MURPHY’S LAW: Updated Work-Related and Semi-Personal FAQs, Now With Visual Aids!

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I’m asked many semi-personal and work-related questions. Some through e-mail (keith.murphy@whotv.com), many by tweet (@MurphyKeith) and Facebook (Keith Murphy), a few over the phone (515-242-3739), and most when I’m out and about (see photo to right). For the curious, here are brief answers to the most frequently asked questions (since posting Sunday, more questions arrived. I added a few):

  • Are you from Iowa?   I’ve lived in Iowa longer than anywhere else–nearly 25 years–but I grew up in Vermont, went to middle school and high school in Florida, and attended college at Valdosta State University, which you likely know as “Harvard of the South”.
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America’s Team. The Blazers.

  • Are you really a Hawkeye, or a Cyclone? (#1 question, by far)  Thankfully both, and neither. I didn’t go to Iowa of ISU. Both are outstanding universities, and we’re eventually sending kids north and east, but I’m increasingly thankful I’m not directly tied.  It often leads to assumptions.  I used to provide mediocre TV play-by-play for the worst basketball games on the Iowa State schedule, but that came with the job at my former employer, WOI.  I love a good story, and don’t care if it comes from Ames or Iowa City or Albia.  When the Hawks are doing well and the Clones aren’t, I’m frequently labeled a “Hawkeye“, and vice-versa. My wife, Jenny, is an Iowa State alum.  She leaves no doubt about her allegiance, and no one should have a problem with that, including me.
jenny and me at jdrf

With my better half and best friend. Not sure why we’re standing next to an elephant.

  • Why didn’t you take that job at ESPN?  I wanted to leave it open for Chris Hassel.  Seriously, I was under contract at WHO, and I love living in Iowa.  It was flattering to hear from ESPN,  but let’s be real, ESPN didn’t really need me then, and it sure never missed me.  Working at a place like channel 13 is a chance make more of an impact, on and off the air.
  • Did you ever play sports?  Yes.  I lived to play sports.  In fact, in retrospect, I wish I had been more well-rounded.  I played five sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and track.  Soccer ended in middle school for me because the high school didn’t have a team.  My high school baseball coach made me pick between my first love, and track.  I stayed with track because the high jump, long jump, and triple jump were so much fun.  I also enjoyed the challenge of isolated competition.  Football was my passion though, and I played briefly in college as a tackling dummy before future Falcon Jessie Tuggle knocked me into broadcasting. He did me a favor.
MURPH BASKETBALL UNIFORM

There were color cameras at the time. This must be a style choice by the photographer..

  • Do you and Andy hang out off-camera?  Yes, though not as much as we used to.  Andy now has two small, cute kids at home, and kids change schedules. We also added a daily radio show a few years back, so between that, and channel 13, we often spend more time together than we do with our families–and that’s just at work.  I consider Andy one of my best friends, and I’m constantly entertained by his humor and intelligence.  Our wives, Jenny and Kahala, are also friends.  Andy and I both out-kicked our coverage, as Dan McCarney liked to say.
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Kahala and Andy. They’ve now added Elin and Eddie.

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Live on the deck with Andy near the bike trail in Madrid.

  • What’s your favorite sport?  College football.
  • Favorite athletes?  Johnny Bench, Greg Maddux, Dr. J, Larry Bird, Dan Marino, Tom Brady, to name a few.
  • Favorite athletes to interview?  Tim Dwight, Lolo Jones, Ha-Keem Abdel Khaliq, Adam Emmenecker, Fred Barr, Jeff Woody, Georges Niang, Wade Lookingbill, among others.
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With Roosevelt alum Lolo Jones after she returned from the Olympics in London.

  • Favorite Coach?  Johnny Orr.  Never knew what he’d say next.  Just ask Dick Vitale.  I miss Johnny. Johnny’s protege, Fred Hoiberg, is quickly becoming a favorite for blunt candor and sneaky dry humor.
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The last time I saw Johnny Orr. He was always so good to me, and many others. A true American original.

  • Nicest Coach?  Hard to pick one, but I’ll go with Tom Davis.  I once left a putt so short, Dr Tom nearly fell over laughing.  He couldn’t stop.  And he’s so nice, he felt bad.  That putt deserved the laughs.
  • What are your favorite pro teams?  I’ve been a gypsy of geographic fandom. In Florida, my dad took me to nearby Bucs games, but the Dolphins ruled.  Boston teams take me back to my early childhood,  especially the Red Sox.  A trip to Fenway Park as a kid still seems like a dream.  A few years ago, we went back to Vermont to see all the old places.  The nostalgia really resonated, especially at my grandpa’s grave.  He just wanted to live long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since his childhood (1918).  He missed it by a month.  Later, when my son, Cade, wanted us to follow the same teams, we picked the Boston teams.
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In front of the restaurant my family built, owned, and ran in Vermont, “The Cup & Saucer”. My parents worked very hard.

