Radio has dawned the sports world for many, many years. Families would come together into their living rooms, turn on the radio, and see what events have transpired during the day. Sports were always a major part of the world of radio in general and served as a primary source of entertainment for people to listen to. Many significant events have really been remembered and recalled from announcers who have called the games on the radio. Radio has been revered mostly during the 1980’s and present day 2016, and has covered multiple events in sports that have changed history. First let’s start out with talking about the events impacted by radio in the 1980’s.
During the 1980’s, many sports occasions have been covered by radio. Back then hockey and soccer events had been important in the sports world and were tuned in by many radio listeners around the world. For starters, one of the most talked about, most recalled event that people remember to this day by everyone was called “The Miracle On Ice”. This event took place on February 22, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York when the U
nited States of America faced off against the powerhouse hockey time of the era back then, the USSR. The US were the underdogs in the game, and were expected to lose. All of that changed when, on the radio, announcers Al Michaels and Ken Dryden had called the play of the era when the USA had scored with just 10 minutes left in the third period to win over the Soviet giants 4-3. This event was recognized by everyone in the US for years to come, and next was another event that was significant.
During the mid-1980’s, “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky dawned his presence on the ice to accomplish two of the most historic accomplishments in his immortal career. First was on December 30, 1981 when Gretzky scored five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers, recording his historic 50th goal in 39 games, which crushed the previous record holder Maurice “Rocket” Richard in 1945. This event was called by Rod Phillips at the time. The other significant event that really impacted sports radio in the 1980’s was when Gretzky recorded his 215 point of the regular season, which was the fourth time he had accomplished that feat of breaking 200 points which is an NHL record that is still intact today. In addition to that, one other important event shocked the world on the radio.
In the soccer world, one event really stood out among many others. The day that Diego Armando Maradona dawned his presence on the soccer pitch, he accomplished so many incredible feats. One of the most iconic moments in sports radio history that people recall today as “The Goal Of The Century” was back in 1986 between Argentina and England in the World Cup. This event occurred when Maradona took the ball on his own from the center of the pitch, all the way to the opponents goal. This event was announced on the radio by Spanish commentator Victor Hugo Morales on June 22, 1986.
Now these sporting events really impacted sports radio back then. Now in the year 2015-2016, sports radio has really mimicked what was done back then in 1980.
During this year, many sporting events were again impacted immensely by radio commentary and announcing. Way back in 2015, when the Chicago Blackhawks won their third Stanley Cup in the last 6 seasons, they were labeled a dynasty through many play-by-play radio commentators. This event occurred on June 15, 2016 when the Blackhawks played against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The commentators who had called this game on the radio were John Wiedman, Eddie Olczyk, and Pat Foley, on WGN Radio – 720 AM. The Blackhawks ended up winning the series, 4-2. Another event that is happening this year is the Fall classic, the 2016 MLB World Series.
This year the stage has all eyes on the National League Champion, Chicago Cubs versus the American League Champion, Cleveland Indians. This began on October 25, 2016 and runs all the way through the November 2, 2016 and is currently being broadcast on the radio mainly by Pat Hughes. This is a significant event because both teams are battling to break the post-season curses that have dawned upon their franchises for many years. The Cubs are trying to break a 108-year drought
without a title, while the Indians are working to break a 71-year drought. The radio has really impacted this series because many people will tune in to listen to the game if they are unable to watch it on television. Finally, the last event that occurred in 2015-2016 had impacted radio internationally.
Over this past summer, from June to July, the European tournament, the UEFA Euro 2016 was held in France. On July 10, 2016, the final between hosts France and Portugal were dominated by radio announcers calling the game. The announcers who called the game were Ian Darke, Taylor Twellman, John Champion, and Kate Margraf. This was also being covered all over Europe in France and in Portugal. This was an exciting game for fans to listen to on the radio with Portugal eventually winning and upsetting the French, 1-0. Many people tuned in to see and hear this game being played and really impacted radio today.
All in all, sports radio has in some ways, changed and in other ways when looking at radio in the 1980’s to today in 2015-2016, it has stayed the same. It honestly all depends on how a person would view this. Sports radio will continue to thrive and improve in the future, but for now, it is still thriving in the Golden Age of Radio.