Going, going, gone: Voices of Cal sports call final play

Video by Phil Ebiner/UC Berkeley

BERKELEY — At the far end of the Memorial Stadium press box, UC Berkeley seniors Isaac Wolf and Josh Toyofuku huddle together, setting up radio equipment. They effortlessly work through a tangle of wires to get ready for a night baseball game against the University of Washington Huskies. It’s easy to see that Wolf and Toyofuku, the co-sports directors for KALX, Cal’s student-run radio station, have done this before. Two freshmen look on, taking in every move and word.

As the baseball season winds down and the school days dwindle, these soon-to-be-graduates have begun to pass the torch as the voices of Cal sports.

From visiting all of the Pac-12 schools to meeting football legend Jerry Rice at the Rose Bowl, the experiences of these two radio announcers have left a mark. Coming in with no radio experience, both Wolf and Toyofuku quickly learned the ropes, while juggling classes, homework and other extracurricular activities. Soon they were calling football, women’s basketball and baseball games. Often, their KALX radio broadcasts were the only way people around the country, especially student-athletes’ parents, could follow Cal teams.

“People come up to us all the time and tell us ‘By the way, we’re listening in… you’re doing a great job.’” says Wolf. He and Toyofuku agree that working at KALX has been a highlight of their UC Berkeley careers.

While neither Wolf, a history major, nor Toyofuku, a media-studies major, is counting on a career in sports announcing, both are keeping their options open after graduation. They don’t rule out the possibility of pursuing jobs related to sports media

“If it works out, great, and if it doesn’t, that’s fine. I’ve got plenty of memories here,” says Wolf. “I’ll always tune in, and when they have their anniversary specials, I’ll come back as a guest.”

The game has started, Wolf and Toyofuku flow back and forth, spitting out stats and anecdotes like old pros. The confidence of multiple years of experience can be heard in their voices. At this point, they have been grooming the next generation of KALX sports directors for months and believe the transition will be a smooth one. “I know the station’s going to do well under them. They can do an even better job than Isaac and I, since they’re going to have more time at the helm,” says Toyofuku.

By the start of the third inning, under their guidance, the freshman announcers are manning the microphones.