Kevin Reid will be one of the lucky few to attend Major League Baseball games in person this season.
The former Beaver Radio Network sportscaster traded Bemidji for Baltimore this past spring to become a producer and engineer for the Baltimore Orioles Radio Network.
“There’s nothing like getting paid to go to the ballpark,” Reid said. “It’ll be nice to get back to that again. I’m sure the broadcasters will feel the same way.”
The MLB season is set to finally begin July 23 after the coronavirus pandemic and labor strife delayed Opening Day, and Reid’s return to the big leagues.
The Ohio native called Bemidji State basketball, football, soccer and baseball games, as well as North Central Stars high school football games, for RP Broadcasting beginning in the fall of 2018.
After four years as a radio engineer for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Reid first arrived in Minnesota in 2004 when he landed a job as a producer/engineer for the Twins on WCCO Radio.
When WCCO’s contract with the Twins ended following the 2006 season, Reid found himself out of the majors. He bounced around after that, eventually winding up back at WCCO as a producer before heading north to Bemidji.
“I did really enjoy my time in Bemidji,” Reid said. “When I started working there… I told those guys (at RP Broadcasting) I really want to stay here, I really want to work here. About the only things that I could think of that would take me away from here would be some kind of play-by-play job at a major college, which probably wasn’t going to happen, or a job back in the major leagues, which I didn’t figure was going to happen either. It just kind of worked out that the Orioles job came open.”
Reid heard about the Orioles job through a friend he knows from his Twins days. Before he knew it, he was shipping out of frigid Bemidji in February to join the O’s for spring training in sunny Florida.
“It’s not a job you find open very often,” Reid said.
Reid will work Orioles games -- home and away -- from the booth at Camden Yards this season. Broadcast teams across the majors are adapting to the pandemic, so the O’s radio crew will be calling away games off of TV monitors in the Camden Yards radio booth.
“I’m ready to get started,” Reid said. “It’s going to be very unique this year with not traveling.”
The Orioles have a rotating cast of eight broadcasters, though Reid hasn’t had much time to get acquainted with them yet.
“I haven’t gotten to work with them a whole lot because we only had half a spring training,” Reid said. “They kind of rotate those folks on a series-by-series basis, so I don’t really know who I’m going to be working with until the list comes out. It’s a little different than folks that might listen to the Twins or some other broadcasts because they don’t maintain the same broadcasters game in and game out here in Baltimore.”
A day in the life
If you’re wondering what a radio producer/engineer does, the question is really what don’t they do.
Among Reid’s duties are coordinating the commercial reads the announcers deliver on the air, making sure the broadcast stays on time from pregame to postgame, and setting up equipment in the booth, while also working with MLB to record and stream each game’s audio.
“Pretty much everything except actually talk on the air,” Reid said.
Before the first game of a series, Reid usually arrives at the ballpark about five hours before first pitch to set up the gear, coordinate commercial items with the team’s public relations staff and sync the natural ballpark audio with the TV broadcast for the radio broadcast. The announcers arrive next and organize the broadcast with Reid and cover any topics that might come up during the game.
After the game has wrapped, it’s time to pack up the gear for another day.
The pandemic has left Reid and his broadcast-booth colleagues in flux, though he will soon be able to man his post at Camden Yards.
“We’ve just been exchanging texts with each other to see if you’ve heard this, have you heard that, trying to keep ourselves up on the information,” Reid said. “Once the schedule comes out, which should be next week, I think all that will pick up and we’ll really start to (say), ‘OK, this is really going to happen. Here’s when it’s going to start.’”
Though he’s moved on to the major leagues, Reid said he’ll still keep tabs on the Beavers from afar.
“I really did enjoy working there doing the Bemidji State games and working with the coaches and players that the Beavers had and the folks in the athletic department,” Reid said. “It was a lot of fun. I’ll still be trying to watch their games as much as I can from here in Baltimore.”