Note: This is the first in a series of exclusive IceMenManiacs.com features, spotlighting the volunteers who make each IceMen home game happen. From folks who are front-and-center as part of the evening’s entertainment to those who keep things running behind the scenes, it takes a small army of volunteers to present each game. This series is intended to help the fans get to know these special people a bit better, and also give them some much-deserved public appreciation. Additional features will follow in the future.
Tommy Mason is one of many new additions to the IceMen game-night presentation crew this season. He has joined the organization as the new primary Public Address Announcer for home games at the Ford Center. On game night, he’s ready to roll a good half-hour before the doors open, and he doesn’t leave the building until after most fans are well on their way home. But who is the man behind the voice?
A native of Indianapolis, Mason is a graduate of Ben Davis High School and Vincennes University. He started in radio in high school, then studied Broadcasting and Broadcast Sales at Vincennes.
Tommy has been working in radio full-time for the past 14 years. He came to Evansville for the first time in 2001. He had been working mornings for 107.1 WEDJ in Indianapolis, but found himself out of a job when the station flipped formats from hard rock to Spanish. (He admits that it is “hard to make money spinning Pantera and Slipknot.”)
Upon arriving in Evansville, he spent some time at Y-107 (then WYXY and currently WEJK “Jack-FM”). He then returned to rock radio during a stint in Wisconsin before resurfacing in Evansville.
These days, Mason serves as the midday DJ for 93.5 “The Wolf,” WLFW. He can be heard between 9 AM and 2 PM daily. His “Wolf” work pays the bills; sports announcing is for fun on the side.
Although new to the IceMen, Tommy is no stranger to the Evansville sports scene. In addition to his “day job,” he did PA work for the Otters baseball team in 2009 and 2010, and he currently serves as the on-court promotions announcer for University of Evansville basketball games.
Mason never attended an IceMen game at Swonder Ice Arena, in part due to scheduling conflicts with his other jobs. He readily calls himself “a green hockey guy.” So what made him want to join the IceMen organization?
“I like a new challenge and this is a great opportunity,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind doing this for a living at a bigger level one day, and it’s not a bad job to have along with the radio. There are people in town that don’t even know I work a radio gig; they just think I work for UE. So that’s been rewarding – meeting the new peoples.”
So far, he’s enjoying his new gig. The transition to hockey announcer has been less overwhelming because of his experience with UE and the Otters. He feels that “the fast pace of Division I basketball compares somewhat,” and it also helps that the overall presentation in minor league hockey is similar to the promotion-heavy format of minor league baseball.
Mason is also excited about working at the Ford Center. “Folks don’t realize how spoiled they are to have the new stadium. Growing up in Indy, I remember the impact the (then) Hoosier Dome had in changing downtown, and the energy and civic pride it provided.”
As for the primary tenants of the since-renamed and now-demolished RCA Dome, Mason credits the Indianapolis Colts for giving him his fondest memory as a sports fan – “seeing the phrase ‘World Champions’ and ‘Indianapolis’ together on the bottom of my TV screen.”
And for the record, Tommy remains loyal to the quarterback who led the Colts to that Super Bowl XLI title; he was not on the “Suck for Luck” bandwagon. With Indy possessing the first overall pick in the next NFL draft, he wants to see the Colts trade it for a king’s ransom in order to reload the roster and make another run with Peyton Manning taking the snaps.
Even if the Colts can’t win another Super Bowl title anytime soon, let’s hope the IceMen can claim another championship of their own. If they can, Tommy Mason would sure like to be the man behind the microphone when it happens.
THE HAT TRICK (3 unrelated questions for Tommy Mason)
Q: Favorite current TV shows?
A: The Office, Workaholics, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Tosh.0.
Q: If you could have dinner with 3 famous people – living or dead – who would you choose?
A: TV legend Johnny Carson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” author Hunter S Thompson, and politician Barry Goldwater – and if one bailed out, my late grandfather.
Q: If you weren’t in radio, what would you be doing for a living?
A: Teaching High School History.