B.J. Walters has experienced nearly everything as a sports broadcaster. He’s covered high school football in Texas. He’s covered baseball in a prestigious summer league. He’s served as the basketball voice of an NCAA Division II university.
And now, the Pennsylvania native, is in Yankton.
Walters began his duties in last month to serve as sports director at KVHT-FM and KVTK-AM/FM for 5 Star Communications in Yankton. He will serve as the voice of Yankton High School athletics, in addition to other duties at the downtown station.
He answered a few questions from the Press & Dakotan.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and where your radio career has taken you?
I was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, but only lived there for three months. I began my career in radio as a 14-year-old freshman at Groesbeck High School in Texas when I was invited to do a football prediction show in Texas. That became the opportunity to host the football radio halftime show and serve as color analyst for high school basketball broadcasts on KYCX Radio in Mexia, Texas. After a decade covering high school sports in Texas, I left Texas to serve as Director of Broadcasting for the Rockford Rivets Baseball Club of the Northwoods Summer Collegiate Baseball League in Rockford, Illinois. From there I was named “Voice of Bemidji State Beaver basketball” for one season before moving over to the other station in Bemidji, Minnesota, for almost two years.
Was there one moment you remember where you realized, ‘This is what I want to do for a career?’
There was, actually. I had the opportunity to go to (at the time) Reliant Stadium in Houston to serve as spotter for two state championship football broadcasts just after beginning college. My dear friend, Lonnie King, told me to put the headset on while Katy High School entered the field just prior to kickoff. When they did, the noise was absolutely deafening — some 35,000 Tiger fans as loud as you could ever imagine. It was in that moment, feeling that atmosphere from the booth, that I knew this was my calling.
Where does your passion for sports broadcasting come from?
I just feel that I’m in a wonderful position with working in sports. I remember traveling home after a football game in 2012 with a sportswriter friend of mine, Byron Riddle, and we stopped to get gas just as the news came on over the radio. It was one depressing story after another, and I looked at him and said, “We are pretty fortunate to do what we do.” The stories we get to tell are of student-athletes and games, and it serves as an escape from the real world. Another friend of mine, Tom Lucas, says it best: “Sports matter because they don’t.” He’s absolutely right because sports are that escape for a lot of people, so I want to make those two or three hours of game broadcast time as enjoyable as possible for the listener.
What about the position here in Yankton really interested you?
Certainly, the opportunity to do sports in a town about the same size as Bemidji intrigued me a lot. Once I visited Yankton, I quickly realized how crazy this town is about their sports, and that made it an easy decision for me. The other thing I noticed was how welcoming the people here are, so it really felt like the perfect fit for me.
What are you looking forward in your role in Yankton?
I’m really looking forward to telling the stories of these games and the student-athletes of Yankton High School athletics and the surrounding schools as well. I also really appreciate the tradition that the Bucks and Gazelles programs have. It’s just a wonderful opportunity.
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