New ISU Radio Voice Meets with Press

In a way, the 'Voice of the Cyclones' John Walters was introduced to a bunch of his colleagues Wednesday morning in Ames. Walters, the sports director at WOI-Channel 5 in Des Moines is replacing Pete Taylor, who passed away in March. CN met up with Walters for a brief Q&A on what the new position means to him.

CN: First off, you're probably having some mixed feelings about your new job. It's a great opportunity for you, but you've gotten it after the passing of close friend and mentor Pete Taylor.

Walters: No question. Eric Heft called me and asked if I wanted to do the games. I said, ‘Let me think about it for a second…yes.' There was no question I wanted to do this. I was elated to find out I'm the person they were going to trust to do it. Pete was so special to so many people and I understand that better than anybody, because he was so special to me. To get the opportunity to follow in his footsteps means a lot.

I understand how important of a position it was for Iowa State, Bruce Van De Velde and Clear Channel to try to find the right person, because Pete meant so much. For them to trust me that they feel I can do that job means a lot. I'm very grateful to Bruce, Tom Stevens at Clear Channel and Eric especially.

CN: Pete balanced working at Channel 8 in Des Moines with doing play-by-play for the Cyclones, and you're going to do the same thing several years later. Anything you can take from that?

Walters: I'm a little bit grayer than he was when he started at age 24 calling the games. It made me realize during those years when Pete was sports director at Channel 8 and doing the Iowa State games that it could be done. You could do both things at once. It was always a dream of mine to be in a position like that, but I never expected it to happen.

I thought in recent years that 10 or 12 years from now Pete would be ready to retire and maybe I could step in at that point. I didn't want this timing, but it's special because I get to do what Pete did so well.

CN: So how can it be done, balancing what are essentially two full-time jobs in the fall and winter months?

Walters: The people at WOI have been great. Ray Cole, the president of Capital Communications has been very patient through the whole deal and understanding of how important it was to me to do the play-by-play. He understands my love of it. He was very aware of that and willing to wait and see how it plays out. He's also been great about wanting to figure out a way that we can make it work and reduce your workload here a little bit during the two seasons.

CN: Given your experience as play-by-play man for the Cyclone Television Network, are you better prepared to take over this job?

Walters: It's prepared me for a lot of things. With coaches shows you get use to developing those relationships with the coaches. That's such a key part of it. It's nice because I already have great relationships with Dan McCarney, Bill Fennelly and Wayne Morgan over the last few weeks.

As far as the actual play-by-play end, it's an adjustment. You go from what I use to do with radio into TV where you have to shut up and let the action speak for itself a little bit, and rely on more of a conversation between you and Gary as the game goes on. Now I'm going to back to being the eyes of the listener, so you have to describe the action in a way that they can understand and appreciate where the ball is on the field or court. It's an adjustment, but I think I can make it because I've done this before.

CN: Have you thought about what it's going to mean when you step into that press box for Iowa State's season opener against Northern Iowa?

Walters: I've thought about that a lot. It will be nice because right now people are talking about me and I'm not use to that. It will be nice to get the focus back on the action. It will be so much more special to me than if I were going to Tennessee, Missouri or Texas to do this position – doing this at Iowa State. I'll be doing what Pete did so well and getting the chance to work with Eric.


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