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Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone Is A Good Thing

I just completed my 2nd week, 1st full week at the new job here in Maryville, MO with Nodaway Broadcasting (97.1 The Vill and 95.9/1580 KNIM).  Last week I attended a little news conference with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon who visited regarding a veto he made on a tax for prescription drugs.  Got a chance to meet a few city officials there.  This week I had a one hour sit down with Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice.  Just kind of a “get to know you session.”  Very friendly guy.  In fact, everyone here has been friendly and welcoming.

I had my first extended on air appearance last night.  I interviewed a few 8 man high school football coaches for a series we are doing called “Fan Camp.”  I’ve got more of those the next two Fridays before the season kicks off on August 30th.

This is something I needed.  Moving out of Iowa.  It’s been home all my life, but change has been good for me.  I don’t think I fully saw that until after I got settled here last Saturday after my move.  By the way, thanks to Mom, Dad and my brother Seth for helping me with that.  Moving isn’t usually fun, but as the four of us sat down for some pizza to end the day, mom said she “had fun.”  It was more about us just being together.  I always appreciate time with my family.  Even if it includes moving a few heavy things.

Jim and Joyce Cronin (the owners) have been very good to me already.  Case in point.  My travel expenses.  Jim had a check for me the same day after I submitted a receipt for the truck and gas charges.  I’ve worked in corporate radio most of my life and normally you wouldn’t see a check for a few weeks at best.  They also took me out to lunch after my first day on the job a week ago Tuesday.

My duties include working with Jim on the morning show (97.1 The Vill).  I do twice hourly news/sports updates from 6a-8:35a.  I also record news/sports for 95.9/1580 KNIM that plays throughout the day.

If you want to check me out, you can at either nodawaybroadcasting.com or by searching K V V L on the TUNEIN App.  My “Fan Camp” interviews are posted on the website.  Under the Sports Tab, click on FAN CAMP.

If that little voice in your head is discouraging you from picking up and getting out of your comfort zone, resist it.  Leave.  It’s a good thing.

Oh and perks.  Going to see my Royals tonight and Sunday.  Tonight I’m gonna hang out with my old broadcasting partner Larry Cotlar.  He and his wife and step son are in KC now.  How great is it that I am this close to Kauffman Stadium the first year they are playing well in years?  See!  God just might bless you in a mysterious way by doing what he asks!

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Starting A New Job At The End Of The Month

I have acccepted a full-time radio news/sports job in Maryville, MO with 97.1 KVVL and 1580 KNIM.  Will be starting at the end of the month.

This all came about pretty quickly.  2 weeks ago I got an unsolicited phone call from Jim Cronin with Nodaway Broadcasting in Maryville.  He told me that he got a referral from a job service I subscribe to (Sportscasters Talent Agency of America -OR- STAA).  Asked me if I was interested, I said sure.  Went down last weekend for an interview with the husband/wife team who run the stations.  Spoke with each of them last Sunday.  They put me up in a hotel to stay overnight to talk with the rest of the staff Monday morning.  Got a call back Tuesday and they offered.  I accepted on Thursday.

I’ll be working with Jim on the morning show.  KVVL (Known as THE VILLE) plays rock.  Will be doing news/sports updates from 6-9am.  Also will produce news/sports for KNIM (Country).  My other duties will include covering city council/school board meetings and doing the play by play for Maryville HS.

Maryville is about 2 1/2 hours southwest of Des Moines, so I won’t be that far away.  It’s also 94 miles away from Kansas City.  Oh and the KNIM is a Royals affiliate.  Can you say tickets??  The bosses are huge Royals fans.

Thank you to all of you for your love and support while I’ve been here in Des Moines.  It’s my hometown and I’ll always hold it high.  I have a good feeling that the future is bright for this Old Radio Dog.  Please think of me/keep me in your prayers during my transition.

Their website is www.nodawaybroadcasting.com

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Pitching Has the Royals Streaking

I have been a Royals fan since I was 9 years old.  October of 1980.  That was when Kansas City made their 1st ever World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.  I was 2 months away from my 10th birthday.  My brother Adam picked the Phillies and I took the Royals.  We have been fans ever since.

