Randy York’s N-sider
To "Respond to Randy" click on the above link and choose "Randy York's N-sider" under "Area of Interest" on the new screen. Please include your name and hometown. We would like you to send us your favorite memories of Husker football on the radio. Your ideas may be published on "Randy York's N-sider" page on Huskers.com. Please check back for updated comments.
Radio Days: There’s Nothing Like Nostalgia
Share your favorite memories of Husker radio broadcasts.
Respond to Randy with your comments.
Saturday’s Iowa State game is set for a more traditional 1:05 p.m. kickoff in Memorial Stadium, giving fans their first opportunity this year to experience Nebraska football like so many of us who grew up listening to games on the radio.
For the first time in five games, no TV will be available, and that’s not a bad thing. Really, it isn’t. Some of my fondest memories of Nebraska football are radio days, sitting in a living room, hearing the action, imagining what it’s like to be there, looking into the eyes of my mom and watching my brother smile and my sister scream.
I have a lot of memories listening on the radio to Nebraska football, but two stick out. The first was Oct. 22, 1966, my junior year in high school. My parents talked me into helping them pick potatoes on a friend’s farm near Alliance. I think they did because they could see my disappointment in Nebraska trailing Colorado, 19-7. I had just listened to quarterback Bob Churchich move the Huskers down the field on a 72-yard drive at the end of the third quarter.
When officials ruled that Churchich did not get into the end zone, you could hear on the radio 31,000 CU fans cheer and 15,000 Nebraska fans boo at the same time. Yes, the boos were louder than the cheers. We drove away, listening in the car.
I kept listening and wishing and hoping. Churchich hit three passes, then connected with Dennis Morrison for an 11-yard touchdown pass. I told about 16 people in the potato field that Nebraska was now within a 19-14 score with 10 minutes left, and they all cheered. The teams kept forcing each other to punt.
The sounds of my silence were deafening. It did not look good. With 2:32 left, Nebraska got the ball back one last time. Churchich hollered, “Charge!” and then hit passes of 8, 6, 12, 5 and a 16-yarder to Tom Penney, taking the ball to the CU 9-yard line. Pete Tatman, the bull-necked fullback we had watched play football and basketball for North Platte in high school, carried three straight times. The last produced a 2-yard touchdown with 53 seconds left.
Final score: Nebraska 21, Colorado 19. Everyone in the field celebrated, throwing potatoes in the air in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t see the game, but we imagined what it must have been like to be there.
Isn’t it weird how your imagination can make something even bigger than it is? There’s nothing like the nostalgia of radio days. We loved Dick Perry and Bob Zenner and Don Gill do the play-by-play.
We also loved Lyell Bremser, who painted the pictures for all of us in 1970 when Nebraska tied Southern Cal, 21-21, in Los Angeles – my second favorite radio memory. Believe it or not, even though that was the only blemish on the Huskers’ first national championship season, that late-night game was not on TV.
I remember driving home through empty streets that night after working at the Lincoln Journal-Star. Everyone was at home, waiting to turn on their radios.
I have a favor to ask. Listen to Bremser describe Joe Orduna’s 67-yard touchdown run in that game to put Nebraska up, 21-14. Then watch the video with the same call. The question, I think, is this: Did the highlight on the film come anywhere close to matching the highlight in your mind?
In this Internet-fueled and video-driven world, I think I know what most people’s answer would be. But I’m also betting there are a few people out there who have the same kind of memories I do, and we’d love to hear from you . . . however you feel.
Editor’s note: Randy York is Chief Communications Officer for the University of Nebraska Athletic Department.
