By Jarann Johnson
If you are from Coal Country, then you have probably tuned your radio to 1410 AM and heard a lively and optimistic voice booming from your car speakers with joy about a local sporting event. The owner of that lively voice is Jeff Baranick.
What most people don’t know about Jeff is that his voice and body language constantly overflow with optimism – it’s not just something he tunes on for the broadcast thing. What’s even more amazing is that Baranick’s voice is always lively and optimistic despite his other duties: junior high coach for three quarters of the school year, eighth-grade teacher, dad, radio personality, and very active church member.
Between all of those jobs, somehow Baranick finds time to do the one thing that all working adults avoid: jogging around town to stay fit. He is, after all, Mr. Optimistic – bad weather, hot conditions, or a long day teaching and coaching aren’t going to stop him from staying fit.
Baranick’s optimism and passion for sports started as a little kid because of his father. Baranick said he remembers going to games with his dad and tuning in to others on the radio, which spurred his love of radio broadcasting as a kid.
“I remember when we couldn’t get to a game and I grew up in Bismarck – you couldn’t get to all the games, my dad would have them on the radio. So I either was watching games in person or listening to them on the radio. And growing up in Bismarck, there were a couple of broadcasters that were well known in the area, veteran broadcasters, and they made games fun to listen to,” Baranick said.
“I can now honestly remember, like sometimes I would be in my bedroom or in the bathroom looking in the mirror and I’d pretend that I was broadcasting a game. Or I’d be out on the lawn or in the driveway during the fall with a basketball in my hands or a football in my hands – running for touchdowns or scoring the winning basket – and I’d be doing play-by-play commentary while I was playing.”
Even though broadcasting was a childhood passion for Baranick, it never crossed his mind to get into the industry. Baranick’s goals were to teach and maybe one day coach.