New Era Set to Start for UCLA Bruins’ Sports Broadcasts

Three decades ago, I used to listen to Ken Minyard and Bob Arthur on KABC radio’s Ken and Bob Company weekday morning show. The show, basically news, features, and comedy, included a few sports news breaks and commentary, reported by a sports reporter who seemed to possess neither an adequate knowledge of any of the sports upon which he reported, nor the smooth, fluent speech of a competent, professional announcer. Also at that time, UCLA basketball and football featured the great voice and competent descriptions of play-by-play announcer John Rebenstorf.

Unfortunately, Rebenstorf suffered from extremely serious heart problems, and had suffered two heart attacks, the first at the young age of 28. In 1992, Rebenstorf had his second heart bypass surgery, but a day later, on August 10, he went into cardiac arrest and died at the age of 41. With the UCLA football season set to begin shortly thereafter, the athletic department scrambled to find a replacement for play-by-play duties. They reached out to that KABC radio reporter, and hired him for the job. That guy was
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Chris Roberts, and for the next 23 seasons, he polluted the Southern California airwaves with a less than second-rate product, fumbling descriptions and stumbling on words on a regular basis, making listening to UCLA basketball and football broadcasts down right painful.

Thankfully, at the end of the last basketball season, Roberts was given his long-overdue pink slip, and the search for a professional, accurate and exciting announcer began. It has now been announced that the school has hired Bill Roth, the long-time play-by-play announcer for the Virginia Tech Hokies, an 11-time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year and a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. A graduate of Syracuse University, Roth did Hokie football and basketball for 27 years, and established himself as one of the most respected play-by-play guys in college sports.

Here is a video form 2010 of and about Roth:

And you can click here to hear more play-by-play from Bill Roth.

Hopefully Roth with be the competent, exciting and above all accurate announcer that Bruins’ Basketball and Football have lacked for so long.

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