Ad Spot

Ears tell you to be thankful

I know how much talent it takes to do his job, which is why I am so impressed with what he does.

I’ll tell you who I’m talking about in a moment.

First, I want to share my experience attempting to ply this person’s trade.

In the mid-90s, a good friend of mine, John Hannon, invited me to be his color commentator on a WIRO broadcast of a St. Joe Flyers football game.

“You love football,” John charmed. “It’ll be a piece of cake. I’ll call the game. You just fill in the gaps.”

The opportunity was too great to pass up. John gave me a once in a lifetime chance to do something I otherwise could not have experienced.

Needless to say, I was excited.

Then, as now, when I watched a ballgame on television or radio, the commentators continually filled my mind with information, painted pictures in my head, provided game strategies, and offered personal opinions about coaching decisions and facts I would have not have otherwise known or considered.

I had grand dreams of doing just that during my big break in the sports broadcasting industry.

And I was terrible!

John provided the play-by-play and did a good job following the action. Every now and then he would pause and cue me to speak.

Each time, my stomach turned as though I was breaking the Watergate scandal to the nation. More times than not, I said something stupid!

And John kept inviting me back for more games…mostly, I am now convinced, to make him look better.

During one game, quarterback Chuck Jones completed a nifty pass, about which I screamed the word “immaculate!” This over-exuberance earned a curious gaze down the press box from Tribune sports editor Jimmy Walker…and an admonishment from a buddy in the booth, Butch Chatfield.

“You don’t use the word ‘immaculate’ at a Catholic school football game,” Butch chided with a hard laugh.

Good point.

Needless to say, my broadcasting career was a very forgettable experience. St. Joe dropped its football program a few years later.

With coverage like mine, who could blame them?

And this is why I have so much respect for Clear Channel Communications broadcaster and Irontonian Jason Philyaw.

Gifted people are easy to recognize, but also easy to take for granted due to the ease with which they go about their business.

Tiger fans are blessed to have Jason as our voice on the airwaves. In him, we have a top-notch professional with a penchant for verbalizing observations and making listeners feel as though we are actually watching the game.

Listen to broadcast teams from other high schools and you’ll appreciate him even more. The man paints a great picture of the entire ballgame over the airwaves, whatever the sport.

During timeouts and halftime breaks, he is always loaded with information and readily passes it on to us for free. His objectivity is reminiscent of my all-time favorite sports broadcaster, Marty Brennaman.

If the Reds play poorly, Marty makes no excuses. Jason is the same in his analysis of the Tigers, albeit with a softer tone.

I’m not the only one who notices Jason’s tireless preparation and exceptional talent. Hopefully, I’m one of many who recognize him as a jewel in our community.

I know I speak for many Ironton fans when I say his work is greatly appreciated and very deserving of recognition.

My few experiences in the booth proved many things, a few of which are:

• Preparation is extremely important

• Observation must be verbalized

• Not everyone can do this job!

Ironton fans are lucky to have Jason Philyaw.


Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at