If there’s someone in Rochester to talk about the Bills, it’s probably Mike Catalana. He covered them in the 1990s when they had four straight Super Bowl appearances. Catalana is the sports director for 13WHAM. We were able to talk to him and find out more about his coverage of the Bills and his time here in Rochester.
Q: Did you play any sports in high school or college?
A: I played golf and basketball in high school.
Q: What was your first job out of college?
A: My first job was with Dial Sports; it was so long ago. We would record the scores of all the games and we would go on the phone and record the scores, and people would call to find out scores of games they wanted to know about. There was no ticker at the bottom of the screen, no Internet, so if you wanted to know how the Mets were doing you would call that number and get the recording.
Q: What four/five athletes would you want to hangout with or play a round of golf with?
A: I didn’t get a chance to interview Dr. J. I grew up down there and he was “The Guy.” I would love to talk to him. For someone I have met and had a chance to talk to, I would love to play a round of golf with Michael Jordan.
Q: Was this what you dreamed of doing when you were younger?
A: Yes, I was the kid as a 9-year-old, I knew I wanted to be a sportscaster. A lot of kids dreamed of doing play-by-play or doing sports for a local station because there was no ESPN. At my age, kids’ goals were to work at local stations and then keep moving up to bigger stations. If you would have asked me when I was 10 years old what I’d be doing now, I might of thought of a different city — I don’t know about Rochester — but that’s what I would have been geared toward.
Q: What is your favorite place to get food in Rochester?
A: I’ll go to places with my daughter, but my favorite place to go in Rochester is called Rocco. If you’re ever in Rochester, you have to go there.
Q: What’s the coolest event you’ve ever covered?
A: Two things always stick out in my mind. One was right here in Rochester, which was the 1995 Ryder cup at Oak Hill, and the other one was in Tampa when the Bills played in the Super Bowl against the Giants. It was the first Super Bowl I covered — walking in the stadium and to be able to cover it — plus, we were intensely covering it because it was the Bills.
Q: Best Super Bowl question you’ve asked?
Page 2 of 2 - A: It was at the second Super Bowl when we got to talk to Scott Norwood and when we got to talk to him and see how he’s doing with the media, and I do remember the Bills were trying to protect him and try to steer everyone away from him. What I remember the most was his response to all the questions — he’s a very classy guy and he handled it with poise. He talked about how it’s part of football and the funny thing was the Bills got blown out in that game but he made every one of his kicks.
Q: How important do you think it is to be involved in the community?
A: I think it’s very important. I look at it as part of your job. I think it’s good for anyone, but you are a public figure and these people invite you into their homes every night. I think it’s important to give back but also to represent your station and represent my family and myself. Ronald McDonald House has been a big non-profit for me and it should be a given that you’re involved when you’ve been around 25 years and people have been good to you.