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Rooke a voice for hire

By Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff, 1/21/1999

t's sort of what Mike Gorman does. Dave Sims, too. John Rooke makes a living renting out his voice to different television and radio stations as well as making announcements over public address systems.

''Mike Gorman and Dave Sims are a couple of guys I have watched do this,'' said Rooke, the former sportscaster for Providence's Channel 12. His Rumford, R.I.-based JMR Communications is doing quite well in picking up assignments for him.

For example, Rooke has worked Boston College football games on WEEI (850 AM) for two seasons, and he is in his 11th year doing Providence College basketball games on WPRO (630 AM). Rooke also has been on WPRO talk shows, first with Chuck Wilson and then as the substitute host after Wilson left to go to ESPN Radio. He also steps in two or three times a month as sports anchor on Channel 56, and has been a reporter on CBS affiliate Channel 2 in New York. Also on Rooke's resume in his 11 years in New England: Big East women's basketball and Pawtucket Red Sox baseball on New England Sports Network.

''I'm not going to move on unless it makes complete sense for me and my family to do so. Right now, there's nothing in the loop,'' said Rooke. ''Everything, it seems, comes with a price tag. For me to give up everything, I would have to give up so many things. In Boston and in New York City, I have things going well.

''This is the busy time for me right now, right through March. The way things are, I love it and I want to keep doing it. No one in his right mind would keep doing some of the things some people are required [to do] in this type of business. Now, I'm providing a specific service for the companies I work for.

''It got to that point, first in 1991, when Channel 12 downsized its station, and it was no fault of my own. After I worked there for three years, from 1988 to 1991, they couldn't afford me anymore,'' said Rooke, 40, the father of two boys. ''I've had JMR Communications since 1985.''

In between, there were some full-time positions, first at Cox-TV, where Rooke created programs. ''Trouble there, they wanted to take it over once I started them,'' said Rooke, who worked from June 1997 to June 1998 at the station.

And then Rooke worked for Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond. ''I worked at the State House for about a year, as the deputy public relations director for the governor, helping him get reelected,'' said Rooke.

Playoff teams

WEEI has the Tennessee-Jacksonville AFC Championship Game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday and the NFC's Tampa Bay at St. Louis at 4 ... ''The A Team,'' with Eddie Andelman and Dale Arnold, will broadcast from Atlanta, site of the Super Bowl, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. next Wednesday-Friday ... Doug Brown, born and raised in Marblehead, will be on ESPN Radio's play-by-play for tomorrow's 6 p.m. Knicks-Spurs game, with Jack Ramsay as analyst ... Corey Masse, a Northeastern graduate from Wilmington, was ESPN2's sideline announcer Tuesday for the East Coast Hockey League's Skills Competition, with Steve Levy and Barry Melrose assisting ... Fox Sports Net will carry Sunday's Hockey East game between Providence and Boston College from Conte Forum at 7 p.m.

This story ran on page E12 of the Boston Globe on 1/21/1999.
Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.