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Cress Pass: Brad Memberto's passing left a void on the Central Coast
Cress Pass

Cress Pass: Brad Memberto's passing left a void on the Central Coast

A little over a year ago, a void was created on the Central Coast that will never really be filled.

Brad Memberto, much beloved on the Central Coast, died on June 9, 2019 at the age of 63 due to complications from diabetes.

From the time I started at the Times in 2001 to the time Brad took early retirement from the Times in 2015 because of health issues, I recognized him as one of the most well-known media personalities on the Central Coast.

He made a particular mark with his work covering the Northern Santa Barbara County Round Table, as an emcee and a writer.

His rapport with athletes and coaches has been sorely missed at the Round Table. You can consider this as an early plug for the NSBCART to induct Brad into its Hall of Fame.

We‘ll get to the particulars of some of the rest of his media career later.

I miss our conversations. There were times when we agreed about things. There were many other times when we agreed on, well, just about nothing.

But whatever the situation, Brad had what I think is an under-appreciated art - he could talk a lot without being boring.

He became a man of faith, and he helped spread that faith without being sanctimonious about it.

Brad also had what I think is also becoming a lost, or at least under-appreciated, art. He was a great story teller.

He was a lefty pitcher for the Reseda High School baseball team. During one Reseda game, up to the plate came future Hall of Famer Robin Yount to face Brad.

Brad delivered a pitch. Yount swung and, “The ball went over the fence, cleared the street on the fly and landed in some guy’s yard,” for a titanic home run, Brad related.

“My coach came walking slowwwly out to the mound,” Brad said.

When he finally got there, Brad said, “He looked at me and said, ‘Memberto. That was the longest .... home run I’ve seen in my life.

‘Go get ‘em.’ Then he walked off.”

Brad served with distinction for us from 2007 to 2015, mainly covering sports for the Lompoc Record.

He covered the Lompoc football team winning two sectional divisional football championships. He also covered the Lompoc baseball team losing a close one in a sectional divisional final.

Brad actually covered that one in two capacities, as a writer and as a broadcaster for the Times webcast. He covered many games that way.

Brad’s journalism roots were in broadcast news. From 2000 to 2006, he co-hosted KUHL radio’s morning show with Ben Heighes. Brad also hosted SportsTalk weekday afternoons with Rick Blaemire.

I always thought Brad was a fine sports announcer. In a time when many sports commentators take a “the louder, the better,” approach, yelling their way through sportscasts, Brad didn’t go that route.

He had a smooth, distinctive voice, but he knew when to ramp up the drama in his delivery. He was witty, concise, knowledgeable.

Making the big time as a sports announcer is hard, but I honestly think Brad would have had a shot. At least once, I heard him wondering if he should have pursued that route.

Brad also knew how to put people at ease.

For years, he was the play-by-play commentator for the Santa Maria Indians semi-pro baseball team. The job responsibilities for the team’s new media relations interns could be daunting. Brad often got a laugh out of them with some banter or wisecrack.

And, if a local team needed fundraising help, Brad was that guy.

We miss you, Brad.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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