2013 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

The truth is, I’m a quiet and reserved guy. I love my wife, I love my life and relish relaxing at home. I’m ambitious, but stubborn – and prefer going it alone in pursuit of my goals. Show me the road-map to success and I’ll wad it up, chuck it in the trash and cut my own trail through the brush. I am full-on anti-Lemming.

Osama Bin AndyThese aspects of character have led many to assume that I am misanthropic, vapid, malodorous, or even sanctimonious; which I’m going to say is accurate because I don’t have a clue what any of those words mean.

Here’s the catch, though: Should you for any reason hand me a working microphone, I suddenly become the most affable, effervescent, fragrant, open, honest loud-mouth in the room. It’s as if the microphone is a syringe featuring Lance Armstrong’s most feared cocktail: Estrogen (to get you chatty), Amphetamine (to up the energy) and Sodium Pentothal (to keep you honest).

Long-time radio listeners tend to recognize me as sincere and engaging in-person; yet overt, instigatory, relatably self-ridiculing, and overly honest on the air. While at KTTS, the microphone was my therapist. All of my faults, fears, frustrations, failures, yet mostly embarrassments were daily fodder for broadcast. What I had trouble admitting, accepting, or discussing in-person came pouring out of me the minute I hit the confessional…I mean studio.

If you have time for a few stories, take a listen…

If not, here’s a perfect example in text: I paid a visit to my doctor (a woman) to discuss an unnatural mass. Because of the location of said mass, she needed a witness in the room to verify nothing inappropriate was occurring (that witness also happened to be a woman). She sent me for an ultrasound. So I had the pleasure of a third person investigating my junk (this time a man). Turns out, that experience was even MORE uncomfortable because he had to “handle” the situation…if you will. The results were sent to a fourth individual, the specialist, who also had me drop-trou and show off “my brains.” He was quick to inform me that nothing was out of the ordinary: the mass was simply my epididymis, a natural part of the male anatomy.

Humbling. Embarrassing. Expensive.

A story most would keep quiet and forget ever happened; but doggone it, when I got to work the next morning, that stupid microphone was there again!

18-months ago, I retired from broadcasting, anticipating a more subdued life as an independent voice actor with a home studio. I’d continue to produce creative commercial production, constantly audition for new and exciting voiceover projects, maintain and build on existing relationships and work tirelessly on growing my brand. What I didn’t anticipate, were the unexpected opportunities to bring me out from behind the microphone…

After an invite to audition for a Branson Show, I was hired by FreemantleMedia as the announcer for The Price is Right, Live! Emulating popular game-show voices like Johnny Olsen and Rod Roddy has proven to be great practice for a specific genre of voice work. Sharing the stage with talented hosts and engaging a live audience face-to-face has proven to be an unexpected replacement for the daily therapy I enjoyed while hosting a morning show.

Last weekend, I was humbled to work the 29th annual Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions at the JQH Arena in Springfield, MO – the highest attended high school basketball tournament in America. For 11-years, in addition to the radio show, I’ve announced and emceed the U.S. Open and sporting events around the globe. Quite honestly, it was truly thrilling to finally get a chance to have fun with an audience here at home.

The Championship Game lived up to the tournament’s revered status as Paul VI from Fairfax, VA defeated the top-ranked team in the nation from Montverde Academy, FL in Overtime (69-67). I’m told nearly 9,000 fans were in attendance on the final day, while others watched the live coverage at home on CBS Sports Network.

While fans bought tickets to see future college and pro atheletes compete on the court, tournament director Mark Fisher had a vision: to keep fans engaged and entertained at halftime, between quarters, and through extended tv-timeouts. After seeing me “act the fool” at the Price is Right Live!, he took a chance and asked if I’d consider being the on-court emcee for the tournament – to host shooting and trivia contests, emcee a karaoke challenge, and ultimately help keep the energy up in the arena.

I had a blast.

Here’s the deal – this is the Show-Me State. Fans in the Ozarks require a little more time and attention before allowing themselves to OPENLY have a good time. I get that…and I love it! While I can guarantee that I was beyond-annoying to the purist who simply wanted to watch amazing ball players, I think the tournament proved that it is more than just a showcase for great athletics; it’s a nationally-known, fun and exciting event in Springfield that the entire family can enjoy during three cold days in January. If I could only share half of the conversations I had trying to convince people to come on court and sing karaoke with me at halftime!

What really impressed me during the tournament was the sport production team. This crew of professionals could work any sporting event in the country, yet they are your neighbors right here in Southwest Missouri. From the thorough coordination of Marty Marsh, assistance principal at Glendale High School – to video-guru, producer and director Brandon Hite – to camera-operator/replay-whiz Bryan Hunter – to music-director/ringleader Stewart Davis – to the amazing voice of Rick Jester and detail-man Scott Bennett – to sound-engineer Matt Jones – to the countless others whom I wish I’d had more time to get to know. JQH Arena in Springfield, MO is loaded with sport production talent. I am humbled to have had the chance to work with them.

Mark Fisher – thank you for coming to see the Price is Right Live! And thank you for including me in the 29th annual Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions. I say that not just as a tournament team-member, but as a Missouri neighbor who appreciates what the tournament means to the greater Springfield area. Thank you for honoring the tournament’s legacy through your hard-work, abundant travel, lost cellphones, and focused vision on continual growth, year after year. This is an annual project of passion, one for which you should be extremely proud.

UP NEXT:

Jacksonville, FL. I’m really looking forward to working with the United States Tennis Association again February 1st – 3rd. Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Arena will host the first-round Davis Cup Tie between the United States and Brazil. I’ll be announcing under the direction of Todd Noonan, with whom I’ve worked at the U.S. Open, previous Davis and Fed Cup events, and the 2011 Arab Games in Doha, Qatar.

BNP Paribas Open – Indian Wells, CA. I’m very excited to be a part of this Masters-1000 event in Palm Springs this year. It’s two weeks of tennis in the high desert working with a top-notch production team as an announcer and on-court emcee. With the exception of Arthur Ashe Kids Day, it’s very rare to enjoy time out of the booth during the U.S. Open in New York – so I’m really looking forward to being outdoors, on an outer court, enjoying tennis with the fans.