Ken Cail’s boyhood dream was to own the voice coming out of the radio, calling the play-by-play. As far back as his grade-school days, he envisioned himself describing the action and often called the play-by-play while his friends competed at driveway basketball and backyard Wiffle ball.
His radio work life now has grown to be 38 years long, and for 35 of those years his sonorous sound and rich descriptions of the action have reached countless hockey, baseball and basketball fans.
His career ceased being a fantasy in 1970, at age 16, when he wrote a letter that quickly put him in the radio booth, although not behind the mic. Before he sat down to write that evening, he earlier had been at the old Boston Garden watching the then-Boston Braves of the AHL. Looking up into the radio booth, he noticed that legendary play-by-play man, Bob Wilson, had only a technician with him. Wilson, then heard live over WBZ-AM, was the unmistakable Voice of the Boston Bruins as well as the Boston Braves. Ken suspected that night, and rightly so, that Wilson didn’t have a statistician beside him. So, he wrote and offered his services.
“That was on a Saturday night,” Ken recalls. “On Monday, after school, I was out in the yard. My dad called me in. ‘Bob Wilson is on the phone,'” he said.
And so the dream began. That very next Friday, teenager Ken became Bob Wilson’s Boston Braves statistician-albeit for no pay.
By 1971, Ken’s not yet a senior at Melrose High School (Class of 1972)-had moved in beside Wilson as his statistician for Boston Bruins games. That same year, Ken also began a seven-season gig as public-address announcer for the then-Manchester Yankees, later to be the New Haven Yankees. The team then was the Eastern League Double-A affiliate of the NY Yankees.
Wilson, impressed with Ken’s innate skills and confidence, later assisted with the segue that in 1973 put Ken into the WBZ studio as a producer for Calling All Sports host Guy Mainella, as well New England Patriots broadcaster Gil Santos, and talk show giant, Jerry Williams.
Ken, meanwhile, enrolled at Leland Powers School of Radio Broadcasting in Boston, and in 1975 first went on air doing WBZ fill-in sportscasts while the World Series raged in Boston.
When Jerry Williams, in 1976, went off to WTIC in Hartford, Ken went south with him. One year later, though, Ken was back in New Hampshire, this time in Manchester at WGIR-AM doing, among other things, The Evening Talk Show. He became a nine-year on-air fixture. During that period, he also began doing hockey play-by-play for local high school games.
In 1986, he moved over to WFEA-AM/WZID-FM in Manchester, doing regular news broadcasts as well as regular play-by-play of high school hockey games.
Beginning in 1998 and lasting up through the end of the 2007 season, Ken also was the public address announcer, on-air broadcaster and public relations man for the Nashua Pride baseball team, which originally played in the Atlantic League and later the Can-Am League.
Then the Manchester Monarchs came to town. And in 2001, fans began hearing Ken’s voice at first over WGIR-AM and later over WGAM-AM. Today, he still is The Voice of the Monarchs, and for nine seasons hasn’t missed a single broadcast, which, including playoffs, totals more than 800 consecutive games. Also, in 2008, Ken became The Voice of the Lowell Spinners, the Single-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Ken, today across a calendar year, combines four radio jobs: his June-to-September broadcasting of 76 Spinners games, his Octoberto- April broadcasting of 80 Monarchs games; his radio play-by-play of Southern New Hampshire University basketball games; and his five-day-a-week broadcast of the Morning Talk Show with co-host Peter St. James on WTPL-FM in Concord.
Ken lives in Manchester. He has two daughters: Amanda and Melissa.