The St. Louis Blues have not had one or two voices for their broadcasts through their history. However, they have been a model of consistency in the grand scheme of things.
The St. Louis Blues are not exactly a team that has THE voice that everyone knows or loves. The team has had its fair share of different broadcasters over the years.
The person you think of as the voice of the Blues depends on who you grew up with. For me, it will always be Ken Wilson. For many, Dan Kelly is the one that got them into hockey.
Some people think John Kelly is the voice of the Blues. Still more hear Chris Kerber and know it’s time to drop the puck or bring out the zamboni.
Famous names like Jack Buck even called a few Blues games. However, despite the number of different broadcasters the team has had, they have treated them all well for the most part. The Blues have avoided messy breakups with one major exception.
The reason this idea even comes about is the Carolina Hurricanes are releasing their radio voice, Chuck Kaiton. Kaiton was the only radio broadcaster the franchise had ever known. He started with the Hartford Whalers when they joined the league and then continued on to Carolina.
However, Kaiton was only released as a cost cutting measure. The brass in Carolina basically said radio is a dying medium, fans don’t listen and having multiple broadcasters cost too much money.
As a broadcaster myself, this irritates me to no end. TV and radio broadcasts are a vastly different thing. That’s something the bean counters and pencil pushers do not understand. They think it’s just someone talking about a game, but it’s not something every Joe Schmo can do.
Reading the article linked above made me quite angry. The only thing in Blues history it reminded me of was the release of Ken Wilson.
That made me mad at the time because he was the man that got me into broadcasting. I loved the fact that he could take a meaningless game against an Eastern Conference team in January and make it exciting. Some say he overdid it, but I can’t help but smile every time I hear “Oh Baby!” on the radio lead ins or videos.
However, at least I learned to understand Wilson’s departure. There were rumors that the team wanted him to be at practices and be a more visual part of the team. Apparently, Wilson only wanted to show up to the games and then go home. Understandable from his part, but that’s not how it works these days. Teams want you to do it all.
Even if I disagree with the Blues decision then, at least it could be boiled down to a difference of opinion on what the job entailed. Employer/employee disagreements make sense for the loss of a job.
Other than that incident, the Blues have been lucky to avoid any such instances with their broadcasts. In fact, the team tried simulcasts while Wilson was here to mixed results. Basically Wilson would call the game like normal and then his TV and radio partners would fill in the gaps. It was up to them to only talk around the same amount of time.
While Wilson himself did a decent job, it just does not make for a good broadcast. If you only have one pair of broadcasters, then you are describing replays to people that cannot see them. If you have a color broadcaster for each, then how much are you really saving by cutting out a play-by-play guy?
Also, not every person takes in each medium. What is wrong with having them know one person as the voice? Even if there are only 2000 people listening on the radio, why do you have to subject them to a television broadcast over the radio?
Perhaps I am too close to the situation to understand it. People lose jobs all the time, but when you know that it is not for performance issues, it touches a certain nerve.
Thankfully, the Blues have avoided those situations for the most part. I still wish we had Ken Wilson back, no offense to John Kelly. I’ll live with that situation over some lame cost-cutting excuse any day though.