Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Questions with Keith Murphy

Most people who live around here do not need an explanation of who Keith Murphy is. He is as much a household name in central Iowa as Stuart Scott or Chris Berman is nationally. He is OUR sportscaster. Not only does he cover sports with a witty and great sense of humor, but he has the knack for being consise and personal... He is non-flashy like other sports announcers are, and because he doesn't wear his ego on his sleeve, he is so much more user friendly.

And he knows his sports.

Mr. Murphy is the sports director at NBC's local affiliate WHO (channel 13), and  he also co-hosts a radio show (1460 KXnO) that airs from 2-4 on weekday afternoons. On this radio show which is called Murph and Andy, he pairs up with Andy Fales, another local sports guy who despite being a Cardinals fan, also keeps his ego in check. Together they make a great team and  it's refreshing to listen to a couple of normal guys who obviously have fun while doing their jobs. They cover a wide array of topics, sports and otherwise, and always manage to keep it fun and entertaining. 

Mr. Murphy's work schedule is relentless. He also hones his talents on a live television show on Sunday nights called Sound Off. Again, he is paired up with Andy Fales... They encourage viewers to call in and share their opinions about a wide range of sports topics, and like their radio show, callers are treated with dignity and respect. This is a nice change when compared to other sports talk radio hosts like say... Jim Rome. On Sound Off, sometimes the callers do suck... But that's part of it's charm... And, because the television show is aired live, it makes for some pretty interesting moments. Sound Off is a nice way to wind down a weekend, and sets a great tone for the following week. The show is as iconic as any local television show has been in Iowa, and I would dare say that it is probably one of the most unique and fair interactive fan-based television shows in the nation. Keith Murphy is in big demand, but he has stayed loyal to his fan base here in Iowa...

I will let him tell you more about that himself. Five questions with Keith Murphy...

1. Please tell me about yourself... Where you are from, what you like to do outside of your job, your deepest and darkest secret... Things of that ilk.

I don't think my background is even interesting to my own family, but here's some of it... I grew up in Vermont where I learned to love the Red Sox, snow skiing, and maple syrup. We moved to Florida where I learned to sweat 12 months a year, work at Disney World, and play four sports---none of them involving snow. I went to college in Georgia where I learned to drink, love broadcasting, and give up my dreams of being a pro football player. I also seemed to excel at being a self-involved knucklehead. I moved to Iowa after covering the murders of five University of Florida co-eds for a Gainesville TV station. I was working in news at the time and decided I'd move to the first place that offered me a full time sports job. 20 years later, I'm still here, and won't leave unless they make me.

2. Walk me through a typical work day for you as far as when you start prepping for your radio show to when you leave for the night after your newscast.

I start reading newspapers and surfing the net around 10 a.m. Lack of efficiency keeps me doing that for a couple of hours. I head to channel 13 around 1, then KXnO at 1:45, back to the TV station at 4, and I leave for the night around 11 p.m. weekdays, midnight or so after SoundOFF on Sundays. (I even fell asleep during that paragraph, and I wrote it.)

3. Is it true that you were once contacted by ESPN for a national job but turned it down to stay in Iowa? (If so could you please explain that scenario?)

ESPN did try to hire me, but I had just signed a new contract with WHO, and for many reasons, it didn't feel right to leave. I'm not sure I could have anyway. ESPN is such an important player in the world of sports that I think people think the network offering me a job is a bigger deal than it actually was. ESPN hires many anchors, and the network seems to have done just fine without me.

4. What was the most awkward moment you have endured while broadcasting live on the radio or the television?

Andy Fales has made me laugh like a little school girl several times on SoundOFF. People seem to enjoy it, but I really don't. It's embarrassing to lose control to the point where my eyes are slits, tears are rolling down my face, and my laugh sounds like something you'd hear if Justin Bieber told a joke between songs. The only other time I've lost control like that was in church when I was an altar boy. That was worse. And my parents were less amused.

5. Who, if given the opportunity would you most like to interview if you could go back in time and meet with anybody?

Abraham Lincoln.

(Bonus question): Seriously. What is your deepest darkest secret?

I like chick flicks. Notting Hill is my favorite from this genre. Please don't tell anyone.

Ok, I promise Keith... I wont tell a soul.

(*photo courtesy of


Len Cleavelin said...

Good post. Very interesting questions and answers.

T.Church said...

Thanks Len. Mr. Murphy was a great interview.