Southside Native Matt Taylor Talks Excitement & Honor of Taking Over As Colts Radio Announcer
Photography Provided by JWcreative.Indy & the Indianapolis Colts
Many sports fans grow up listening to sports announcers, like Indiana University Football and Basketball Hall of Famer Don Fischer. Others aspire to earn one of those coveted microphones that comes with one of the best seats in the house. Franklin College and Roncalli High School graduate Matt Taylor officially earned his microphone (and seat) on January 4, as “The Radio Voice of the Colts.”
The announcement came the day before the Colts played the Houston Texans in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Taylor had served as interim Colts radio announcer for the 2018 season and wasn’t expecting a final decision on the job until after the playoffs.
“I was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness,” Taylor says. “A big dream of mine had just come true. I was also more than a little relieved. Months of public speculation was kind of nerve-racking. At one point, I had to tell myself to just live in faith and not fear. Be yourself and do the best job you can. That’s all you can do. I was glad it all worked out.”
Taylor recalls yearning to be a sports announcer while listening to Fischer as a boy with his dad.
“I knew at a really early age I wanted a career in radio,” he says. “I loved that someone could talk to you and paint a picture with their words through a speaker. I got a lot more passionate about sports broadcasting and play-by-play when I was in college. At Franklin, unlike at big schools, you could step in right away and call a men’s basketball game or a baseball game as a freshman on the college radio station. I realized since I had played sports that I was pretty decent at describing sports. Plus, I grew up listening to games all the time with my dad in the car so I knew how they were supposed to sound. After the first few games, I was hooked. I started to prepare more. I started to get better. I’m sure only a handful of people were listening, but I didn’t care. I treated those games like they were my Super Bowl. I tried to take each broadcast to a new level, and I poured a lot of energy into it.”
Taylor was a three-sport athlete at Roncalli where he was a member of state football championship teams in 2002 and 2003. At Franklin College, he lettered four years and started three years as an outside linebacker for Coach Mike Leonard. He also served as team captain his senior season, helping the Grizzlies to their first conference title since the 1980s and the first under Leonard.
“Most of my memories of Matt have nothing to do with his on-the-field performance but rather with him helping create an amazingly fun culture for players and coaches alike,” Leonard says. “In my 16 years as head coach at Franklin College, I have probably coached close to 1,000 players. Each one of them is special to me in their own way, but Matt Taylor is truly one of my all-time favorites.”
After graduating from Franklin College with a degree in broadcast journalism, Taylor made stops in New Castle as a country music announcer and was a play-by-play announcer for IU Women’s Volleyball and Roncalli Football webcasts. In 2008, he began working part-time for Emmis Communications in Indianapolis as a radio producer and an audio board operator. He soon worked his way into a full-time job announcing high school and IHSAA state championship sporting events for Emmis Communications. In 2012, he took a step closer to his goal of being an NFL announcer when he was hired by the Colts to manage weekly and game day radio productions and oversee the Colts Radio Network.
As the voice of the Colts, Taylor has one simple objective.
“My goal is to enhance people’s enjoyment of Colts football,” he says. “That’s the best part of the job. If I can make the game more fun while you’re driving in the car, listening at Lucas Oil or at home with the TV volume down, then mission accomplished.”
Taylor says the Colts are a top-notch organization.
“The Irsays are a tremendous family and they really care about their employees as people,” Taylor says. “The entire family is very involved in the entire operation and their passion for winning and doing things the right way is evident. I’m able to witness how much they truly give back to the team and the Central Indiana community. The players and coaches have been great. Working in the same complex as them is very beneficial in terms of building rapport. Coach Reich is especially helpful. He’s such a kind and encouraging man.”
Colts Chief Operating Officer, Pete Ward, speaks very highly of Taylor.
“Matt is the ultimate pro,” Ward says. “He’s a perfectionist who works hard at his craft, which is really a necessity for such a demanding job. The fact that Matt is a passionate Colts fan is a bonus, and he’s been a great ambassador for The Horseshoe.”
Working for his hometown team makes his job even more special to Taylor.
“I’m incredibly proud to be the voice of the Colts,” he says. “It’s something that I don’t think has fully set in yet and it probably won’t for a while. I didn’t get into sports broadcasting for the spotlight. It’s just a really cool way to stay a part of football and radio. This job combines two of the things I’m most passionate about. There’s only 31 other jobs in the country like it. And I don’t take it for granted. This is the NFL. You have to bring your A-game every day.”