Broadcasting alumnus becomes the voice of Texas baseball teamWednesday, November 28, 2018 - 11:00am
by Matt Balascak, senior ADPR major from Eagan, MN
“Right-hander Adkins ready again, the kick and the 0-1... a swing and a sharp line drive into left field for a base hit, first base runner of the night on either side.”
The sonorous voice of Michael Dixon echoed from the announcer’s box across the ballpark and the airwaves as he called the Cleburne Railroaders’ latest play. The 2016 University of Nebraska - Lincoln graduate is more comfortable in front of a microphone than most—the result of years of broadcasting experience.
Dixon, originally from Fort Worth, Texas, began honing his interest in broadcast journalism while he was still in high school. He was volunteering at a basketball game when a last-minute announcer was needed, and he ended up introducing the starting lineup.
The coach was impressed by Dixon’s voice and natural presence, and Dixon became a regular announcer at the high school games. By the time he began the broadcast journalism program at UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, he knew that he’d found his calling.
“I took it and ran with it to Nebraska,” Dixon said. “That’s when I really started to get interest in play-by-play and doing live broadcasting.”
While at UNL, Dixon not only took on a role doing play-by-plays for Husker athletics but also hosted radio programs and interviews on student radio. By the time graduation was near, Dixon had dozens of hours of broadcasting experience under his belt and was ready for a new challenge.
That challenge came in the form of the Cleburne Railroaders, an American Association baseball team based in Cleburne, Texas, that formed the same year as Dixon’s graduation. When he saw an opportunity to return to his home state and pursue a professional broadcasting career, Dixon took it.
During the 2017 season, Dixon provided commentary for 100 baseball games in 109 days as the Railroaders travelled the country playing teams like the Lincoln Saltdogs and the St. Paul Saints. Since the Railroaders were a brand-new team, Dixon often stepped out from the booth to act as a media liaison, a graphic designer and a social media writer in addition to his duties as a broadcaster.
“It was a media department that needed to be built,” Dixon said. “You learn quickly that the broadcasting isn’t anyone’s priority besides your own.”
He largely credits his time at the CoJMC for his apparent ease in and out of the broadcasting box, saying that the real-world experience provided by the college gave him a leg up when looking for a job.
Now that the season is over, Dixon is giving his voice a well-deserved rest. He won’t return for a second season with the Cleburne Railroaders, but instead looks to move up the ranks of baseball broadcasters. It won’t be easy. According to Major League Baseball, there are fewer than 150 broadcasting positions for major league teams.
Dixon knows his dream will take hard work to achieve, but he’s already begun. On the long drive home from each Railroaders game, he listened to his own commentary and took notes. The road ahead of him is long, but with Dixon is constantly improving and knows that his distinct voice belongs on air.