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For Kansas City radio host, staying ‘on’ is key to success

 

Bob Fescoe, Host of Fescoe in the Morning at 610 am in Kansas City, Photo courtesy of Sportscasters Talent Agency of America

Bob Fescoe, host of “Fescoe in the Morning” at 610 am in Kansas City. Photo courtesy of Sportscasters Talent Agency of America

By Christian Folsom
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Finding the motivation to get up in the morning can be hard but in the radio business, work starts early.

Bob Fescoe ofFescoe in the Morning,” a Kansas City sports talk show, gets up at 3:45 a.m. Not only is that early, but he starts his day talking for four continuous hours and must keep it entertaining.

“We get in around 4:45 and put the finishing touches on the show,” Fescoe said in an interview. “We start the show right before 6 and end at 10.”

“Bulldog” Bob Fescoe ican be heard on 610 AM in Kansas City. Alongside his co-host, Josh Klingler, Fescoe hosts one of the most successful sports talk shows in the country.

In 2012, Radio Ink magazine selected “Fescoe in the Morning” as one of its top 30 local sports talk shows in the country.

Fescoe owes his success to preparation.

“You have to be willing to bust it,” he said. “This is not a job for someone who wants to coast. It’s a demanding job, you always need to be ‘on’ and ready to go. If you are not willing to give it 100 percent  every day, then this is not the career for you.”

A 1999 graduate of the University of Kansas, Fescoe landed his first job in Seguin, Texas, as an assistant producer for a local radio station. After gaining some experience, Fescoe was hired by KMBZ in Kansas City, Missouri, as a producer. But Fescoe wanted to work in sports.

“I knew I wanted to cover sports when I was about 8 and watched John Madden on television,” he said. “I figured I couldn’t play professional sports, so maybe I could make a living talking about them.”

In 2007, Fescoe was hired at KFNS 590 AM in St. Louis as Tim McKernan’s co-host on the morning drive-time show. But the duo split up because they lacked chemistry. After the Fescoe-McKernan partnership was broken up, Fescoe was demoted to Rams reporter before being fired after a year at KFNS. He continued in a part-time role and was eventually rehired as a full-time employee. In 2010, Fescoe decided to call it quits with KFNS and was quickly hired by KCSP 610 AM in Kansas City.

For more than a decade now, Fescoe has hosted his own radio show and has worked as a freelance sports reporter for KMBZ News on ABC in Kansas City. It’s a demanding schedule, but Fescoe never complains.

“I’m living a dream,” he said.  “I covered Super Bowls, World Series, Final 4s and everything in between. I am very lucky to be able to do the stuff I do. There really isn’t a least favorite part. I think sometimes thinking you have a story only to have it fizzle could be a part that really isn’t that great, but overall there is nothing not good about what we do.”

Sometimes, stories turn out differently than expected.

In 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs began its first two games with losses, and all things looked lost in terms of the post-season. Fescoe went on an absolute tirade about the poor play and how embarrassed everyone in the city was because of the team.

The story blew up, and Fescoe was on every sports news show in the country including ESPN. Years of radio experience and practice on air collided with genuine frustration to create a piece of journalistic gold.

“I was willing and still am willing to do whatever needs to be done,” he said. “No task is too small. No task is not worth it. Everyone who is successful is willing to put the needs of the station ahead of themselves.

“Preparation and hard work can set you up for success, but in order to do so you have to always be ‘on’ and ready for any scenario. Be able to edit yourself, but have the presence of mind to avoid mistakes whenever possible.”

If you want a career like Fescoe’s, you have to be able to live with the on switch flipped.

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