While the sports world awaits to resume, Kansas Shrine Bowl radio broadcast partner WIBW is preparing to bring sports back to the airwaves in the Sunflower State on Saturday night with the 47th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl.
A part of the broadcast will be Jake Lebahn, who has contributed to the Shrine Bowl broadcast since 2008.
Lebahn, who is the voice of the Washburn University athletics broadcasts heard on WIBW, took time out of his preparation from Saturday’s event to take peek inside the broadcast booth and how this year compares to year’s past.
The 47th annual Kansas Shrine Bowl will kick-off Saturday night at 7 PM and can be heard on WIBW 580AM, seen on YouTube , or heard across the state on the following radio stations: KXKU- Hutchinson, KINA- Salina, KQMA- Phillipsburg, KVSV – Beloit, KNZA – Holton/Hiawatha, and KMZA – Sabetha.
Eastern Kansas Sports: How long have you been with WIBW? How long have you been a part of the Shrine Bowl broadcast team?
Jake Lebahn: At WIBW since 2007. Sports director since 2011. Part of the Shrine Bowl since 2008.
EKS: After a long break from sports play by play, what do you do to “get back into the groove” of calling a game?
JL: Listen to some old tape to get a little bit of a refresher and listen to some of my favorite play by play guys.
EKS: How does preparing for a Shrine Bowl broadcast differ from that of a high school football game or D2 college football broadcast?
JL: It’s totally different than a regular broadcast. Everyone is from a different school so you have that to deal with. You don’t really know many of the players except maybe a few you have seen. It’s a ton of info to get thru. Their honors from past seasons. Where they are going to school next for college. But it also easier as it is really only 12 to 15 guys per side as it’s not a true 2 deep. Only 30 players on the roster for each team and they still platoon so you kinda know who plays what during the entire game. So that does make it easier.
EKS: How many of you are there in your broadcast team this year and how much time would you guess that you all spend on research, preparing, interviewing for the broadcast?
JL: Its myself, Brendan Dzwierzynski and Greg Akagi. Brendan will do play by play this year. I am giving him a shot to do the game, I will do color and Greg is sideline. We spend this week talking to players and coaches and administration. Then we do research on stats and honors for each player and where they are going to school. Talk with coaches on how week has gone and so it’s like a full game we do plus a bit more
EKS: Away from the broadcast booth, what is your favorite part of the Shrine Bowl week?
JL: It’s the hospital visitation. They cant do it this year. It will be via a zoom call which won’t have the same effect. But when they get to interact with the patients and do tasks like open a bag of chips with one hand. The kids/patients do it so easily and the players struggle so hard. Its eye-opening how they got dealt this huge blow but yet they are so happy and upbeat and just happy to do what they love. It’s an amazing day. I have been to 3 or 4 of them. Everyone should have to go to this hospital experience. It would make our world a better place.
EKS: Any memories or stories to share from a previous game that stays with you?
JL: The game is just fun to watch, you can see some fantastic talent, the hospital makes money and everyone is happy at the end. No one is a loser in the game.