Cincinnati Bengals broadcaster Wayne ‘Box’ Miller credits MSU’s preparation for his success
In the world of sports broadcasting, it’s safe to say few people are looking forward to working this Sunday more than Wayne ‘Box’ Miller (Class of 1979).
Miller is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network Broadcast Team and can be heard in the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows during the regular season. But this Sunday, Feb. 13, football fans will listen to Miller on a day he is not used to broadcasting as the Cincinnati Bengals play against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI, the first time the team has played in a Super Bowl since 1989.
“To be part of this team right now at this moment with this success, after we’ve all gone through the lean years, I think that’s why everyone is so excited about it,” Miller said.
Before Miller was on-air discussing the Cincinnati Bengals, he was a Morehead State University Eagle, which he said helped lay the foundation for a long and notable career.
Born in Maysville, Kentucky, Miller grew up in the Avondale neighborhood of inner-city Cincinnati. He came to MSU because of its proximity to home and to play basketball there like his cousin Jerry King. Miller only played one year and was initially an art major before switching to communications.
Once he started taking communications classes, he received a well-rounded and thorough education in various aspects of media from knowledgeable and attentive faculty. He got his nickname “Box” from the late communications professor Thomas Yancy (Class of 1979).
“One of the things that Morehead State actually provided me was the actual experiences. I was in a radio station. I was working a board. I was creating commercials. I was doing promo spots. I was broadcasting news. I was on a desk, on a set. I was doing play-by-play. And I was doing this on campus,” Miller said. “Just the capacity to learn at Morehead: 50,000-watt radio station (WMKY, www.wmky.org), our own TV station, The Trail Blazer newspaper, all of those things, to be quite candid, man, really prepared me for what I’m doing now because I had that exposure early in an environment that had relatable resources.”
Miller landed his first radio job in 1985 as a promotions director for WIZF, a position he held for three years. He later became president of his sports marketing firm, Miller Communications Sports Marketing. He represented professional athletes for 16 years, including Cincinnati Reds stars like Eric Davis and Deion Sanders and Cincinnati Bengals like David Fulcher and Jeff Blake.
Miller found himself back in the broadcast booth as an award-winning on-air host and sports director for WDBZ Radio from 2000 to 2008. His work at WDBZ provided the first in-road to his current job thanks to community service collaborations and a professional relationship with then-Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis.
“When Marvin arrived in Cincinnati, I picked him up in my car and drove him to the radio station to do one of his first interviews,” Miller said.
For part of his time with WDBZ, Miller was also the co-host of “Sports Rock” for WLWT Channel 5 and a bi-weekly sports columnist for the Cincinnati Herald. In addition to winning awards for his work at WDBZ, he was also honored by his alma mater in 2007 when MSU inducted Miller into its Alumni Hall of Fame.
In 2011, Miller was offered the opportunity to do some shows for the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network, including the Bengals Game Plan Show and Bengals Pep Rally Friday, where he filmed on-location talking to Bengals fans. In 2018, much like this current Cincinnati Bengals team playing this Sunday, Miller was tasked with performing for an even bigger audience.
“They called and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to make some changes. Would you be interested in doing the pre/post/halftime (show)?” Miller recalled. “And I said, ‘Let me think about it, YES!’”
Miller not only loves his job, he loves motivating others and giving back to the greater Cincinnati community. In addition to being an in-demand speaker, he currently serves as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at St. Xavier High School. Miller said he sees a lot of parallels to the goals he wants to achieve in his community and what he sees sports accomplish every Sunday.
“When you see each other and you see that logo and that brand, you immediately come together. You don’t even think about it. There’s no filters. Who Dey!” Miller said. “I cannot reconcile that in my head that people don’t recognize how easy it is to connect because we prove it. We show when we are intentional that we can get along with each other because sports proves it every. Single. Time.”
While Miller will be in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium broadcasting as the Bengals take the field, he appreciates where his career has taken him but never forgets where it started.
“If you told me that that little guy from Avondale could go on to become part of the Bengals broadcast team and be part of conversations at presidential libraries and museums and represent high-profile athletes like Eric Davis and Deion Sanders, like, I don’t know if I could have dreamed that,” he said. “But Morehead State helped make that happen.”