To all the high school sports fans, parents, coaches and Athletic Directors of the Mineral Area,
After 13-plus years as Sports Director, I have decided to leave KFMO Radio to pursue a new venture in my life. This was certainly not an easy decision as I absolutely love bringing high school sports coverage to all of you and being the “Voice of High School Sports in the Parkland”.
I first came to KFMO in September of 2000 after having worked a season in minor league baseball with the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Lynchburg Hillcats in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a one-season arrangement and I knew my time there was limited. As the season started to wind down, I scoured the internet for sports radio openings and found one at a station in Park Hills, Missouri…a place I had never heard of and knew nothing about. I contacted their Program Director at the time, Greg Camp, and delivered the usual job-applying items. After lengthy discussion (ask Greg, he’ll tell you how much I bugged him), Greg called and said they would like to interview me. The funny part was that prior to the interview, Greg had told me that they wouldn’t bring me all the way out from Virginia unless they were going to offer me the position. So upon receiving that phone call, I assumed even before traveling half-way across the country that the job was mine.
I came in for the interview on a Saturday morning and talked at length with Greg Camp and General Manager Larry Joseph. After the interview, Camp told me, “ok, thanks for coming in, we’ll let you know”. My thought was, “let me know?!? You told me you wouldn’t drag me out here unless you were going to give me the job!”. My dad had made the trip with me and I relayed the comments from Camp to him. We decided to stay around the area and scout out apartments. During breakfast at the Farmington Steak-N-Shake, we mapped out our game plan. Fast-forward to Monday morning, I walked back into KFMO Radio in the morning to see if the Camp-Joseph braintrust had made a decision. Camp came up to the front office to meet me. He seemed a little surprised to see me. He asked me to hold on a minute and disappeared to a back office. As was relayed to me years later, here is the ensuing conversation between Camp and Joseph:
Camp: “You’ll never guess whose back.”
Camp: “Greg Alan.”
Joseph: “What’s he doing here?”
Camp: “He wants to know if we made a decision.”
Joseph: “Have we??”
Camp: “No…but we know he’s interested, OBVIOUSLY, and he’s standing in the building.”
Joseph: “Want to just go with him?”
With that, the 13 year journey that Mike Reeves would later dub, “The Alan Era” began. My first actual full-time day working at KFMO was September 25, 2000. I had worked at a radio station in Fairbury, Nebraska prior to landing the job in Lynchburg and had left the majority of my belongings in Nebraska. I knew at some point I had to go retrieve them before settling into my new digs in Missouri. I had planned to go to Nebraska toward the end of week prior to the 25th and relayed that plan to Camp. He asked me if I would want to swing by on that Friday, the 22nd and call a High School football game in a place called Ste. Genevieve, you know, since that was going to be my job and all. I said of course. So with dad in tow, we arrived back in Park Hills on the afternoon of the 22nd and later that day, Greg Camp, my father and I drove in the station Volkswagen Beetle from Park Hills to Ste. Genevieve for a Week 4 match-up between Central and Valle Catholic. Now there are MANY stories that transpired from that trip, too many to even try and get into here. But if you find yourself with Camp one day and have an hour to kill, just ask him. I promise you’ll be entertained. As the best man in my wedding, he even told one or two of these stories at the reception! The Central Rebels held off the Warriors that day, 13-12. It was the first game I ever called for KFMO. I will never forget it.
In the 13 years I have been at KFMO, the sports landscape in the Parkland and the Mineral Area has changed dramatically. I don’t exactly remember the number of games we called that first year, but I can tell you it was nowhere near what we do now. For starters, schools around here didn’t have softball yet and we didn’t carry volleyball on the radio. That changed almost immediately for volleyball as we did carry games in 2001. Softball came around somewhere close to 2003 after most large schools in the MAAA added softball to their list of sports offered. I figured why just stick with football, basketball and baseball and ignore these other athletes who deserve just as much coverage? My goal when I got to KFMO was to turn it into a high school sports power. Adding volleyball and softball as major coverage sports just seemed obvious and made sense. If you have learned anything about me in 13 years, you have probably learned that I am a numbers guy. In 2004, I made it a goal to bring 200 games in a single year to the area fans. After all, 200 is a nice round number. We reached that 200 plateau in that 2004 season, as well as every season since. As our coverage developed the number of games increased. In 2008-09, we carried 200 games. In 2009-10, that number increased to 205 and ballooned to 222 the following year. Last year we brought 235 games to area fans. After the champions are crowned in this year’s Central Christmas Tournament, our number for 2013-14 will stand at 131. We are projected, not including any state tournament games in basketball or baseball, to air 228 this year.
