Kevin Ray: The Journey to Play-By-Play Announcer
Kevin Ray has been a long time local broadcaster that has been serving as the Suns’ sideline reporter for the past five seasons. After 15 years within the Suns broadcast, Ray is now stepping into a “dream” position to call Suns games and connect the fans with the team as the television play-by-play announcer.
What has been your favorite part of working with the Suns broadcast for the past 15 years?
I would have to say the people and the players. Having been apart of the organization in one capacity or another dating back to my radio days, just all the people that I’ve got a chance, not only work with, but getting to call many of them friends now. Now in this position, getting to work with them on an even closer and day-to-day basis is the one thing you can count on. Wins and loses are going to happen, but the people you get a chance to meet and form relationships with ultimately is what makes the job all the more enjoyable.
How has the journey been to get to where you are now?
It is a roadmap filled with many turns, lots of hills, some mountains, but I can say as I sit here today that it’s been worth it. Not unlike athletes, sometimes you think maybe I need to go in a different direction, maybe I need to go some place else, but I think at the end of the day, living here, being around these people help you navigate those tough times and dealing with the ups and downs, makes it all the more satisfying.
What does it mean to take over as the Suns play-by-play announcer?
It has been a long time dream of mine to see it come to fruition. When they told me what they wanted, I was speechless. When you get those moments that you dream about and strive for, it kind of took my breath away a little bit. I am thrilled. I am humbled by it. I’ve never been so excited as I have been getting to do this job with this organization with these fans. It’s a dream job.
What have your interactions with legendary play-by-play announcer Al McCoy been like?
Al is one of the first people that I met when I came to Arizona. I was working at a radio station there in Flagstaff and we happened to be the Suns affiliate. When the Suns came up to training camp in Flagstaff, Al took the time out to introduce himself. I told him I was the sports director for the radio station up there and he could not have been more kind and gracious. To be able to form a relationship with him that early on, many many years ago, and then to get to listen to him night-in and night-out and know the guy is not only in the Hall of Fame, but he’s still doing it at a high level. He is one of those that if you’re a broadcaster, you don’t necessarily want to duplicate, but you listen closely to how he delivers, what he delivers and just his undying passion for this team.
It’s opening night, mic is live, the ball tips off, how excited are you?
Every tip-off, every game, always has its level of excitement and adrenaline that you feel as an announcer. Whether it’s game one or game 43. Anytime you know that the mic is going to be cracked and you’re going to be on the air, there’s always a certain level of anticipation and adrenaline that goes through your body. I’m sure come Wednesday night I’ll have to do some breathing exercises, but I’ve got my guy Eddie Johnson who I’m sure will help keep me grounded a little bit. It will be a culmination of a long journey to finally get to be in that positon, sitting next to him and calling that game will be a feeling like no other.