Get to Know Katie Witham
SportsTime Ohio on-field reporter Katie Witham, a native of Alliance, OH, has an older brother and a younger sister. Witham recently took a break from her own reporting and sat down for an interview with TribeVibe.
TribeVibe: Are you married? Do you have a family?
Katie Witham: I got married last September 3, Labor Day weekend. I was back to work on Monday, right here. My husband, Richie, works with Nationwide Financial and is kind of all over. We’ve been together for 10 years.
TV: How did you meet?
KW: We were college sweethearts. We both played soccer in college [at] Capital University.
TV: What was it like playing soccer in college?
KW: It’s funny. I actually had the opportunity to play softball in school, and instead, I ended up going to Capital and playing soccer. I could have gone to [Kent State University] or Wright State to play softball. I was going to go as an outfielder.
I went to Capital, played soccer there. Our head coach was the coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. Our practices were ending when the other ones were beginning. That’s why I ended up meeting Richie on the field there. We dated all through school. Playing soccer there was fun. I was a defender. We had a really good team. We won the OAC my junior year and went into the tournament. We did a lot of growing up.
TV: What was your major at Capital?
KW: I double-majored in radio, television broadcasting and film and communications. I wanted to be a news anchor. Growing up, my mom had me involved in everything. I did sports, I did dance, and I did singing lessons. I grew up with Stefani Schaefer, and when she started working in the broadcasting industry, I was like, ‘That’s what I wanted to do.’ I knew my major and everything as a freshman. Everyone thought I was crazy [for knowing my major]. I interned in news a little bit, and the news business is very serious, kind of negative. I thought, ‘I can’t do this on a day-to-day basis.’
I was thinking of changing my major, when my head coach was like, ‘You should come out and intern with us at the Columbus Crew.’ My head coach at the time was also the play-by-play voice ever since they started in 1996. He got me in with an internship there, I ended up meeting our producer for the game, who decided to have me do halftime stuff as the intern. It just kind of developed into doing sideline stuff, in-game stuff. I was hooked. I didn’t realize at the time that I could go into broadcasting to do sports stuff. It wasn’t really popular yet. I was lucky; I kind of fell into it.
TV: How did you end up with SportsTime Ohio?
KW: I’m just a freelancer, in general, so I kind of work with everybody. I started working with STO back in 2008, doing high school football state championships and basketball state championships. Last year, I got a phone call — not too long before the season started — and they said, ‘Hey, did you want to do Indians games by chance?’ Last year was my first year. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity.
TV: Is baseball your favorite sport to watch?
KW: It definitely is now. I have to say that I am a soccer nut because I was just playing it in college and being around it. I worked with the Columbus Crew for seven years. I was eat, sleep, live soccer. I came to the Jake back in the day with my dad so many times. My older brother played baseball for a year at Wright State. I grew up around baseball, and I do love it very much. The last year and a half, it’s become my favorite.
TV: What is the best part of your job?
KW: The best part of my job is getting paid to come watch baseball games. Honestly, you can’t beat that. To call this work is hard to do. I’m fortunate because everyone that works at STO, they work incredibly hard, they put out a great product, yet they still know how to have fun and be lighthearted and not take things too seriously. It’s an amazing atmosphere.
Then — you know — being with this club, they’ve got a pretty good group of guys, and it’s been hard to call it work.
TV: Who is your favorite Indians player?
KW: I would have to say my favorite on the team since he’s come up is Jason Kipnis. He’s got the whole package. He’s an athletic guy, who will lay it out on the field, give you everything day in, day out. He does it at the plate, on the field. In the clubhouse, he’s got that personality that gravitates people towards him. He has that side where, if he had to be a leader and maybe lay into a couple of guys, he can do that, too. He’s my favorite because he’s fun to interview, fun to be around, and he’s fun to watch on the field, too.
TV: Do you have a most intimidating moment over the years?
KW: My first interview that I ever did. I was working for the Columbus Sports Network down in Columbus. My first actual interview, one-on-one, was with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I remember them going, ‘Don’t screw up, Witham. Don’t screw up.’ He was my first-ever interview. He was great. He was so down to earth, so nice. I was shocked at how short he was. That was crazy intimidating. That was probably the most nerve-wracking because it was my first and it was him. I remember watching him in The Terminator with my dad when I was younger.
TV: How much do you research prior to interviews?
KW: I do all the research by myself. Sometimes, if there’s a specific thing that happened in the game that our producers and our directors want to show the video of, they will tell me, ‘Hey, make sure at some point you get this question in. They want to hear about the diving stop that Jack Hannahan made.’ I write everything myself. I will take notes during the game of key moments and what I hear [Matt Underwood] and [Rick Manning] talking about. As far as prep work and everything, I make sure to do my homework before I come in. Just going over the previous day’s game, if there were any main storylines that came out, and just talking with guys like Jason Stanford and seeing what they’ve seen.
-Megan Golden, TribeVibe contributor