Don Stevens just completed his 27th season as the Amerks play-by-play announcer. Stevens has helped the team in a number of different ways, whether it was public relations director, TV host, or radio talk show host. Even though Rochester is his home now, broadcasting has taken Stevens to a lot of different places, including Canada and Europe along with a collection of different cities in the United States. We spoke to the “Voice of the Amerks,” and found out a little more about his life out of the booth.
Q: Did you play any sports in high school or college?
A: I played football and baseball in high school and then one season of baseball in college.
Q: What was your first job out of college?
A: I worked at a small station in Grand Island, Nebraska, called KRGI Radio. I was doing everything; I was a sports director, news director and community service director. It was an entry-level job and that’s really how you learn the business, by just learning everything.
Q: What four/five athletes or coaches would you want to hang out with or play a round of golf with?
A: I got a chance to travel and talk to Rod Laver one year, I wouldn’t mind talking to him again. Don Drysdale, Randy Cunneyworth I really liked, he’s one of the classiest individuals you’ll ever know and probably Ryan Miller, who’s now the Sabres goaltender.
Q: Was this what you dreamed of doing when you were younger?
A: It never crossed my mind when I was younger. I didn’t know what I was going to do, I had gone to college for a very brief time and my mother said, “You talk a lot, so why not get into broadcasting?” She found out how to get into broadcasting and she found out about the broadcasting school in Minneapolis and she contacted them and dropped all this on me. I thought I’d pursue it and I did and I’ve been stuck in this business ever since.
Q: Favorite place to get a garbage plate or any food in Rochester?
A: I travel all the time so I enjoy home the most. I’ve gone to Dinosaur BBQ, I don’t go there much but it’s very good.
Q: How do you like living in Rochester?
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A: It’s been good here. If I’m going to be in the minor leagues somewhere, Rochester is certainly one of the better places to be. My family and friends are all out West, Rochester has become home and my kids came here at an early age so they call it home but, I do miss out West and it’s tough being away from family.
Q: What’s the best part about your job with the Amerks?
A: Watching these young kids develop as athletes, and I basically get to see the start of their professional career and watch it through until the end. Some great individuals have come through here, not just on the ice but off the ice as well. Watching them grow has been a lot of fun.
Q: What’s the coolest city you’ve worked in?
A: San Diego, I did World Hockey out there and San Diego is just about the best being 70 degrees every day of the year. Walking on the beach Christmas day is great.