Have A Good Night Everybody

A big “thank you” to our Secondary Editorial Voice(tm), for handling things in what ended up being over a one month long hiatus.

We’ll have a much larger item with other news nuggets a little later today, but this one’s for Joe Tait.

We’ve gotten a small taste of what Cleveland Cavaliers basketball on the radio sounds like without Tait, but unfortunately, that’ll become a permanent meal after tonight.

Yes, Joe Tait…who has been the NBA team’s radio voice almost continuously since a few games after its 1970 start (give or take Ted Stepien’s ownership and a recent health battle), calls his very last Cavaliers game this evening, the Cavs’ final home contest of the 2010-2011 season.

Tait’s last call will bump the Cleveland Indians game on many Cavaliers Radio Network affiliates that carry both. The Cavs website says the game airs on WTAM/1100, which presumably would push the Indians to WMMS/100.7, though the Indians’ page on tonight’s game with a 7:05 PM ET start against the Angels in Anaheim says it’ll be on WTAM as well.

UPDATE 4/13/11 11:07 AM: WTAM news anchor Tom Moore, an OMW reader, tells us that Tait’s last call will indeed be on WTAM, with the Indians camped out on WMMS for the evening.

And we know Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron is bumping the Tribe entirely for one night.

We’ll assume after a control board meltdown at Quicken Loans Arena, which interrupted part of the game with the Detroit Pistons along the entire Cavaliers Radio Network Monday night (we heard WTAM’s Bob Frantz explaining the problem to listeners), they’ll have roughly 20 backup systems in place tonight, assuring that Joe Tait’s last game will be heard in its entirety.

And TV audiences will also get a helping of Tait.

Fox Sports Ohio has announced that in the second half of tonight’s game, it “will feature the commentary of long time Hall of Fame radio voice of the Cavs Joe Tait as he calls the game live. The network will also weave in comments by FOX Sports Ohio broadcasters Austin Carr and Fred McLeod.”

We’ll check in to hear how the TV folks handle it, but really, this game is best heard on the radio, with no TV picture, with Joe Tait painting a word picture so good that a certain blind former Cavaliers owner depended on that call as his window into the games.

But there’s still a reason to join FSOhio tonight, as the Cavaliers’ regional TV network partner airs “Have a Good Night Everybody” immediately following the game. Quoting a press release:

This one-hour special will relive many memories and stories surrounding Tait as we celebrate his 39-year long career with the Cavs.

FSOhio says the show will repeat (in HD) Thursday at 7 PM, and will re-air “throughout the rest of the month”.

Tributes to Tait are pouring in from all over the local media.

Akron Beacon Journal columnist Rich Heldenfels says Tait “might be the best basketball play-by-play man I have ever heard.”

The Canton Repository’s Mike Popovich has a nice collection of reactions from other broadcasters who have worked with Tait.

And the Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto had a nice column when the team honored Tait late last week.

Our blogging colleague Tim Lones over at Cleveland Classic Media shares some of his memories and thoughts about Joe’s career.

And Joe Tait, long a friend of local amateur sports and local radio, won’t walk away from the microphone entirely.

Those wanting a Tait fix will be able to find his voice on SportsTime Ohio in the fall, as he continues to serve as the TV voice of the Mount Union Purple Raiders Division III football team, long a powerhouse program.

And he’ll probably pick up a Cloverleaf High School game or two, and drop in on local stations like Dix country/sports WQKT/104.5 Wooster, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria and Rubber City Radio’s WAKR.

It seems a bit early to talk about the future of Cavaliers Radio without Joe Tait, but we’ll place an early bet on WTAM sports director Mike Snyder and ex-Cavaliers star Jim Chones returning to the booth for the 2011-2012 NBA season…

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2 Responses to Have A Good Night Everybody

  1. Tim Lones says:

    OMW:
    Don’t mean to hijack here, but I had some thoughts on Joe for the Cleveland Classic Media Blog..

    http://clevelandclassicmedia.blogspot.com/2011/04/have-good-life-joe-tait.html

  2. Secondary Editorial Voice (tm) says:

    The Indiana Pacers’ radio voice Mark Boyle posted a wonderful tribute to Joe on his blog. Mike Snyder read it on-the-air to conclude the pregame show tonight:

    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/blog_boyle.html

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