NAU Communications sat down with Mitch Strohman, the general manager of NAU-TV, to learn more about the “Voice of the Lumberjacks.” Read our questions and his answers below.
Q: How does one become the Voice of the Lumberjacks?
A: That’s an interesting question. As a baseline, you would need to have some experience in radio and/or television as a play-by-play announcer along with a good understanding of football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. In 1991, what was then called C-NAU TV (now NAU-TV) was looking to broadcast Lumberjack football and basketball on local cable-TV in Flagstaff. At that time, I was the news/sports director at KAFF-Radio in Flagstaff. The general manager of C-NAU, who I was friends with, knew I had experience calling high school sports on TV and radio. He just called me up one day out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in doing play-by-play of NAU sports on local cable TV. I think it took me about 0.37 seconds to emphatically say yes!
Q: Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
A: I would say it is actually a collection of memories of moving all over the country while growing up. As a kid, I never went to the same school for more than a year until my junior and senior years of high school. We lived from coast-to-coast and many places in the Midwest. It was those experiences of always being the “new kid” and living in so many different parts of the country that helped shape me as an adult. I think growing up like that taught me adaptability and being comfortable with different people in different cultural environments.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: Well, I took a crazy path here! I watched Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the Moon on a black-and-white TV in the summer of 1969. Right then, I decided I wanted to be an astronaut. Not long after that, I discovered I could play baseball pretty well, so then I wanted to be a Major League Baseball player. When I went off to college, the science nerd in me was in charge, so I majored in meteorology. I wanted to be that guy on TV with the National Weather Service talking about Hurricane (insert name here) bearing down on our coastline or about the high probability of severe thunderstorms and tornadic activity when that cold dry front collides with warm damp air across the nation’s mid-section. The high-level calculus vexed me in college, so I turned to my other passions of sports and journalism to become a news reporter and then a sportscaster.
A: I’m not sure if saying I’m proud is how I really feel, but over the last few weeks, I have been supportive of my mom and my younger brother and sister as we try to grapple with a serious health crisis involving my dad.
Q: What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
A: This one is pretty easy. Hiking, mountain biking or reading a good book. If there is a sunny, warm beach nearby, that could also come into play!
Q: What are three things on your bucket list?
A: In no particular order and understanding this is far from my complete bucket list: Getting a ride-along in a military fighter jet such as an F-16, spending at least a week (maybe two) exploring the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives and calling the play-by-play for either NAU Football in the national championship game or NAU Basketball in the Final Four.
Q: What is your philosophy in life?
A: It’s easy to treat people with kindness, respect and courtesy and doing that makes people feel good, so just do that every day with everyone and see what happens.
Q: How do you define success?
A: When someone trusts and believes in me enough, to ask me to do something that’s important to them.