Kansas City lost that series 4 games to 2.  The late Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson for the final out to give the Phillies their 1st ever World Championship.  Fortuantely the Royals would get back 5 years later and be the “comeback kids” in beating Toronto 4 games to 3 and St Louis 4 games to 3 to win their only World Championship to date.  They trailed both the ALCS and WS 3-1.

I was a freshman in high school at East High School in Des Moines, Iowa when KC became the KINGS of MLB.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would be their last playoff appearance to date.  The Royals were the class of the old AL West back in the day.  Winning division titles in 76, 77, 78, 80, 84 and 85.

I’m writing this blog because KC beat the Indians Monday night in Cleveland 2-1.  They are currently 34-34.  Right now my Royals are in the middle of a hot streak to get back to the 500 mark.  They have not been 500 this late in the season since 2003 and it’s just the third time since 1994.  After suffering through a 4-19 mark in May to drop to 23-32, KC has rattled off 11 wins in their last 13 games to get back even.  An impressive run.  The pitching has been outstanding.   They are #1 in the AL in ERA at 3.35.  Their bullpen is also #1 at 2.63.  The pen has allowed just 2 earned runs in their last 35.2 innings.  The pitching staff has also rattled off allowing 3 runs or less in 15 of their last 16 games.  They are 12-4 in that stretch.

Dayton Moore went out and got James Shields from the Rays in the offseason.  As part of the deal, KC let their best prospect go.  Wil Myers.  I admit at first blink I was a bit upset.  But the Royals made a bold move and played to win NOW.  KC has had a stocked minor league system for last few years and has had nothing to show for it.  So I applauded Mr Moore for pulling that trigger.  Despite is 2-6 record, Shields has been brilliant.  His ERA is 2.72.  95 strikeouts to 30 walks in 106 innings.  His WHIP (Walks/Hits per innings pitched) is 1.12.  He is a gamer and I am glad he throws for my team.

The offense has struggled and continues to find their way.  But they seem lately to have the knack to score late pull things out of the fire.  Again the pitching is to thank for that.  Ervin Santana came over from the Angels in a trade and has also been outstanding (5-5, 2.74 71 K 13 BB 92 IP).  Throw in Jeremy Guthrie (7-4 3.72) and Luis Mendoza (2-3 4.23) and KC has a very solid 1-4 punch.

June ERA to date:  1.75.  That is #1 in MLB.

It’s been a tough but fun climb to get back to the 500 mark.  Here’s hoping the Royals can make a run to the playoffs this year.  They trail the first place Tigers by just 5 games.

Go Royals!

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(This is me pointing to the “Royals Legacy Brick” I purchased last offseason that is permanently at Kauffman Stadium- Yeah I Am a true BLUE fan).

My Nephew Turns One

Some of you may look at the title of this blog and say…”So What?”   At first blink, I can understand that.  But my nephew Malachi will always have a special place in my heart not just because he’s a blood relative, but because of how he came to be born.

For those who don’t follow me closely, Malachi was born June 7th, 2012 pre-maturely at just 2.2 pounds.  It’s truly a blessing from God how much he has grown up in a short 12 months.  I sometimes cry pretty loosely when I speak or write about him.  I’ll always remember the first time I visited him in the hospital after he was born.  Tubes all in his tiny body and protected from the outside air in his incubator.

We all gathered at Eva’s brother and sister in law’s house in Bettendorf, IA Saturday for his big one year party.  (The day after Malachi’s actual birthday on Friday).

As you can imagine, it was “Pass Malachi around day.”  An enjoyable, festive time to celebrate one year of a little guy we’ve all come to love and pull for.

We grilled out some burgers/brats, had the traditional sing of “Happy Birthday Malachi,” and all sat around and opened gifts/presents for the little man.

He’s made lots of progress in recent weeks.  Starting to crawl and now can even stand on his own a bit.  He’ll be walking very soon I am sure.

Looking forward to being an active uncle, Malachi.

Love Geoff.

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It Was Great To Work With An Iowa Broadcasting Icon

I consider myself very fortunate to say I worked with Jim Zabel.  I was a young kid that recently graduated from Iowa State in December of 1993, and my first professional job was with the 50,000 watt powerhouse WHO in Des Moines in May of 1994.

I recall seeing Jim for the first time and thinking “wow this is pretty cool.”  Like most Iowans, I listened to Jim growing up in the 80’s do all the Iowa Hawkeye games.

