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Radio Engineer Recognized for 30 Years of Baseball Service

It has been a career full of grand slams, home runs and, you guessed it, radio

Before its final pre-season home game, one Major League Baseball team had a very important MVP to recognize; although, he usually couldn’t be found anywhere near the home plate.

In late March, the Oakland A’s brought Kevin Curran on-field to celebrate his 30 years as their radio engineer for Cactus League games.

Having grown up on Long Island, New York, Curran quickly formed his first impressions about radio based on what his dad — a dual U.S.–Canadian citizen — played.

Curran, on the Hohokam Stadium field in Mesa, Ariz. (Credit: Joe Pun/Oakland A’s)

“The last two buttons on the car radio were 740 and 940, the CBC 50,000-watt stations in Toronto and Montreal,” Curran recalls. “As the sun went down, he’d pop between them to find the better signal. For me, Canadian radio was boring. I was more interested in the hits on 77 WABC.”

It wasn’t long, however, until Curran changed his tune.

“I was walking home from a junior high chess club meeting with a friend who had a radio. I tuned in to what I thought was WABC, but was actually CKLW, The Big 8. That changed my opinion of Canadian radio and started my nightly search for cool stations,” he said. “The more I explored radio, the more I wanted to learn.”

Curran’s first full-time radio gig was in the newsroom at WHLI(AM)/WKJY(FM) in Hempstead, New York. After that, there were more news stints at WHN(AM), WNEW(AM/FM) and WFAN(AM) in New York, and then the Mutual Broadcasting System and NBC Radio in Washington and New York — and that’s just the shortlist.

Eventually, he switched to TV and served as an assignment editor for 19 years all over Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson … which leads us back to baseball.

“My chief engineer in Phoenix got a call from a friend in Philadelphia asking if he could engineer some basketball games Villanova was playing at Arizona State,” said Curran. “He offered me the chance and showed me how to do it through the use of 2-line Comrex.

“I had heard the previous A’s Cactus League engineer had retired and contacted the team. I started in 1994 with a play-by-play team of Bill King, Lon Simmons and Ray Fosse. We were using ISDN when I started; it’s now IP.”

Beyond the Oakland A’s, Curran was also the home engineer for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings before he moved into academia full-time.

“I completed a Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma, including a dissertation on cross-border targeted radio in North America,” he told Radio World. “Yes, that chance discovery of CKLW when I was in junior high came right back.”

Now, Curran is in the journalism and communication studies programs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he has been since 2020.

“I think it’s great that this is my remaining tie to radio. Plus, I have worked next to five hall of fame broadcasters: Bill and Lon are Ford Frick honorees, Chick Hearn at the Lakers was a Curt Gowdy winner, and Nick Nickson at the Kings received the Foster Hewitt award.”

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