Get to Know Todd Ullom, Play by Play Announcer

Get to Know Todd Ullom, Play by Play Announcer

Todd Ullom, Play by Play announcer for WLUTV 14

Tell us a little bit about your background: (Include where you grew up, your high school and college info, sports or extra curricular at both, etc)

I was born and raised in the Fulton area of wheeling. Moved to elm grove in junior high. I attended Wheeling Central Catholic where I played football and was lucky enough to be on some great teams with great teammates and won two state championships.  I also played hockey most of my life and was disappointed I graduated a year before Wheeling Central formed their first hockey team.  I then attended WVU for a period of time. I learned more about life and myself than an actual education while I was there, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.  I took some time off of school, moved back to Wheeling, and worked. Then I decided to go back to school and attended WLU. I was a Comm. Major at WVU so I decided to do the same at WLU. At WVU there wasn’t a broadcast side to the Comm. major so WLU Comm. department added a new challenge for me. I was nervous about it at first, but eventually I learned I enjoyed calling games on WGLZ and being an in air talent for Jock Talk on Channel 14. I also joined the club hockey team for a short period of time when I was a student at WLU.

How did your education at WL help prepare you for this position?

WLU broadcast program prepared me for my job as play by play announcer by giving me every opportunity to be on air and work on my craft. I was on Jock Talk as a student and called football and basketball games for WGLZ. Also as a student I was given the opportunity to do color commentary for football games on WLUTV14 with current MEC Commissioner Reid Amos when he was the VOTH.  I worked part time at a local radio station and they knew I called games and was on tv for WLU so they gave me an opportunity to call high school football games on their station. All of those experiences helped me learn how to deal with different personalities on and off the air.

Describe your day when you aren’t on air and the days when you are on air.

Ullom on set with Coach Roger Waialae for Hilltopper Sports Weekly

The days when there aren’t games to call I usually spend making graphics, editing highlights, creating Hilltoppers hotspots, looking up information on opposing teams, and preparing myself and any students that will be on air talent for the upcoming game and/or coach’s show’s. I get a lot of help from Theresa Gretchen, Jared Thompson, Rex Lancaster, Don Clegg, and the coach’s themselves.

On game days it’s very much like a player on game day. You prepared all week, now it’s time to go out, have fun, and put on a great broadcast. It’s easy to feel that way when you trust the crew you work with.

You used to be the sports producer before you became play by play. Did that help influence your style?

Being producer before I went to the booth helped me learn some of the do’s and don’t’s without making the mistake myself on air. It also helped me understand what goes on in the truck during a broadcast and how intense, hectic, and pressure packed a live television broadcast is.

I got a lot of my style from watching games on television when I was young. I’m a big hockey fan and The Penguins have been my favorite since I was 5 years old. I’ve listened to Hall of Fame broadcaster Mike Lange of the Penguins for 27 years and he does a great job of conveying the emotion of the game to the viewers.

What advice would you give someone who wants to become an on air talent?

My advice to a prospective on air talent would be to be yourself. It’s okay to have a similar style but, Don’t try to imitate someone you’ve seen or heard. Also get as much practice as possible on air and know your material. Be prepared.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?

I’m still a big sports fan so I’ll watch a lot of professional sports broadcasts.  Especially Pittsburgh professional sports.  My brother is a local musician so I enjoy going to watch him play.  I can strum some chords, but it’s only a hobby. That’s why I call sporting events.  I like country music, but not today’s country. I’m not married and don’t have any children, but I have three nephews and it’s been great watching them grow up.

Todd Ullom and color analyst Kyle Patrick after the 2017 season opener at West Family Stadium

Big picture, what would be your dream job?

My dream job would be calling games for The Steelers or Penguins, but I’d take a job for any team in pro sports.  I’d like to be a team specific announcer because I’d be associated with an organization instead of a major network. To me the team specific announcers can give more emotion than the network announcers

We remember when you and Lynn Ullom were both on air together. What’s the story there? Are you related?

Ahh The Story of House Ullom

I’d never met Lynn before my time at WLU.

Lynn and I have talked about that and both of our families have ties to the Waynesburg, PA area in the past, but beyond that we’re not sure if we’re related. I’ve heard there were several different Ullom families in that area that weren’t related so we may never know.