He's Back

The host of one of the most listened to radio programs in Iowa each day and the man who started it all here at Cyclone Nation is returning as publisher for our website and magazine.

Almost 16 months ago, I stepped down as publisher of the website and magazine I started here in 2002—Cyclone Nation. And when I stepped down I thought that was it and I was never coming back.

Never say never. Effective today I am again the acting publisher of Cyclone Nation.

I just could never completely step away once I stepped down. Oh sure, it was nice to skip out on the meetings and deadlines. Does anybody like that stuff? However, it's tough to let go of something you created. Especially when it's your first serious step outside your comfort zone. Cyclone Nation was my first attempt at running a business and doing something many of you know I have a great love and passion for—college sports.

And although we had several misfires along the way, we also continued to provide the fine institution that is Iowa State and its people the only magazine in all of God's creation that preached the gospel of the cardinal-and-gold. Sure, I had to learn about being a Cyclone fan on the job, and sometimes I was dragged along kicking and screaming. But along the way I actually grew to really appreciate and adore many of the people I was covering and writing for.

Since I've made the move to 1040-WHO, a lot of you have asked me if I miss the old gig on KXNO. The answer is absolutely not. WHO provides me an opportunity to make a good living working with great people to discuss the issues that will have an impact on the world I leave behind for my children.

But I did miss many of you. And I did miss the Cyclones. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I probably spent more time rooting for the Cyclones while I was away the past 16 months than I ever did while I was too busy trying to be a businessman. To my kids Iowa State is the team our family roots for, because they were born here and have only lived here. Michigan is just a place where their grandparents live. For goodness sakes, I even found myself watching the Hawkeyes just for the sake of rooting against them (which my wife had already been doing for years). So much for my beloved objectivity, right?

I just love sports too darned much. It's been a part of my life since I was a kid, and I can't completely step away from it. Not even to fight the culture war on WHO. I love the competition. And by deciding to move to WHO over other opportunities in radio, my wife and I made a prayerful decision that we want to stay here in Iowa and put down roots and raise our kids.

So I'm back, and focused on helping to follow in the inspiring footsteps of Jamie Pollard by taking a page out of his playbook with an aggressive agenda. That agenda starts with good people. But this time around we have a solid business plan thanks to my partner, Jonathan Narcisse. We have great Cyclones like Jack Whitver and Luke Vander Sanden, guys that I once appreciated covering when they were wearing the uniform but are now working for us. We've diversified our content.

But I'm competitive and think we can do better. And we will. And that's where maybe one of you comes in.

Yesterday, with both regret and pride, we accepted the resignation of Chris Williams. Chris is moving on to pursue his dream of being on ESPN one day as a sports broadcaster. And if he continues to demonstrate the sort of work ethic and tenacity throughout his career that he did while working for us, I have no doubt he will.

When I was Chris' age (boy, I'm starting to sound old), a sports editor at the Des Moines Register named Dave Witke gave me my first break, and I didn't have nearly the qualifications and savvy at that age that Chris does now. Years later when Mr. Witke retired he asked me to do him a favor in return. He asked me to look for talented young people that just need a chance as a way to repay him for the chance he gave me. I agreed and hopefully at least some small part of anything good that happens with Chris will be because I took the shot Mr. Witke gave to me and paid it forward through him.

I sat back and was amazed to watch Chris' growth over the last year. I saw him take the opportunities we helped him land on the radio at KXNO, KASI, WHO, and Mediacom Connections Channel and maximize them. When he asked me to call my friend Keith Murphy on his behalf about an internship for WHO-TV last summer I was more than willing to do so. When stations from around the Midwest called me for interviews about the Cyclones, I told them they were better off talking to Chris instead and they did. Chris has been a guest in my home, and I advised and helped him whenever he asked. In a way Chris grew to be an extended member of our family.

How proud I am of Chris can best be summed up in a quote I gave the Iowa State Daily feature on him back in April: "Chris has limitless potential."

Yet, when you have limitless potential you also have unlimited opportunities. And part of giving talented young people a break is watching them move on to bigger and better things. So this week Chris accepted a position at the Ames Tribune, hoping to pad his resume with what folks in the mainstream media consider to be more "objective" reporting experience than you typically find on the Internet. Of course, I would disagree with that stereotype, but that's a topic for another day.

Chris is on the path to pursuing his dream, and we're sorry to see him go but figured it was just a matter of time until we lost him anyway. He was going to be sending audition tapes out soon after graduation from ISU, and he's too talented not to get a break once that happens.

Thus, with Chris moving on now seemed like the right time for me to move back in. We have a good plan, we have a good product, and we have a visionary athletic director who has motivated Cyclone Nation like never before. And this time my only interest is being a fan of something I believe in.

As someone settling down in Iowa for the long haul, I want to be a part of that. I want to see that $135 million master-plan become a reality, and I plan on using the access I'm blessed to have to literally hundreds of thousands of homes each day through Mediacom, WHO, and this website to help in any way I can. One side has had its way in this state for far too long, and the competitor in me wants to do something about it with the tools I've been given.

And when one door closes, another one opens. I'm also eager to find the next Chris Williams. The next talented person looking for a break that wants to cover their favorite team. If you have a strong work ethic, love the Cyclones, and want intimate access to the greatest time ever to be a Cyclone, please send me your resume at:

Merit Media

1922 Ingersoll Avenue

Suite 120

Des Moines, IA


If you have any questions feel free to contact me via email at CycloneNatioNPub@aol.com. God bless, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Go Cyclones!

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