The Voices of Husker Nation
"Saturday afternoons in Grafton during the early years of WWII, we'd gather around our 1937 RCA table radio and listen to Lyell Bremser. By the end of the war, we'd moved to Kearney, just a couple of blocks from the KSTC football field. But we still gathered around that RCA for NU instead of the Antelopes.In 1949, I was a bad drummer in Jack Snider's KHS band, and what a thrill to march down O Street in the Band Day Parade, and then step out on the Memorial Stadium grass at halftime. I still have that black and white photo of the assembled block N with all the bands. By 1953, Jack Snider and I were both on NU campus, and I gave up band for radio. Military service interrupted my time at KLIN, and when I came back from Fort Knox, the station had hired Bob Zenner and initiated its NU and high school play-by-play coverage. I was excited as a little kid to be Bob's go-fer, to help lug the gear up the ladder to the top level at the old press box, keep his stat sheet, and help with basketball stats at the Coliseum. I even got to make a "road" trip to K-State to watch Willie 'the Twister' Ross romp against the Wildcats. By that 1964 game in Boulder, I'd moved to Denver, and was ecstatic when Zenner said he could get me a press pass, and I could do his stats one more time. So I not only got to hear the KLIN play-by-play, I got to see it! I just didn't have any spuds to toss!" - Ken Softley
"Growing up in Omaha, my earliest memories of Nebraska football came from the radio. I would always listen to Lyell Bremser call games on KFAB on my parents' huge stereo console, hearing the exploits of 'Marvlis' Jarvis (Redwin), Roger 'the Dodger' (Craig), (Irving) Fryar 'the Flyer', or Turner 'the Burner' (Gill). Then after the game, if there was still light out, a couple of friends and I would get together to play football ourselves in the crisp fall air. Yes, the first game I ever saw on TV was the game against Oklahoma in 1978, but it was the radio broadcast that always held the fondest memories for me." Nathan Hunter, St. Paul, Minn.
"Great article on the days of radio. I just listened to Lyell Bremser's call of Joe Orduna's run at USC and got goose bumps as I wondered again if he was going to take it 'all the way home.' We can credit Lyell with coining that phrase, which today is known as 'taking it to the house.' Another memory of radio occurred while growing up in Alliance. We always had a late fall lawn-raking project on a Saturday. I hated raking leaves; however in 1963 listening to Nebraska finally beat Missouri made the job much more fun. That was one of Coach Devaney's big wins early on." - Jim Seiler
"I graduated from Nebraska in 1963, just at the beginning of the Devaney era. When I got married in 1970, we moved to Minnetonka Minn. I found out that if I went outside to my car parked in the driveway, I could pick up KFAB in Omaha and listen to the game. My neighbors couldn't understand what I was doing in the car and why I was yelling and screaming. They thought my wife and I must have had a fight, and I was kicked out of the house. I think Dennis Claridge was the back-up announcer and Lyell (Bremser) was the head guy. Of course that year Johnny Rodgers was playing, and I went nuts listening to the games. When I got too nervous to listen, I would go in the garage and work on the lawnmower for a few minutes, but I always came back to hear the ending - good or bad! Go Big Red!" - Ken Johnson, Concord, N.C.
"I have wonderful memories of listening to Dick Perry. Especially during the 9th grade, Tom Osborne's first year. I played football in the gravel street as we listened to the NU vs. Missouri game. Even though we lost, it is a great memory. Or the same year, I hunted pheasants with my Dad as we listened to the Colorado game?" - Jim Lannon
"You've captured the feeling exactly. What could be better - growing up in the corn-growing state of Nebraska, listening to the Cornhuskers on football Saturday, helping with the harvest or cooking for the men in the field, taking the dinner/lunch out during the game! Those days were alive with the beauty of rural life in Nebraska." - Sherry Burger, Davenport
"I remember sitting with my Dad in his shoestore in Kearney and realizing it was close to game time (before the days of the five-hour pre-game shows) and tuning the radio in. I always enjoyed the play on the old KFAB call letters music that would always play at the beginning of the broacasts. When the announcer ( I think it was Jack Payne) would say 'The University of Nebraska football network is ON THE AIR' then the music." - Andy Stadler
"Pete Tatman forwarded the link on the '66 NU-CU game. Great read! Question? Do you have the radio broadcast copy in your archives? I would be interested in the '66 Colorado game. Potato field, huh?" - Bob Churchich, Nebraska Quarterback, Captain, 1966
Editor’s note: Dave Witty and Jim Rose are checking the archives of the Husker Sports Network for that audio.
"As an old classmate of yours, funny how the memories coincide. Over the years, I've told people that one game stands out as the most exhilarating radio win ever, .and it was the CU/NU game you cited. I don't know why, but just something about being a teenager then in the Husker heyday and that game seeming so out of reach, because the Buffs were good and we were on the road. I remember feeling totally hopeless and my dad telling me not to worry, even when it was 19-7. When Tatman carried in the winner, I don't know that I've been that ecstatic since. It must have been the age we were, or whatever,but thanks for the recall." - Dana Parsons, LA Times columnist, University of Nebraska graduate
Editor’s note: Dana Parsons writes a column three times a week for The Los Angeles Times. Randy calls Parsons’ Sept. 11 column Nebraska, USC fans see red; or is it cardinal? - Los Angeles Times “a great read for all Husker fans.”
