In episode 98 I chat with Bill Roth of ESPN. He is also a sportscasting professor at Virginia Tech, where he previously was the voice of the Hokies for 27 years. Topics of discussion include:
- When he gave up on the early childhood dream of being a firefighter and moved onto wanting to get into sportscasting.
- Recording Pittsburgh Pirates games into a tape recorder at Three Rivers Stadium.
- How knowing what he wanted to do at a young age helped his career.
- Why he chose Syracuse over Michigan State.
- Stories about some of the other great announcers at Syracuse as college students.
- Getting a break to call University of Marshall football right after college.
- The remarkable broadcasting heritage at Marshall.
- How an athletic directors promotion led to his break into major college broadcasting at Virginia Tech.
- Why Virginia Tech proved to be such a good fit.
- Weaving himself into the fabric of the Blacksburg community.
- The value of theater and improv classes.
- Working with the same analyst for 27 years.
- Why he developed the nickname “Wrong Way Roth.”
- Deciding not to travel with the team after the team plane left them behind in Oklahoma City.
- Making the difficult decision to leave Virginia Tech for UCLA and why it proved to be a bad fit on both sides.
- Not being the voice of a team after 28 years of doing so.
- Why it’s not hard to see someone else in his old spot after coming back to Virginia Tech.
- Working with a distinguished academic in building a sportscasting curriculum at Virginia Tech.
- What he tells his students regarding the balance of academics and getting real experience.
- Natural talent vs development in sportscasting students.
- Developing his voice without lessons.
- Why he values relationships over awards.
- Where he keeps his trophies and awards.
- Stories about covering Michael Vick in college.
- Why he loves music and playing the piano as much as sports.
- Calling a national championship game both in college at Syracuse and for Virginia Tech.
- His Jim Boeheim stories from his time at Syracuse and how it made him a better broadcaster.
- His broadcast horror stories.
- Broadcasters he likes to listen to on an off day.
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