Jim Zabel, R.I.P.

It's a trip down memory lane today in memory of Jim Zabel, the long-time voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes who was on the radio at WHO, Des Moines in a career that touched seven decades.

You can read more about Jim's career here and there isn't much I can add to it but a small footnote.

For nine months in 1984, I worked at WHO while completing my studies at Drake University.  A Journalism major, I was glad to be working full-time hours at one of the oldest stations in the country and have my voice reach 38 states and Canada.

You had to listen quick, as my role was behind the scenes over night production for the morning drive and to provide weather updates and station breaks during the Larry King Show and the morning WHO Farm report.  My shift was midnight to 7am and then I was off to class.

Jim was a legend long before I got to the station - known for his work on TV and lionized for his role at the Hawkeyes voice of football and basketball.

He would sometimes stroll into the booth opposite the control booth I was in, ask if I had a tape ready to record, and then he would deliver a sports report for the morning.  In his mellifluous voice, he would do it in one take and was ready to head home.

He was always friendly to me, the college kid behind the glass, and always a professional.

After those nine months were over, I would still hear Jim on the radio... as recently as the fall of 2011... stunned that he could still be on the air (because when I was working with him, I thought he was pretty old) and sounding so good.

He lived on the air, literally, most of his life.  He died last week at age 91, preparing for his Sunday night radio gig.

For a kid who loved radio before working in it, it's a thrill to work at a legendary station and with one of the guys who could remember the early glory days of radio.

Thanks Jim, for being kind to one of the little guys you met along the way.