For three years, Jim Joyner has brought nothing but passion and an enthusiastic attitude when covering McPherson High School athletics as a play-by-play announcer. For most people, it may seem effortless the way Joyner covers all Bullpup games, but it's not.
Joyner is a radio director for Mid-Kansas Radio KNGL/KBBE. Other than managing the content in the production room, he puts in 30 hours a week of research, planning and guidelines for every game that he plans on covering.
The way he prepares is like no other. It is something he takes seriously after reading "The Art of Broadcasting," a book written by his mentor, Tim Hedrick—a veteran sports announcer in the state of Kansas.
Hedrick took Joyner under his wing and gave him the tools to succeed as a broadcaster. Joyner absorbed all the advice he gave him throughout his college career at Baker University and helped find some job opportunities that suited for him.
"He's always very good at giving advice and what should I do," Joyner said. Sort of the way this job works, a lot of the times you get done with college, you go to a small town, work news and sports and do play-by-play for the teams. He was pretty spot on with that, and I always have able to look to him for advice, and he helped me get a lot of internships and jobs across the board. He helped prepared me for what this will be, and he did a good job with that."
Joyner's dedication goes back to his childhood days. The Olathe native was only five years old when he had aspirations of being a broadcast journalist. Already a sports fanatic, Joyner would often climb up to his neighbor's treehouse and envisioned himself covering a Kansas City Royals game inside of a media booth. Joyner was more than just a spectator when watching a televised game. He closely studied the play-by-play announcers and how they utilized their voices during their live broadcast.
"I've also been interested in what broadcasters had to say," Joyner said. "I've always had a knack for wanting to hear what they are saying when listening to games on the radio."
While at Baker, Joyner was on the grind in pursuit of his career. Being a former baseball player, Joyner initially saw himself as a baseball coach and thought about focusing on that. However, after doing some internships in the Kansas City area, he knew radio broadcasting was the niche he has been searching for after learning more about the business.
Since then, he broadcasted all the Baker games and Baldwin High School games before graduating. Some of his fondest memories were covering two NAIA National Championship games for both the football and women's basketball team along with Hedrick.
Fresh out of graduation, Joyner's biggest challenge was moving to McPherson and away from his friends and family. However, he felt right at home and was confident in what he was bringing to his work station.
"Obviously, moving away from friends and family as a 22-year old straight out of college was certainly a challenge. You are around the same people for four years, eight years or 22 years, and then going to a place that where you don't know anyone was tough," Joyner said.
Joyner was aware of how big a sports town McPherson was, which made his job more appealing to cover compared to working at other small-town markets that don't have that luxury.
"It was kind of better than what my expectations were. It's been a way better sports town than what I thought it was going to be as a really good sports town," Joyner said.
What also got him through was his partnership with sports writer Steve Sell being his color analyst. From the moment the two got to know each other, Sell and Joyner were already inseparable. Eventually, it led to more than just a working relationship with one another. Their friendship grew the more they were around each other.
"We immediately hit it off, but it felt like our chemistry was really good from the beginning," Joyner said. "I can remember people commenting to me and said 'it sounds like you guys been doing games together for a long time.' So we've always had really good on-air chemistry, and we have good off-air as well.
Steve always has the history with everything and has been here for more than 40 years. When you been here for that long, you know how the history works, and I get to be the guy that just gets excited and scream."
For three years, Joyner and Sell have been the dynamic duo in McPherson. Each of them complements each other when it comes to the Bullpups, Kansas High School sports and national news in the sports world. Sell couldn't ask for a better partner than Joyner from the way he carries himself.
"Jim is the most prepared and meticulous broadcaster I have ever encountered," Sell said. "His enthusiasm and passion for the teams he covers are unmatched. McPherson radio is blessed to have such a talented broadcaster whose future is limitless."
As both Joyner and Sell gear up for this coming year, the duo will not only broadcast the Bullpups for another season, but they will also cover McPherson College Athletics after reaching a deal with the Bulldogs last week.
"Steve and I are excited to be back on board with McPherson College and being able to be the play-by-play voice for them because the radio station for a long time had done their games, and right before I got here, they stopped," Joyner said. "We're excited to cover their games in a live stream with all the staff at Mac College as well as the coaches there. They got something good going, and I know the high school stuff always comes first, but I think these teams are starting to get it going. Pretty soon it's going to be the place to be."
Outside of covering McPherson and doing his daily radio show "According to Jim," there are days you'll see him at a golf course. There are days you'll see him hosting and emceeing banquets, and just for the amusement, he will attend weddings on the weekends as a guest or as a reverend. That's right. Joyner is a licensed reverend and can officiate a wedding whenever he is being requested to. He married his first couple, which is his long-time friend Eli Egger and Sara Slater, this summer in Kansas City, Kansas.
"They just ask me, and I said sure," Joyner said. "Not really know what I had to deal with and what I had to do. By the time we go to the month or two before the wedding, we put together our plan and worked with them, putting together a wedding itself, and it was a great event in Kansas City. There were like 300 people at this wedding and its massive hall where people were standing up in the raptures, and they were looking at me. It was a really fun week and fun to be apart of it."
Joyner doesn't have a specific time-frame of how long he plans on staying in McPherson, but it rests assured that Joyner is here for the long haul and is looking forward to what McPherson has in store.
"It's unique for a town of 13,000 to have so much interest in what we are doing for the radio station," Joyner said. "Plus the relationships with a lot of the players and the athletes we get to be around.
The memories, winning and seeing the young athletes grow up is something that I've enjoyed and seen them progress from little tiny freshmen, until big seniors that are leaders that played the right way. It's fun to see that transition happen."
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page