Modern sports broadcasters know how challenging it can be to fill time during slow moments of games. For Bill Doane and his 1973 Tacoma Twins baseball radio broadcasts , the challenge was turning bland play descriptions typed out on a page into a story worth listening to.
Born in April 1936 in Tacoma, Doane is a lifelong Washingtonian broadcaster. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1954, and after a stint in the Navy and a three-month radio class at Tacoma Vocational School he began his career at KENE in the Yakima Valley.
Doane filled any role necessary for the broadcasts, working as a DJ, news and sports reporter at various stations in Yakima, Tacoma, Bremerton and Seattle before settling down in Auburn as news and sports director at KASY. His play-by-play experience began in the early 1960s, when he announced football, basketball and baseball games for high schools in Yakima and the Tri-Cities.
While at KASY, Doane carried out numerous part-time roles at KIRO and KVI. He spent one season producing University of Washington Husky football games and announcing the postgame highlight and scoreboard show. But perhaps his most creatively demanding role came with the Tacoma Twins and KTNT.
When interviewed, Bill elaborated that, “Don Hill, longtime legendary voice of Tacoma baseball helped me get started and told me after doing a few re-creations from the studio I would probably find it easier than going to the ballpark to announce the games….at least I didn’t have to climb those stairs to get to the pressbox in Cheney Stadium.”
When the Twins were on the road, Connie Hill, Don’s wife, would be in the booth next to Bill and she would take a phone call every three innings from wherever the team was playing and type up a brief summary of the play-by-play.
Single…..strikeout….fly-out left….triple;;run……ground out second.
It was Doane’s job to craft the events into a compelling narrative that included balls and strikes, spectacular catches and close plays. Doane also had a Pacific Coast League guidebook with rosters, player stats, a brief summary of the player’s history including height, weight, hometown etc which came in hand to help fill in the slow spots.
For about 10 years starting in 1974, Doane served as radio broadcast instructor at Clover Park Vocational-Tech. He trained his students in the art of play-by-play, giving them experience with school football and basketball games for the student-operated radio station KVTI.
After decades in the business, Doane sums up the key to broadcast success in four simple words he heard from legendary broadcaster Bob Robertson-“you just do it”.
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- PCL game (1973) Bill Doane was at the mic for this early Pacific Coast League game as the 1973 Tacoma Twins took on the Eugene Emeralds. The Twins featured the likes of Tom Kelly and Charlie Manual, both whom went on to become major league managers
- Tacoma Baseball team broadcasters reunion (1987) Tacoma Baseball team broadcasters reunion