UA journalism professor Hoyt Purvis has taught at the University of Arkansas for 32 years, and has an extensive background in the media, sports, politics and international relations. His latest book, though, strikes a little closer to home
“The Voice of the Razorbacks” is a unique chronicle of Razorback sports broadcasting. The idea for “The Voice of the Razorbacks” had been rolling around in Purvis’ mind for a while, but all of the ideas really came to a head when famous sports announcer, Paul Eells died in a car accident in 2006.
“Paul had been the announcer for many years and was very popular. When he died it was like an official mourning period in the state, people were so saddened by that,” said Purvis. “That reminded me of the fact that there’s an important story here.”
Purvis believes that sports broadcasting has played a very important role in developing the identity that Arkansas citizens have today.
“Think about what an important place that Razorbacks sports plays in the culture and the life of Arkansas,” said Purvis. “I had been convinced that there might be a good book on this subject.”
Purvis had a like minded co-author for “The Voice of the Razorbacks”. Purvis’ former graduate student Stanley Sharp did a lot of important work for the books as well.
“It was definitely a joint project,” said Purvis.
Purvis is confident that “The Voice of the Razorbacks” is a one of a kind.
“There is not another book that deals with this particular subject,” said Purvis.
“I think it’s just a really interesting history. We go back to the beginning, the very first experience with Razorback sports broadcasting,” said Purvis. “We go into the history of the broad casting which dates mostly back to the 1940s and early 1950s. There had been some other broadcasting irregularly before that.”
Purvis has found that most Arkansans connection with Razorback sports has been through the broadcasting of sports action, and he believes that listening to Razorback sports coverage has become something of a tradition.
Purvis has promoted his book through several avenues including attending a “tailgating” kick off book launch in Little Rock AR. at the Butler Center for Arkansas studies. He has also participated in a book signing at Nightbird books off of Dickson, as well as going on different interviews around the state.
“The word is getting out there and the response has been very favorable,” said Purvis.
The book can be ordered through the University Press.
“Today’s students can learn a lot of interesting and important history related to the University, related to the Razorbacks, related to the connection people in Arkansas have to the Razorbacks. Students can learn a lot from reading about that,” said Purvis.
Purvis brings a lifetime of experience to his book. Purvis began working as a journalist in high school and from there worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle.
He eventually ended up in Washington D.C. where he was the Press Secretary for Sen. Fulbright from Arkansas. Also while in D.C., Purvis served as the Foreign Defense policy advisor for the senate leadership.
Purvis founded the international relations major at the University of Arkansas in 1998. Purvis also teaches classes at the University of Arkansas ranging from Media and Society to the International Relations seminar for international relations majors.
Purvis continues to write a column for local newspapers, as well as providing television commentary on politics and public affairs. He has written, edited and co-authored over a dozen books on various subjects including international relations, politics and the media. Purvis has also been to 110 countries and considers traveling to be one of the most important things to do.
“Find something that you really like, and really throw yourself into it. Don’t do it half way. Really commit yourself to something, and be willing to try things outside your comfort zone, I think that’s really important. Sometimes that opens up new opportunities, or unexpected opportunities and it gives you a chance to do some things,” said Purvis.