I filled in for Jim on occasion doing the afternoon sportscasts on WHO through the 90’s, but my most direct memory was being his radio engineer for the Iowa Barnstormers games in 1995, 2000 and 2001.  I did all the home games in 1995 and traveled with him for all games in the 2000 and 2001 seasons.

The first ever Barnstormers home game was against the Miami Hooters in 1995.  Richard Lee did the road games that year and we both came down to old Vet’s Auditorium days before to run through my responsiblities for the upcoming game.  I’ll admit I was a bit nervous.  I was going to be sitting beside an Iowa broadcasting legend after all and didn’t want to screw anything up.

Turns out I did.  I remember not being able to connect to the studio and we missed most of the pre-game.  I was running around frantically looking for a building official to help me with the line.  Z wasn’t too pleased with me.  He was definately agitated.  But we eventually made it on the air and Jim was very cool with me after the game.  Rookie mistake.  Lesson learned that evening.

2000 was probably the most fun year I had because it was the last year the Barnstormers were in the old “Arena 1” before they dropped to “Arena 2” the next year.  We traveled to Phoenix, Nashville, Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Houston, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee.  As a 29 year old that year, I thought that life was pretty good. 

Jim would also call on me from time to time to either sit in with him or fill in for him on his “2 Guys named Jim” show that airs Sunday nights on WHO Radio.  That’s the one thing I really respected about Z, he didn’t hesitate to ask me to help him out when he’d be gone for whatever reason.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was cool to fill in for Jim Zabel.

Thanks Jim.  I enjoyed working with you.  Appreciate the respect you showed to a kid like me just getting started.  It was fun.  RIP Mr Hawkeye.

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Privileged To Be A Grand View Viking

Blogging tonight from Cleveland, Tennessee.  The run for Grand View baseball has ended after a tough loss to Avila (KCMO) 12-10.  The Vikings couldn’t hold a 6-0 lead after 2 innings and saw their season come to a close at 26-21.  GV won a comeback thriller over LSU Shreveport earlier in the day 6-3 to get their first ever win in the NAIA Opening round.

But the topic of this blog is not about our trip here.  It’s more about how fortunate I have been to cover Grand View athletics the last four school years.  Everyone likes covering a winner.  GVU is definately that.  You begin last fall with football.  Back to back conference champions.  Then women’s basketball.  3 trips to the Sweet Sixteen (including 2 in the Elite 8) in the last 4 years.  Men’s soccer makes another trip to the national tourney.  Baseball and softball both make the national tournament.  Men’s golf finished the year ranked in the top 10.  OH!  And how could I forget the wrestling program!!  They’ve only won the NATIONAL TITLE the last 2 years!!

I proudly call myself the PBP Voice of Grand View University.  This has been a great place for me to “hone” my skills.  I’ve learned alot.  And I don’t take for granted the opportunity I’ve been given to have “a home” to call my own.

Four years ago I had ZERO play by play experience.  None.  Zilch.  Zippo.  I am a more rounded broadcaster than I was in 2009.  Being the Voice of the Vikings has also given me other opportunites for PBP.  I called Dowling basketball for two years and shared duties with Ric Silvestrini on the IHSSN (Iowa High School Sports Network) during the state tourneys in March.

Thank you for having me Grand View.  Appreciate being part of your family.  Looking forward to year number five beginning the end of August.

 

 

I’m a Twitter(aholic)

Yes I freely admit it.  I am a twitter(aholic).  I love the exchange of stories/ideas and opinions. I have had fun interacting with people from literally all over the world.  Mainly people here in the states, but Canada and a few in the UK too.  I’ve also made some good friends.  A few in no particular order:  @donlynturnbull, @planet_rawr, @sherry_keller, @emitoms, @canadiancarla, @kat1457, @prezmike25, @s_j67, @jmedinaphoto, @tigerdan4, @matthewmurphy and @nickgryniewicz.   I even found someone with the same birthday as me, which was very cool (@thesmartchic).  There are ALOT of good people out there and connecting with like minded people is uplifting.

