North Texas Daily

Play-by-play man makes impact on athletics

Play-by-play man makes impact on athletics

Play-by-play man makes impact on athletics
October 06
23:26 2014

Jordan Ottaway / Contributing Writer

The words “Touchdown Mean Green!” can often be heard on 88.1 KNTU-FM every Saturday during the Mean Green football season, and the man behind the voice has a lot to say on how he worked his way to where he is today.

Head play-by-play caller George Dunham, better known as “The Voice of the Mean Green,” has been with the Mean Green Radio Network since 1990. While North Texas athletics may not be as elite as other programs, Dunham feels this is where he belongs.

Not only does Dunham do play-by-play for UNT athletics, but he also hosts the award winning “Dunham and Miller Show” every morning on Sports Radio 1310 “The Ticket.”

Born in San Antonio, Dunham moved around during his childhood and lived in cities such as Minneapolis and Chicago. Then, in 1980, Dunham moved to the Dallas-Forth Worth area, where he attended R.L. Turner High School before attending UNT.

“I was in the area when I graduated from high school, so that would make North Texas more of a logical choice,” Dunham said.

Initially going to UNT to pursue a business degree, Dunham would soon discover a hidden passion that would change his entire career plan and life: radio broadcasting.

Dunham discovered the Radio, Television and Film program when he met Craig Miller, who lived across the hall from him in the dorms. Miller would end up being Dunham’s future roommate, lifelong friend and co-host on “The Dunham and Miller Show.”

“A whole new world was opened up to me,” Dunham said. “Once I went on the air it was like a light switch went off in me. I wanted to work all I could to get better.”

Once he took a couple radio broadcasting classes, Dunham was convinced that radio was what he wanted his career to be. He worked at the campus radio station, KNTU, doing a small-scale sports broadcast with Miller and said he absolutely loved it.

After sending his résumé tape to more than 100 radio stations across the state, Dunham landed a job at a Dallas station, KRLD, where well-known sports broadcaster Brad Sham, the play-by-play voice for the Dallas Cowboys, hired Dunham straight out of college to do afternoon and night broadcasts.

“That was a huge break for me, so I went right from college into the Dallas market,” Dunham said. “It was being in the right place at the right time.”

There was a tough transition going from college radio to working for a professional radio station. Dunham was now working alongside people who he had looked up to when he was in school, and in turn they built him up, making him more effective in his field.

“Brad was very instrumental,” Dunham said. “He was very demanding, but also fair. He had a high standard of what something should sound like on the air.”

Dunham continued to work his way up when he got a position at the Texas State Network, which was in the same building as KRLD.

A highlight of Dunham’s career is when he and Miller got the opportunity to partner up and finally do a real show together in 1994, when Miller heard about an opening on 1310 AM “The Ticket.” Miller asked Dunham if he would want to do a show together.

“We jumped at the opportunity,” Dunham said. “It was pretty remarkable because we would have never dreamed of not only working together, but doing a show together one day.”

“The Dunham and Miller Show” is a morning talk show that airs weekdays from 5:30-10 a.m. with different bits to relay sports news to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. They are nicknamed “the musers.”

The two hosts have chemistry with each other, and Dunham said that gives them an advantage over other broadcasters when it comes to keeping the show flowing smoothly.

“We are getting paid to do what we did sitting around the dorm room and apartment goofing off,” Dunham said.

As much as Dunham loves working with Miller on “The Ticket,” he said calling play-by-play for college sports is what he always saw himself doing.

“Calling games is so much fun,” Dunham said. “Of all the things I have done or am doing, it brings me the most satisfaction.”

Dunham is a valued individual at UNT because he had a strong love for his alma mater, and that shows during his broadcasts. Associate Athletic Director and Color Analyst Hank Dickenson has spent 19 years with Dunham and said he has enjoyed it every day.

“It’s big personal and professional highlight,” Dickenson said. “We are really good friends and working with him has been the most fun part of my job.”

Even though Dickenson has done play-by-play in the past, he said that working with Dunham has made him a better game caller when he has to take over from time to time.

“He’s a real talented guy and very gracious,” Dickenson said. “He’s not a guy that’s worried about hogging the air.”

People love to listen to Dunham call games because he is so passionate about the school and knowledgeable about the history of the program.

“He gets Mean Green fans,” converged broadcast media junior Evan Nemec said. “He understands their joys, their pains, their thinking, because he is right alongside us.”

Dunham has been right there with North Texas athletics through the good times and the bad. He was there calling the games when UNT had its bowl run in the early 2000s and when UNT won the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2013. Dunham was also there for UNT during the rough times. He never left its side.

“North Texas had many years where the teams were struggling, but it was still fun to be on the road with him,” Dickenson said. “He’s the type of person that people gravitate towards.”

Dickenson said that Dunham is a perfect fit for the Mean Green Radio Network and brings more to the table every time he puts on the headset.

“North Texas is fortunate to have a guy with the school that cares so much doing the games and I think that comes through loud and clear on all of our broadcasts,” Dickenson said.

Dunham is pleased to be able to do what he does, and doesn’t want it to change anytime soon.

“It’s an honor to be able to do this at North Texas,” Dunham said.

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Featured Illustration by Jake Bowerman – Senior Staff Illustrator

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