Friday, June 01, 2007

Legendary Local Sports Voice Retires

When you've been doing something for a long, long time, and are good at it, that's when labels like "legendary" get applied to you and your work.

Thus, we haul out the word this morning, as today is the last day for veteran Canton radio sports director Jim Johnson, who's retiring from NextMedia news/talk WHBC/1480.

Johnson was born in Coshocton, and started his radio career back in 1964 in Miamisburg, Ohio. After stints in Indiana, and at Uhrichsville's WBTC/1540 and Akron's WCUE/1150, he spent 10 years as news and sports director of Alliance's WFAH/1310 (today's WDPN).

He started at WHBC in August, 1978, and has been doing sports there ever since, lending his voice not only to sports reports on the station's "Fred and Pam" morning show, but to literally THOUSANDS of high school and college football and basketball games.

And long-time local radio and sports watchers remember his stint doing radio for the Cleveland Cavailers in the late 80's and early 90's.

We'll leave it to folks like regular OMW reader Nathan Obral to remind us of the situation that brought Jim to doing the games...we seem to recall it was as a backup to another living sports broadcasting legend - Joe Tait - when Tait was doing the team's TV play-by-play, but we Could Be Wrong(tm).

Anyway, our hats off to Mr. Johnson, and we hope he enjoys his retirement...


Anonymous said...

Congrats to Jim Johnson and happy retirement! JJ is a true class act with much talent for a smaller market. It's hard to believe he never went bigger time because his talent certainly could've made that so. But he stayed true to Stark County and the regional sports teams and has been great to listen to for all these years.

Anonymous said...

JIm Johnson is a class act..both on the air and off..

When I interviewed in 1999 for a gig at WHBC, he was the first person I met while waiting in Amanda Wilson's office for the interview to start..

He was one of the best people I've ever heard on the air doing play by one can call basketball like he any level..if you ever got to hear he and Tait on the air together, it was fall down funny, listening to two old friends riff off each other..

And he is one of the best people off the air that I've ever known..his friendship is something I cherish..

Here's wishing you the best in your retirement..I hope you have many years to do exactly what it is you want to do..

Alan Zarek

Anonymous said...

OMW, you are correct.

Jim did Cavs' radio play-by-play during a time when Joe Tait was the TV voice of the Cavs. Only a limited number of games were televized, and when Joe handled those, Jim did the radio broadcast with terrific skill (and that marvelous voice).

I agree with anonymous 9:12AM...Jim certainly had the talent for the big time and it's easy to respect his dedication to the small market.

Anonymous said...

It was right in the middle of the Daugherty/Price/Nance/Hot Rod/Ehlo era.

WRMR 850 believe it or not actually had the radio rights then, and WOIO Fox 19 did about 15 games a year. (This was pre-Sports Channel/FSN).

Joe Tait still did the bulk of the radio games, but when 19 televised a game, Joe slid over to do TV and Jim Johnson did radio.

He certainly was a capable play by play guy, and if he had wanted to, he could have left to do radio for another team and had a very solid career.

But he was loyal to the Hall of Fame city and for that he deserves some kudos and salutations.

Tim Lones said...

cvozbtlpCongrats to JJ on his retirement. I had a story on Cleveland Classic Media about 10 days ago..with a link to Todd Porter's Repository article..

Jeff D. said...

As a fan of local high school football, JJ was always the voice of Friday nights. Although he is retiring from his full time gig, it sounded this morning as he may be doing some local games in the future. I sure hope so.

Best wishes JJ, you'll be missed.

For any of you in or near the Canton area, I urge you to pick up a copy of today's Repository. On the back of the sports section, is a full page of pictures and well wishes paid for by WHBC.

-Burris- said...

JJ is a benchmark for professionalism and class in sports journalism. Even in a smaller market like Stark Co. He has been the voice of sports around here for almost 30 years and we will all miss his broadcasts. Especially the high school football commentary.

Barry L. Ganoe said...

This is a special greeting to wish you a happy and healthy retirement. You are one of the best sportscasters in the business...period! I always enjoyed working with you while I was at WHBC 1480 AM. All the best to you and your family!

Barry L. Ganoe
Akron, Ohio

KevinGillman said...

J.J. was a truly nice guy and he deserves every kind os celebration that he gets. I know WHBC AM will miss him, but more importantly the radio community will miss him. Enjoy life J.J. because you deserve it my friend.

Kevin Gillman