Chuck Swirsky is the radio play-by-play man for the Chicago Bulls. You can hear him on WMVP AM 1000. Swirsky came to Chicago in 1979, where he was a sportscaster on WCFL. He then joined WGN radio AM 720 in late 1981. He stayed there until 1994. Swirsky then left WGN for Detroit WJR, where he became Sports Director. Swirsky left there in 1998 to become the play-by-play guy on tv and radio for the Toronto Raptors. He was with the Raptors for ten years, and has been with the Bulls for five.
While he was with WGN he also did play-by-play for DePaul. Swirsky also did Chicago Bears, and Cubs pre and post, as well as Northwestern football for the old SportsChannel television station. He also did morning drive talk radio with Bob Collins and Wally Phillips. While he worked in Detroit, he covered the Tigers, Red Wings and University of Michigan basketball and football.
Chuck Swirsky on journalism role models and journalists he admires:
“At WGN I shared an office with John Drury. He was a man of great integrity. I wish he were alive today so I could tell him how much I appreciate the time he took to teach me about radio and television. I loved the passion of Harry Caray, he brought it every single day. In Chicago, those two individuals were extremely important, as I kept my mouth shut and just observed, learned and listened.
Ernie Harwell, a Hall of Fame baseball announcer with the Tigers, was extremely influential in my life and we stayed in touch. I spoke to him a few weeks before he died, he left an indelible mark on my life. Joe Tait was a longtime broadcaster for the Cavaliers. During my college days at Ohio University I had an internship at the NBC affiliate in Northeastern Ohio, he was great. He took me under his wing.
When I was a young boy I lived in Baltimore during the summers, and I stayed with a family and the gentleman was Vince Bagli. He was the Sports Director at WBAL channel 11 in Baltimore, and he was an incredible talent. He was very close with Brooks Robinson, Johnny Unitas, members of the old Baltimore Bullets who are now the Washington Wizards, so here I am as a kid just taking this all in, and the dots connect and the universe got bigger as my life expanded.”
Chuck Swirsky advice to young broadcasters breaking in:
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing anchoring work, producing, play-by-play, always be yourself and have your own style. Don’t try to mimic anyone; there’s too much of that going on. My advice to young people is, it doesn’t matter if it’s Amarillo Texas, or if its Pensacola, Florida- just go on the air and get it done, make mistakes. Do news, do sports, be a rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey, just get on the air and get it out of your system.”
It was about 14 years, it was unbelievable with Mark Aguirre, Rod Strickland and Terry Cummings. It was indescribable, and you gotta remember that some of this was before the Michael Jordan era. They were drawing sell outs at the Rosemont Horizon, and it was indescribable to be intimately involved with that program the way I was. I can give you line by line all their NCAA tournament appearances. I can recall all this like it was yesterday and that’s a credit to what Depaul basketball was in those days.
There were so many story lines, great characters and the players were always accessible. And everyday it was fun, it wasn’t as homogenized as it is today. They probably should have won another Super Bowl. But there was too much turmoil going on with the quarterback position, through injury or Mike Ditka deciding he wanted to make some changes. Had McMahon stayed healthy, he want the greatest passer in the world, but he was the best leader. Had he been able to stay healthy I’m convinced that he would have been able to win at least one, if not two more Super Bowls. Then free agency came and they lost Wilber Marshall and the cracks started to show.
Chuck Swirsky on the state of sports talk radio:
Would I love to do sports talk radio in addition to doing the Bulls? Absolutely. But it hasn’t happened. Probably one of the greatest disappointments I’ve had in the five years I’ve been back is that I’ve not been able to get full time sports talk in addition to my Bulls duty. Because I believe I have a lot to offer. One of the biggest things when I was doing sports talk radio in Toronto, and we had really good numbers , when people would say do you trade Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, my standard answer is there are no untouchables in sports. But if you expect me to get on and play monopoly with players’ lives. Hypothetically, let’s throw out a trade, I’m not going there, all it is is fodder. I want real facts, I want it where we can have intelligent conversation, and we can have fun. Where we can not lower ourselves with sexual innuendo or vulgarity or name calling or means spirited conversation and at the same time we can have entertaining radio. And I believe we can accomplish that.”
Chuck Swirsky on Wikipedia
Chuck Swirsky on Twitter
Chuck Swirsky on YouTube
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net. (“Quasi-endorsed” by Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly) He’s also an author who contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker
Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. The NFL, NBA expert does a weekly spot for 95.7 The Fan. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks), like him on Facebook
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