Along The Way to Retirement
They say you’ll know when it’s time to leave. The best time being while you’re on top of your game no matter what your job or situation.
That time has come for me after more than 50 years of broadcasting. Friday is my final day at KFXD 105.5fm The Fan. While there will no doubt be other broadcasting gigs to keep me busy, like announcing 22 state basketball tournament games over the next few weeks, my day to day broadcasting chores as I’ve known them since 1969 and since 1982 in Boise are done.
Along the way there have been some fun times!
In 1969 I simply fell into broadcasting Idaho State football and basketball games on KWIK radio in Pocatello when the then voice of the Bengals scolded a phone operator and was fired. I would eventually broadcast Idaho and Boise State games on television and serve for seven years as Paul J. Schneider’s sidekick on Bronco radio broadcasts as well.
In 1971 I landed my first TV job with KIFI Channel 8 in Idaho Falls. Sports was the main focus but I got to anchor weather and news. I remember accompanying Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus and touring the Teton Dam as it was being constructed. They took us deep into the belly of the dam which just a few years later would collapse.
We also did a live broadcast of the short lived Pro Track and Field League. They staged a meet in Pocatello's Holt Arena. My color analyst was the famous miler Jim Ryun, Olympic silver medalist in 1968 and the last American to hold the world record in the mile run.
In 1974 I left Idaho Falls for Channel 4 in Salt Lake City. My first day on the job was crazy. There was a big boxing exhibition in town and I was assigned a photographer and told to interview each of the participants.
They included Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. The MC of the event was Bob Hope. In addition Evil Knievel was in town as was Bobby Riggs, both there because of the event and both riding the publicity of their recent failed endeavors. Knievel’s Snake River jump and Riggs tennis match with Billie jean King.
I interviewed them all!
In 1975 it was off to Omaha, Nebraska and KETV Channel 7. Arriving on the first day of the football season I immediately found myself at Memorial Stadium for the LSU-Nebraska game.
While I was closer to Kansas, I certainly wasn’t in Kansas anymore! Big Red country was difference and as I discovered, demanded loyalty.
In 1978 No.1 Oklahoma came to town to face No.4 Nebraska. Billy Sims of the Sooners led the nation in scoring and rushing and I picked Oklahoma to win 21-17.
Nebraska led 17-14 with under four minutes to play as Sims bust through the Sooner offensive line only to fumble at the three yard line. Nebraska recovered and won.
Later a Nebraska fan called to remind me I had picked the Sooners 21-17. I said had Sims not fumbled Oklahoma would have scored and won 21-17 just as I had predicted. The fan told me something I’d never forget….We don’t need our sportscasters to be right, we need them to be loyal!
While in Nebraska I did a 30minute show called The Bob Devaney Prediction Show. It was basically the Husker Athletic Director predicting game outcomes. Folks love it and that relationship with the Nebraska legend earned me one on one interviews with the Likes of Paul Bear Bryant, Lou Holtz and Joe Paterno among others.
I also hosted the Creighton Basketball Coaches Show with Tom Apke until he left for Colorado and then it was Willis Reed of NBA fame.
I was fortunate to do several TV broadcasts of Creighton basketball games including two Creighton-Indiana State games. At the time Indiana State had a player named Larry Bird.
Basketball was big in Omaha. When I first arrived they shared an NBA team, The Kansas City-Omaha Kings, now the Sacramento Kings.
I also got to play tennis with Arthur Ashe. He gave each TV sports guy an hour to interview and play tennis with him, what a thrill.
Oscar Robertson, Big O, came to town with a new shooting game he’d devised and of course the NBA legend challenged me to a shooting duel. It wasn’t pretty but the crowd loved watching me go down in flames.
Hank Aaron rolled into town and also requested one on one time with the local TV sportscasters. He gave each of us an autographed baseball which I have today, kind of.
My oldest son used the ball to play catch one day, quickly realized his mistake and put it back but now my Hank Aaron ball reads…ank Aaron. It’s certainly worth its gold in memories.
In 1982 Boise called and I went to work for Channel 6. We started a thing called the Boise State TV Deal. We broadcast live all road games and taped delayed all football and basketball games, calling the broadcast the Boise State Instant Replay. We aired the replays at 10:30 pm game night.
At channel 6 I was reunited with Muhammad Ali but by now he was suffering from Parkinson’s yet was wonderful to talk too. He came into my sports office and just visited with me and weatherman Ron Watson.
Speaking of weatherman, while at channel 6 I also shared my office with Rick Lantz of Channel 7 fame and Larry Gebert, also part of the current channel 7 team was my backup sports go-to!
Channel 6 produced so many local live broadcasts they purchased and built a production truck from which we aired Big Sky games, covered major sports events such as the Women’s Challenge Cycling event, golf tournaments and who can forget the Closest to the Pin Show from Eagle Hills golf course. Joe Malay and I were the first hosts and the show was an instant success as golfers signed up to try and negotiate the long par three sixth hole, most of it over water. They did so despite knowing how silly they might look on the broadcast. Malay never held back teasing players unmercifully. They loved it!
When Channel 6 lost the Boise State contract it was off to Channel 2 KBCI at the time. Now KBOI. Once again we won the Bronco TV contract and I was back calling games on TV and doing the color for BSU games on KBOI radio with Paul J.
In 2006 I was asked to move to the news anchor desk where I was fortunate to work with Melinda O’Malley a talented news journalist and later with Natalie Hurst who still anchors for Channel 2 today.
My claim to fame in news and this is for real, was winning Best Anchor Hair as voted on by Boise Weekly readers. I want to thank hairspray for that honor.
Sports however was my first passion and I left TV for radio and for the last few years have been broadcasting on KFXD 630 The Fan which is also now broadcast on 105.5 fm.
That’s just over 50 years and with my 71st year staring at me next month my clock was telling me it’s time.
Like I said, I’ll be picking up broadcast gigs along the way but the time has come to leave the day to day broadcasting. There have been a lot of memories, many of which I’ve spared you from having to read and now it’s time to make some new memories as another chapter in life is about to unfold.
Time for my wife, seven children and 24 grandchildren to see me in slow motion.