  • We try to go to Fenway once a year.  I also love Principal Park and Wrigley Field, so I own a lot of Cubs gear.  Additionally, we enjoy going to see the Royals, Timberwolves, Vikings, and Chiefs.  I envy Andy for having a lifelong, rabid passion for teams, but Andy says I’m better off.  Not sure if that’s true.  I care, but never so much a loss ruins my day.
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Look how happy Andy looks at a Cardinals game. Like a kid.

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My best friend John and I at Fenway Park for Todd Bailey’s bachelor party. Now that’s a good place for a bachelor party.

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Really Baden? You wore a Cardinals hat to a Cubs-Astros game? Yep.

  • Favorite games seen in person? (On the job)  2005 Cap One Bowl, Tate to Holloway.  Andy and I sprinted 100 yards to interview Holloway first.  I pulled a hamstring.

  • 1992, Iowa State basketball comeback vs #2 Oklahoma State. It’s the game where Fred Hoiberg said he could feel the floor shaking under his feet.

  • (Off the job)  At the Metrodome in 1992, Bears lead by 20 in the 4th quarter when Jim Harbaugh calls an audible.  A pick-six sparks an epic Ditka meltdown, and an epic Vikings comeback.  Unforgettable.

  • How glad are you Andy came back after he left for Kansas City? Thrilled.  I really enjoyed working with my friend Heather Burnside, and I thought she did well under tough circumstances, but even Heather wanted to see Andy and I teamed up again.  I’m glad we got the chance.  And we added a radio show, “Murph & Andy”, that’s doing better than we hoped, and we had high hopes.

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  • Why did Andy really come back?  1) Kahala 2) Des Moines 3) SoundOFF 4) Channel 13 News and a chance to report feature stories (he’s now won an Emmy). 5) Have you ever been to Missouri? (I kid.  It’s Andy’s home state.)
  • Is that John Bachman’s real hair?  Still get this one, even though John retired.  He’s living the happy life here, and on the beaches and golf courses of Florida. But yes, that is John’s real hair.  The man has been blessed. He doesn’t age either.  I like him anyway.
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This is the only time I remember seeing John at work in shorts, so I’m happy Erin took a picture. (Tracy in the foreground. Great director at channel 13.)

  • Any chance you’re bring back the Murphstache?  Not if my wife can help it. The only good that came of this look is raising money for the fight against cancer.

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  • Hey, what happened to Round Guy?  The SoundOFF Hall of Famer still lives in the area, and has come on our radio show several times.  I don’t see Round Guy as often as I’d like.
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Round Guy at the SoundOFF 500 party. Believe it or not, we’re closing in on SoundOFF 1000.

  • What’s Ed Wilson really like? Funny, loyal, and considerate.  Everyone should have a friend like Ed.
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We stand in same order we sit on desk. Not even planned. Habit.

  • How long have you been at 13?   18 years. I’ve now been here three times longer than I worked at channel 5.  It’s been, largely, a great place to work.
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Hair was black, but the haircut looks like something Coach K would sport. And that shirt…

  • Why do you guys love negative stories?  We don’t, though we can’t ignore negative stories just because fans don’t want to hear bad news.  No one gets into sports to chase downers.  I’d rather cover a Final Four than a fired coach any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.  That’s SoundOFF day.
  • Do you get along with people at the other stations?  Yes.  We’re, in some cases, friends, and, at worst, friendly competitors.
  • I’ve seen you with (Des Moines Register sports columnist) Bryce Miller.  Friends, or just work together?  Both.  Bryce contributes to channel 13 from time-to-time, especially during Olympics.  Bryce is also on our radio show Mondays, and occasionally as a co-host.  He’s one of my favorite people.
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With Bryce at Sweet 16 in New York City. My face is frozen in that position. This is actually video.

  • What do you talk about in the newscast commercial breaks?  Often a story from the newscast that just happened, or is about to.  Occasionally the topic is something from our personal lives.  It’s on those occasions Erin often says, “If people could see and hear this, they’d never miss a show”.
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A radio show listener offered hundreds of dollars to charity if Erin would dress up as Princess Leia. She’s always a good sport.

  • You guys look like you’re having fun. Is that real?  Yes, it is.
  • I miss Chris Hassel.  Can you talk him into coming back?   No, I don’t think so.  We’re all happy for Chris, and proud of him.  My boss, Rod Peterson, saw the potential in Chris when he was just 22 years old.   After six years at channel 13, Chris caught ESPN’s eye.  His anchoring and reporting are top-notch, as you can see on SportsCenter.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure ESPN will ever let Chris turn his talents loose for impressions, improv, and satirical sketches.  Not every bit worked, and the lampooned sometimes got upset, but when a SoundOFF spoof worked, it could be gold.

