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vSIMPLE continued from page 22 JT: and just about lost it right down the chute. Felt my foot go down and I grabbed onto something, and the broadcast continued. But that would have been rough. JDC: Besides game broadcasts, you two (Thayer and Kooistra) also have shows. Yours (Thayer) is sports-related. How do you come up with topics each day? SK: There’s so much going on. It’s never any problem. And I have regular guests. The city manager comes in every two weeks. That type of thing. The school board president comes in every month. Doesn’t have much to do with sportscasting for me. It can be, but most of it is not. JT: I just let sports happen. Somebody’s going do something stupid that we can talk about, or a success somewhere. It’s pretty easy, obviously, this time of year. Hardest time for me is in the summer, because you have Major League Baseball and WNBA, and that’s about it for big sports. Right now, all the college sports going on and all the pro sports. There’s always something. SK: My toughest week is between Christmas and New Year’s. Don’t get too many political officials. There aren’t any meetings going on. Things like that. Can I borrow your tape (if this interview) afterwords? (He laughs) I need to fill up about 45 minutes. JT: We heard this the last three days. JDC: What’s the favorite part of your job? SK: In the big picture, the relationships you make, with coaches, with the people involved. And then the most exhilarating part is a wellplayed big game. It really does get the adrenaline going, it doesn’t really matter what level it is. I think, in the big picture, who you get to meet along the way, the friendships. JT: There’s no doubt. I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of people from all over. I wouldn’t have done it without this job. It’s pretty cool to stay in touch with those types of people. The other part would be, when you do radio you typically don’t know who’s listening until you screw up, right? But, to know that you’re doing a service for somebody, you’re their eyes, basically, is pretty cool. The biggest example for me would be Nicole Seekamp, and her parents living in Australia. Her mom would send me a Facebook message. It would be a Saturday afternoon or night game, and she would send me a “good morning message” on a Sunday in Australia. They were having breakfast and about to listen to the game. That is pretty cool, because those people can’t make that work to come to every game. Then to meet those people in person is pretty neat. JVG: Now there’s so many platforms that you can get a game: audio, video, social media, live streaming on Facebook or Twitter. But back when I started in 1984, it was on air. And the people that you meet, like Scott and John said, the interaction with coaches and players, players that after 30-plus years of doing this, now have kids playing. You happen to be doing a game and just shake your head and think, “God, am I old.” JT: Are they kids or grandkids? (Laughs) JVG: Just kids. Not quite grandkids. JT: I can make those jokes. JVG: Yes you can. Now, the interaction I have, not only with the sports I cover, but the other coaches at USD, that take the time to give you a kind word. That makes it all worthwhile for me. JDC: Last one. What advice would you give a young person looking at a career in sportscasting? JVG: Wash your hands. Don’t get a cold. (Kooistra chuckles) I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been in radio 40-plus years now. I’ve done something in every kind of department that makes the whole picture. I’ve worked as an announcer. I’ve worked in sales. And, also, with the sports side. My advice would be, be prepared to start small, but do everything. Experience everything, so you know what they’re talking about when a salesman comes in and says, “What game are we going to do?” Based on sales, sometimes listenership isn’t even a big thing. Like I’ve said, I’ve been a news director. I’ve been a sports director, too. Just be prepared to start small, be prepared to do everything. SK: As I was walking down here, I thought one of the toughest things about this business, you guys may or may not agree, but all the conflicts there are now. I’ve got five games coming up on Saturday in a confined amount of time, and I’m not sure how I’m going to do it. Look at all the jockeying you guys have to do with whether something’s online, what station is it on, who to send it to, or who’s going to do the actual broadcast. Like last week with Duke. You guys had to do a lot of jockeying that weekend. I’ve got two Mount Marty games, two high school games and the (Kansas City) Chiefs (KYNT is a Chiefs affiliate) happen to be playing on Saturday, too. All that to figure out. I think that’s one of the tough challenges, trying to coordinate it all. Not to mention advertising, etc. JT: I told a group of wannabe sportscasters about three years ago, “If you like your sleep, if you like to eat healthy and you like your free time, then get out now.” Because all that stuff kinda goes away. For me, it would be, make connections. I’ve had a couple of opportunities over the last eight years because I did work for somebody for free. When I was in college, I did some free work for a guy, and about three years later it turned into a full-time job, which allowed me to travel all over the country and cover NAIA sports. Too many kids today, they want too much money, or they don’t value the experience. They don’t value getting to know people as much, and that stuff goes a long ways. We’ve all found that, whether we’ve gotten a job or know somebody that’s gotten a job, it’s not necessarily because you’re talented, it’s because you know somebody. Those relationships that you have made will eventually get you a job someday. You can’t put a dollar sign on that. JVG: Also, right place, right time stuff is also big, too. JT: Yeah JVG: The luck of the draw. You just appear one day and you’re the guy. SK: We had 17 sports announcers at WCCO in various capacities, and I guarantee you that 75 percent of the people in South Dakota who do this, or Nebraska or wherever, are just every bit as good. But those guys are making, some of them, a thousand bucks a game. Right place, right time, or former Major League players. vBy James D. Cimburek HISVOICEvJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018v23

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