Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reno Hightower, Earworms, Chocolate Colored Tux

Albert Pujols is the best player in baseball. I don't even see how you can debate it. Who's second?...

Go Big or Go Home. That's what the Vikings did on draft day. Percy Harvin will either be a star or a bust...

Shonn Greene did the right thing. He's nearly 24. He was the first pick on day two. He's in a perfect situation. And there's next to no way Greene would have a better season. The guy was great...

0 players drafted from Iowa State. That's how you go 0-8 in the Big 12...

Sage Rosenfels is right. It's absolutely ridiculous Matthew Stafford, who hasn't played a down in the NFL, will make far more than Tom Brady (and just about everybody else) this season...

The Cubs will come around. Cold bats, wounded players and still at .500...

Head coach at Iowa State is still one of the top five wrestling jobs in the country. Jamie Pollard can hire a guy who leads the Cyclones to a national title in the next three years---as lon as half the team doesn't leave for Happy Valley...

NBC's Chuck Todd says ESPN has helped created a society with short attention spans. Ya think...

The Register reports Des Moines could have a team in a proposed professional track league. Don't bother...

NASCAR ratings, attendance, and buzz are all way down. Why?...

"He's wearing the white shoes!" How can you not love Reno Hightower...

Anyone believe the Amish really build those fireplaces?...

I still can't believe Burger King has built an ad campaign for kids meals around the song, "I like Square butts and I can not lie"...

Andy and I spent 30 minutes of the "Murph and Andy" show talking about what Stephen King calls earworms, songs you can't get out of your head, even if you want to. For me right now, it's Poker Face, $5 Footlong, and thanks to Andy, "Daniel", as in Daniel my brother...

I'd like to apologize in advance for the soon to be seen 1982 chocolate colored tuxedo I thought looked good...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Brackins, Cael, Lolo, KXnO

  • I apologize for the delay. My boss wants us all to turn in our prom pictures to go along with the "13 Fascinating Facts" at whotv.com, and I've used all my available time to think of ways to avoid embarrassing myself with the Burt Reynolds Bandit look.
  • Cyclone fans have remained resilient despite numerous kicks to the gut, the most recent by Cael Sanderson. The loyalty and faith were returned by Craig Brackins. There is no doubt in my mind he would have been a first round NBA draft pick, guaranteed to make more than two million dollars. He says he has unfinished business at Iowa State. It's a smart move. Big picture, I believe Brackins will have a longer career and make more money. He needs to bulk up, and improve even more. I'm sure he'll do both.
  • No one needed that good news more than Greg McDermott, not even Jamie Pollard. It's interesting that Brackins says Mike Taylor had a huge influence on Craig staying another year at Iowa State. Taylor says the NBA is a job, a grind, and enjoy college while you can. Taylor also spoke highly of McDermott's integrity and genuine interest in what's best for Brackins. This endorsement, from a guy who was kicked off the team by McDermott. Says a lot.
  • No one knows for sure why Cael Sanderson left Iowa State for Penn State, but I think three things mattered most: More money, Iowa Hawkeyes, less pressure.
  • Lolo Jones is a force of nature. It's fun to see her charisma lift the spirits of everyone around her. Kind of like Craig Brackins in Ames.
  • Andy and I really appreciate all the well-wishes, support, and enthusiasm many of you have shared for our new radio show on KXnO, "Murph & Andy". We just completed the first week, and we had a lot of fun. We knew it wouldn't be easy, especially this time of year, but thanks to Jon Miller, Corey Coon, Greg Chance, and others, we're learning on the job. Thanks for listening in when you can.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rhoads beats Chizik, Jay Cutler's Sister, Shandys Rule