I could not be more proud of the commitment KFMO has made to covering high school sports and the role I played in it. It hasn’t always been easy to convince the rest of the KFMO family that what we are doing in our sports coverage is important. Regardless, we have been able to be more versatile and cover many more different events than the other stations in the area. We’ve been to baseball tournaments in Weimar, Texas; Southaven, Mississippi; Newark, Ohio; and the Cal Ripken 12-Year Old World Series in Aberdeen, Maryland. We have called games at Mizzou Arena in Columbia and Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. We called a high school baseball game at Busch Stadium. We used to air a Saturday sports show called SportsTime Plus, which has aired live from Scottrade Center prior to a St. Louis Blues playoff game against San Jose. I believe it is because of these efforts that we have been able to live up to the moniker that we instituted: “The Parkland’s Sports Leader”.
Our coverage has undergone a number of changes and tweaks over the years. Our online presence is one of those areas where we have grown tremendously. I believe that our website (granted through many transformations, including about 3 months of going totally dark…but we won’t talk about that) has become one of the best online sources for high school information in the state of Missouri. It was unfortunate that it took as long as it did for it to get to its current state, but I thank you for your patience as I had to do quite a bit of learning on the fly. I feel our website is a key tool and even leads to more flexibility to the product we put on the air. As the advent of social media grew, I am proud of the strides we have made in that arena as well. I know that the ability to receive news, scores and information on your phone is a service many of you have taken advantage of. It took a lot of time to research and understand the inner workings of that technology. I do feel there is still room for improvement here, but it is certainly serviceable and gets the job done. I feel this has been another key improvement in our coverage in terms of immediacy of delivering information.
I wouldn’t exactly call my 13 years a roller-coaster, but there certainly are a few bad moments to go along with all the positive memorable ones. When I think of all the good moments, the first two games that come to mind are the North County-Cape Central high school football postseason marathon game in Cape Girardeau. That game was early in my tenure and was a very special moment. Another memorable game was in high school basketball, when a kid named Tyler Hansbrough came to the TJ Foulon Fieldhouse to face a Greg Noble-led Central Rebels. Hansbrough’s Poplar Bluff Mules got up big in this game and Central faced that moment we talk about so much: you can either fold and get completely run out of the gym or fight hard and try to get back in it. Central chose the latter and it was an amazing night at Central even though the Rebels lost. Following North County’s baseball team and Farmington’s girls basketball teams to the Final Four definitely make the list. All of our various road trips are certainly high points. We even branched out a few years ago and called a high school HOCKEY doubleheader in St. Louis even though there is not a single school around here that offers hockey! I always believed in pushing the envelope in what we did and being innovators in what we brought to the Parkland. I always regretted we were never able to call the MAAA Conference golf tournament on the air. But there have been those moments I’d rather forget. Right at the top of THAT list is running out of gas on the way to the MAAA Conference basketball tournament in Kingston DESPITE telling my driver we were low on gas (and no, I will STILL not help you go door-to-door looking for gas in sub-freezing temps!). Another low-light had to be the night I felt like I was going to be thrown off the upper balcony at Poplar Bluff by a fan. Another would be the basketball broadcast last year from Fredericktown Middle School (for those that don’t know, it’s a FEMA building and solid concrete) where I spent the entire first half and part of the third quarter trying to find a spot for a cell signal before jumping on the landline at the scorer’s table and calling the remainder of the game while holding the phone. Some may think the West County-Valle Catholic basketball game last year where we had to go from the WC High School to the WC Middle School (MID GAME!) because of a leak in the high school ceiling might make the low-light list, but that’s actually a positive memory. Anytime we encountered adversity and were able to pull the broadcast off rather seamlessly, I considered it mission accomplished. I strived to make the broadcasts seem as if everything was going according to plan regardless of problems we may have been experiencing. Sometimes, it was unavoidable though.