"Man, Woman, and Child'--need anyone say more?" - Thomas Catlett
"I have great memories of listening to the Husker games over the radio in the truck or inside my Dad's combine, in the cornfield during harvest. The first game I ever saw NU play on TV was the Gotham Bowl they played in New York. My older brother put me onto it, and we were excited to watch Willie Ross run wild that day! I've been hooked on the Huskers ever since. I still get to listen to the Husker radio broadcast, as we've lived in Hawaii since 1979, and we often can't get the Huskers on TV. So I listen and greatly enjoy the radio broadcast over the Internet through Huskers.com. Even the cliffhanger over mighty Ball State. Hey, it was a win. I'm believing the Blackshirts will return." - Ron Arnold, Honolulu, Hawaii
"I, too, remember the joy of listening to the game on the radio. My experiences span the time of Lyell Bremser to the present. Lyell's descriptions were truly inspired. Having moved away from Nebraska after graduation, I appreciate the ability to listen to the game over the Internet (even when we have lost). Living in Big Ten territory, it is sometimes difficult to even get a paragraph in the paper about any team in the Big 12." - Jeff Suggs
"Radio Days, ah yes I have fond memories of listening to the games broadcast by Tip Sargo (WOW) and Lyell Bremser. Growing up in smalltown Nebraska (Spalding), listening to the games and the exploits of Tom Novak, Charlie Toogood, Bob Reynolds, etc., confirmed my desire to attend the University of Nebraska. The radio sharpened the imagination and the minds eye brought one into the game. Though I departed Nebraska for a career in the U.S. Navy, I try to get back to the hometown and state at any opportunity. There is no place like Nebraska! I enjoy your comments. Go Big Red!" - John Kinnier, CE, '59
"I grew up in Beatrice and I can remember that my mother would go grocery shopping during the game. I would complain that the game was on the radio, and that I could not go. Somehow my mother would always win the argument. We would get in the truck - the game was on - went into the store - the game was on the overhead speakers - and on the way home the game was on. We never missed any of the game and the shopping was great because no one was in the store. The drive there was nice because everyone was home listening to the game. It has been 20-plus years since I left Nebraska, and I have always lived somewhere that had the game on the radio." - John Stark
"When I wasn't able to attend the game I always listened on the radio. One lasting memory I have is repeatedly listening to a homemade tape of the NU vs. LSU game for a national championship. I must have come close to wearing through the tape, as I frequently relived that game by playing it as I fell asleep. I only wish I could now locate it to relive it once again!" - Kurt Schneider, NU graduate with master's degree in educational psychology, 1973.
"Wow, I had just finished writing the following letter to Jim Rose when I logged on to Huskers.com and found your story. Feel free to share the following letter with your readers. I think Jim deserves it. Nebraska 41, Ball State 40! Can Nebraska football get any more exciting? Especially on the radio! I have never forked out thirty bucks for a pay-for-view telecast, and probably never will. Not as long as I can listen to a radio announcer who paints me a clear picture. I was working at KCOW radio this afternoon, and, honestly, was half-heartedly listening to the first half, as I fully expected Nebraska to win by five touchdowns. However, when I learned Nebraska held only a 14-10 lead, I cranked up the KCOW monitor to keep better track of the Huskers, and I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. I view college football a little differently than most people. To me, it’s wonderful entertainment, and not a life or death commodity. Nebraska beating no-name Ball State 41-40 in 2007 was just as entertaining as Nebraska pounding the second-ranked Florida Gators to claim the 1995 National Championship. And, I must admit, had Ball State connected on their 55-yard field goal attempt and won the game, 43-41, it wouldn’t have crushed my football spirit. As the intensity of the second half developed, you painted as clear of a picture in my mind as I could have ever hoped for. I never lost “sight” of where the ball was located despite the fact the two teams amassed 1,162 yards and 81 points. Your descriptions translated into a theater-of-the-mind seat in the west stands; 50-yard line; row 48. I must also salute you for making a conscious effort to compliment the opposition. - Kevin Horn, KCOW Radio, Alliance, Neb.
