Chargers will have a new but familiar Spanish-language radio voice this season
The Chargers will have a new Spanish-language radio voice this season, though the Chargers are hardly new to the voice.
Adrian Garcia-Marquez said he has “bled lightning since third grade,” adding that, after the team relocated to Los Angeles, he attended his first game wearing a Dan Fouts jersey.
“It’s like breathing,” he explained. “Talking Chargers football is like breathing to me.”
Garcia-Marquez is taking over the play-by-play on Que Buena 105.5/94.3 FM and will be reunited with analyst Francisco Pinto, the two recently having spent six seasons together doing Lakers games on television.
Both have worked in this market for 20-plus years, won numerous awards, covered Super Bowls and World Cups and boxing championships and been humbled by the overwhelming good fortune now bestowed upon them.
“To first work for the Lakers and now the Chargers, you can’t write this,” Pinto said. “Nobody can give you a script like that, a script this good. Life has been incredibly generous to me.”
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn resorted to taking his players’ cleats in an attempt to tone down the intensity during the team’s first day of conditioning.
Garcia-Marquez, who grew up in San Diego and once was a statistician on Chargers radio broadcasts, covered the team in 2008 as a color analyst. Two years earlier, he had called the team’s preseason games.
A former small-college baseball player, he has built his broadcasting career on a foundation as unlikely as it was shaky. Garcia-Marquez explained it this way: “I came in through the kitchen window.”
His first job in radio featured him handing out bumper stickers at various events for a station in San Diego.
One day at such a gathering, the deejay failed to show, so Garcia-Marquez offered to take over on the microphone.
“I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness kid,” he said. “I did speeches in front of the whole congregation from the time I was 11.”
When the San Diego Flash — a now-defunct soccer team — was looking for a play-by-play announcer, Garcia-Marquez put together a demo tape despite having no experience or even an actual soccer game with which to work.
Instead, he borrowed the crowd noise from a Sega Genesis video game and called about 90 seconds of action off a match he recorded from TV. He produced the entire thing in his bathroom.
Then Garcia-Marquez lied about the demo’s authenticity, later confessed that he had lied and got the job anyway.
From the Flash to the Chargers, he has traveled quite a distance.
“This is my team,” Garcia-Marquez said. “I love the Padres and I love the Lakers, but I love the Chargers.”
Pinto is a native of Chile who arrived in the U.S. in 1995 as a college student interested in physical education. He thought he might eventually go into sports medicine.
His first jobs in front of a camera came in Modesto and Sacramento, where he discovered the passion this country has for the NFL by encountering San Francisco 49ers fans and Oakland Raiders face-painters.
“I understood very early on that football is king here,” Pinto said. “The fan in football is a different kind of fan. They feel the sport and they feel their team in a different way.”
Nearly two years ago, Tyrod Taylor lost his starting quarterback job following a disastrous game. He’s ready to prove himself again with the Chargers.
The first Super Bowl he covered was in January 2003 — Super Bowl XXXVII — when Tampa Bay beat the Raiders in Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers’ former home.
Now employed by the Chargers, Pinto said his new job “sort of feels like everything has come full circle,” meaning both these new voices are experiencing something quite familiar.
Both also noted how the Chargers have expressed a definitive vision for reaching and expanding their brand in Los Angeles, which is hardly a minor consideration for a franchise fighting to establish itself, in both Spanish and English.
And now, with NFL training camps in motion, Pinto and Garcia-Marquez can officially begin preparing for their on-air reunion, set for the second Sunday in September.
“I’m the more talkative, energetic one,” Garcia-Marquez said. “Francisco is a little more, well, calm, I guess. I think it works, the dynamic works, in that kind of odd-couple kind of way.”
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