Kansas sports broadcaster to retire

Gale Rose
Dick Anderson broadcasts from the sideline for KMMM AM 1290 in Pratt. Anderson is retiring after 18 years of broadcasting Pratt High School, Skyline and Pratt Community College sports.

His voice has been a familiar friend for over two decades to Pratt-area sports fans. When the state baseball and softball games are over at the end of May this year, Dick Anderson will give his final broadcast for KMMM AM 1290 Pratt radio and pack up his broadcast equipment and head for home. Well, that was the plan before the coronavirus hit the country and caused the cancellation of all spring sports.

“Those were to be my final broadcasts. It’s time to come home and turn myself in,” Anderson said.

Anderson has been announcing games for KMMM for 18 years. He covers football, basketball, baseball, softball and selected volleyball games plus state games for Pratt High School. He covers conference basketball games plus selected home baseball and softball games for Pratt Community College.

Anderson said he was very nervous when he started broadcasting. He had no experience behind the mic and let his audience know how he felt.

“This is the first time I ever did anything like this so if I sound terrible, I’m sorry,” Anderson said. “That’s how I got started.”

On the average, Anderson broadcasts around 100 games a year and more when teams are involved in state tournaments. He estimates he has broadcast from 1,800 to 2,000 games total.

“There’s hardly a town in south central Kansas I haven’t done a ball game,” Anderson said.

When he retires at the end of May, he said he is going to miss everything. He still plans on being active and has told the coaches he is going to be in the front row rootin’ and tootin’ for the Greenbacks and Beavers.

“I’m going to miss a lot of stuff. But the memories are still there,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he has no regrets. Well, he does regret not starting when he was 18 and he regrets some of the stupid things he said. But as for his career in broadcasting, he feels blessed and has enjoyed it immensely.

“Somehow God put me here and he knew this was the best place for me,” Anderson said. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

Over the years, he has gotten to know the kids and has gotten to watch them mature and grow as athletes and as adults. He has known coaches and athletic directors, photographers and the citizens of Pratt that have been so supportive over the years.

“It’s about the kids. It’s about the Pratt family. It’s just a great place to live,” Anderson said. “I’m so proud of the kids.”

In all his years as a broadcaster, Anderson has only missed two Pratt High School football games, one against Lyons and the other against Hugoton. In the Hugoton game, the Kaufman boy went 80 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff and Anderson went crazy.

Other most memorable games were the 2016 state football championship game against Topeka Hayden when everyone was picking Topeka to win. After the second Greenback touchdown in 32 seconds and the score was 24-0 at the end of the first quarter, the attitude changed in the booth. Pratt won the game 48-14 to pick up their first state championship in 21 years.

Two years later, the Greenbacks lost the state championship in overtime and that was a memorable game too.

Broadcasting is a team effort. Anderson’s team includes Troy Maydew who does color commentary and Glen Cunningham who keeps statistics. Maydew is the most knowledgeable guy in every sport. He can go anywhere in Kansas and he knows the coaches. Cunningham was a coach and teacher and the way he puts stats together is amazing. Maydew and Cunningham have been with Anderson from the beginning, Anderson said.

“I can’t tell you what they mean to me. I’m really going to miss those two guys,” Anderson said.

The team at KMMM are essential to getting the broadcast out. General Manager Lisa Coss, ad sales Ada Welch, broadcaster Carl Rada and Raoul Rios all work together to make the broadcast possible.

“You just don’t do this with just one guy. I appreciate them all, Anderson said.

Anderson said he has seen a lot of venues in his time and he is impressed with the facilities in Pratt and how they have improved over the years.

“You can’t believe the facilities Pratt, Kansas has compared to other facilities,” Anderson said.

As for a favorite sport, Anderson said he hates to pick one over another because each has certain things he likes. But he always looks forward to football because its the first sport of the school season. He also likes baseball because he coached it when he was younger. Anderson said he learned a lot about baseball from the late Smoky Ford, whom the Green Sports Stadium ball diamond is named after. Ford’s love for baseball rubbed off on Anderson.

Anderson said also likes basketball because its so much a team sport and he has learned to love volleyball.

“That’s (which sport do you like best) the toughest question you can ask anybody who does this,” Anderson said.

Through the years, Anderson’s wife Beverly has been very understanding even though he has been gone a lot of evenings. Anderson has become so well known in the community that his wife won’t go to Walmart with him any more because so many people stop Anderson and want to talk.

“Bev and I have been married 31 years. I’ve been doing this about half of my married life,” Anderson said. “I’ve got the best wife. This woman has put up with me for 31 years.”

During his tenure, Anderson has done some memorable interviews with Mitch Holthus (play-by-play announcer for the Kansas City Chiefs, radio announcer and Pratt native Steve Webster, Dwight Thompson (the voice of the Wildcats) former quarterback Len Dawson and the legendary Tommy Landlord.

Anderson, who is 74, didn’t start his radio career until he was almost 60. Before that, he was selling cars in Wichita at Davis Moore and driving 140 miles a day for work. After four years of working there, he was tired of all the driving and wanted to come home to Pratt.

Eric Stroble, who had worked at Davis Moore and already knew Anderson, was general manger at KMMM and offered Anderson a job in advertising sales. So, in the spring of 2002, Anderson came back to Pratt and used his selling skills in Pratt, St. John, Medicine Lodge and Greensburg.

In April 2002, Anderson was asked if he would do a baseball sports broadcast. Anderson had children in sports and agreed. When football season started, Anderson said he would do sports broadcast until the station found someone else. Little did he know where that decision would lead.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” Anderson said.

After two years at the station, Anderson missed car sales and went to work at Doug Reh Chevrolet for four years and continued to broadcast. Reh allowed Anderson to take off early any time he needed.

When it was OK for Anderson to leave at noon to broadcast a game at Colby at 6 p.m. he knew he had very good boss.

“That’s a pretty special guy,” Anderson said.

Anderson said his plan was to retire from Doug Reh Chevrolet when he was 66 but keep on doing ball games. He talked with current KMMM General Manager Lisa Coss about continuing to do broadcasts for four or five years then step aside when she found someone else. That was 15 years ago.

Anderson continued broadcasting games and working advertising sales, a job he thoroughly enjoyed.

“I enjoyed every minute of what I did. What’s more fun than trying to help people grow their business,” Anderson said.