Interview by Michael Angelo
Wondering who that ring announcer was while watching The IFL on Fox Sport Net (FSN) last week?
His name is Tim Hughes and if you’ve been to Sportfight, he’s surely familiar personality. In fact, Tim is so good that I even got chills when he delivered Randy Couture’s retirement tribute at Sportfight back on April 8th, 2006.
Tim began his career in broadcast radio over 20 years ago, ultimately hosting programs for the 50,000 watt KSL News Radio in Salt Lake City where he still hosts 2 Saturday morning shows. Now his voice can be heard anywhere from “NCAA 2K3” football for Playstation, Xbox and GameCube, to “SportfightTV”, The IFL on FSN, and so much more…including The Olympics!!!
Tim delivers the crescendo to an event with perfect timing, just as a composer
conducts his orchestra. The mood an announcer sets for a live event is crucial,
and Tim’s career is in overdrive due to his ability to call an event with the best of ’em.
Let’s get to know the man behind the voice!
NWFS: Tim, what inspired you to pursue a career in voice talent?
Tim Hughes: When I was growing up in SE Idaho, a kid I went to high school with
got a job on the radio because his dad was a prominent business man in the community. All the girls thought he was cool and it sounded like a fun job!
NWFS: You still do radio part-time at KSL in Salt Lake City on Saturdays?
Hughes: I still host a couple of shows on Saturday morning for KSL News Radio 1160
in Salt Lake City where I did morning drive fulltime between 1988-1993. One is an outdoors show that concentrates on all of the things to do in the great outdoors and affords me to the opportunity to work with area ski resorts, fishing guides and outfitters along with great manufacturers. The other show, although it’s a real stretch for me is the host of a Greenhouse show that gives advice and solves problems for yard and garden enthusiasts. Let me say right here that I do not have a green thumb!! My co-host is one of the most respected and knowledgeable horticulturists in the country, Larry Sagers. Both shows are the number 1 rated programs for the timeslot in the state!
NWFS: You’ve done radio, voiceovers, video game play-by-play, live and post-production television, ring announcing, and more. What experiences have been the most memorable?
Hughes: Without a doubt, the most memorable to date has been my Olympic experiences in 2002 and again in Athens Greece in 2004 where I was the English stadium voice for all of boxing. I was lucky enough to be hired by both the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and NBC Olympics in 2002. I was the English announcer at Medals Plaza each evening and responsible for announcing all of the medals awarded during the games with the exception of a few that were given at their venues. It was a bit intimidating to be told that we were broadcasting to an estimated 3.2 billion people worldwide each night! An even bigger break came when NBC hired me to do all of the billboard and promo work for their cable networks, CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo. Working along side [Bob] Costas, [Katie] Couric, [Tom] Brokaw and a very special treat, sharing the recording booth with Jim McKay who I grew up listening to on Wide World of Sports as a kid.
NWFS: Tell us about how you earned the nickname “The Voice of The Games”.
Hughes: Along with the work listed above, I also was the voice for the venue messaging at 4 of the other venues including Olympic Stadium on the University of Utah campus and all of the security messaging. I use to apologize to the poor volunteers who had to stand at the “mag & bag” as we called them for hours and listen to my voice run all day on a loop tape. So I’m sure people got tired of hearing the voice everywhere!
NWFS: But what an honor! So how did you get your gigs with Sportfight & The IFL?
Hughes: I have a business relationship with a buddy that had developed the idea for a local MMA show that would be staged in area clubs and recorded for air on local television. His name is Tracy Smith and his company “Black Hawk Entertainment” was born after 20 years in the local television market. He asked me if I wanted to be a part of it so I jumped in with both feet about 4 years ago. I have had been behind a microphone my entire adult life so I was pretty comfortable with it in the ring. He also talked me into doing the play-by-play for the tv show so I got a quick education in MMA. Meantime, another guy that was helping to produce the show moved up to Portland and got involved with Randy Couture and Matt Lindland’s Sportfight organization. He had seen me work in Salt Lake and referred me to SF. It’s amazing the impact that Sportfight has on the rest of the MMA world. You take a look at the principals behind it with Lindland and Couture and all of the respect and relationships that they have and then combine that with their hands on training of some of the best young talent in the world who have gone on to be a part of the TUF [UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter”] series on Spike and fight on every major show in the country! It’s amazing! They gave me a chance and the rest is history. I can’t say enough about the opportunity that Matt has given me to be a part of his team. That connection got me in front of some of the biggest names in MMA and another connection with Shannon Knapp who was Randy’s assistant. She, because of her relationship with Bas Rutten (she’s known as “Bas’ Lil Sis” ), was in the loop on an exciting new innovation in the sport of MMA and gave my name to the IFL! I did my first IFL gig in Atlantic City last June and have done all of their show since. It is, without a doubt going to be the biggest and best thing to happen to MMA in years if not ever! Kurt Otto and Gareb Shamus are the two founders of IFL and have put together an unbelievable concept and yet so simple that new fans to MMA can and will embrace it. Kurt’s ability to get the biggest names in MMA involved and Gareb’s ability to get sponsors and Fox Sports Net on board BEFORE even staging an event are incredible and speak volumes about what the future holds for the IFL! I’m a bit spoiled since I have been involved with SF and the IFL. They are both top notch, professional organizations who have fantastic production, passion and knowledge of the sport. The fact that Matt now coaches the Wolfpack in the IFL makes it seem like I’ve come full circle. You asked earlier about my most memorable experiences, I truly believe that what I’m doing now in MMA will ultimately rank right up there!
