Voice of the Shockers aims to enjoy every minute of his job 


Rachel Rudisill / The Sunflower

Bob Hull (left) and Mike Kennedy (right) watches the Wichita State Basketball teams participate in Shocker Madness on Oct. 27 in Charles Koch Arena. Kennedy has been the Voice of the Shockers for over 40 years. Hull has worked with Kennedy for several years on the road as a color brodcaster.

Mike Kennedy got his first basketball and basketball hoop when he was 9 years old. He also got a crystal radio set where he could tune into a few radio stations. 

“It was just something about the combination of those two things at the same time,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy said he would lay in bed at night and listen to the Wichita State, KU and K-State basketball games on the radio. 

“I really kind of had it in the back of my mind as I was growing up that that’s something I might like to do someday,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy decided to take some classes at Wichita State. He got permission to broadcast all of the Shockers home football and basketball games at KMUW. He said he was hooked and decided to look for a job in the business. 

His first job in radio was in Chanute, Kansas, in 1971 until 1973. He then got a job in Pittsburg, Kansas, that lasted from 1973 to 1976. In the late summer of 1976, Kennedy moved back to Wichita and worked for KAKE. He anchored evening and late-night sports on TV and did basketball play-by-play for televised games on the radio. 

In 1981, the Wichita State men’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. This was also the year Kennedy was asked to be the Voice of the Shockers full-time for football and basketball. Two years later, he became the voice for baseball. 

“I was very fortunate to start out when the [basketball] program was at a very high level for a few years,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy has been a radio broadcaster on 103.7 KEYN now for 43 years and he said he can really say that he’s enjoyed every minute of it. 

Kennedy said his favorite part about his job is the relationships he’s developed, especially with his friends Dave Dahl and Bob Hull. Dahl works with Kennedy at home games and Hull works with Kennedy on the road. 

Dahl and Hull’s job is to be color announcers, who assist the main play-by-play announcer. The color announcer’s job is to provide comments and analysis to the main broadcaster’s play-by-play of the game. Dahl has been by Kennedy’s side since the beginning. Dahl played basketball for the Shockers from 1967-1971. 

Dahl was recommended to Kennedy to be the color announcer. Dahl said the key to him and Kennedy working together is staying positive while on the air. 

“Mike is a really, really positive guy, and I consider myself a positive person also,” Dahl said. “We just don’t say negative things about our team or the other team.” 

Kennedy’s job description for Shocker Sports Properties involves play-by-play analysis of all the home and away men’s basketball games and baseball games. He also does a radio show with players and coaches before and after games. 

To prepare for games, Kennedy said there is a lot of work involved. Early on in the season, Kennedy focuses on the basic background of each player and their opponents for non-conference games.

He also sets up all of his broadcasting equipment beforehand. He then goes to shoot around for pre-game interviews.

Overall, as a radio broadcaster, Kennedy said his main goal is to be fair and honest no matter how poorly or how great the season is going. 

“I think that approach has been appreciated by both administrators and coaches over the years,” Kennedy said. “If I didn’t have that kind of reaction I don’t think I would have been around this long, and so I always appreciate people saying nice things.” 

Hull didn’t have any previous radio experience before working with Kennedy. He did have basketball knowledge though. Hull was a college basketball coach throughout his career. He joined former head men’s coach Randy Smithson in 1997. 

Hull said that one of the coolest aspects about working with Kennedy is his ability to memorize facts and information.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody in Wichita or Kansas that knows more about Wichita State Basketball or Wichita State Baseball,” Hull said. 

Dahl said Kennedy can pull statistics from his head about the game from 25 or 30 years ago. 

“When he reads something, he just memorizes it,” Dahl said. “He doesn’t try to memorize it, it just stays there for some reason, so he’s fun to work with.” 

Hull said Kennedy has a voice on air that is hard to forget and that when you hear his voice you know it’s Mike Kennedy. 

“I remember Mike’s call at the end of that game was really something,” Hull said. “For the first time in 45 years, I can say these words: ‘The Shockers are heading to the final four.’”