Southridge broadcaster Gutgsell receives media awardFebruary 2, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — You might know the name Kurt Gutgsell, or more likely his voice. As the sports director for WBDC Radio, Gutgsell has been broadcasting local high school games for 30 years and was bestowed the Indiana High School Athletic Association's Distinguished Media Service Award during Friday’s game between Southridge and Forest Park.
Gutgsell, who also serves as the sports director for WJTS TV, joins Walt Ferber, Bob Simmers and Brian Bohne as the fourth member of the Dubois County media to receive the award, and he felt honored to count himself amongst a group that he feels “does it for the right reasons” when it comes to bringing the game to the fans.
“You don’t do this for recognition or the honors,” he said. “You do it because it’s part of the job, it’s something you love. It feels good to be recognized for the little part that you have.”
Gutgsell was inspired by his days as an athlete and the county’s passion for sports to pursue a career in sports broadcasting after graduating from Jasper High School in 1986. He got his start calling games while he studied at Vincennes University before finishing his communications degree at University of Southern Indiana. He said the time cutting his teeth with college baseball and basketball calls was invaluable, and Gutgsell also credited the instructors at both schools with giving him room to scrape his knees a bit as they helped him iron out his style and technique.
“They let you go out, get experience and maybe fail,” he said. “They let you make your mistakes and come back and correct you. It was a great way to start.”
That start taught Gutgsell how to prepare, but he says that the process of evolution and professional growth is constant. He’s always looking for better ways to use his voice and energy to paint the most vivid picture possible for fans during his radio calls. Changing with technology is also an ongoing challenge in getting familiar with new equipment and best practices for audio and visual broadcasting. He also works to solidly deliver on the professional fundamentals necessary to carve out an award-winning career that spans three decades.
“Be prepared, be accurate,” said Gutgsell as he ran down the cornerstones of his style and approach. “Do it with enthusiasm. Be the best you can be for the viewers and listeners. Take into consideration that the games you’re covering aren’t easy to play (or) coach. You have to understand that they’re kids playing games that we cover, mistakes are going to be made. Realize it’s not the most important thing, you just got to toe that line.”
Gutgsell said that he’s had opportunities to move on from Dubois County, but his love for the local sports scene has kept him planted here and he wouldn’t have it any other way. The combination of welcoming athletic directors and coaches combined with the heavy school pride he gets to see and experience when covering games have created an intoxicating atmosphere that helps keep the job fun and fresh for him. It’s hard for Gutgsell to pick one special sports moment that stands out, given the thousands of games he’s covered in his career, though he points to the seasons when Southridge sent teams to state as some of the most fun he’s experienced at the broadcast table.
Gutsgell said the most rewarding bit has been getting to know and cultivate relationships with the various subjects he’s interacted with throughout the years. For him, it’s been a pleasure to learn people’s various stories, witness their most dramatic moments and share their successes with the greater world through radio and television. He’s grateful and humbled to have a job that connects him with so many interesting people, and that’s what has allowed him to carve out a career that’s worthy of being recognized and honored.
“The people are the best part of this job,” said Gutgsell. “The teams (and) the games, that’s okay but the people is what makes it great. I wouldn’t have met the hundreds of people I met if I hadn’t been for this job. Some of these people are great, not only at what they do professionally but just the kind of people they are. People here are top notch, and I owe a lot to them.”
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