Father-son duo take Bulldogs on air
By LISA BRITTON
Of the Baker City Herald
Nick Taylor sometimes stumbles over name pronunciations during his radio broadcast of the Baker Bulldog football games.
But the name that gives him the most trouble, he says with a grin, is that of his fellow broadcaster.
He's only slipped once or twice forgetting to call his sidekick "Tim" instead of the more familiar "Dad."
"You have to be professional," Nick says.
Taylor, 24, graduated from Baker High in 1998, and happened into broadcasting in 2001 after returning from his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I'd just got off my mission and heard on the radio that Andrew Holt (of KCMB) needed someone to help broadcast the Baker games," he said. "I knew him because he'd broadcast my games."
For two years Taylor learned the basics of broadcasting, adding his side comments to Holt's play-by-play descriptions of the football action at both home and away games.
"When he hired me, he said my job would mostly be to set stuff up, keep stats and talk every once in a while," he said.
Then Holt moved to Walla Walla, Wash., and Taylor took over the job of bringing Bulldog football to the listeners at home.
Then he recruited his dad.
"They gave me the responsibility of finding someone," he said. "It's like we're having a conversation, just all over Eastern Oregon."
On game nights, the Taylors are two of the first to step inside the stadium, arriving at least two hours prior to kick-off.
First they head to the Bulldog locker room to interview coach Dave Johnson.
"That takes about five to 10 minutes, however long he wants to talk to us," Nick said.
Then the broadcasters climb up to their perch in the press box and complete a sound check with the KCMB studio in La Grande.
Next comes a little research, Nick said, when they find the visiting team's coach to check on the pronunciation of the player's names.
Has he ever goofed a name on the air?
"I'm sure I have. That was the worst when I first started," he said.
But he learned that it's even worse when the two announcers don't agree.
"I was pronouncing it different from what Andrew did," he said with a smile.
Providing the play-by-play action is pretty easy to do, Nick said.
"It's just second nature," he said.
And he tries his best to provide unbiased coverage even though he wants his team to win, and his brother, Trevor, plays running back and linebacker for the Bulldogs.
"It's kind of hard because you can't be a fan and a broadcaster. When I'm announcing the action, I tell it like it is," he said.
This doesn't usually cause any family strife.
Then again, there was that one play both brothers remember ...
"He did run into the quarterback," Nick said.
"No, he ran into me," Trevor said, shooting a smile at his big brother.
The football tradition runs deep in the Taylor family.
Grandpa Tim L. Taylor, 69, played in the first game ever held in Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
That was in 1950.
"We came in there and someone had burned a big old L' in the middle of the field, the brand new field," he says.
The team suspected their opponent, the La Grande Tigers, of this fiery prank.
"Then we found out Ontario did it," he says.
Tim M. Taylor, 48, carried on the football tradition, though he played for the Cove high school team.
Nick took up the sport as soon as he could, in seventh-grade in 1992, after the family moved to Baker City.
Now it's Trevor's turn on the Bulldog field, and two more Taylor boys will come up through the ranks in a few years.
Nick said sometimes it's hard to stay calm up there in the press box, where he can't join the crowd in hollering his support of the Bulldogs.
"It'd be nice to be in the stands, yelling and give my support that way, but I think what I do is supporting them, too," he said.