STATEside had the chance to chat with R.C. McBride ’99, known better to fans as the voice of the Illinois State University women’s basketball team.
We asked McBride about his time as the voice of the Redbirds and had him give the inside scoop on working as a play by play announcer for collegiate sports.
STATEside: How long have you been involved with Illinois State Athletics?
McBride: I attended ISU and graduated in 1999. While I was a student I covered games part-time for WJBC and for student media. My friends and I would also go to games just for fun.
STATEside: How did you become the voice of women’s basketball at Illinois State?
McBride: It started out as a role with WJBC. At the radio station I served for a while as a sports reporter and host. I actually got into broadcasting to be a sportscaster. I have been the play by play announcer since 1999. I’ve handled telecast for the Valley since 2004.
STATEside: What’s your favorite aspect serving as the play by play announcer for Illinois State?
McBride: I have met tremendous people through this role. The relationships you develop and build are what it’s all about.
STATEside: What will your role be during the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament?
McBride: It’ll be a mix of TV and radio. I’ll be doing the play by play for WJBC. In addition I am going to be serving as a half-time host and sideline reporter.
STATEside: What goes into calling the games?
McBride: I have always said that doing the play by play for games is 80 percent preparation. I memorize players, their backgrounds, and game histories. When I am calling the game on air I have to speak quickly and describe everything—detailing time remaining, score, who is touching the ball, etc. It requires keeping track of a large number of details and converting those details into information listeners can follow.
STATEside: What about TV?
McBride: TV and radio are two different animals. On radio I make sure to keep talking because you don’t want any dead air. With TV, viewers are seeing the game, including the clock and score, plus occasional stats, so you don’t have to describe everything. With TV you try to accentuate what fans are seeing.
STATEside: What can we expect to see the rest of the weekend?
McBride: The top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals, and that doesn’t always happen. I have no idea who will win the whole thing. But that’s why we go. Fans enjoy the story aspect of the tournament. No one can tell how the book will end.
Steven Barcus can be reached at srbarcu@IllinoisState.edu.