  • Don't miss a great documentary on HBO, Thrilla in Manila. It makes clear how indefensibly cruel Muhammad Ali was to Joe Frazier. Frazier remains bitter to this day. The movie also shows what many consider the greatest boxing match of all time, where both men nearly killed each other, and Ali famously said he felt like he was dying. Neither man was ever the same again, in or out of the ring. Frazier stopped by the SoundOFF studio a couple months ago and couldn't have been more gracious, but he's a broken man.
  • If American Idol were a fight, they'd stop it right now. Adam Lambert by knockout.
  • Southland surprised me. Much better than I expected. It's really good. Hopefully it catches on.
  • I spent a few days in Denver for guys getaway weekend. Man, is that good for the soul. We saw the Stars vs Avs in a shootout, the Rockies spank the Phillies on opening day, and Bruce Springsteen rock a sold out house. We also found an Irish pub that didn't mind taking our money. Todd Bailey and I ordered Shandys (that's Guinness and Lemonade), which our friend Ryan Lund made fun of as he drank Coronas in an Irish pub.
  • Apparently I don't walk enough. We walked everywhere in Denver and my legs are still sore. That's kind of sad.
  • On top of that, my forearm still hurts from playing 72 holes of Golden Tee. That game is addictive. I did not improve.
  • Met Jay Cutler's sister in Denver. I think she might have actually introduced herself that way. "I'm Jay Cutler's sister". It's fair to say she's bitter toward the Broncos.
  • Give Paul Rhoads his first clear win over Gene Chizik: acting. Rhoads is WAY better in those Applebee's ads.
  • Can't wait to see the new upgrades at Kauffman Stadium. That's a great place to see a game.
  • First class news conference out of Ed Podolak. As Sean Keeler said, now the real work begins. I believe Hawkeye fans will help.
  • 12,000+ at a hockey game in Des Moines? Didn't think it was possible. Props to the Chops. Now they need to do it without ice that looks like it belongs outside an International Falls bar.
  • The Masters came alive on that front nine when Phil started playing out of his mind, then Tiger dropped an eagle. Everything that followed was anticlimactic, and that includes a poorly played playoff. Entertainment picked back up when Chris Hassel played Jim Nantz on SoundOFF.
  • I'll never forget how thrilling it was as a boy to watch Mark "The Bird" Fidrych on Monday Night Baseball in 1976. He was a phenomenon. Hard to believe The Bird's gone.
  • The Mayor could be the next GM. ESPN the Magazine thinks Fred Hoiberg will take over the top spot with the Timberwolves.
  • Jon Miller and Steve Deace make a good team. That's a smart move out of KXNO. Miller is good by himself and so is Deace, but they're both better together. I always made a point to listen when Deace was on Miller's show, and now that's daily---though 6 a.m. is a little early for me.
  • The Padres need to lose those tan pants. They've come a long way since the Taco Bell uniforms of yesteryear, but tan? Baseball pants should be white or gray.
  • Andy and I will host Cy's House of Trivia Saturday night. We get the answers ahead of time, so we should sound smart. Like Alex Trebek.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ed's Back In The Booth, Ferentz Should Give Son Another Chance, Terror Alert: Code Brown

  • It will be good to see Ed Podolak back in the booth where he belongs. Friends tell me he looks like a new man. I don't think the party scene at Hawkeye Huddles will be the easiest atmosphere for Ed, but I know Hawk fans will be respectful of what Ed's doing. This could be a win-win for everyone.
  • I don't think Kirk Ferentz should kick his son off the football team because I don't think any college player, even the coach's son, should be booted for underage drinking and public intox. If one of the offenses were drunk-driving, I'd say dismiss him, but I think you give young Ferentz, or any player one more chance. Three strikes, you're out. I do think you have to suspend James a minimum of three games, and take away his allowance. I can't imagine how upset Kirk is that his son put him back in his embarrassing position again.
  • Good to hear Larry Cotlar will be back on the air soon. 1700, The Champ, hired the Cotman to begin updates Monday. I wouldn't be surprised to see Larry with his own local show soon.
  • Marty Tirrell is still giving his opinion at http://www.62andeven.com/ Jeff Jorgensen runs the site and contributes. He does a terrific job of finding interesting sports video and informational nuggets. Marty and Jeff also included Chris Hassel's latest impression, which shows Marty gets it, the same way skewered politicians laugh at themselves after SNL digs in.
  • 3-D adds nothing to animated movies for me, might even take away. I paid the extra couple of dollars per ticket for Monsters vs Aliens, but the muddier picture isn't worth the occasional object moving toward you. Seth Rogen made the movie as B-O-B, though Stephen Colbert as the President has the best line, "Boys, set the terror level at Code Brown, cause I need to change my pants".
  • To get ready for the Masters, I stopped at the Manhattan Deli on Ingersoll and ordered the "Zach Johnson". That's a good sandwich.
  • Jenny and I had a date night dinner at "Sam & Gabe's". Why have I never been there before? That place is awesome. The "small" prime rib was the size of my head and couldn't have been more delicious, while Jenny thought her Halibut the she's had.
  • Props to the Star Bar in Des Moines for exchanging my T-shirt that didn't fit after it sat in my car for nearly a year. This may surprise you; the shirt has a big star on it.
  • Hasn't Jack Bauer earned the benefit of the doubt by now?
  • Congratulations to Shawn Terrell for winning an Edward R. Murrow award for his reporting on Raccoon Valley Little League teams wearing Negro Leaue uniforms and inviting former KC Monarchs star Ernie Schoolboy Johnson to watch a game, and talk to the kids. Photojournalists Brian Fiser and Chris Hassel also worked on this terrific story.
  • I'm off to Denver for the annual guys weekend. We have a triple-header of economic stimulus: "Stars vs Avs", "Phillies vs Rockies", "Springsteen vs Immortality". I can't wait. I'll try to send some pictures via Twitter at keithmurphy13
  • My book for the plane is Jeff Pearlman's "The Rocket That Fell To Earth". It's the story of the rise and fall of Roger Clemens. If it's half as riveting as Pearlman's book on Barry Bonds, I may finish it before the plane touches down in Denver.
  • For those of you who have sent follow-up questions to the FAQ below, I'll try to answer them next week. Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, April 06, 2009


