By D. FORREST CAMERON
Editor and Publisher
BOB CARPENTER ON ESPN
Bob Carpenter is a nationally-known sports television broadcaster who lives in Tulsa with his wife Debbie and two daughters. Road trips are the norm for the award-winning announcer, where his desk is usually a press table and his office an indoor arena or baseball field.
Carpenter will find a rare home appearance in March when he will be the lead announcer on the nationally-televised ESPN broadcast of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament men’s finals, to be played at the UMAC on the Union High School campus March 8.
The unusual Tulsa appearance has Carpenter excited, though he jokingly says that he may check into a local hotel the night before the game to make the situation seem more normal.
A life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan, Carpenter was raised in St. Louis and later realized his dream when he spent many years broadcasting Cardinal games on television and radio. He has been nominated for four St. Louis/Mid-America Emmys, winning twice in 1997 and 1998. His signature home run call “See…you…later!” got local and national recognition during Mark McGwire’s record-setting home run chase in 1998. Carpenter also appeared on TV in the 1980s and 1990s with the Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Minnesota Twins.
Carpenter attended college at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he received his B.S. degree with honors in speech with a major in radio, television and film. His first position after college was in 1975 as a director at a campus station in Jonesboro, Ark. After about five months, he heard that then-Tulsa baseball mogul A. Ray Smith was looking for an announcer for the Tulsa Oilers baseball team, then the Cardinals AAA affiliate. Carpenter was hired immediately and spent one season announcing the team’s games. He also spent two seasons announcing Sapulpa High School games on radio.
A big break came for Carpenter in 1978 with the rise of the Tulsa Roughnecks soccer team. He recalls, “I had announced soccer in college. I walked into the office of Noel Lemons, the general manager, and got the job of doing about everything for the team, including public relations, selling tickets, doing the public address announcing, and broadcasting on TV with Chris Lincoln. It was fun. We had a small staff, though there was great interest in our games. One night in New York we played the Cosmos before over 70,000 fans. I broadcast that game on television.”
Carpenter says that the soccer experience would eventually be his gateway to the national sports scene. After spending time at Channel 8 in Tulsa in the early 1980s, he did broadcasting for Tulsa Cable and also spent time on several Tulsa radio stations. In 1984 he was asked to broadcast the games of the St. Louis Steamers of the MISL, which resulted in the exposure he needed to land an announcing position with the Cardinals and eventually with ESPN. He says that it was a thrill to broadcast with Mike Shannon and the late Jack Buck.
Carpenter has stayed busy with his national broadcasts. He has broadcast baseball playoffs, AAA All-Star Games, NCAA and NIT basketball tournaments and college football bowl games. Studio work has included College Gameday and college football scoreboard shows.
Prior to ESPN, Carpenter handled a variety of sports for USA Network, including college basketball and football, pro golf (including The Masters) and pro tennis (including the U.S. Open). He has called dozens of sports, anchored studio shows, hosted radio sports talk and covered news.
He says that over the past five or six years he has averaged 70 to 85 events for ESPN, with some years being away from home 180 to 200 days.
Carpenter says that when he arrived in Tulsa he thought he would be here for maybe two years. Twenty-nine years later he’s happy to be home, and happy to be the broadcaster of the Mid-Con Tournament championship game on ESPN.