“Why does this guy get a show? What does he have to say about sports?”
While I have yet to hear this kind of commentary from anyone concerning my new show, The Home Stretch, is debuting today… so the time for such a question is now. Fortunately, I am prepared to provide such an answer, complete with a brief background on my life and work that brought me to this opportunity at this time.
I am a native of Southeast Missouri and graduated from Jackson High School in 2010; all but three years of my life have been spent living and working in this region. I was a lover of sports from an early age, but quickly learned that I was fairly unathletic and not destined for glory on the field of play. One year of Optimist soccer and basketball (seven years apart, mind you) convinced me of this truth. That did not stop me from playing pick-up sports and growing my passion in other ways. Many of my summers out of school were spent in my room studying trading cards and listening to sports talk radio; Dan Patrick and Tony Kornheiser took up much of my summer days in the early 2000s. My first call into a sports talk show occurred in 2001, when I asked whomever was discussing MLB All-Star candidates if young upstart rookie Albert Pujols should start in left field over Barry Bonds. We all have that youthful naivety at that age, but I was excited to receive the chance to discuss sports news with people “in the know,” and it further fueled my desire to work in this industry.
Teachers throughout the rest of my time in elementary and secondary education learned of my desire to work in sports broadcasting in some capacity, whether it be show hosting or play-by-play commentary. One specific seventh grade teacher allowed me to talk her ear off daily about the Cardinals, a team for which she shared my passion. This is the time frame where listening to play-by-play commentary became a larger portion of my sports radio consumption. Wayne Hagin gave way to John Rooney for the Cardinals and Chris Kerber told me all about the Blues when they were in season, showing me that the opportunity to pursue this career was in my area.
I attended Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis for 2.5 years, a move to the “big city” that I hoped would open doors to those whose jobs I wished to fill once retirement called their names. Alas, I moved back to Southeast Missouri in 2013 and was called upon by fellow MoBap student Rusty Hendricks (who you can hear calling Sikeston sports throughout the year on SEMO ESPN 92.9 FM) to assist with commentary for Scott City Rams football. That winter afforded me the opportunity to work for River Radio in broadcasting Jackson Indians basketball. Since then, I have fulfilled almost every role I could across the SEMO ESPN/River Radio spectrum, from Jackson football and basketball to the studio via the Saturday Morning Express and the Friday Night Blitz and Overtime the last two years. Grateful and excited as I can be for those responsibilities (both former and current) and the time spent learning and (hopefully) improving in each position, a goal will be accomplished today at 5:00pm when I will debut the newest local show on the SEMO ESPN schedule, The Home Stretch with Cody Sandusky.
The Home Stretch will provide as complete a picture of the sports landscape as possible every Monday through Friday from 5 to 6pm, from high school to the breaking national news. As the show gains traction and I get a feel for the day-to-day of sports news on all levels of competition, I hope to include those who make the news in the show via interviews and discussions. High school football playoffs begin this weekend, so you can hear a breakdown about it on the show throughout the week. The Blues are 3-0-0? You’ll be able to tune in to The Home Stretch and hear a preview of the game before it airs on SEMO ESPN. The show will likewise be home to recurring segments on a variety of topics: High school sports wrap-ups and capping the weekend’s football games will be on display during the first week of the show.
You – the listeners – are also a part of the sports narrative in this region. You attend games that I cannot and have points of view that I do not possess. Having said that, there are a number of ways for you to be a part of the show: You can call (573) 334-1220 or 1-888-342-5929, tweet @HomeStretchTalk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you as this show begins its time on the SEMO ESPN airwaves.
Stay tuned to this space as new blogs will be posted at least weekly – if not more often – by yours truly. Until next time, thanks for reading and listening.