Getting Personal

Getting Personal

The longtime TV voice of the Philadelphia 76ers, Marc Zumoff, on his life before becoming a broadcaster, his love of Steely Dan and the genesis of some of his most popular on-air phrases.

The thing I love most about my job is being live on TV. It means no “do overs.” You need intense concentration in order to multi-task and get it right the first time. So when I get off the air, I need to decompress.  
 
The job you wouldn’t imagine me having is as an employee at a scrap iron and steel yard, operating heavy equipment and driving tractor-trailers all through college.  
 
I was a chubby kid in high school, limiting my athletic career to a half-court basketball rim, nailed to the telephone pole in front of my house. Now I exercise often.
 
I developed my play-by-play chops because my family couldn’t afford to send me to summer camp. While my friends were away, I’d “broadcast imaginary games.” After school, I’d put the TV on channel 8, using the static to imitate crowd noise. 
 
My first 76ers experience was when my father took me to the old Philadelphia Arena at 45th and Market streets for a game against the Cincinnati Royals. It was the first year for the team in Philly after moving from Syracuse in 1963.  
 
I loathe popular culture. That’s it. That’s all.  
 
My favorite musical group is Steely Dan, because they offer a fusion of two of my favorite musical choices, jazz and rock. Also “they” is essentially Donald Fagan, a north Jersey guy. His composition and lyrics are often sheer genius.  
 
No one in my family is sports crazy and no one even remotely followed in my footsteps. My oldest son works in quality control and customer service for an e-commerce company and my youngest son is a captain for a major airline.  
 
When I retire I intend to take up the flute. I stopped playing in 8th grade because my flute was stolen and my family couldn’t afford to buy another one.  
 
I ask a ton of questions in conversations with people because I think everyone is much more interesting than I am.
 
Soccer has become my second love behind basketball. The more I learn, the more I feel I don’t know. I love the culture, I love everything about it. It’s truly “the beautiful game.”
 
I love Broadway or any live theater, again, probably because it is live.
 
I am a news hound.  I was a news broadcaster the first five years of my career. I consume a wide, daily variety of content from across the ideological spectrum.
 
People often call me a space cadet because I often get lost in my thoughts. But it’s also the source of my creativity.  

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“Turning Garbage into Gold” 
and other on-air phrases were borne out of trying to avoid saying the same thing over and over again. Hopefully, it also adds to what viewers can already see on TV.
 
 
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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 17, Issue 11 (February 2021).


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Author: South Jersey Magazine

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