With the departure of longtime public address (PA) announcer Steve Adams, men’s basketball fans have been hearing a new voice—one that may already be familiar to many local Redbirds.
Jon Belsaas, also known as JD Justice, took over as the new PA announcer for men’s basketball when the season began in the fall. Belsaas is cohost of Justice and Faith in the Morning on the Bloomington-Normal WBWN B104 country music radio station.
A radio veteran of more than 20 years, Belsaas is not new to calling sports action. He spent 10 years announcing for the Quad Cities Steamwheelers arena football team, and has assisted with PA for the Quad City Mallards hockey team as well as a variety of other events.
Connecting with collegiate sports has been a priority for Belsaas since moving to the Twin Cities area.
“I wanted to work in college sports because I love the atmosphere,” Belsaas said. “They are so real, and everyone is so dedicated.”
Belsaas tried out for the PA announcer position on the recommendation of Adams, following a radio interview covering his retirement. After learning that he had been selected from the long list of potential candidates, Belsaas began prepping for the role before the start of the 2013–2014 season. He mastered the player roster and attended Hoopfest and other events to get a feel for the games.
As the season has progressed, Belsaas has enjoyed having a part in Redbird basketball.
“If I can be half as good as Steve Adams was in the role, I’ll be doing pretty good,” Belsaas said. “I’ve been to a few basketball games announced by Adams, and I thought he did a tremendous job. When people say, ‘You have some big shoes to fill,’ I say I’m not going to even try. I’ll have to make my own.”