Joe, the first voice of your World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, was born in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Monmouth College where he began his radio career. Tait did various jobs, including play-by-play on a local radio station in Monmouth (WRAM), sports reports, and operations manager. Joe graduated in 1959 and after college spent 3 years in the United States Army Security Agency.
After the Army, Joe bounced around, spending time in Deactur, Illinois. From 1966-1968, he was the official voice of the Ohio U Bobcats, served as sports director for WOUB, and taught sportscasting at the Athens institution. He next served as the network voice of Indiana University football, and was the pre-game host of the Indiana Pacers in 1969.
In 1970, Tait began his longtime association with the Cavs, who were in their first year of existence. The games were broadcast on WERE for the first two seasons. After then owner, Nick Mileti, who also owned the Indians, bought Cleveland’s most powerful station, WWWE (now WTAM), he moved both teams’ broadcasts to WWWE. Tait was the radio announcer for the Indian’s from 1973-1979 along with Herb Score, and their TV announcer from 1980-1987.
The station had a disagreement with new owner Ted Stepien prior to the 1980-81 season and returned the broadcast rights back to Stephien. During that ownership period, Joe kept busy as the radio announcer for the New Jersey Nets, TV announcer for the Chicago Bulls and CBS Radio College Game-of-the-Week. When new owners, Gordon and George Gund bought the team, Tait returned for the 1983-84 season, and remained the voice of the Cavs until his retirement in 2011. In 1987, he was named vice president of broadcast services, a job he held until his retirement.
For fifteen season (during the basketball off-season), Tait was also the play by play voice of the Cleveland Indians (on the radio from 1973-1979, then switching to television from 1980-1987). Joe’s resume includes play by play for the Rockers of the WNBA and from 2008, he has done play by play for the Mount Union Purple Raiders, serves on the school’s board of trustees and calls high school basketball games for WEOL.
Joe was inducted into the Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame of Ohio in 1992 and was selected as a founding member of the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2008, the radio broadcast location at The Q, section C126, has been forever named “The Joe Tait Perch”. And, in 2010, the Basketball Hall of Fame announced that Joe would receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Tait retired from the Cavs in 2011, however he has a lifetime agreement with the team to serve in some capacity.
“This is Joe Tait—have a good night everybody!”