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Not even close. Three regional veteran play-by-play announcers — Joe Van Goor of Learfield Sports, Scott Kooistra of Riverfront Broadcasting and John Thayer of 5-Star Communications — sat down recently to talk about the highs and lows of watching games from behind a microphone.
Cloud State University, though he did not graduate from any of them. Other than two months in Hot Springs and five months in St. He started in the radio business in , then began his first stint in Yankton in After serving as sports manager and assistant program director at WCCO in Minneapolis and general manager and sports director in Nebraska City , Kooistra returned to Yankton.
After attending Doane University, he began his radio career. JDC: What brought you to Yankton?
I would say to opportunity to work. SK: What brought me to Yankton was a horrible market back in the early 80s. So, I wanted to get into something I enjoyed. I had three job offers after broadcasting school: Grafton, North Dakota; Marquette, Michigan — which was close.
I always enjoyed hockey — and Yankton, South Dakota, which was the furthest south and had the best golf course.
JT: For me it was a job opportunity. I had some stuff online, and Jeff Fuller, the owner of the radio station, found that and reached out to me, asked if I would be interested in moving to Yankton South Dakota.
And eventually I did.
JDC: Who had the greatest impact on your early career? I had thoughts about going into sportscasting as an extention of being a radio announcer.
Those guys were great, if you went to a state tournament or somewhere, Rapid City or Sioux Falls, where I would have no idea who was who. They both were very good to me. I just grew from there. JDC: Is there anybody you listen to now that inspires you?
He does some TV games, too. If I could couple that with the energy that Mitch Holthus, the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, brings, those two things together would get you a long ways. I really enjoy listening to those guys. And other sports, but mostly the Tigers. I used to have my transistor radio underneath my blanket as a kid, listening to games when I should have been going to sleep.
Thayer laughs. There is such a thing as transistor radios, John. I even had that goofy earplug. Now, Pat Hughes, who does radio for the Chicago Cubs.
JT: I suppose, being the young guy in the room, I should say I listen to these two older guys to find out how they stuck it out so long, right? Kooistra chuckles JDC: Getting ready to do a game, what does your preparation entail? SK: Funny you should ask. Just little things, like interviews, coaches, statistics, checking out athletic directors, equipment, board operators, etc.
JT: Every broadcaster has their own preference as to how a stat sheet should look, or should they use a sheet or a book, or do they have information boards. For USD broadcasts, I have three different sheets of paper with information on them, and they take probably a total of four, five hours to put together.
The hard thing about high school games is travel. At the NAIA level, maybe not.
JT: No. And I read through all those to get information. I do research on different players. Newspaper articles I think are great, because you can find out a different part of the story.
I use that stuff all the time. JVG: For me, I used spotter boards in football.
Also, I use a scoresheet that Norm Hilson had designed a long, long time ago. Keeping score, especially at a basketball game, is so important.
Sometimes I have to use my Yankton High School math to add up stuff. Like John said, there are releases for football and for basketball that will take you to the far reaches of the universe. But really, with me less is more.
You have to just read through it to get the things that you would think your readers would be more interested in hearing rather than fluff about a particular player, or anything like that.
JDC: What is the most fun game or experience that you have had through your career?
SK: I figured you would ask something like that. Barnett Center was full with about 8, people.
One thousand were for Warner, the other seven were for Harrold. Eric Lappe from Harrold went just bananas from three late in that game.