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Football: On-field ceremony for Starkey

Cal football play-by-play radio announcer Joe Starkey will be honored during an on-field ceremony for the last game of the season, Nov. 27 against Washington. Starkey was previously awarded the Chris Schenkel award, which goes to an announcer with a long and distinguished career at a single college football program. The award will be presented to Starkey against Washington.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • DaBears

    Hopefully it will coincide with his retirement – and he can take the PA announcer with him.

  • rollonubears

    aww, i like starkey, and the pa guy. i just get sick of him doing the advertising. i think of his voice, and i think of saylor and hill. cantina taqueria, and bank of the west. very annoying.

  • TrumanHugh

    Joe Starkey’s voice IS the voice of Cal football. However, he is such a pessimist (any sign of adversity–however minor–and Cal is doomed, game over) and I have found it increasingly more and more difficult to listen to Cal games over the radio.

  • Josh

    A pessimistic Cal fan?! I’m shocked.

  • BerkeleyKen

    Just tossing out an idea to avoid having all of those annoying mentions of sponsors of Cal football at the games: actually get like 25,000 folks to fork up some Bear Backer $$. For every Cal fan buying tickets, there are probably like five to ten watching on TV or listening on radio. What if they gave just $50 each a year? That’s like one beverage at Starbucks a month. Wouldn’t solve every problem but an extra $750K might be nice. Perhaps a few large donors might put up the challenge to match the first $50 each from folks who have not been Bear Backers before.

  • BadBill

    Please spare us from having to applaud the very WORST Football announcer out there. I agree, PLEASE RETIRE SOON. Then we can get an announcer that explains what is going on in an intelligent manner (e.g., Roxy Bernstein)…

    Joe is a truly awful announcer. I know it may be sacrilegious to say it, but it’s true.

    Go Bears!

  • Dennis Gaxiola

    Starkey has lived off of one crazy play and the corresponding call for way too long. He is the worst play by play announcer in the business! Virtually impossible to follow a Cal game with him at the helm…. At his best he was always a pessimistic announcer, even when Cal would be winning by a few scores he would describe how they could still lose the game…. the worst!

  • gobears91

    I like Joe Starkey. I admire and appreciate his passion and enthusiasm for the game and the Bears, and his voice brings back memories of Football Saturdays as far back as I can remember. I think he does a great job. I also like his pairing with Troy Taylor – who is bright and brings good insight as a former Bear QB (albeit during some lean years!). I recall Troy was in the NFL for two or three years so he also knows what its like at the next level. I, for one, say keep up the good work fellas and a recognition well deserved for Mr. Starkey.

  • Dan

    As much as I criticize the Bears and Tedford at times, and Tedford is much better at his job than Starkey currently is at his, and Starkey can drive me nuts sometimes, I still like him on the radio doing Bears football.

    Starkey’s voice IS Cal football, it’s the soundtrack for so many great times, games, fall Saturdays of my life, for my drive home from the games- I could go on and on. As a FB player at SDSU from the Bay Area, and a diehard Cal fan, I remember sitting around on fall Saturday’s in SD, waiting for our game (we played home games at night) listening to Joe Starkey as I followed Cal games, following some good friends that played for Cal. I remember the hearing play, and then the broadcast went silent for about a minute. Starkey has been there the whole time.

    Yeah, the guy’s performance and style has dropped off a bit, but I won’t look forward to him being gone until he is doddering and has to go. I know many of you will say he’s already there, and you may be right. I will enjoy him and savor his presence every game until he decides he’s done.

  • Robert Towne

    I’m a season ticket holder, and now I’m thinking of boycotting that game. IMHO Joe Starkey is and has been the worst football announcer I’ve ever listened to, and I’m going back to the 1940s with that statement. I refuse to listen to the away games on the radio because of him unless I can get the opposing team’s broadcast. Starkey’s style, so far as I can tell, is a commentary on some sort of social gathering that might be a football game; and he rarely tells the audience any of the relevant information about the actual game (e.g., yards gained on the play, where the ball is, the down, time left to play, you name it). And when he does somehow attempt to include any of those into the commentary he’s often incorrect. This is not to mention his doomsday attitude about The Bears in general. I, for one will be glad to see him gone to another pursuit. I’ll also second the vote for Roxy as a replacement. Go Bears!

