Prep Sports

A day with KCRG's Scott Saville

HS journalism: Prairie student gets insight into a news career

KCRG sport director Scott Saville (right) interviews former Iowa linebacker and Solon standout James Morris before the annual Athlete of the Week Banquet in 2014. Saville said the Athlete of the Week feature is his favorite segment. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
KCRG sport director Scott Saville (right) interviews former Iowa linebacker and Solon standout James Morris before the annual Athlete of the Week Banquet in 2014. Saville said the Athlete of the Week feature is his favorite segment. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Last month, I was searching on the KCRG website to email a news anchor for an interview. When I attempted to reach out to one of Iowa’s most popular news anchors, I received no response.

That’s when I emailed Scott Saville, the sports director.

I got a response the same day.

Scott was kind enough to let me come down to the station to interview him face-to-face. I knew this was a very rare opportunity.

I went to KCRG on Jan. 10 and rang the buzzer to the front entrance. As I waited for the door to unlock, a kind secretary greeted me when I walked in. I waited in the lobby for about two minutes before Scott opened a door leading to the station itself. I got up quickly and walked over to him, shaking his hand and introducing myself. I followed him through the main area to the workspace of KCRG journalists. I walked in and looked at my surroundings. I was in awe because I couldn’t believe I had gotten into the downtown newsroom.

As Scott and I walked through the area with desks filled with working employees, I looked ahead and saw Bruce Aune standing with a couple of other men, fixing his tie. I was beyond surprised to see him in person since I see him at least once a day on my living room TV. That’s when I was even more glad I had the opportunity to be there.

I followed Scott into a small room with an even smaller table with three computer screens showing clips of citizens working out at the gym Orangetheory. In the rest of the small space, there was a single office chair. I was told to bring in another chair so I could sit down and we could get the interview started. I got my laptop started and opened the document with my interview questions. He showed me the segment he later aired that night at 5. After that, I explained how I would audio record the interview on my phone and type his responses to the questions. I proceeded to ask questions about his inspiration for his career, his favorite sports and other topics.

Here’s how it went:

I asked him what inspired him to go into the news and sports director career path.

“Sports, that’s all I did as a kid,” he said. “Playing sports through high school and college. Originally I wanted to be a coach and I took an internship. My dad was friends with a general manager at a TV station in Rochester, Minn., so I went, took the internship, and they had me watch games, go to games and eat free food. And I thought, ‘well, I can do that.’ I changed careers at that point and went into sports broadcasting.

“That happened my junior year college. I basically changed majors, I was doing the physical education major originally and changed it at that point.”

Wonder what he does each day? Well, it changes every day.

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“Today I was up at 9 a.m. shooting this (Orangetheory segment) and tomorrow I do Athlete of the Week,” he said.

He also explained what his schedule for the next day would include.

“I’m shooting another segment at 8 in the morning and my day will end at midnight,” he said. “My day will (be) pretty much non-stop the entire time. After I get done doing the 10 o’clock news I have to do the morning sports radio and put stuff online.”

Scott said going out and covering high school and college games would be the best part of his day. He also said the Athlete of the Week segments are “my favorite thing to do.”

As sports director, he travels to high schools around the area covering wrestling, girls’ basketball as well as boys’ basketball and tennis. You would think someone as busy as Scott would be overwhelmed with his work. Not always.

“It’s a hard question,” he said. “I don’t get overwhelmed, but I do get worn down. Just from the working seven days a week. It can wear you down.”

Someone doesn’t always want to pursue the same career for the rest of their life. Many people change careers and try different ones. Scott doesn’t want to keep doing his until retirement.

“I want to do something else,” he said. “I can see myself doing this maybe another five years. I don’t want to do the same thing my entire life. There would be a number of different things I would want to try. I want to try different things like sales, real estate. There are tons of different things.”

While at work, there isn’t necessarily time for fun and games. There’s always work to do. Scott chuckled at the question, expressing the thought of being too busy for shenanigans around the work environment.

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“No, we don’t have any free time,” he said. “We do talk in the car going to games or wherever we are traveling.”

I learned a bit about his favorite hobby and the sports he loves to watch and attend. Cycling is a hobby Scott enjoys and watching different types sports often and writing about them, he is bound to have a favorite sport.

“My favorite sport has always been football, its very close between football and basketball,” he said. “I like fighting. That sounds weird. but I like it. It’s not something I cover much. It’s just something I like to enjoy.”

I asked if he was talking about Mixed Martial Arts. He said he likes MMA and boxing.

“I enjoy all sports,” he said. “There’s not a sport I don’t enjoy.”

I asked if there was anything else he wanted me to know about the field of work for news broadcasting.

“I would say if you’re going into it you need to realize it’s a 24/7 job,” he said. “Seven days a week, if you want to do it right. You have to be able to do everything. When I first got into this business, I didn’t shoot because at the stations they had photographers. You shoot, you write, you edit. You line up guests, you’re in. You have to be multitalented. And obviously, you have to stay up to date with the new technology. When I started this job we didn’t have computers, we had typewriters.”

At the end of the interview, I asked if I could have a tour of the news station and he was more than happy to give me one. We went out of the small editing room and he introduced me to a man in another editing room. He also introduced me to news anchors Beth Malicki and Aune. After meeting those two and a couple editors, he showed me where the magic happens — the studio.

I followed him back to where the real news happens. There were two big desks and a tall green wall with a green floor area. There were cameras and cords all around me.

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There was a lot of equipment for when the news is broadcast. As I was looking around, I saw someone emerge from the corner of my eye, and it was another well-known anchor — meteorologist Joe Winters. I greeted him excitedly and shook his hand, introducing myself.

Scott took a picture of Joe and I and I got to go to the very back of the studio to see where Winters and Justin Gerhts work.

Scott showed me a soundproof room where he did his radio shows. It was the backstage area with even more cords and lights. Everywhere around us was filled with random unknown equipment. We walked through the short hallway and through the two heavy doors with signs warning people about entering the studio in case they were in a live session. I was walked out to the main lobby and I thanked Scott for the opportunity and being able to receive a great interview as well as an astounding tour.

A possible future career for being a news anchor may be in my future after this experience.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.