Archive for Monday, February 7, 1994

JAYHAWKS TAKE TO THE AIRWAVES

February 7, 1994

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The voices of the Jayhawks are heard every week by thousands of fans on 28 radio stations across the state.

Bob Davis says radio announcers have as many styles as there are individuals.

And Davis, who's been calling play-by-play of Jayhawk football and basketball games for 10 years, describes his own style as "enthusiastic, excited."

Anyone who's ever heard him call a close game could consider that an understatement, as he yells "goooooood!" in a fever pitch, when KU hits a long shot.

"I'm also a little partial, but hopefully not to the point that we're offensive to fans of the other team," he said.

Davis and Max Falkenstien, who's been broadcasting KU sports since 1946, are the voices of the Jayhawks.

In addition to calling the games, they conduct pre- and post-game interviews with current and former KU players and coaches, and other sports personalities.

The two, who've been working together on the Jayhawk Network since 1984, say they try to have fun while entertaining and informing fans.

That hasn't been a difficult task, especially in basketball, where KU has been to four NCAA Final Fours since Falkenstien and Davis have been on the air together.

"We try to have a lot of fun while were doing it, that's important," Falkenstien says.

"Sometimes we tend to take these games so seriously, and they are important games, some of them," Davis said. "But we try to both inform and entertain the fans. I think a sportscaster is the only person who can do both."

He said doing play-by-play is one of the few aspects left in radio that is "totally ad-lib."

Thousands of fans listen to Davis and Falkenstien each week on 28 radio stations in 24 cities across the state.

The Jayhawk Network is a division of Learfield Communications of Jefferson City, Mo., which carries several college and professional sports networks.

During a KU game, special telephone equipment is used from the game site to deliver the signal to Learfield, where it is uplinked to a satellite, said Bob Newton, operations manager of KLWN-KLZR radio in Lawrence and producer-engineer of the Jayhawk Network.

Stations that are part of the network pick up the satellite signal with specialized equipment, he said.

"My job is to try and take away all the technical concerns from Bob and Max so they can concentrate on the game," Newton said.

In addition, Newton records the games and uses a second tape recorder to tape highlights of the broadcast.

The radio team has become a part of KU tradition for many fans, hundreds of whom turn down the sound on their televisions and listen to the network during games.

"Every so often someone wants us to (autograph) their program book," Falkenstien says. "We've kind of become a part of the tradition to some people."

"I think one of the more gratifying aspects of it is having people come in to see a game that have never been to Allen Fieldhouse before ... maybe they've just heard the games on the radio. They come up to you and say 'hello,' and tell you how much they enjoy the games," Falkenstien said.

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