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by Leslie Farin
What does Brad Sham have in common with Meryl Streep, Richard Gere and Bruce Springsteen? At first glance, you may think not much. But all four will celebrate their 70th birthdays this year, and all four continue to work in jobs they love.
It’s official, many people 70 years young are vibrant and sharp, not fragile and in declining health as our youth-obsessed culture seems to think.
Brad Michael Sham, the iconic “Voice of the Cowboys”, was born August 16, 1949. This year will be his 41st season with the Dallas franchise. He’s won 8 Katie Awards from the Press Club of Dallas and has been named Texas Sportscaster of the Year 12 times by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and is a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. In September 2018, Jerry Jones celebrated Brad hitting 40 years with the Cowboys by designating “The Brad Sham Home Radio Booth” at AT&T Stadium.
Brad’s accomplished a lot in his 70 years and does not plan to slow down anytime soon. He is a gifted storyteller with a quick wit that makes him seem ageless. Yes, his hair is gray, but his attitude is youthful and deep booming voice as strong as ever. The knowledge and experience evident in his broadcasts are the only giveaways as to his age.
LISTEN TO THEN & NOW WITH BRAD SHAM PODCASTS Personal and up-close interviews with Emmitt Smith, Dale Hanson, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo & many more!!
Brad admitted to having somewhat of a hard time with his upcoming birthday.
Seventy is a big number”, he said, “But it’s still just a number”.
Upon reflecting upon his life, Brad shared he experienced some ups and downs when building his career, as we all do. Despite some disappointments, looking back, he believes he ended up exactly where he was supposed to be, every step of the way.
For example, in 1970, a 21 year old Brad sent a tape of his work to a radio station in Mason City, Iowa in response to an ad he read in Broadcasting Magazine. He was devastated to receive a letter back from the hiring manager suggesting he “might want to consider another line of work”. Fortunately for Cowboys fans, he didn’t give up his dream and obviously things worked out ok for him.
I asked Brad what aging means to him and what’s changed for him over the years. On a professional level, he believes his years of experience provided him with wisdom and confidence he didn’t possess when younger, which in turn made him a better announcer. He also talked about changes in the broadcasting business.
“Everything is different. There was no internet or streaming when I started. The rules of the game (football) have changed too. And another big change is where the broadcasters sit during the games – we used to get the best seats close to the field, but those prime spots were converted years ago into high priced seats for the fans.”
Brad’s work continues to be a priority, but he works harder to achieve more of a balance these days.
His family, though always important to him, has become even more so. His mother, brother, adult son, niece and nephew, and 6 great nieces and nephews all live in the area. Holidays are big noisy affairs, full of love and laughter. Brad helps care for his 93 year mom, a wonderful fun-loving lady who only in the last few years began to experience declining health.
Another change is Brad’s strong commitment to his faith which developed over the last 15 years. Becoming more immersed in his synagogue led to a strong desire to “give back” and to try to improve the world in his own small way. He sits on the board at Temple Emanuel and devotes as much time to volunteer work as his schedule allows.
“Sometimes it’s about lending a helping hand and being there even when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient” says Brad.
An AARP survey showed that of all the decades surveyed, the 70s tend to be some of the happiest years. Why? As per Brad, with aging and experience comes personal growth, and an appreciation of the simple things in life.
The bottom line: Though on the 70 yard line, Brad is too young to be in the end zone. We look forward listening to his broadcasts for many more years!