I'm asked a lot of questions. Some through e-mail, a few over the phone, most when I'm out and about. For the curious, here are the most frequently asked questions, and some quick answers:
  • Are you a Hawkeye or a Cyclone? Thankfully both, and neither. I didn't go to either school. I used to provide mediocre TV play-by-play for the dog basketball games on the Iowa State schedule, but that came with the job at WOI. I love a good story, and don't care if it comes from Ames or Iowa City. When the Hawks are doing well and the Clones aren't, I'm frequently labeled a "Hawkeye" and vice-versa. My wife is an Iowa State alum, so keeping the kids objective is more of a challenge, though Colin favors the Hawkeyes because Herky is all over his favorite blanket.
  • Do you and Andy hang out off-camera? Yes. I consider Andy one of my best friends, and I'm constantly entertained by his humor and intelligence. Our wives, Jenny and Kahala, are also close, and sometimes accuse Andy and I of bromance---but only when we're not paying enough attention to them. We take the hint immediately.
  • Did you ever play sports? Yes. I lived to play sports. In fact, I wish I had been more well-rounded. I played four sports: football (quarterback/safety), basketball (point guard), baseball (pitcher/shortstop), and track (jumps)---though my high school baseball coach made me pick between my first love and track. I stayed with track because the high jump, long jump, and triple jump were so much fun. Football was my passion, and I played briefly in college as a tackling dummy before future Falcon Jessie Tuggle knocked me into broadcasting. He did me a favor.
  • Are you from Iowa? I've lived in Iowa longer than anywhere else---nearly 20 years---but I grew up in Vermont, went to high school in Florida, and attended college at Valdosta State University (Georgia).
  • What's your favorite sport? Hands down, college football.
  • Favorite athletes? Johnny Bench, Dan Marino, and Dr. J.
  • Favorite athletes to interview? Tim Dwight, Lolo Jones, Ha-Keem Abdel Khaliq, Adam Emmenecker, Fred Barr, Shawn Johnson.
  • Coach? Johnny Orr. Never knew what he'd say next. Just ask Dick Vitale
  • Why didn't you take that job at ESPN? I was under contract at WHO, and I love living in Iowa. It was flattering to hear from ESPN, but let's be real, ESPN didn't really need me then, and it sure never missed me. Working at a place like channel 13 is a chance to be more a part of something both on and off the air.
  • What are your favorite pro teams? Cubs are my top pro passion, though we go to more Royals games than anything else. For decades, I lived and died with the Dolphins, but geography, and Jimmy Johnson, dulled my enthusiasm. We enjoy the Chiefs, especially the tailgating. Lately, that's the best reason to go.
  • Favorite games? (on the job) Cap One Bowl, Tate to Holloway. Iowa State vs Michigan State in Elite 8. (off the job) Marino and the Dolphins spoil Bears perfect season on Monday Night Football.
  • How glad are you Andy came back? Thrilled. I really enjoyed working with my friend Heather Burnside, and I thought she was terrific, but even Heather wanted to see Andy and me teamed up again.
  • Why did Andy really come back? 1) Kahala 2) Des Moines 3) Channel 13 4) Have you ever been to Missouri?
  • Is that John Bachman's real hair? Yes. The man has been blessed. He doesn't age either. I can't help but like him anyway.
  • Hey, what happened to Round Guy? He retired from channel 13 shortly before his induction into the SoundOFF Hall of Fame, but he's still rockin' over at 95 KGGO in the mornings, and now co-hosts a sports talk show at noon on 1700 The Champ.
  • What's Ed Wilson really like? Funny, loyal, and considerate. Everyone should have a friend like Ed.
  • How long have you been at 13? 13 years. I've now been here more than twice as long as I worked at channel 5.
  • Why do you guys love negative stories? We don't. No one gets into sports to chase downers. I'd rather cover a Final Four than a fired coach any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
  • Do you get along with people at the other stations? Yes. We're friends, and friendly competitors.
  • What do you talk about in the commercial breaks? Usually something from our personal lives. Or we're laughing at what Ed's doing/singing/saying.
  • You guys look like you're having fun. Is that real? Yes it is.
  • Is Chris Hassel nuts? Yes. But in a good way.
  • Why does Erin love Nebraska football so much? She's from Nebraska. What else can you love in Nebraska?
  • Is Shawn Terrell related to Marty Tirrell? No. Different spelling. Different family.
  • Who writes your stories? Me.
  • Do you still get nervous? Not with the familiar, like anchoring a sportscast, but sometimes I still get butterflies speaking to a class or hosting a banquet. Basically, I'm an introvert who plays an extrovert on TV.
  • What did Andy do that time you couldn't stop laughing on SoundOFF? Which time? When he was off-camera. I can't tell... But I can smell.