  • MikeD

    have chimed in on this before, but I too see Starkey as the voice of the Bears. I enjoy the off kilter banter that he sometimes gets into vs the type of mindless delivery that you hear on a Monday night football game broadcast over the radio with one of the network talking heads. I don’t really need all the relevant info after each and every down to be able to enjoy the game or the swarmy announcer guy voice trying ever so hard to inject drama in and fill each second of broadcast time with his talking. That said I think that a better #2 guy would be able to prop Ol’ Joe up a bit. And I too am a real big fan of Roxy and hope that he will step in as the voice of the Bears in football and basketball (and baseball too) for many years to come.

  • rollonyoubears111

    Aw, I like Starkey. Although I have no idea what’s going on when he calls out the play by play, I am so used to hearing him as Cal’s voice. I feel sorry for the guy when he loses his composure, I rejoice with him when he’s excited. I just hope, and for all Cal fans, that we get to the Rose Bowl before he retires! GO BEARS!

  • Steve W

    Starkey is great. He is the main reason I became a Cal football fan while listening to his broadcasts during my college days in Sacramento. Sure, he flubs some calls and misses some of the action while it’s happening on the field. But he also has insights that other announcers wouldn’t see. His voice inflection and excitement for the game are fantastic.

    He’s the best guy on radio for Cal, period. And I will take Barry Tompkins and Petro Papadakis for the TV broadcast. They are better than anything that ESPN throws out there with the possible exception of Mike Patrick.

  • Larry

    Steve W

    I agree with you above. Even though Petros is a former Trojan, he does take the time to get informed about the players and teams that are playing which is way more than the ESPN generic, unpassionate ESPN/other/misc. announcers. out there.

  • Larry

    I never liked Keith Jackson as an announcer. He always screwed up players names especially Cal players. It was like nails down a chalkboard, I’m glad he’s gone.
    Pawlawski is good too.

  • covinared

    I will miss Starkey’s voice, but have to agree that he is not a good announcer. He can go on and on about every detail of a just completed play without mentioning how much if any yardage was gained and how much more for a first, or whether or not a pass was completed. I do, however, get a good feeling each early September the first time I hear his voice.

  • ET

    Robert Towne,

    You said it exactly. I am embarassed when non Cal friends ask me how I can possibly listen to Starkey. I don’t really, but they don’t get how the program puts up with him. I wish he had retired from Cal broadcasts and was still doing Niners games. He is just about the worst announcer ever.

  • Dan

    I really like Mike Palawski personally- very likable, great insights- except somebody needs to tell him that Jeff Tedford is no longer a QB guru. He mentions that once every game. That’s old news. Tedford is now the QB anti-guru.

  • Esquire Joe

    I absolutely love Joe Starkey and appreciate his offbeat style in calling games. However, I do understand how that might rub some people the wrong way.

    I think it’s because he really is a Cal fan at heart. If you’ve listened to Bay Area football on the radio for the last couple of decades, you would have heard a distinct difference in how he called 49ers games and how he calls Cal games. He is much more familiar and conversational, and much less concerned with technicalities on Bears broadcasts. Again, though, that’s what I love about him.

    As for his pessimism, I think that’s part of his approach to the game as a fan. I think he’s truly disappointed when the Bears aren’t playing well. But I also think he’s at his best when calling an exciting play because he’s a fan, and his enthusiasm is genuine, which comes through.

  • BlueNGold

    Seems like Joe Starkey has been the Cal announcer forever, so it is difficult to imagine anyone else playing the role. Joe has his shortcomings and personality quirks, but he definitely brings a lot of passion to the job and has a depth of historical knowledge about Cal and its football program. The linked article about this ceremony seems to be saying it is to commemorate him winning the award, but I wonder whether it might have something to do with his future plans as well. Anyone know anything about that?

  • Bruce Brown

    Wow — Joe Starky and Troy Taylor – I could not imagine better announcers.
    I was shocked that not everyone feels the same.
    Maybe Joe’s contract is up for renewal with KGO and the negative comments are plants from the station to impair his negotiating position (what Cal grad doesn’t like a good conspiracy theory).
    Joe Starky is PRICELESS.