In the wee early hours of April 8th, 2008, Johnny Kane gobbled the best Denny’s breakfast he ever had.
Just hours earlier, Kane was in the Alamo Dome for Mario’s Miracle – the shot that propelled the Kansas Jayhawks to an NCAA National Championship victory. But in the front row, he was no spectator. And in the moments after the overtime dominated by the Crimson and Blue, Kane made sure his work came before play.
“We worked hard all week to bring the Topeka community all the sights and sounds of San Antonio,” Kane said. “There wasn’t much down time, but once I filed my final report on Monday night, early Tuesday morning, I could finally relax.”
Kane was the sports director for KSTN in Topeka at the time, a middle stop in a well-traveled career path. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Ohio and earned a post-graduate internship in Hopkinsville, Ky. After three months, he took a job at the same WKAG station and stayed for over two years. Following five years in Topeka, including covering of the Jayhawks’ national championship, Kane moved to KMBC-9 News, the ABC affiliate in Kansas City.
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Similar to most journalists, things started very small for a young Kane. He first began writing sports for his high school newspaper. But from humble begins to where he is now, Kane emphasizes a persistent determination and ambition.
“You need to outwork everyone. Many people try to develop a ‘thing’ that they want to be known for. That’s not the right approach. Your “thing” needs to be a tireless work ethic.”
This dedication to his craft has led Kane into a more diverse journalism experience than he ever imagined. Each Friday morning, he is a guest host on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City and will occasionally fill in on the show “Fescoe in the Morning.” He also is the spokesperson for the Bright Futures Fund and emcees various events for them.
As well rounded as Kane has become, he admits there are still challenges that he faces in his profession. In the age of increased media attention, teams have tightened much of the access to the players and coaches.
“One struggle is developing and maintaining great contacts. Any more you need to go through Sports Information Directors in order to gain access to athletes. It’s not like the good-old days where you could pick up the phone and write your story. You must operate within the timeframe of availability.”
Going forward, Kane has desires to move to a sports specific network such as ESPN or the new Fox Sports One. However, his end goal is to make an impact and pursue a political career after his sports journalism is over.
“Believe it or not, there are some good and decent politicians in this world. I hope to become one of those to effect positive change in this country.”
Kane has always wished to help out in the community. Any opportunity to help a group of people or an individual grow is something he truly values. He always has a handful of advice waiting.
“Be yourself. You can pull traits from the people you admire in the industry, but at the end of the day be true to yourself. It’s much easier to be consistent when you’re genuine in your approach. The viewers will see that as well.”
Kane has nearly done it all. He’s been there and done that. From his lowly start as a writer for a high school newspaper to his ambitions of ESPN and a career in politics, there is certainly a mountain to be climbed. But similar to his favorite and defining career event, all it takes is one shot.
Hopefully this time it doesn’t take a miracle.