Carl Grapentine Retiring From Radio Gig

Submitted by BursleyHall82 on February 20th, 2018 at 2:00 PM

He will still be the Voice of the Big House, but Carl Grapentine announced today that he's retiring from his day job as the morning host at WFMT, a classical radio station in Chicago. His last day will be July 27.

If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting him, Carl is one of the all-time great guys. Here's hoping he never retires from his job as Our Announcer.…



February 20th, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

I was in the Michigan Marching Band in 1979, pretty early in Carl's tenure as the band's announcer. Back then, there would be open tryouts for both drum major and announcer. Anybody who wanted to try out for either position was welcome to. The auditions took place out on Elbel Field. The people would try out, and then all of the band members would put their heads down, and we'd vote by raising our hands.

So Carl actually had to audition for his job each year. In 1979, somebody decided to compete against him.

I can't remember the guy's name, but it was a band member from New York, and he had a Noo Yawk accent that was thicker than the East River. Carl went first, and he - of course - was perfect.

And then this guy went next, and he read through the entire script sounding like Jackie Mason (look him up). He was just doing it for fun, but he read through the script very seriously. We loved it. He got a huge ovation.

Then we all put our heads down and voted, and Carl somehow eked out the win.


February 20th, 2018 at 4:18 PM ^

You appreciate him even more when you hear how amateur other announcers are. Many, many schools have brought their marching bands to the big house over the years and the majority of their announcers have been downright embarrassing.

I met Carl a couple times at a music camp when I was in high school. He's one of the nicest guys on the planet.


February 20th, 2018 at 9:25 PM ^

I couldn't agree more with this.

Most other schools' band announcers don't seem to get the idea of what a microphone is:  a microphone amplifies your voice to whatever volume is necessary. So many announcers don't get this, and scream into the microphone.

Mr. Grapentine is a professional, and I'm glad we have him.

Section 1.8

February 20th, 2018 at 4:38 PM ^

If it preserves his career at Michigan Stadium by a few years, or hopefully another couple of centuries, it's our gain.

I hope they have a totally brilliant idea, when it ever comes to replacing Carl.  The absolute last thing I want is a "stadium" announcer.  The model to avoid, is what they've done with Crisler and basketball.

It'd be nice, if James Earl Jones were available.  But I'm guessing not.

btw, Carl used to be on here in Detroit, on WQRS, before that station switched formats and Carl promoted himself to Chicago.  That's how far I go back with Carl.  When did he start with the Michigan band as their announcer?  I cannot even recall that date.


February 20th, 2018 at 6:29 PM ^

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm honored that my radio retirement made MGoBlog!

In answer to #13: I began with the Michigan Marching Band in 1970. This fall will be my 49th year with the band and my 14th year calling the games.

rob f

February 20th, 2018 at 8:24 PM ^

I'm planning on listening on my daily morning commute. (98.7fm, for anyone wondering)

And having just looked it up on the WFMT website, I look forward to listening tomorrow to three of true greats of Classical Music during my morning drive starting at 6:30am: Mozart, Beethoven, and Grapentine!

How 'bout sneaking some Beethoven in next season and overriding the Big House sound system? Think you could pull it off?


February 20th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

Thanks for all the kind words. I'm honored that my radio retirement made MGoBlog!

In answer to #13: I began with the Michigan Marching Band in 1970. This fall will be my 49th year with the band and my 14th year calling the games.


February 20th, 2018 at 6:45 PM ^

Congratulations on the long, distinguished career at WFMT. Enjoy your last several months there to the fullest! And please never retire from your Michigan Stadium gig. I wake up in cold sweats from time to time after experiencing nightmares of the Ryan Field rah-rah guy.


February 20th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

One of my fondest memories of your intoduction is when a recently deceased good friend of mine's daughter made the 'bones and we were at her first game. Against Notre Dame. That voice and watching her high step out there is something I will never forget.


February 20th, 2018 at 8:24 PM ^

Thanks for being here, Carl! I hope you see the universal love that we MGoBloggers have for you (and we pretty much don't all agree on anything around here).

So take that as a warning: You are never, ever, ever allowed to retire from this job.

House Mother

February 21st, 2018 at 12:32 AM ^

I have been to every stadium in the Big10 for a Michigan game. I can truthfully say that nobody, and I mean nobody, can hold a candle to Carl Grapentine. We are blessed. Carl, don’t even think about leaving Michigan.


February 21st, 2018 at 3:21 AM ^

Tough to say just how many people Carl has touched. I know personally I had a 30 second conversation with him on the sideline at some random band practice back in 2002 and I left feeling just great. He really makes people feel special when they're in his presence. Here's to a very long, and very fruitful, retirement.


February 21st, 2018 at 9:21 AM ^

This is great, thanks for posting. Good luck to Carl, although he sounds like he's going to be busier than me, even in retirement. 

See you soon for the spring game (hopefully). 


February 21st, 2018 at 11:46 AM ^

Congratulations Carl!

I'm a regluar listener of your morning show on WFMT when I'm driving to work out in DuPage County.  Even the way you read the news & weather is so soothing yet precise.... it gets me in the right mindset to start my work day!

Losing you will be a big loss for my mornings personally, but selfishly I also hope that scaling back your duties overall will enable you to contribute a few extra years at the Big House!!

Also--I don't know if Brian & Seth would be interested, but if they were, is there any chance you'd be willing to do an interview with the guys running MGoBlog?  Either as a feature here on the blog or for publication in their annual football season preview magazine "Hail To The Victors"?  

I'd love to hear the stories & insights you could share with the loyal Michigan fan base.  How you came to be the MMB announcer & eventually the stadium/game announcer, your observations of game day traditions & how they've changed over the years, some insight into the logistics of how/when/why the MBB travels to away games, etc.

Go Blue!