Twitter is a great place to start a prayer chain.  Case in point last year when my nephew Malachi was born.  He came into this world a bit earlier than we’d have liked on June 7th weighing just 2.2 pounds.  I shared it with my followers which intern gave Malachi some adopted twitter “Aunties,” who took him to prayer.  @Yankees_pbrfan, @Adallasqtpie, @Chloecat317 and @erinelephant83.  I’m happy to report Malachi now weighs over 16 pounds.

This is how we will be communicating in the future.  Online.  The Washington Nationals AAA affiliate in Syracuse became the 1st team to not broadcast their games on the radio, instead opting for internet only this year.  MLB, NFL and NHL is headed there too.  It may not be for a few years, but it’s on the horizon in the distance.  I am a radio geek.  I love radio.  So as a radio lover, it’s sad to see this. 

Happy tweeting.  Hit me up @geoffconn, would love to hear from you.

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Kansas City…….Here I Am!

Right now as I type onto my laptop, I am sitting in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri on the off day of the 2nd and 3rd (yeah that’s stupid) rounds of the NCAA Tournament.  I am volunteering for the NCAA helping out in “media relations.”  It’s been a great time.  I love KC.  Next to my hometown of Des Moines, it’s my 2nd favorite city in the U-S of A.  Yes for those of you who know me, it’s because I am a true blue KC Royals fan.  It’s also the closest “big city” to Des Moines, just 2 and 1/2 hours south on I-35.  Sorry Omaha, I don’t count you.

Last April I attended the wedding of my old broadcast radio partner Larry Cotlar.  I sat beside the longtime SID of Drake University in Des Moines, Mike Mahon.  He mentioned to me about volunteering for the KC NCAA Tourney in 2013.  Right now I am in a “transitional period” in my professional life, so I was free.  After an email to the SID of the Missouri Valley Conference, Mike Kern….it became a reality (The MVC is hosting).

I had never been to a men’s tourney, so I was pretty excited.  I went to the women’s regional in Des Moines last year and I have also been to a couple of early round games when the Iowa State women hosted in Ames.

Now for the games:

Game #1:  Wisconsin vs Ole Miss.  The Badgers couldn’t buy a basket and were upset by a team that was fighting for their tourney lives one week ago.  Beauty of this event.  Rebels 57-48. 

Game #2:  Kansas State and LaSalle.  The Sprint Center was painted in Purple for this game for nearby KSU.  There may have been about 100 LaSalle fans who made the trip from Philly.  Great game, LaSalle took a big halftime lead before the Wildcats would rally to tie, only to lose in the end 63-61.

Game #3:  North Carolina vs Villanova.  Pretty good ball game.  UNC would take a sizeable lead in the 1st half (20 pts), before Nova would again make a furious rally.  Roy Williams squad would hold them off 78-71.  It was his 700th career win.

Game #4:  Kansas and Western Kentucky.  Dandy of a game.  Despite playing a quasi road game, the Hilltoppers made things VERY exciting.  A made shot or two by WKY and I might have been witness to the first ever 16 seed over a 1, but it wasn’t meant to be and the Jayhawks survived and advanced 64-57.

Whew.  The first game tipped off at around 11:40 and the last game completed about 12 hours later.  Long day, but a fun day.  Now for Sunday.  KU vs UNC in the reunion of Roy Williams against the school he left before coming to Chapel Hill.  Then two “Cinderellas” meet when LaSalle takes on Ole Miss.  (I wonder how many people will hang around for that game?)

8 inches of snow is predicted here by Monday morning.  Hopefully everyone will be able to get home safely.

(Behind the scenes before the Kansas/Western Kentucky game Friday night at the Sprint Center).

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Can’t Believe It Was 25 Years Ago

I was laying in bed late the other night.  And it just popped into my head.  It’s March 7th!  I did the math in my head.  1988.  25 years ago I enlisted into the Army Reserves.  I’ll always hold this day special.  It was a definite turning point in my life.

My senior year of high school at Des Moines East, I stopped by (I have no idea why) an Army Recruiter table at our school.  My recruiter’s name was SGT Jenkins.  (Funny what things you remember in life, eh?)  I filled out a card and he followed up with a phone call which later led to a visit to my house with my parents.

