About This Episode
Mark Johnson – Voice of the Colorado BuffalosListen Now
Mark Johnson is in his fourth year as CU’s first-ever director of audio broadcasting for the athletic department, as he was named to the position on July 1, 2017. He is also in his 17th season as the play-by-play announcer for CU’s football and men’s basketball teams, as he assumed that role ahead of the 2004-05 athletic year.
In his role and in addition to his announcing duties, he hosts various television and radio shows, podcasts, makes personal appearances and does voiceover work for the university. He also does television and radio work for various national and regional networks in the Rocky Mountain Region and across the country and has become known for his distinctive, booming tenor voice.
Johnson, 53, was named sports director at KOA-Radio in Denver in the spring of 2004, replacing the retiring Larry Zimmer, who had held the position for over two decades. Zimmer, the long-time “Voice of the Buffaloes, had handled the play-by-play chores for CU dating back to 1971, but shifted over to the analyst position when Johnson was hired. When Zimmer retired from announcing after the 2015 season, the mantra of “Voice of the Buffs” fully shifted to “M.J.”
Prior to coming to Colorado, Johnson spent three years as the “Voice of the Orange” for Syracuse University football and men’s basketball. He was at the microphone when former Denver Nugget, Carmelo Anthony, led the Orange to the 2003 NCAA championship. He also hosted weekly call-in shows for basketball coach Jim Boeheim and football coach Paul Pasqualoni, the Syracuse Sidelines television show and served as the ISP-SU Radio Network affiliate liaison. He also was a frequent speaker and emcee for numerous local charitable, civic group and Rotary Club functions.
His entire professional career has been spent in broadcasting. Before his time in Syracuse, he was the sports director for WJBC-Radio in Bloomington, Ill., and was the play-by-play announcer for four years at Illinois State University, where he earned three Silver Dome Awards for best play-by play broadcast in the state of Illinois. Johnson also worked two years announcing football and basketball games his alma mater, the University of North Dakota, and was a talk show host and play-by-play announcer for three years at WASK-AM and WKOA-FM in Lafayette, Ind.
Although his vocation as sportscaster reflects a life-long love of sports, for the past 20 years, Johnson has been called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to various churches, men’s groups and conferences throughout the region. His message has been to encourage men to live lives of integrity, commitment, and responsibility. He is heavily involved in numerous charity and community organizations serving as an emcee and guest speaker. In recent years he has been a guest-host on numerous Christian television shows on the Daystar and Trinity Broadcasting networks and frequently serves as guest speaker at various men’s groups and churches.
In 2015 Johnson became the President of the Evergreen Rodeo Association in Evergreen (Colo.), serving a one-year term. His involvement in rodeo continues a life-long love of horses and the Western way-of-life. In the summer of 2019, Johnson added benefit and charity auctioneering to his resume, as he graduated from the World Wide College of Auctioneering.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from North Dakota in 1992.
A native of Hillsboro, N.D., he graduated from Grand Forks (N.D.) Central High School, where he was an All-State basketball player. His hobbies include spending time with his family, riding his horses, playing with his two dogs, hunting and fly-fishing. He is married to the former Susan Jacobson, who was Miss North Dakota for 1989 and competed in the Miss America pageant. The couple has three children, sons Nicolas and Jake, and daughter Halle (who is married to a former Navy Corpsman, John Mathues); they are the grandfather of one (Yuley, born this past August). In 2016, he was the recipient of the Alumni C Club’s “Honorary C” award for his dedication to the department.