From the Mound to the Airwaves

Jan. 26, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When most students are unwinding late on a Sunday night after a long weekend, Iowa senior Kevin Lee is at the KRUI radio studios co-hosting the “Southside Sound”.

Lee, a senior on the Iowa baseball team, co-hosts a two-hour show on 89.7 FM Sunday nights from 10 p.m.-midnight. When the opportunity presented itself to do something he loves, he jumped at it.

“I became friends with Pat Quinn, who is the marketing director and a DJ at KRUI,” said Lee. “A buddy of his dropped out and he knew I really liked music so he asked if I wanted to DJ with him — I didn’t even hesitate.”

Lee is about to begin his second season as the Hawkeyes’ closer. The righty made 21 appearances and established a school single-season record with 13 saves to go along with a 2-0 record his junior campaign. Lee can be intimidating to most batters; Lee is a 6-5 fire baller. But, when asked if he was more nervous the first time he set foot on the pitcher’s mound or putting on the headset for his first radio show, Lee leaned towards the radio gig.

“It was very comparable,” said Lee with a smile. “It was such a different feeling talking live on the air than throwing a baseball. I might have been more nervous my first time on radio.

“I had the butterflies going, but after the first break I got the hang of it. Having something interesting to say while you are working the board is difficult at first, but I came around.”

Lee and Quinn, who both hail from the south side of Chicago, have been co-hosting the show since the third week of fall classes. Lee has always enjoyed music, especially old music, primarily progressive and classic rock, so DJ’ing was a natural fit. Being on the other side spinning tunes fits right into Lee’s personality.

“We like to keep the show fresh,” explained Lee. “It’s an alternative radio station so we play a lot of Indie groups like Mumford and Sons and Dawes. We’ll also mix in some classic rock every now and then.”

Lee said that he and Quinn also take phone calls from fans discussing music topics and also taking requests. In fact, the show even received a phone call last semester from assistant coach Ryan Brownlee.

“He (Brownlee) was pretty amazed because he didn’t know I was doing this,” said Lee. “It was funny; he requested some pretty epic 90’s tunes. I told him that we would play one of his requests if he gets me an at-bat this year — reason being, I was recruited as a catcher and since switching to a pitcher I haven’t had the opportunity to get an at-bat. I played the song, so I’m hoping he keeps up his end of the bargain.”

DJ’ing is more of a hobby for Lee than trying to pursue this as a profession, but you never know.

“If the opportunity arose I would definitely look into it,” said Lee. “If I move back home and I can get a 4 a.m. half hour slot on XRT, I would take it in a heartbeat.”

Lee said he has been having a blast so far his senior year and it’s only going to get better as the baseball season is right around the corner.

“It’s fun having a lot going on,” said Lee. “I love DJ’ing and coming to the field. It’s been surreal.”

The Iowa baseball team had a great finish to the 2010 season, winning 11 of its last 14 regular season games to place in third place and ultimately finish runner-up at the Big Ten Tournament, just two wins from earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Lee believes the Hawkeyes are going to have a great year in 2011.

“The goal is a Big Ten Championship,” said Lee. “If we go out there and play relaxed, good things are going to happen. Winning the Big Ten would be a great way to end my collegiate career. As a team, we are all extremely excited to get going.”

If you’re at Duane Banks Field this spring cheering on the Hawkeyes and see Lee taking cuts at the plate in his first collegiate at-bat, you’ll know why.