By Jared Greenleaf
Sports Editor, @CDTjared
Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:12 PM
Q: You’ve been broadcasting for nearly 40 years now. Take me through how you got started in sports broadcasting. Was it something you always wanted to do?
Grisdale: I believe it all goes back to my childhood, growing up in Cheboygan with three brothers in a neighborhood full of kids. Sports were a big part of our lives — collecting baseball cards, listening to (Detroit) Tiger baseball on the radio, playing basketball at the VanSickle’s court, organizing a kickball league at the Bell Telephone lot, putting together our own Summer Olympic games, Wiffle ball in our backyard, etc. I usually tried to keep a scorebook while listening to high school basketball games on WCBY as well as the Coaches Corner program on Saturday mornings. We would listen with my dad to Loren James and Bob Martin broadcast the Chiefs and the (Cheboygan Catholic) Eagles. Some of the older boys from the neighborhood were players on those teams. I have plenty of great memories playing football and basketball in high school. When it came time to go to college, I chose to major in communications at Central Michigan University, pursuing a career in broadcasting. I dreamed of becoming the next Ernie Harwell, George Blaha, Bob Ufer, or Bruce Martin. At CMU, I was able to get plenty of on-air experience on student stations. Thanks to Del Reynolds, I was able to work at the Cheboygan radio stations whenever I came home over the holidays and during the summer. I volunteered to do anything they needed including being the disc jockey for the overnight or weekend shifts, be board operator for the Tiger games, record commercials, remote broadcasts, etc.
Q: Do you recall covering your first Cheboygan High School sporting event? How nervous were you?
Grisdale: My first sports broadcast was actually at college when I was able to cover Chippewa baseball, football and women’s basketball games on the the student radio station. The first time doing a Cheboygan game was in the early 80s over Christmas break when Greg O’Connor asked me to travel with him to the Sault to help him with the Chiefs basketball game. When I graduated college, my first full-time radio job was at a station in Marshall. I did the morning show and handled Albion High School football and Albion College football in the fall, along with Marshall girls basketball. In the winter, I would broadcast Marshall boys basketball. After a year, I took a job in Cheboygan and did some high school sports as part of my radio duties for a couple years. In 1987, after returning from being out of radio for a year in Houston, I was back in Cheboygan doing radio full-time, including high school games and becoming the new host of Coaches Corner. I was more excited than nervous, considering it a great privilege to be in that role that I used to treasure as a young boy. I have always taken great pride in supporting the student athletes and their efforts, knowing that they work hard and want to do their best. They are not professionals, they are 16, 17 and 18 year olds. Plus, being a registered basketball official for over 36 years gives me another perspective and you won’t hear me harp on the referees too much!
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