That covers a lot of ground, but if you have any other questions or follow-ups, feel free to send them to keith.murphy@whotv.com

Thank you for the questions and the time.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bears or Broncos, Help Wanted for QB, Lolo is Energy.

  • Who wins the trade: Broncos or Bears? Bears fans have been without a Pro Bowl quarterback for so long, they reacted like Jay Cutler is Tom Brady. Cutler's been acting like an entitled brat, but the dude can play. He gives the Bears the early edge, but don't give up on the Broncs. Orton was good last year before playing hurt. He is also highly respected among his peers, something Cutler is not. Throw in two #1 draft picks, and if Orton fulfills his potential, long term nod to Denver.
  • I'll be surprised if the Barnstormers don't draw a record crowd Saturday night. People are ready for football, and more importantly, ready to party.
  • The Barnstormers make $200 a week, 250 if they win. Quarterback Joe Brannen needs a part-time job. If you're interested, send me an email. I'll get it to Joe. (af2 not quite the glamorous life of the NFL.)
  • I wish Lolo Jones would come by the station every day. The woman energizes the place like no one else. No wonder the Energy made her spokeswoman for a night. Energy, she has.
  • Iowa State's Heather Ezell advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA 3-point shooting contest with a broken shooting hand.
  • I'm getting smoked in KIIC Radio's "Stump the Chumps" bracket contest, and it gets worse. If North Carolina wins, Chris Hassel wins. The whole thing. More than 500 people entered, and Hassel would win.
  • Jake Kelly's exit is devastating to Iowa's basketball program, but I believe Jake when he says he just wanted to get back to his family. I can't imagine losing my mother in a plane crash at such a young age. I wish Jake well at Indiana State and hope Drake can get a hand in his face.
  • I miss the local shows on KXNO. Don't worry, the station is reloading. Meantime, 1700 The Champ launched its first daily local show, "Out of Bounds". It features SoundOFF Hall of Famer Round Guy and Andy Garman. It's noon to one p.m.
  • Heartfelt condolences to the Mahon family for the loss of Bev. Bev's love of movies, and reasonable prices, lives on at the Varsity Theater.