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Possibility of empty big house, means more pressure for Wolverines radio voice

If fans won't be allowed at Michigan stadium, Jim Brandstatter knows he's got to be at his best to give them the action they can't see.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — As we get closer to start of the college football season in Ann Arbor, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t the only one who is feeling the pressure.

“It will be our most important and most difficult year,” says long time Michigan radio broadcaster Jim Brandstatter.

The 69-year-old East Lansing native has been around the Michigan Football team for over 40 years. You may not know his face but if you’re a wolverines fan, you definitely know how he sounds.”

“If you love your job, you don’t work a day in your life,” he says with a smile.   

He’s the most important voice in a stadium of over a 100 thousand voices. He’s an artist at using his words to capture the action to listeners at home.. However this year, Brandstatter and his broadcast crew could be operating under very different circumstances. 

“Without question,” he explains. “If there are no fans in the stadium, Dan Dierdorf (Michigan’s radio analyst) and I have to be their eyes and their emotions and their voices as we watch Michigan football.”

 Due to the ongoing pandemic, the chance of playing games without fans is a very real possibility. If that happens, Brandstatter admits he’s not sure how good the broadcast is going to sound. 

“I really don’t know yet because I’ve never done it like that. We’re all in brand new uncharted territory in that regard.” 

In the old days of radio when teams would hit the road, announcers would actually call the game from a studio and then use sound effects to enhance their broadcast. The crack of the bat,- crack-yup that was from a pencil. They would also pump in crowd noise too for that big time feel. Silence in radio was bad then and it’s still bad now. Which is way all these years later, there’s talk of fake noise making a comeback in broadcasts across the country. 

“Personally that’s not one of my big things. It adds a phoniness to the event. Folks at home aren’t stupid,” Brandstatter says. 

A college football game without fans certainly wouldn’t be ideal but considering the circumstances, Brandstatter says it would at least be something to cheer about. 

“Because we have not been normal of late, getting back to that would be comforting for the people out there. 

And while Brandstatter will miss seeing the fans, he promises they won’t let them miss any of the action.


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