Thursday Q & A: Brewers Radio Announcer Cory Provus
As something of a closer to our Brewers coverage for this season, at least until the Hot Stove League action heats up, our guest today is Brewers radio announcer Cory Provus. Cory has been broadcasting alongside Pocket Doppler Patron Saint Bob Uecker since the 2009 Brewers season. Cory shares with us how he got into broadcasting, what it’s like working with Bob Uecker, the difficulties of handling much of the 2010 season on his own and more in this edition of the Thursday Q & A.
So how did you get here, not just announcing for the Brewers but into the business in general?
I think if you ask my friends and family, this is what I have always wanted to do. I had a passion for sports for as long as I can remember. As a kid I played everything. Baseball in the summer. Basketball/Tennis in the winter. I even tried football in middle school, but at 5-1, 125 lbs, that didn’t last long.
Anyway, my cousin has been calling the Dallas Cowboys for over 30 years. When I was old enough to realize what he did for a living, I just kind of knew that this is what I wanted to do. I got my first big break in high school when I won a job as a reporter on “Schoolyard Jam.” It was a monthly newsmagazine show focusing on high school athletics that aired on SportsChannel Chicago. From there it was off to Syracuse University and then I bounced around a good bit in the south (Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama) for several years following graduation. My first year of Major League Baseball was in 2007 with the Cubs.
Which announcers have influenced you most as you have moved forward in your career?
I am fortunate to say that many peers/advisors have helped me reach this point in my career. Again, my cousin, Brad Sham, had a huge influence on me as a kid and that continues today. Bill Roth (Virginia Tech), Wes Durham (Georgia Tech), and Stan Cotton (Wake Forest) were the guys I went to with everything from getting better at broadcasting games to weighing job offers. I like getting feedback from a variety of people. That’s advice I pass along to students today. Send your tape/reel to as many people as possible so that you get perspective from multiple minds. This is such a subjective business. One person may love what you do and how you sound. However, someone else may think the exact opposite. Thick skin is a must in this field. If you’re one who can’t take criticism…do something else.
Sorry if I got off track there. Recently, people like Pat Hughes and Len Kasper have been instrumental in my professional life. Without my two years of watching/studying how those guys prepare and call a game, I wouldn’t be in this position.
How do you prepare for a game, or do you focus on preparing for the series more so than individual games?
For a 7:10 game at Miller Park, I normally arrive at around 3:00. However, my game preparation begins in the morning. First thing I do when I wake up is break out the computer and read the newspaper. I’ll read both the Journal Sentinel and our opponents’ newspaper right away. It’s vital that I know how our opponent faired the night before and if anyone got injured that will impact the upcoming game. I’ll go back and study a few other things throughout the day, but really focus in when I get to the ballpark. I always spend time with the other announcers, but make it a point to visit the Brewers’ clubhouse every day.
Now anyone who has done even a little bit of research on you knows that your team growing up was the Cubs. Do you find yourself torn when calling the Brewers v. Cubs games?
This was a popular topic last year and I completely understood why. Look, I grew up in the Chicagoland area. It’s not like I was raised in Mequon and picked the Cubs over the Brewers. My grandfather was a Cubs fan. My father still is a Cubs fan and that’s the way my brother and I were raised. However, in the 2 years of calling Brewers games, there has never been a moment where I wanted the Cubs to beat the ‘Crew. There have been some dramatic moments too. When I was hired I knew that many people weren’t happy about it, and I completely understood. I will never fault people for being passionate about their team or about life in general. I certainly am. I was asking people to give me a chance. If I’ve been able to change some opinions…great.
I promise this will be the only Bob Uecker question, but seeing as our blog is called Pocket Doppler after one of his bits I’m obligated to do so, what’s it like working with Uecker?
When I got this job, Jim Powell told me that nobody in baseball has more fun than what you experience in the Brewers radio booth on a daily basis. You know what…he’s 100% correct. Working alongside Bob Uecker is an absolute blast. Bob is quick to make fun of his playing career, but the guy just understands the game. As a former catcher he just sees/calls the game from a unique perspective. When I got this job, Pat Hughes gave me a great piece of advice…”stay loose.”
OK, maybe one more Uecker question but more in the peripheral. You had to handle pretty much all the duties for the majority of the season while Uecker was on the mend from heart surgery, which for the record I think you did an amazing job with. How tough was that?
Doing all 9-innings was a challenge but certainly one that I will never complain about. If I start complaining about calling 9-innings of Major League Baseball than I need to do something else. My preparation doesn’t change if I’m calling 3 innings or 9. The key is taking care of yourself. I eat right, exercise, and try and get plenty of rest.
What’s the future of “Brewers Weekly,” the off-season show that was aired weekend afternoons in January and February? It bridged the gap between the Packers season and the start of the exhibition season, sating the appetite of Brewers fans. Will this show continue?
Yes, Brewers Weekly airs on Thursday nights from 8-9 pm on WTMJ-620AM. We have fun with it. We try and grab a couple of players/coaches each week to talk Brewers, but also try and cover other topics throughout the game.
What does the off-season hold for you? Do you call games elsewhere, perhaps in different sports?
Well, my off-season plans have nothing to do with broadcasting for awhile. I am getting married in December, so that is where my focus is at right now. I have plenty of IOU’s to cash in after a long season. I’ll fill-in on TMJ a little bit, but for now just spend plenty of time with family and friends.
…and now for the lighting round.
Your all-time favorite athlete is:
Grew up in Chicago so it has to be Michael Jordan
Your favorite sports blog to read that is:
Yours of course…
If there were no sports to announce, you would doing:
Writing a Book
If you were a pro athlete, your sport & position would be:
Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a _____________ for taking the time to answer these questions.
As always, a big thank you to Cory for joining us for today’s Q & A and for making this Summer a bit more bearable by keeping us company out on our decks and in our backyards while we listened to the Brewers. Also an early congratulation to Cory on his upcoming nuptials and we all look forward to listening to him come next Spring.
Would you like to be the guest for a PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A? Let us know!