There is no way I could walk away without thanking a few people. First off, I want to thank my dad. It is because of his time, love, comfort, understanding and love of sports that I am who I am. He is the reason I have a deep passion for sports. He is the one that took me to my first game, taught me how to hit and played endless hours of catch with me in the backyard, just like many of your dads did with you and you do with your kids. The words “thank you” can simply never be enough to show appreciation for what any parent has done for their child. No words can explain my indebtedness for my dad. I love you. Secondly, I want to thank former Program Director Greg Camp for taking a chance on a kid from Cleveland as your next Sports Director. Not that I gave him much choice by staying in town that weekend of the interview and showing up again on Monday! I always appreciated his drive to make KFMO better as well as his mentoring, leadership and on-air help with a number of different events. He was my traveling partner to most of the aforementioned road-trips and if any of you know Greg Camp, you know the trips were always interesting! Outback Steakhouse in Paducah, Kentucky had to be near the top of the list! Thirdly, to my broadcast partner Mike Reeves. Even though he treated any technical issue as if it was an explosive device, I would not have picked a different person to sit alongside with for the majority of the games I ever did with KFMO, given the chance. Mike is a true talent in the radio field. His ability to bring analysis of a sporting event to the listening audience is unmatched at the high school level…anywhere. Given the opportunity, I have no doubt Mike would succeed in a color commentary role at the highest levels of sports. Despite your crazy schedule, Mike, it was truly a pleasure to sit alongside with you and perform a job each night that actually classified as “work”. Fourth, I want to thank my good friend and former co-worker Brandon Geiler. As far as radio is concerned, Brandon may be the one person I would consider more obsessed with being a perfectionist than I. Any game Brandon and I ever called was simply a treat. Any time you can sit next to a friend while you happen to be on the radio, the conversation is so smooth and effortless. Even after getting out of radio, there were a number of times Brandon still chose to sit next to me and call a game, not because he wanted to, but because he knew it was important to me. To a good friend, thank you. Fifth, I want to thank all the coaches who I have covered throughout my tenure. I realize how much time and energy we ask of you, a lot of times when talking to a radio guy is not exactly first on your list of things to do. Success in my job depends on your cooperation and I cannot thank you enough. I’d like to single out a few to thank, but I am afraid I would leave some out. So all I can say is thank you. Also, to all those in the “Texting Legion” who provide us with valuable scores and information throughout the season: you are a key component to the coverage we provide and I am grateful for all your cooperation. Sixth, I’d like to thank the rest of the guys and gals I ever called a game on the air with. I regret not keeping a list of the many different people that ever sat next to me for a game at KFMO. That list has grown tremendously over the last four years. To those individuals, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the help, even if it was for one game. Thank you for spending some time helping me perform what I feel is my best talent. Lastly, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank you, the listener, for welcoming me into your car, your headphones, and into your living room each night. I will absolutely miss being a part of the high school sports scene and the responsibility you entrusted me with in bringing you closer to the action on the playing surface.
I remember the day I decided I wanted to be a broadcaster for a living. I was a little boy, growing up in Madison, Ohio. I was playing outside listening to the Cleveland Indians on my walkman. As I listened to Herb Score and Tom Hamilton call the game I thought to myself, “they are actually getting paid for this?!? What a great career!!!”. That was the day I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I was brought here in September of 2000 to be sports director of a radio station in an area that is passionate about its high school events. I tried to embrace that passion and translate that through the airwaves with each broadcast. I hope you, the listener, were able to feel the commitment I had to my job, my love of sports and the devotion I had to making what we do be better than anyone else with every game winning basket, double-play, or touchdown pass. It was truly an honor, a privilege, a pleasure and a thrill to be your trusted voice and source for high school sports over the past 13 seasons. I’ll have you know that because of my absolute love for broadcasting games that this was not an easy decision. Despite that, I could not pass up the chance to better the life for myself and my family nor the opportunity for future comfort that this new endeavor offers.
I will continue to call basketball games at KFMO throughout January and into the conference tournament. That could change should we manage to sell our house by then, at which time we would move up to the city. I will no longer do sportscasts for KFMO though going forward.
I hope that KFMO Sports is able to maintain and even exceed the high level to which I feel I brought it. I hope that KFMO Sports continues to be the trusted voice you rely on for news, information and coverage of high school sports. Thank you for 13 years of memories. I will treasure them always. Have a good night everybody.
Greg “Alan” Tadych
Sports Director, KFMO Sports
Trackback from your site.