"I too love the old raido days. Playing football with my buddies in Schuyler and listening to Jarvis Redwine, Wonder Monds, etc., made my first game in person even more special." - Jerry Sinkula
"We are spoiled these days. With all, or the majority of Husker games on TV these days, it is hard to remember when the only game we might have been fortunate to watch was a major non-conference game, the Oklahoma game and the bowl game. Call me crazy, but I didn't invest the $29.95 this past week for Ball State and chose to go "old school" and listen to it on the radio and use my imagination. We will all have to to the same this week with Iowa State. Remember the good old days!" - Jeff Kelley
"I too remember Saturdays in Alliance listening to the radio broadcast and how empty the streets were during game time. Every shop, grocery store or gas station you went into had the game on, with only the occasional "clean up on aisle 2" interrupting the game. Now that I have moved away, I had missed those magical Saturday afternoons until modern technology came to the rescue. Now with satellite radio, I can listen to the Jim Rose, Adrian Fiala and the gang, even in remote Northern Alberta, Canada. Better yet, I can listen to the game with my 8-year-old son to ensure that he too grows up a Husker, even thousands of miles away from Nebraska." - Scott Schaffert, Peace River, Alberta, Canada
"Man, woman, and child look at him go! What memories! I tell my kids that nothing compares to Lyell (Bremser) on the radio! We were farmers, but the work on Saturday had to be done or at a stopping place so my dad, brothers and I could be in the kitchen around the big table listening to the radio. Mom was usually baking bread or something while we all listened. My sister too when she was home. That was just the way it was. We used to turn the TV down when Nebraska was on and listen to the call on the radio instead. Imagination wins!" - Lori
"I agree that listening to a game on radio is by far more captivating than watching one on the tube. I still find myself turning down the sound on the TV and listening to the radio broadcast just because they paint the picture during the play. Also, don't forget that signal strength and the number of stations are much better than what we had "back in the day". My dad would sit out in the car in Wichita, Kan., just to be able to get the signal. I myself have driven north during an evening game, to keep a strong signal, and wound up hours away from home at the final snap. Ah, those precious memories!" - Bob Hingst
"Some of my top childhood memories are the cold fall days out hunting with my dad, while we listened to the game on the radio. I have to admit that on some of the colder days, I was much more interested in getting back to the pickup to listen to the game than on walking through the field and flushing more birds. I will always first think of Nebraska football from the context of a cold, overcast fall afternoon, in the cab of an old Chevy pickup with my dad. Great, great memories."- Mike Elam
"Back in the sixties, coming home from a cross country meet, listening to Dick Perry and Nebraska on the radio, in the Driver's Ed station wagon...Nebraska would score or do something good, Coach Daryl Carroll would honk the horn, go all over the road and we would all yell for the Huskers. When we had just the radio, our imagination and good friends...ah, those were the days." - Lonnie Irvine, Cheyenne, Wyo.
"You were so right in describing the audio "picture" that Lyell painted in the minds of thousands of Husker fans in the 50's, 60's and early 70's. Even though I couldn't go and experience Husker games in person, Lyell Bremser was the Corso, James and my tailgate partner all rolled into one. Thanks for the radio clip from the Husker-USC game of 1970." Gary Crabtree, transplanted Nebraskan living in Minnesota.
"Reading your piece on listening to the games on the radio triggered some great memories. I grew up in Lincoln during the 70's and 80's when there were one or two Husker games on TV during the regular season, the bowl game was on TV and we'd catch the rest on the radio. I absolutely couldn't wait to listen to Tim Moreland call the game on KFOR while playing football with my buddies in the backyard. He had a catch phrase that he would scream as Jarvis Redwine or I.M. Hipp reeled off one of their typical long touchdowns - right at the point he was sure they were "gone" he would say "GOODBYE DOLLY GRAY" (I still have no idea what this meant). He would count down the yardage markers by 5's - 'AT THE 25, the 20, the 15, the 10, the 5...TOUCHDOWN!' He would finish it off with 'THERE - GO - THE BALLOONS!' after the first touchdown of the game. He wasn't there long, but he was a good one and made the radio broadcast a lot of fun." - Mike Shamburg
"I heard you gave up working for Sprint to return to the scene of the crime. Your name comes up each semester, as I tell my enrollees (few students) about company magazines ("house organs"). I tell them of the millions Sprint gave you to give up your sportswriting career in your favorite town. I notice that you look older than you did the last time I saw you. I don't." - Tim Moreland, Salisbury, N.C.
