Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Kal spoke with 97.1 the Ticket’s Jeff Riger and Evan Jankens, appearing in a 48-minute-long “That Time When…” podcast. Kal discusses how he managed to land his job, his Stanley Cup party and more:
Update: From 97.1 the Ticket:
“I got hired at Michigan because I don’t think they had anybody to call their games when Red Berenson started there back in 1984. I never did a hockey game in my life. It was a challenge. I couldn’t keep up with the play, didn’t know the players, couldn’t describe them. So after five games I went up to our station manager and said, ‘You better get somebody else to do this because I can’t do it. I’m behind the play, don’t know who they are. I’m trying to learn their names.’ He goes, ‘Ken, I’ll be honest with you. You suck.’ But I knew it. He goes, ‘But listen, the team’s not going to be very good this year. Just keep working at it, and as you get better the team will get better and we’ll have a polished broadcast.’ I just think to this day that he didn’t have anybody else to do it.
“But that’s how I started, and I just kept working it. It’s something that didn’t come naturally to me. Some announcers it comes natural. For me, I had to really work at it. So what I did was, I took a tape recorder, taped the games and would just listen to them all week and try to break them down in segments. Just put a lot of hard work into it, and before you know it things started getting better.”