By: Malcolm Mayhew
Unlike many young boys his age who sat mesmerized as they watched pro-footballers throw winning passes and make impressive tackles, Brian Estridge had less of a desire to become a star quarterback and more of a drive to be the commanding voice announcing the plays. From age 8, he’d sit in his room and mute the sound on his little television, calling the games himself. “I had a knack for describing the action. I always knew that I was either going to be a broadcaster or a preacher,” Estridge says.
At 14 years old, he confidently marched into a small AM radio station in South Carolina. They handed him a script to deliver aloud and afterward asked him when he could start. “I can’t remember what they asked me to read. It may have been an obituary. Not long after that, I did my first basketball state championship. I didn’t know the girls’ names on the other team, so I had to call them by their numbers.”
Estridge played football throughout high school, but he had a life-defining decision presented to him during his senior year. “I was given the option of either playing or doing the play-by-play on the radio. I knew I’d never be a pro-football player, but I thought there was a chance that I might be a broadcaster.”
Fast-forward a few decades, and Estridge is now the official “Voice of the TCU Horned Frogs.” He began 20 years ago with TCU and is currently the director of broadcasting, working off a theory that there are three key elements to a successful broadcast. “First of all, it’s got to be entertaining. I want listeners sitting on the edge of their seats. Outside of that, I try to make them laugh a little and learn a little. I just want them to feel like they’ve followed the ball.”
He says it’s nearly impossible to decide on any one TCU game or play that stands out over the years. “I still love how Jeff Ballard led the comeback against BYU in Provo as a quarterback. I love the pass from Trevone Boykin to Aaron Greene, which won the Tech game two years ago … But I don’t think there is anything better than when Tank Carder knocked the ball down and protected the win in the 2011 Rose Bowl.”
Estridge also co-hosts the morning show on WBAP, working alongside Hal Jay. “We have a terrific relationship. I’ve learned how to deal with people and how to not have a bad day. I’ve seen how he is with his family, and that’s set a great example for me. Hal’s humor supersedes everything on the show,” Estridge says.
The radio show host/“Voice of the Horned Frogs” is also the president of RedVoice Productions, a company that produces and distributes college football games on radio nationally. In 2013 the company was granted broadcast rights for the Heart of Dallas Bowl. RedVoice’s expeditious growth now includes the airing of more than eight bowl games, and it has expanded into college basketball tournaments. “After ESPN radio, RedVoice carries the second most games. We are playing on a busy highway with semis rolling right beside us, and we are trying to keep up. We aren’t concerned because there is plenty of room on this highway for us,” he says.
While Estridge sits on several boards, HOPE Farm, which mentors boys from single-parent homes, is close to his heart. Estridge’s wife of 21 years, Becky, began at HOPE Farm as a volunteer and now works there full time. “It’s a ministry where we see the real value,” he says. “It has a significant impact on those young men. Becky sees it as her calling. Anytime that she isn’t with her family, she spends there.”
While he is a master juggler, the father of two admits that the biggest challenge he faces in life is keeping a balance between his busy career and his family, which includes two preteens (son, Gaines, 12, and daughter, Ellie, 11). “We also make it a point to sit down to dinner together at least four nights a week. I think that is really important.”
And Estridge pledges allegiance to another family as well … his Frog family. “TCU differentiates itself from other athletic organizations with its intimate fan relationship. It was like that when I started, and after decades of growth, they’ve managed to keep that connection with the fans. Many of my listeners I consider to be very close friends.”
By: Malcolm Mayhew