Adam Pohl wants to emulate two former Frederick Keys broadcasters who have gone on to work at the highest level of their profession.
As a result, the voice of the Frederick Keys for the last seven seasons left his job with the class A team last week to become the broadcaster for the Bowie Baysox, the Baltimore Orioles Class AA affiliate.
His main goal is to one day become a broadcaster for a major league baseball team (preferably the Orioles). If that doesn’t happen, he would like to broadcast for an NFL or another pro team.
It’s not that farfetched. The Keys’ first radio broadcaster, Matt Hicks, (1989-94) just completed his second season as the Texas Rangers’ radio broadcaster. Bob Socci, the Keys’ third broadcaster (1999-2001), is in his first year as the radio broadcaster for the New England Patriots. The 34-year-old Pohl has enjoyed working for the Keys, but said in order to reach his goal he has to move up to a higher level.
“In baseball, for better or worse, it’s a lot about the level,” he said. “The last couple of years various broadcasters have gone from double A to the majors. I don’t know of a person that has gone from single A to the majors.”
It’s a gamble. Bowie games are not on the radio and he will be broadcasting only on the web. But he hopes to begin a radio network for the team.
“I am kind of building a radio program there,” he said. “I know in a year or so we will have a radio station in Bowie.”
He faced the same situation in Frederick when he came here in 2007 after broadcasting over the radio for two years for the Salem team of the Carolina League.
When he came to Frederick, there had been no games broadcast since 2001. For the first two years in Frederick, he broadcast on only the web. Then he began to do some games on the radio. For the last three years, all Keys games have been broadcast on Thurmont station WTHU.
Passion for broadcasting
Pohl comes from a musical family. His mother, father and sister are musicians. Pohl, an Arlington, Va., native, grew up playing the trumpet and earned a partial music scholarship to the University of North Carolina.
“Even though my whole family was in music, I knew my true passion was for sports (broadcasting),” he said. “I really wanted to try it.”
As a high schooler he would shut his bedroom door and broadcast sports games into a tape recorder. “For me my hunger was not to pick up an instrument and play,” he said. “It was to pick up a microphone and broadcast games.”
Before coming to the Keys he did some college baseball and basketball and also worked for three semi-pro or pro baseball teams. At Salem he had six radio stations on his network, but came to Frederick partially because he wanted to be back in this area.
He was originally hired as director of public relations and broadcasting. He also sold sponsorship. The last two years he has been an assistant general manager working in marketing. But he continued to broadcast games.
Pohl has also branched out. He has broadcast Mount St. Mary’s men’s and women’s basketball and hopes to continue doing that. He has also broadcast more than 100 high school basketball and football games for WFMD.
But baseball is his greatest love.
“It’s such a challenge,” he said. “Every night you have to say different things about the same people. You have to rely on the talent of the broadcaster to bring the game to life.”
He had not planned on leaving Frederick until late December when he found out about the Bowie job and decided to take it. “It’s a steppingstone to possibly becoming a broadcaster on the major league level or in other pro sports,” he said.
His life has changed a lot since he came here. He became well known to the community. He met his wife, Angela, while working here. “This has been the best pro experience I’ve had in my life and the community is incredible,” he said.
The Keys have had some good years during his stay. They won Carolina League titles in 2007 and 2011.
“In 2007 we were one of the worst teams in the history of pro baseball to win a championship,” he said. “We were 10 games under 500 during the season. But we got hot at the end.”
The 2011 team was the opposite. The Keys had the league’s best record during the season and were the best team in Frederick history.
He has seen some good players come through, including Orioles third baseman and former Keys shortstop Manny Machado, who is now a major league star.
He will know many of the players in Bowie because several of them once played for the Keys. Bowie’s pitching coach, Blaine Beatty, is also a former Keys pitching coach.
Pohl said the biggest difference will be getting used to a new league. Including Salem, he has worked in the Carolina League for nine years and knows all the cities, hotels and stadiums. “There is also more travel in the Eastern League; the teams are further away,” he said. “In Bowie we will have a lot of six- or seven-hour bus trips. In Frederick most of them were three or four.”
Pohl has also shown an interest in working with people in need. He was instrumental in helping two people with cerebral palsy, Chaz Packan and Robbie Shaffer, get part-time jobs with the team. “I had never been around disabled people,” he said. “I’ve come to realize we share the same passion for sports. They have a yearning to be treated like everyone else.”
Over the years, the Keys worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Frederick County. Last year Pohl decided to become a Big Brother to a 7-year-old boy. He hopes to continue doing that. “I wanted to do something a little more personal,” he said. “And he is a huge sports fan.”
But his main goal now is to concentrate on his broadcasting career. “I’ve always wanted to be someone who wants to bring excitement to the people that are listening to the games,” he said.