Edinboro Alumni Issue: Sean Peebles

Friday, September 28th, 2018 at 9:52 AM
Edinboro Alumni Issue: Sean Peebles by Madi Gross

As a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sean Peebles holds season tickets in Level 200 of the Quicken Loans Arena.

The seat he takes today, though, is much different.

“When I’m walking down the center stairs toward the chair that’s sitting at midcourt, and my name is on that placard, right in front of the microphone, I still get tears...I get chills. I’m not ashamed to admit it, because I’m such a passionate fan of that organization; it’s my other family over there.” The Edinboro alumnus is the public address announcer for the Cavs and Erie Bayhawks.

Peebles, a native of New Castle, began his college career at Edinboro University in 1992 and graduated with a degree in communications in 1996. While a student, he was on the university’s track team, participated in intramural sports and was a member of student government. His most treasured location, though, was the WFSE Radio studio, in Compton Hall 102.

“This was my main focus here,” he stated, while sitting in that same Compton studio. “I practically lived here.”

After graduating, Peebles worked at Rocket 101 (an Erie radio station) on weekends and did graduate work with WFSE.

“I always just wanted to be in radio. That was kind of my thing, just being on air, being a personality, and I had my fun with it a little bit,” he said. “The sports thing didn’t really come along until about 10 years ago when I was in Erie with the Bayhawks basketball team.”

He has been working with the Erie Bayhawks as their public address (PA) announcer for 10 years.

“They gave me an opportunity one day in the second season when the regular guy was sick,” he explained. “I did the game that night. I did well enough because when the third season started a couple months later, I was brought on as the full time PA guy for the Bayhawks...now entering season 11 and I’m still doing it.”

Last year Peebles applied for the PA position with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He went on to explain all of the different qualifications he had to meet and the different sound and video samples he had to submit. After several auditions, Peebles received a call on Oct. 10, a week before the 2017-18 season was to start, and was offered the job.

“It was just that moment of like, ‘Did that really happen?’ Because that usually never happens to me. But when it finally happens and you realize, ‘Wow, all that stuff I did leading up to this, it ultimately did pay off in a very big way and I get a chance to enjoy this.’”

He continued: “I remember that we would go over there [to Cleveland] and I would be like: ‘Man, I just want to announce one game here. Just let me do one, like if the guy ever got sick or if they needed somebody.’ And…now I do them all and it’s still surreal.”

He said he was welcomed with open arms from day one. “When I first came last October, everyone was like, ‘Welcome to the family.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, welcome aboard.’”

He also gave credit to every person that he works with at “The Q,” explaining how hard everybody works and the countless hours each of them puts in to prepare for each game.

Peebles went on to explain that calling for his two different teams is not really that different. He still puts in hard work, day in and day out, preparing for each game and doing his homework.

“The only difference is the size of the building that you’re in, the size of the audience, for sure. The rules are the same. The court is the same. The hoop is the same height. Obviously you’re surrounded by the best in the world, so the names get a little bigger, but for me the job was still the same,” Peebles stated.

He went on to say that he records every Cavs game so that when he gets home he can review what he did well and what he could do better for the next contest.

“I’m my biggest critic,” he said. Peebles’ visit to the WFSE station was the first time in roughly 20 years he had been there. He looked back on how the station had evolved.

“When I first started here in 1992, literally where we’re sitting right now was turntables,” he said. “The first time I sat in this room and cracked the mic for the first time, [it] was obviously a little nerve-wracking.”

He looked back on his time in the studio. “My first shift here was a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. called ‘Strictly for the Streets.’”

He continued: “I was on Wednesday nights and there were turntables right here,” Peebles stated as he gestured to a table near him. “Now, a lot of the music that we played was on vinyl, or CD, or cassette even. Even carts — this was a big cart wall with tapes — and so that’s how we did it.”

Peebles went on to say that he still keeps up to date with the happenings in Edinboro, expressing that he follows the sports teams and still tunes in to WFSE.

“A couple times a year I’ll just drive through [Edinboro] to kind of see what’s new because a lot of the things that have been built and the improvements weren’t here,” he said. “So it’s nice to see what they have done over the years, and I’m always interested to see what’s new and exciting.”

Peebles explained that he enjoyed any class in the communications department.

“It gave me development opportunities, knowing that they (his communication classes) were going to work for me in the future.”

He expressed how much of an impact his professors at Edinboro had on him, some of whom are still teaching in the department today, such as Dr. Tony Peyronel, Dr. Timothy Thompson and Dr. Kathleen Golden.

“They were all parts of my development and growth to get me through here and obviously into things that I’m doing now in my adult life,” he said. “Everything and everybody that I was with here within these walls shaped [me] and was a big influence on me.”

He connected his experiences today to his time back at Edinboro. “One of my first classes here was public speaking with Dr. Peyronel, and I remember getting in front of the class, like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do,’ and you’ve got sweaty palms and shaky papers.”

He continued: “Then I get to Erie and it’s like I’m doing a Bayhawks game and it’s a couple thousand people...and okay now I’m at ‘The Q’ and there’s 21,000. Then during the finals, when the national anthem was playing, they kept flashing up on the ‘Humongotron’ over there all of the troops watching from around the world.”

Although it may still be a little nerve-wracking, Peebles is very grateful and appreciative for the opportunities that he has been given.

“It’s not a job thing, it’s not a money thing...it’s a dream thing,” he said.

“If you have something that you really want and your dream is to do something, I’m proof that it does come true,” he said repeatedly. He couldn’t stress enough how important it is to put yourself out there and go get what you want.

In the next few weeks, Peebles will be back at “The Q” for the Cavs’ 2018-19 season, as well as continuing his work with the Erie Bayhawks.

“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “A year ago I never would have thought that I would be getting asked to do interviews and the chance to do things like this. It’s extremely humbling, and I’m grateful to be able to do it.” 

Madi Gross is on the sports team for The Spectator. She can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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