Jim Zabel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jim Zabel
Ed Podolak and Jim Zabel 2009-09-20.jpg
Ed Podolak (left) and Zabel at the WHO-radio studios in Des Moines, Iowa, September 2009
BornJames Zabel
(1921-09-05)September 5, 1921
DiedMay 23, 2013(2013-05-23) (aged 91)
Scottsdale, Arizona
OccupationSports broadcaster
Years active1944–2013

Jim Zabel (September 5, 1921 – May 23, 2013) was an American radio and television broadcaster best known for serving as the play-by-play announcer for Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball games for 48 years on WHO (AM) Radio. An Illinois native, Zabel attended The University of Iowa, where he was an editor of the student newspaper, graduating with a degree in journalism in 1944.[1] Zabel joined WHO as the sports director in 1944,[2] He was employed by the station as a talk-show host after retiring from play-by-play.[3]

Zabel worked for WHO-AM and its sister television station, WHO-TV, as both a sports broadcaster and as a host of general-interest programs. His television shows included Beat the Bear, which lasted for 25 years,[4] and Let's Go Bowling, which lasted for more than 30 years.[5]

Zabel was a live presence for a half-century of sporting events in Iowa, including the Drake Relays,[6] for which he provided radio commentary for many years. It has been estimated that he provided commentary for more than 6,100 sporting events.[7] He was named to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1997, Zabel was succeeded by Gary Dolphin as the play-by-play announcer for network broadcasts of Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball games.

Zabel died on May 23, 2013 at the age of 91 doing what he loved, preparing for his Sunday evening WHO-radio show, Two Guys Named Jim at his home in Arizona.[8][9]


  1. ^ Hawkeye 1944 (yearbook)
  2. ^ Reagan Library
  3. ^ Two Guys Named Jim
  4. ^ Chuck Offenburger
  5. ^ George Davison
  6. ^ Drake Library
  7. ^ [1] Des Moines Register
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Hoyle, Sam (May 23, 2013). "SPORTING ICON: Jim Zabel Dies". WHO-TV. Retrieved May 24, 2013.