Hall of Fame to honor Diethelm

ALPENA — Throughout a long radio career at WATZ, Ralph Diethelm’s voice became synonymous with sports in Northeast Michigan.

For his many years of work, Diethelm is the first recipient of the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame’s Voice of the North award, which honors the contributions of local media members toward Alpena-area sports.

“We are excited to recognize Diethelm for his superb ability to bring the action of the game to those unable to travel the distance,” Alpena Sports Hall of Fame President Liz Klemens said.

He will be honored during the Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement banquet on June 1, along with Boosters of the Year Mike Vought and DeAnn Roenser and Class of 2023 inductees Ashley (Hunault) Williams, Nate Barden, Tony Skiba III, and Eric Muszynski.

Diethelm came to Alpena and WATZ in 1953 as a salesman at 22 years old and worked there during a time when the station broadcast a variety of local sporting events, including football and basketball for Alpena and Alpena Catholic Central high schools, Alpena Community College men’s basketball, and selected games of Little League, Pony League, Alpena High School baseball, high school, and amateur male hockey, and certain track events.

He got his first shot to do play-by-play for an Alpena Catholic Central football game in the late 1950s.

During his time in Alpena, Ralph rubbed elbows with many of Alpena’s best coaches and athletes, including future Alpena Sports Hall of Famers Jim Park, Jim Dutcher, Tony Byers, and Mona Donnelly. He also worked alongside Frank Beckmann, who later worked at WJR in Detroit, and Al Randall Higgins, who later became the voice of University of Michigan hockey.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame banquet are $25 per guest (kids five and younger are free and kids ages six to 12 are $12.50) and can be purchased at Jimmie Garant’s Party Store or online via Venmo (@AlpenaSportsHOF).


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