Just when Steve Deace had reason to start feeling pretty good about the things going on in his life, he was brought back to earth with a thud.
"I ran into a guy on my way to the ballpark the other night,'' he explained. "The guy said, ‘Hey, Deace, when are you going to get back on the air?'''
Obviously, the man who asked that question must either have spent the last few months digging out of the snow in Siberia or the power company has shut off his electricity.
Deace has been a definite force in the Central Iowa sports talk radio market since being fired by KJJC and hired by KXTK.
The buzz in the sports talk business is that the 3-to-6 p.m. show on KXTK co-hosted by Deace and Tim Darrah has taken a sizable ratings lead over KJJC and KXNO in that time slot. Deace, clearly the star of his show, has obviously heard that his numbers are strong. But he didn't particularly care to dwell on them because, he said, he doesn't want "arrogance'' connected with anything he says.
"I don't want to get into a war of words with any other sports talk hosts,'' he commented. "Frankly, the listeners get credit for the gains our show has made. I don't know what I do that others don't do. All I can do is be myself.''
Deace pointed out "it's helped that those who sympathized with me for being fired at KJJC have followed up by listening to me on KXTK.''
Deace was fired by KJJC in February, and went to work at KXTK on March 13.
Has he changed a lot? Probably not as much as you might think, he answered. "I may sound happier when I'm on the air now,'' he said. "I'm probably less surly at KXTK because the things that were going on behind the scenes at the other station I worked the rumors, the innuendo aren't going on here. I'm free to worry about what I do best—and that is to kick butt and take names from 3 to 6.''
I don't get to hear as much sports talk radio as I'd like, but I did happen to catch some of Deace the other day. And, yes, he was kicking butt and taking names that afternoon.
Following the departure of Shane Power from Iowa State's basketball team, Deace was ranting about Cyclone Coach Larry Eustachy for not being more up-front about what he knew about the situation.
"I've never had Eustachy return a phone call or return a single request for an interview,'' Deace said.
Lots of Interest in Power
Speaking of Power, he's getting plenty of attention from recruiters.
He visited New Mexico last weekend, and his uncle and former AAU coach, Wayne Brumm, told the Albuquerque Tribune that there are plenty of other suitors.
Brumm said Wisconsin (where Power's girlfriend plays basketball), Notre Dame, Virginia, South Carolina and Mississippi State are among the schools that have expressed interest in Power. Brumm said the player who has two seasons of collegiate eligibility remaining would make at least one more campus visit before making up his mind.
How Quickly They Forgot About Sonny Franck
Top editors in the morning paper's sports department chain of command should be ashamed of themselves.
They really blew it earlier this week. The editors were so caught up with what Mark Prior was doing for the Iowa Cubs that they forgot all about George "Sonny" Franck. In a way, Franck could almost be called one of the paper's own. Franck, who was born in Davenport, has been a member of the Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame since July 6, 1997.
This week he was honored again. He was among 13 players selected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
But there was no mention of Franck's name in the three-paragraph story the Register had on the College Hall of Fame. The only selection mentioned was Earle Bruce, the former Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Ohio State and Iowa Barnstormers coach.
Franck, an all-America running back on Minnesota's 1940 national championship team, was third in the Heisman Trophy voting. He was the first pick by the New York Giants and the third choice overall in the NFL draft
Among the players joining Franck on the College Hall of Fame list were Dan Marino of Pittsburgh, Ronnie Lott of Southern California and Kellen Winslow of Missouri.
Others named were Reggie White of Tennessee, Napoleon McCallum of Navy, John Jefferson of Arizona State, Reggie McKenzie of Michigan, Terry Beasley of Auburn, Cosmo Iacavazzi of Princeton, Randy Rhino of Georgia Tech, Jerry Sisemore of Texas and Gary Spani of Kansas State. The coach in addition to Bruce who was honored was Carmen Cozza of Yale.
Is There a Pulitzer in Fuson's Future?
Ken Fuson is headed for some big awards for his eight-part series, "The Truth About Bob,'' which concluded early this week in the Register.
Can one of those prizes be the Pulitzer? Maybe. It was great stuff.
Not headed for any awards is Paul Anger, the Register's editor. He finally got around to announcing the staff changes this week involving people such as Shirley Ragsdale, Dave Elbert and Randy Evans.
I announced those changes in my April 11 column. That means I scooped Anger by nearly three weeks.
By the way, I noticed that—in sugar-coating Ragsdale's demotion from opinion page columnist to religion writer—Anger said Ragsdale will "bring her passionate reporting and writing style'' to the new job.
Obviously, Ragsdale's writing wasn't passionate enough to keep her spot on the opinion pages. Anger had told her the Register had too many columnists and that he wanted her to take another job.
Ragsdale has been around the block a few times. She's no kid. She had no choice but to start writing about religion instead of the horse track.