  • When is Hassel on SportsCenter?  He’s on several days a week, but since he’s only been there a little over a year, it’s not yet a predictable schedule.  ESPN has been using Chris for more than just SportsCenter, and clearly knows it has a rising star.
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Many faces of Hazzle Dazzle.

  • Why does Erin love Nebraska football so much?  She’s from Nebraska. What else can you love in Nebraska? (Again, I kid.)  Erin also loves the movie Flashdance.
  • What’s the weather forecast?  I don’t know.  Let me check my 13 weather app.  I’m asked about the weather all the time.  People don’t believe this, until they hang out with me for a while.  Some viewers must associate my face with television news, and though Ed and I look nothing alike, they confuse what I do.
  • Is John Sears a Hawkeye?  No. He’s a dancer. John graduated from the University of Iowa, and was one of our best sports interns more than ten years ago.  I always encourage full disclosure, because 100% objectivity is impossible. However, fairness is not.  John is a great guy, and brings fairness to all of his assignments.  We have a newsroom full of Iowa and Iowa State alums.  If we didn’t, you should be concerned.
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John and Michael dancing on RVTV. John will dance without hesitation, anywhere, anytime. Just ask him next time you see him.

  • Who writes your stories?  Me.
  • Do you still get nervous?  Not with the familiar, like anchoring a sportscast, or hosting SoundOFF, but sometimes I still get butterflies speaking to a class or emceeing a banquet.  Basically, I’m an introvert who plays an extrovert on TV and radio.
  • Does Michael Admire have a girlfriend?  That’s a question for Michael Admire. (He is a good guy.)
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The famous shirt and jeans combo.

  • Is RVTV really done?  That’s the plan. We don’t want to jump the shark. We’ve been moved by how many people don’t want us to stop doing this during the week of the Cy-Hawk football game.
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RVTV 2012.

  • I have a great story idea. What should I do?  If it’s a sports story, please send to sports@whotv.com. If it’s a news story, news@whotv.com.
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The Sports and more team.

  • Where do I send SoundOFF lookalikes?  soundoff@whotv.com
  • I know you have a house full of boys, but that one kid really looks like you?  You mean Colin?
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Colin and me in 2013.

  • How many boys do you have?  Six.  Only four still living at home, soon to be three. Oldest are now in college.
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Cody, Cade, Chan, A.J., Charlie, and Colin. Since A.J. is the only one whose name doesn’t start with C, he gets to put his dirty socks in the frame.

  • I knew you 20 years ago and you didn’t have kids. How can you have a 21 year old?  Adoption. We’re a blended modern family, but without Sofia Vergara or Ed O’Neill.   Jenny has two kids who look like her (A.J., Charlie), I have two who look like me (Cade, Colin), and we’re lucky to have two other boys who don’t look much like either of us, but we love and raise as our own (Cody, Chan).  
  • Is Christine Hensley your mother-in-law?  She is. I don’t know Jenny’s mom as a politician;  I know her as loving grandma, awesome cook, and person who’s always in a good mood.
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Steve and Christine Hensley. They are good to us.

  • I moved and miss SoundOFF. Is there a place to see the shows online?  You can stream SoundOFF live at www.whotv.com, check for the videos of our most popular segments like “What’s Bugging Andy?”, and “I Think”, or sign up for the SoundOFF newsletter here: http://whotv.com/email-alerts/
  • Can you put SoundOFF on earlier during the NFL season?  We wish we could.  It’s the most popular time of the year for local sports fans. Unfortunately, NBC’s Sunday Night Football often ends after 11 p.m.  We’re fortunate the bosses know many people are eager for SoundOFF, so we have a 10 minute newscast.
  • Is Dan Winters Clark Kent?  I don’t think so. He could be. But I think it’s just that Dan has been wearing some stylish glasses.
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Clark Kent. Or Dan Winters. Not sure. (Photo by Erin Kiernan.)

  • Who is your favorite sportscaster? Dan Patrick. I like his blend of television and radio, sports and pop culture. He’s thoughtful, interesting, and funny.
  • How tall are you?  You look taller on TV.   How big is your TV?!  I’m 5′ 10″.
  • You’re taller in person than I thought you’d be.   Andy is 6′ 4″, so I look like Frodo next to him in publicity photos. (Without the hairy feet.  Hassel has those.)
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Will somebody please bring me a box?!

  • What did Andy do that time you couldn’t stop laughing on SoundOFF Which time?  When he was off-camera, and you couldn’t recover?   I can’t tell… but I can smell.

That covers a lot of ground, but if you have any other questions or follow-ups, feel free to send them to keith.murphy@whotv.com . Thank you for the questions, as well as the interest.  I appreciate the privilege.

-Keith Murphy