If you’ve listened to a sporting event over the last 20 years, there’s a good chance you’ve been affected by Joel Blumberg’s work.
Blumberg was one of New York’s busiest producers and engineers. Over the years, he was in charge of Islanders, Rangers, Knicks, Jets and St. John’s broadcasts. He was also known by many as the longtime voice of Manhattan College basketball.
Blumberg died Friday traveling to Madison Square Garden on the Long Island Railroad to work the Knicks game for the Miami Heat radio team. It is believed Blumberg, who lived in East Meadow, suffered a heart attack. He was 64.
“He was a terrific mentor and an even better friend,” says Marc Ernay, assistant sports director, Metro/Shadow Broadcast Services.
Another of his many protégés was hired right out of college.
“He demanded only that you put all your care and dedication into your work,” remembers Tony Sibilla, remote broadcast engineer for Blumberg from 1989 to 1991. “He taught me to be ready for anything. That’s a lesson that translates to everything in life.”
After showing his dedication as an engineer, Sibilla was finally able to realize his dream—going on the air for in-studio updates during some Islander road games. One day in Chicago, though, he was asked to do color commentary on one broadcast.
“I was so floored that he trusted me with that responsibility,” Sibilla says. “It’s a memory that will stay with me forever and I have Joel to thank for it.”
Blumberg is survived by his wife Jill and daughter Miranda, 14.
“I can’t remember a conversation we had since she was born that he didn’t mention Miranda,” Ernay recalls.