Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Year 1 in Des Moines

What a first year.

I think you are officially considered an adult when you begin to talk about your life in terms of years. 

I'm now 33 but I don't like to admit that I'm a grown up. 

Remember in high school, when you were dating someone for three months, that was a long time. In college, if you had two semesters of school left, you thought that was forever.

Now, I say things like “this year I want to” and “for the last year”. 

On April 30, 2009, I moved my career to Des Moines, Iowa adding another stop on this crazy train ride (to go with Nashua, Charlottesville, Huntsville, and Omaha). Just another town that I never thought I would call home when I graduated high school in 1995. 

However, I feel like I've found a perfect spot here in Iowa.

I can honestly say that moving here has been the most amazing, perfect, and fortunate break of my career. I’ve been interviewing and applying for large market jobs for the better part of 8 years but little did I know that the break of my career would come after being let go from a job that I truly loved.

In February of 2009, I was nearly positive that I was moving to Seattle. One of my bosses at Big Sports 590 was helping in the hiring process and all but told me that I was going to be hired in the Emerald City. It was big because I had been told that my contract was not going to be renewed due to budget cuts in December of 2008. 

I have been close for numerous large market jobs over the years, but that one stung for a while because of how the courtship ended.

The morning before I was supposed to fly to Seattle to meet the executives to close the deal in all likelihood…. it fell through. They were hiring another early 30’s, Boston born talk show host from within their affiliation group.  

It crushed me.

My contract was over at the end of March in Omaha and my plan was to move to back to Boston. That’s when Ken Miller called to ask me if I would ever consider coming to KXnO to be his co-host.

I didn’t know at the time that it would be the most important phone call of my career so far.

In some ways, I can now relate to Greg McDermott’s run at Iowa State. You need a support system around you to be successful in anything in life, radio included. Sometimes, it’s not the right fit and sometimes you are the victim of bad breaks. 

The KXnO interview process was easy but I still can’t believe that I was up for a job against Trev Alberts in talk radio. He eventually took the job as Athletic Director of UNO, a smart move considering he is making around $100K more than he would have in Des Moines as a talk show host.

His decision allowed me to move two hours east and into an awesome opportunity.

Everything happens for a reason right? I think KXnO did for me because I’ve grown so much since I moved here.  

Sure, the first year has been bumpy at times, getting used to a new audience, new teams, new show but for the most part, I think it’s been a successful transition. 

I finally work for a “real” radio station who values talent. 

In just the first year of “Matt and Miller”, we’ve covered Media days, Bowl games, NCAA tournament runs, the NFL draft, and the Kentucky Derby. Tell me another sports radio station outside the top 75 markets that can claim that?

And I’m learning more and more about sports careers and how fluid sports can be at every turn.  

Dana Altman leaving for Oregon was a sad moment for me. I found out via text from Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports while I was on a train from New York to Boston. Brian Fish, one of his assistant coaches, was someone I considered a friend beyond the basketball court. 

But I understood why he was going. It was his shot and his time to take it.  

And maybe one day, I’ll get my big shot….but until then, I could not be happier with how my career has turned out so far. 

I’m now running a website that has completely changed the way I look at sports media coverage. I work for a General Manager who I can sit and talk radio with for hours. And I’m learning more and more every day and get up with thirst for becoming a better host. 

What else could a guy who is in love with talk radio ask for? I'm pretty lucky.  


Leslie Berg said...

From one Bostonian to another - Des Moines sure has a way of making one feel welcome! Never expected to visit here let alone spend the last 12+ years here raising a family. Great opportunities in many ways are abundant here, for sure! And Des Moines is definitely fortunate to have had you as part of the sports scene this last year - here's to many more! Congratulations on your first anniversary here Matt :)

Patrick said...

Matt, I am glad that you are loving your time in Des Moines. Just know that there are still some people in Omaha that miss you and follow you on your blog and Twitter.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty in Iowa that wish you were still in Omaha too.