NWFS: How long have you been an MMA enthusiast?
Hughes: I have to be honest. Until my involvement with the local show 4 years ago, I was aware of MMA but was only a casual fan. Since getting involved the awareness of the sport and the buzz surrounding it have exploded! I am proud to be a small part in the growth of the sport and be involved at a time when organizations like SF and the IFL are reaching out to a new audience. I hope to be a part of educating a new fan base about what the sport is and more importantly isn’t!
NWFS: What have been some of your favorite bouts to call?
Hughes: I have had 4 very memorable ring experiences. One occurred in Athens during the games of 2004 when I was there to witness and announce the U.S.A. gold medal in boxing and meet Evander Holyfield that same night. My most memorable MMA moments inside the ring include a very special retirement tribute to Randy Couture in Portland, ring announcing Lindland’s IFL superfight with Jeremy Horn and most recently introducing Renzo Gracie and Pat Miletich for the IFL superfight in Moline Illinois. That’s Pat’s home turf and the crowd which was around 6,200 paid attendance and probably more like 8,000 in the stands were all on their feet as I started my announce! The energy was unreal. Just getting the chance to be in the ring for the IFL last June at the famed Trump Taj Mahal was a surreal experience. Someday…..Vegas!
NWFS: What services does your company, On The Spot Voice, provide?
Hughes: I do mostly radio and television voiceover for commercials and tv promos. But I also do post-production audio on smaller tv projects. I also fiddle a bit with video editing although it’s mostly for my own fun since I am not as proficient at it as many other folks in the marketplace.
NWFS: Who are some of your clients you work with?
Hughes: I am the voice for CBS owned and operated KUTV in Salt Lake and use to do all of their daily topical promo voice but more recently have handled all of their radio production during sweeps months. I still on occasion work with NBC. I am the voice of the Children’s Miracle Network in the US and Canada raising money for children’s hospitals. Other clients include the Colorado Toyota dealers, the NEC group with home shows in California and Utah, Sega games, Lucas Oil national and many car dealers around the country.
NWFS: What does the future hold for you?
Hughes: It’s funny, I was heading off to bed last night and went to shut off my Blackberry phone but noticed I had received an email. It was from the head of the Chinese Boxing Association letting me know that he had turned my name over to the Beijing Olympic Committee and was looking forward to having me be a part of the games in 2008! Who knows what the future holds! That’s the fun in doing what I do for a living. My whole outlook on life and certainly my career changed with the opportunities I was given in 2002. We all tend to live our lives in a very small box and get caught up in climbing the corporate career ladder of success, buying and building a home with all the right number of garages, bedrooms and bathrooms and then killing ourselves to keep up with the Jones’s. There is a big world outside that box and it’s waiting to be experienced and explored! I plan on doing that as much as possible without jeopardizing my relationship with my wife and kids or missing any of their high school basketball games, which by the way, I hold down one of the most fun announcing jobs of all, introducing my boys into the starting lineup on the court!!
NWFS: You announce for your boys’ basketball team?!? That is absolutely classic!
Would you tell us about your family & your life outside of work?
Hughes: I have actually produced with sound effects and music NBA style team introduction segments. I got myself in a bit of trouble a couple of years ago when my son was a sophomore though. At the first game, I wanted to play sound effects of glass breaking or slide whistle sound effects when the opposing team missed a free throw. The ref calmly came over to the scorers table and told me that wasn’t allowed in high school sports. OOPS!
We are a merged family with 4 kids of my own, 2 girls, 2 boys and my wife has 2 boys of her own, so a real Brady Bunch! Only two left at home now, both boys, Casey who’s 16 and Cory who will be a senior this year who turns 18 later this month, both are great basketball players. Cory, by the way inherited his grandfathers height, he’s 6′ 5″! And both are huge MMA fans especially when dad’s in the ring!
NWFS: Is there any thing you’d like to say in closing?
Hughes: I just wanted to end on the note of many people have dreams or goals in life and whatever those desires are, they need to pursue them. If you would have told me 4 years ago I would have worked 3 Olympic Games and be traveling the country ring announcing MMA shows and now airing weekly on FSN, I would have told you, you were crazy! You never know!
NWFS: I couldn’t agree more! Thanks so much for the interview!
We wish you all the best & know we’ll see ringside you again soon.
Hughes: Thanks for the exposure and kind words! It looks like the IFL is coming back
to Portland for the semi-finals of the World Team Championship November 2nd,
so I’ll see you then!
NWFS: Dynamite! See you then my friend!