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Emerson faculty member inducted into Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame

Allison Teixeira
May 20, 2011

Adjunct faculty member John Rooke, who has taught sports reporting at Emerson since 2006, was recently inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame (RIRHOF). Rooke is a talk show host on ESPN Radio and does play-by-play broadcasting for both professional and college sports.

Known as the “Voice of the Friars” for the past 22 years, Rooke is the play-by-play announcer for Providence College basketball games. He also hosted sports talk programs on WPRO-AM and WSKO-AM/FM from 1990 to 2005, and can currently be heard on WEEI-FM. He has been a talk show host for ESPN Radio since 1999, calls play-by-play nationally for ESPNU, ESPN Regional Television, and the IMG College Network. He has worked for the New England Patriots since 1993 as the “Voice of Foxboro Stadium” and later the “Voice of Gillette Stadium.”

John Rooke (left) has called the play-by-play for the Providence College Friars basketball team for 22 years. Also pictured is former NBA and PC basketball star Joe Hassett, who does color analysis for the games.

“I’m just unbelievably humbled and thrilled to be thought of in the same vein as a Salty Brine or a Jack Comely and the other personalities [in RIRHOF] that were really the founding fathers of radio in the state of Rhode Island,” said Rooke.

The Rhode Island Broadcasters Hall of Fame was founded in 2008 to celebrate the Ocean State’s radio industry and to preserve audio, memorabilia, radio equipment, and written and oral history of radio in the state. All proceeds earned by the organization benefit local charities. Rooke helped found RIRHOF with fellow Rhode Island radio pro John Colletto.

Rooke enjoys teaching the next generation of radio professionals at Emerson. “It never ceases to amaze me the talent and the caliber of the students,” he said. From those who want to be on-air personalities, to students who want to work in public relations or as agents, “it’s a very varied group, but one thing they all are is very, very talented.”

Rooke isn’t slowing down. In addition to all his radio and play-by-play gigs, he’s now working on a book about the history of radio in Rhode Island.

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