Voice of Corvallis Knights Takes Job with Blue Wahoos

Corvallis Knights LogoPensacola Blue Wahoos LogoPRESS RELEASE – There’s a certain irony to a Virginia Tech graduate joining a franchise called the Wahoos, a nickname often used by sports teams from the arch-rival University of Virginia. But life often works in mysterious ways. And if that entails a die-hard Hokie becoming a Wahoo to join the exclusive fraternity of affiliated-baseball broadcasters, then so be it.

Corvallis Knights Burke and HatchKevin Burke (pictured, right, with Knights’ Director of Media Relations Brooks Hatch at the WCL Championship Series in Wenatchee), the 2012 radio voice of the Corvallis Knights, has been hired by the Pensacola (Fla.) Blue Wahoos for the upcoming season. They are the double-A Southern League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

His official title is “media trainee” under full-time broadcaster Tommy Thrall, and he’ll have ample responsibilities. As the No. 2 voice behind Thrall, he’ll do some play-by-play and color commentary during games, host the pregame show, and handle other media relations work as assigned.

Burke said the Knights played a major role in helping him break into his profession. He broadcast every game in 2012, compiled extensive pre- and post-game notes, and honed the work ethic and preparatory skills needed to advance in a very competitive field.

“My time with the Knights was invaluable in starting my career,” he said. “Working with a top-notch organization and having the ability to take a full hands-on approach prepared me for the day-to-day work load of a minor league schedule.

“Thanks to all of the Knights staff for their support and help. I will definitely be following the Knights from Florida.”

The Blue Wahoos open the season on April 4. Their 140-game season runs through Sept. 2, with playoffs to follow if they qualify.

“I am positive Kevin will be as popular with Pensacola fans as he was in Corvallis,” Knights’ president Dan Segel said. “It’s not easy following a local legend like Mike Parker as our broadcaster, but Kevin filled those big shoes admirably and brought a fresh, unique and often humorous viewpoint every night.

“He has a passion for baseball and for broadcasting, and it showed in his broadcasts.”

Burke, 22, joined the Knights two weeks after his May 11, 2012 graduation from Virginia Tech, where he earned a BA in communications (electric print and journalism option) and a minor in professional writing. By that time he already had considerable experience in many aspects of affiliated baseball, radio, and in public address.

He did radio play-by-play and public address for Virginia Tech baseball and other sports. He worked in broadcast, business and promotional capacities for the Salem (Va.) Red Sox, Boston’s affiliate in the Class A Carolina League in 2011 and 2010, and was the on-field emcee for the Frederick (Mary.) Keys, Baltimore’s Carolina League affiliate, in 2009.

Burke also worked at several small Virginia radio stations as on-air talent and in production while in high school before enrolling at Virginia Tech.

Burke is the second former Knights broadcaster to land a job in affiliated baseball. Jason Schwartz, who worked in Corvallis in 2010 after graduating from USC, was the voice of the Tri-City Dust Devils of the Northwest League in 2011 and the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League in 2012.

“We have a rich tradition of giving young talent an opportunity to polish their craft and we’re thrilled Kevin will join Jason in affiliated baseball,” Segel said. “They both did an outstanding job for us and we look forward to their rise through the professional ranks.”

Parker will return to the Knights’ broadcast booth this summer after his one-year hiatus.

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