Michael Tobin subscribes to the theory that good prose, like good poetry, deserves to be read aloud. And, we are proud to say, the prose he reads is our own. Tobin, 28, is a radio broadcaster whose regular job is giving traffic reports for "Traffic Central" over San Francisco station KCBS. In addition, from 12:30 to 1:30 every Monday afternoon, he reads selections from SI on a program for blind listeners that is broadcast through the facilities of public radio station KPFA in Berkeley. His readings are picked up by more than 5,000 specially equipped radio receivers, some in private homes, some in veterans' hospitals, in nine northern California counties.
"I don't have time to read the entire magazine," says Tobin, "so I exercise a little editorial judgment. I'll usually read the cover story, SCORECARD and 'They Said It,' though. I might even introduce a story with some comments of my own, like, 'Here's an interesting look at Rumeal Robinson of the University of Michigan' or 'Let's see what Jerry Glanville is up to now.' "
Tobin is singularly qualified for this laudable endeavor. He is a fifth-generation San Franciscan who was a centerfielder and the captain of his prep school baseball team at Cate, in Carpinteria, Calif., and he is an aspiring sports-caster. Tobin saw 65 Giants games at Candlestick Park last year. He is, obviously, a loyal reader of SI, both publicly and privately. And he has long been interested in working with the blind.
"My baseball coach at Cate, Stanley Woodworth, would make tapes for the blind in his off-hours, and that had a big influence on me," says Tobin. "And while I was at Stanford, I taught a blind buddy of mine how to hit golf balls. So when I heard about this reading program, I went to see Father Harry Mack, a priest who's in charge of it, and asked to get involved. I was surprised to learn that of all the publications on Father Mack's reading list, SI was not included. It was a need I could fill, because I love sports and I want to share that enthusiasm with others, particularly with those who don't have the opportunity to read the magazine."
Tobin says his SI readings have become quite popular. So far, he has had just one problem: "I still can't figure out what to do with the swimsuit issue."