Editor’s note: Randy tells us that he has always looked old – just like you. He also said he was going to list you among his all-time favorite announcers, but you scared him when you piloted your own plane to places like Norman and Stillwater, Okla., and taking him with you. Randy told us that when he saw you trying to hand-crank the propeller after de-icing the plane in a frozen Ames, Iowa, after a Husker-Cyclone basketball game, he made a vow never to never fly with you again. He also said your voice was so good on Husker football that the Minnesota Twins “stole you” before you could become a legend here. He said he had to “Google” you and was surprised to learn that you are “a doctor, an associate professor of communications arts and the play-by-play voice of East Carolina University.” He can’t believe the coincidence of a former fan remembering your best calls and you checking in on Huskers.com. The Internet makes the world a lot smaller, doesn’t it?
"Randy, thanks for the memories. I too grew up in Lincoln going to the Lincoln Northeast games on Friday and the NU games on Saturday. However, before that I still remember my first interest in Husker football when I was 8 years old in Tecumseh and listening to Nebraska beat Mizzou 16-14. I have been hooked ever since...living and dying with the Big Red ever since. My favorite part of what I remember was opening up the Lincoln Journal and seeing the photos with the graphics showing the route that was run and the squares with the players names, and the exclamation panel of TOUCHDOWN. I only get to hear the games thanks to the Internet. It keeps me connected to my beloved Nebraska." - Earl Harman, California
"Growing up near Beatrice, Neb., on a farm, we all (Mom, Dad, my brother and sisters) would listen to the Nebraska football game. In those days of the late 50's and early 60's, the game time was always the same. We would get our work done on Saturday mornings, so we would have the afternoons to listen to the games and then discuss them at the supper table. If there was outdoor or field work to be done we would listen to the radio and then get the work done after the game. I still enjoy listening to the radio and Jim Rose and the crew more than watching it on TV. It brings back wonderful family memories. It was fun to gather around the radio. I agree with the person from Alliance - Jim Rose does a great job. We have been so lucky through the years to have good radio play-by-play. But I still would have to hear "Man, Woman & Child." - Virginia Steinke
"As a young boy in the early 70's my parents often went to the games. I was of course stuck at home with my sisters, but would always listen to the games. Hearing the crowd and knowing that Mom and Dad were there made the hair rise all over my body. The commentators were so loud and excited that the adrenaline would carry through the radio to everyone who was listening. To this day, in the several states that I have lived, Nebraska football on the radio is almost as exciting as being there." - Clay Irish, Kansas
"I can't personally relate to some of the history described before me that happened in the 1960's and 70's because I was not even born or was way too young to remember. But, I do have very good memories of my first Husker game on the radio. My dad and I listened to the radio a lot more when I was growing up because we were working or out hunting. Probably some of the best father-son bonding memories I have came while returning in the afternoon after hunting or working and listening to the games on the radio on the way home." - Jason Moser
"I, too, remember radio days. I was born and raised in Lincoln but we had a large family and not enough money to spend on the luxury of football tickets. I remember fondly sitting with my transistor radio outside in the shade of our large sugar maples listening to Lyell Bremser and Kent Pavelka. Those two gentlemen were the spirit of Nebraska football on the radio, and you hung on every word they said. I have lived out of state for many years now, outside of any radio stations which carry Husker football. We now listen to the game through the link from Husker.com and have even participated in the pregame call in show. When the game is televised, we will turn down the sound on the TV (especially if it is Brent Musberger) and listen to the play-by-play off the radio. So - I always put Saturday afternoons, Nebraska football and the radio together!" - Rosalie
"Lyell Bremser....what memories!! My earliest memory of Lyell and the Cornhuskers came when I was around the age of 6 or 7. I would sit in the front seat of my grandfather's station wagon pretending to drive, and my granfather would lay down in the back while we listened to the game on WOW. I can still here Lyell calling out touchdown runs by I.M Hipp." - Brenda Jo
"I remember walking in the cornfields picking up corn as my Dad drove the tractor pulling a trailor near Bruning. And yes, he had the game on the radio!" Audrey Shaneyfelt, Belton, Mo.