Our new satellite technology enabled us to feed audio anywhere without the limitation of telephone circuits. It just seemed natural to begin broadcasting the games of other Universities. Missouri was our first; Iowa State our second. Iowa has three state-wide universities: Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa. Now we handle the marketing for all three. Prior to 1984 only Iowa University had statewide radio coverage. Iowa State University [PDF of ISU brochure], over in Ames, couldn’t get the respect it deserved with much exposure at all. Learfield’s Robert Fowler convinced the school to let us set up a state-wide network; the bid process was a mere formality which we won in late 1983 for the season beginning in the fall of 1984. There were two young guys I had in mind to run the new operation: Roger Gardner and Greg Brown.
“GB and I opened the office in Des Moines on April 1, 1984–two April fools in one office.” Roger says. “The office, in a strip mall/office area near the Val Air Ballroom on First Street in W Des Moines, was above a Chinese restaurant. (see picture) Greg’s job was sales, mine affiliate relations. We both pestered the athletic department. Funny things happened…like the trip to the Iowa Broadcasters meeting at Lake Okoboji where we met and hung out with a young CBS affiliate dude named Mike Connolly. He now heads up sales for ABC Radio Networks.”
“Roger and I drove to Des Moines in a U-Haul loaded with all of our wordly personal possessions and a couple of bad-ass Steelcase desks. Our office was a small executive suite with a shared receptionist–a prim and proper lady named Irene Furtwangler who sported the tallest beehive hairdo I’ve ever seen. Our office was so small we couldn’t back our chairs up at the same time and talking on the phone at the same time was also a challenge. Since neither of us had any clue what we were doing, we tended to double up a lot on each other’s duties–I’d go on station calls with Roger and he’d go on sales calls with me. Truth is, we needed each other.”