Note: This is the first in a series of weekly Blog Posts from myself, KQWC Sports Director Colin Magnuson. For the most part I’ll stay in my lane and like LeBron James has been told, “Stick to sports…”. However, occasionally I will look to pop culture, entertainment, and the casual news world as that is a fair amount of what I talk about during the KQWC Morning Flight Show which I co-host weekdays.
For my first blog post I want to let my readers, however few and far between, get to know a little bit about me. It’s been just over four months since I took on the endeavor of moving to Webster City during the first week of December and it’s been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made for a number of reasons.
Foremost on that list is that, as a lifelong sports fan, every perfect career I’ve ever dreamt up involved sports. Right up until high school I thought it would involve playing sports. It didn’t take terribly long to realize that at five foot eight inches tall and 140 pounds, a career in the NFL was a bit of a longshot. So I realized that listening to sports on the radio was my favorite way to stay in touch. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love picking up the latest edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune to get all of the latest dirt on the Minnesota sports scene but at the end of the day, I loved the way that radio is a two way street where voices can be heard talking in both directions.
I relished listening to Ray Christenson call Minnesota Golden Gopher hoops and football. The sound of John Gordon telling me the count to a hitter during a Minnesota Twins game meant that summer was truly here. (It may be football play-by-play before summer weather hits this year) And of course Paul Allen, the voice of the Minnesota Vikings and Canterbury Park in Shakopee, is the one who made me realize you don’t have to be a former athlete to stand out over the radio waves. To this day Paul has my dream job and I’ve told him that in person. I think he’d tell me that where I’ve set up shop right now is as great a place as any to kick off a life in sports.
Enter Webster City, Iowa. I came to Hamilton County from an old manufacturing town in the Southeast Corner of the State that is wedged tightly between the Des Moines and Mississippi River. I used to tell people that if you stood in the southern corner of town you could pull a driver and land safely in either Illinois or Missouri just by turning your body about 90 degrees. Or in my case just use my imminent slice and hit both, a baseball player trying golf.
Keokuk, Iowa is home to just over ten thousand people and a passionate sports base but a tough economy with high unemployment and crime. The local high school teams are populated with great young men and women but the Keokuk Chiefs struggled for much of my time in town. I called the Chiefs Boys Basketball season of 2016-17 in which they won one game. The 2017 football team went 0 and 9 and I was along for every moment. Add in that the volleyball team went 3 and 21 and I like to tell people that the fall of ’17 saw me go 3 and 30 as a broadcaster. Hopefully, that doesn’t scare off the local teams as the South Hamilton Hawks and Webster City Lynx boys basketball teams gave me every opportunity to call winning games in my first few months in town. Heck, I even got to call wrestling at the highest level of high school sports in the country.
Coming from a town that struggles at times athletically allows me to know a great sports town when I see it. One of the first things I looked into before relocating to Webster City was the culture. It didn’t take long to dig up a football team that not only has punched their ticket to the playoffs for the last decade but a coach that has forgotten more about high school football than I’ll ever know. Bob Howard has built the kind of program that as a broadcaster you brag about getting assigned to. Then there’s Marty McKinney’s Lynx boys program. I knew about the back-to-back conference titles but it wasn’t that I arrived at the gym that I found out what a great group of young men he has molded year in and year out. The same can be said of Nicole Muhlenbruch and the girls program as well as Chad Hisler’s wrestling coup. I could write an entire post on how great learning wrestling has been and don’t even get me started on my first state tournament. And now I’m patiently awaiting softball and baseball season where the Lynx boys are coming off of a conference title and the girls have a young up-and-coming team with almost all of its offense coming back.
But wins and losses are relatively trivial to a broadcaster. At the end of the day, you want to broadcast to a fanbase who cares. The scariest ideas for a broadcaster are that A) no one is listening and B) that you’re nothing more than background noise to those who are. It’s been made plain to me that not only Webster City but Hamilton County and the surrounding areas care about high school sports. Some more than others and different sports amongst the ones that do. That’s the beauty, everywhere I go I find someone who is enthused about a different season; a true four season sporting town which it seems is becoming rare.
So with that I’ll cut my microphone, a little too late as usual, but that’s a little bit about how a clueless kid from a tiny town in Minnesota ended up in Webster City, Iowa. I hope it continues to be a fun ride but most importantly I hope that sports fans from throughout the area; Eagle Grove, Clarion, South Hamilton, as well as Webster City will continue to come along for the ride!