He gave a simple presentation which included the GI Bill. RE: Money for college.  That was the ONLY reason I even considered joining the military.  Because I knew that my parents weren’t in any position to help me out financially.  I don’t at all say that with disregard or malcontent.  I am very happy my parents made me pay for school on my own because it made me a much more indepenent person.  Also I was the first of 4 brothers to go down this road.

So SGT Jenkins made his final pitch and stopped talking.  I thought about it for a second.  Said….sure I’ll do it!  I know I shocked my parents and sort of shocked myself too.  As a minor, I had to get their signature to make it official.

I can’t tell you how much easier it was to go through college (Iowa State) getting a monthly check from the military and doing a monthly weekend drill. (Thus how the Reservists are called “Weekend Warriors”).  It was plenty to make a poor college kid live off of.  As an added bonus I also got the “Loan Repayment Program,” in my enlistment.  This meant after graduation, the military would pay 10% of my loan for every remaining year of my enlistment.  This helped take a big chunk out my school loans (which I am proud to say are all paid off).

My time in the Army Reserves (March 1988 to March 1996) was the same time as “Desert Storm.”  My job was a 31K (Kilo) which was then titled “Combat Signaler.”  When I entered the Army I already knew what I wanted to do in my professional life and wanted to be in communications in the military also.  “Combat Signaler” was simply field communications.  RE:  Field telephones and running wire for switchboard communications.  Which is now non-existant in the Army.  Everything is digital, just like the real world.

I don’t consider myself a “hero” by any means.  The real hero in our family is my father Don who did 2 tours of Vietman as a SGT in the Marine Corps.  He also is the recipiant of a “Purple Heart.”  My dad went through hell there and I am so proud of him.  It’s hard for me to talk about him without getting emotional.

I was in an Engineering Unit based out of Des Moines (372nd ENG GRP).  I did three weekend drills there before shipping out to Basic Training in June of 1988 at Ft Jackson (Columbia), South Carolina.  Talk about a life changing experience.  Especially for a 17 year old.  I spent 10 weeks there and returned mid August just before the start of my senior year in high school.  I was a “Split Option Trainee.”  This meant I did Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training-Army Schooling) a year apart.  Normally regular Army people do that back to back before being assigned to their permanent station.

Then in June of 1989, right after I graduated high school, I did it all over again.  Except now I was headed to Ft Gordon (Augusta), Georgia where I learned my 31K job specialty.  AIT wasn’t quite as bad as basic, but you still had Drill Sergeants who bossed you around.

My favorite memory of basic was that I could imitate the voice of a DI in our company.  He’d always say “GET OUT OF MY WAY!”  So we’d be out as a company together and I’d walk up behind my fellow trainees and say “GET OUT OF MY WAY” (in a deep manly future radio star voice) and they’d all turn around freaked out and thought I was him, which cracked me up.

I know I wouldn’t be the same Geoff Conn if I hadn’t decided to enlist for those 8 years.  I am very proud to say I have.  It helped shape me to be the man that I am today.

At Basic Training in the summer of 1988 in Ft Jackson, South Carolina.

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Never Give Up

These past two weeks I’ve been given the fortunate opportunity to call some games for the Iowa Girls/Boys state basketball tournaments.  A few included television.  This is something I’ve always wanted to do.  TV play by play.  I admit I started to wonder if it was ever gonna happen for me. 

Last fall a colleague of mine, Ric Silvestrini, approached me regarding being a part of the Iowa High School Sports Network (IHSSN) during “March Madness.”  I jumped at the opportunity and was excited about it.  Ric is the current voice of Drake women’s basketball.

I was a bit nervous about the whole deal because I’m a radio guy with zero TV experience.  Friends I talked to assured me that I’d do well, which was definately comforting.  I’ve gotten great experience as the play by play voice for Grand View the last 4 years.

Who knows where this may lead.  I’m hopeful that this is just the beginning for me.

Many of you who know me personally know how difficult my professional life has been over the last 4 years or so.  I’ve continued to stay positive as possible.  There have been ups and downs.

Getting fired for the first time in my life has made me look more to the present than the future.  I have absolutely no idea what the future will hold for me.  I don’t worry about it.  I’m all about the NOW than the LATER.

I want to thank all of my friends and family for their support.  It hasn’t been easy.  I love you all dearly and don’t take you for granted.

Here’s to a unknown future.  Thanks for reading.Image