When Lecturer in English Andrew Brown begins his Great Books class, he usually starts a discussion about the weekend’s Charger football game.
Brown has taught an English course each semester for a few years, but he’s spent more than half of his life as a broadcaster for Charger football. So after he tells students to stop leaving games at halftime, they’ll launch into Macbeth.
In addition to covering Charger football and men’s and women’s basketball games, Brown hosts a sports talk show every Tuesday night. On “Time Out with Andy Brown,” he features local coaches and high school players before chatting about state sports with co-hosts Rick Arsenault or sophomore Martin Petersen. One of Brown’s three sons, Sam, is the show’s co-producer.
Brown, who graduated from Hillsdale in ’97, got involved with sports broadcasting as a student. He had grown up listening to Detroit Lions games on his transistor radio when he should’ve been sleeping, so he combined his passion for radio and sports by getting involved with the city of Hillsdale’s radio station, WCSR.
Brown met his co-host Arsenault, who works as a custodian at Hillsdale, on the way to science class almost 20 years ago. After he discovered their mutual love of Michigan teams, Brown would stop in the hall to chat with Arsenault about the Tigers.
“Even at that point we had our sports dialogue,” Arsenault said. “So we’ve been doing our shtick for a long time.”
Brown knew as a student that their rapport was too good not to continue.
“He’s really sharp and well spoken,” Brown said. “I was into radio already then, and I said, ‘One day, Rick, you and I will do a sports talk show together.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, right, whatever.’”
The show began almost ten years ago, and now Brown and Arsenault continue their banter by chatting about the game results and — after losses like the Wolverines to the Spartans a couple of weekends ago — answering questions such as, “Can you have a good weekend if all of your teams lose?”
Their conclusion, Brown said: “Not really.”
The show also features Petersen, who got involved with the radio station as a sixth grader. Brown said he was hesitant to bring on such a young sports fan, but Petersen ended up knowing more about sports than he did.
Brown, however, has a talent for real-time announcing, according to Petersen. The pair also call basketball games together, and Petersen said Brown is one of the best play-by-play announcers he has heard at any level.
“It’s always a joy to work with him, especially during the basketball games,” Petersen said. “The game comes down to the wire, you know, and he’s making great calls, and it just makes it really exciting for me and the people that are listening as well.”
When Brown invites athletes on his radio show, he’ll ask local high school players to highlight their achievements. But he also talks to more celebrated athletes as well. He’s had several interviews with Hillsdale resident Penny Neer, who competed in the Olympics for discus throwing, and he also hosted Katie Cezat ’09 after she won the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II National Player of the Year.
“Those are the stories I love, you know, the folks from our county who have…been successful and have done special things,” Brown said.
Next Tuesday, tune in at 6 p.m. on 92.1 FM to hear Brown speak with new head women’s basketball coach Matt Fritsche.
Over the summer, when he’s not teaching at Hillsdale or his full-time job at Camden-Frontier High School, Brown spends his time at the radio station.
“I always say, ‘I teach all year so I can do radio for three months in the summer,’” Brown said.
He’s been broadcasting games long enough now that it’s never too much of a challenge.
“You can just go and enjoy the game and talk about it,” Brown said, “and try to bring the action to the fans.”