

There was a time when just about anyone who had a microphone and a transmitter could broadcast the games from the Shoe. Prior to the 1973 season when WTVN was awarded sole rights to home OSU games, WBNS, WBBY, WVKO, WMNI, WRFD and WOSU all had play by play announcers describing the X's and O's from the Shoe's pressbox.

While the WBNS ad shows Ted Mullins, 1973 would be the first and last year for Ted broadcasting the games. Prior to Ted taking the microphone, the calls were handled by Bill Corley with color provided by Bob Adkins, Irwin Johnson and Les Spencer.  Sherry Wood's "Citizen Journal" radio column described some of the letters she received from readers who were less than happy with Corley missing from Saturday afternoons and replaced with Mullins. Corley and Adkins as well as Irwin Johnson when games were play at home and Les Spencer when the games were away in the early years were probably the most listened to of all announcers.

Another who made the gridiron calls at that time was the late Ed Johnson of WRFD. While Ed was known to central Ohioans as the voice of agricultural broadcasting, he also did a year or two behind the microphone doing play by play with his rural drawl. For WRFD's final season to broadcast the Buckeyes, 1972, Stan Savran was brought in. And by the end of the season, management had invited him to move on as WTVN was awarded exclusive home broadcast rights. Savran's talents would no longer be needed.

Back to Ed Johnson for a moment. Ed also broadcast many high school basketball games on WRFD's sister station WNCI and was also sports director for both stations. I personally don't remember Ed on WNCI. But I simply can't picture in my mind Ed, with his rural tone and drawl, giving sports reports on a progressive rock FM station.

Back to OSU. Martin Petree manned the mic for WMNI and for the few years that WBBY carried the games it was Joe Hill. Not to be forgotten was WVKO/WSPO. Station president Bert Charles was the play by play announcer. If I recall, it was OSU sports information director Marv Holman who did the play by play by WOSU. He later would join WTVN along with Dayton broadcaster Tom Hamlin when Dale Conquest left. That arrangement lasted until the 1976 season when Ken Coleman and Bob Conners occupied the press box.


Chuck said...

Well, one correction. Joe Hill nver did football for WMNI, it was Jim Martin. Joe did do football for WTVN early 60's, WMNI, and then somewhere in the mid 60's Joe did Collor wit Bert Charles, who always did the game since WVKO FM came on the air in 1948 followed by AM in 1951. Bob Wagner did te games before Ed Johson and was very good. I would love to get any old Joe Hill recordings, he was a class act as were all the nme mentioned above, Chuck Columbus

Anonymous said...

I remember listening to Ohio State games with my father on WOSU AM with Marv Holman for several years which I thought was in the 50's.

I also remember my father asking about UHF converters because he read that some OSU games were going to be televised on channel 34. TVs back then only went to channel 13. Living in the downtown area, I walked to the Olsen's Electronis store on High St and bought the converter. Picture wasn't too sharp, though.