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Technology lets Columbia sportscaster reach Los Angeles audience

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:46 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Todd Donoho, a sports radio host, works for a Los Angeles radio show from his home in Columbia. Donoho wakes up around 6:30 every morning and researches sports in the Los Angeles area for his sports segments on KABC and KLOS radio stations. "It's my routine," Donoho said.

COLUMBIA — Drivers stuck in Los Angeles' early Monday morning gridlock are used to hearing Todd Donoho's voice on their car radios.

Almost every weekday morning, he does a sports spot on the Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer talk radio show on KABC/790 AM. He does the same on the Mark and Brian Show on KLOS/95.5 FM, a West Coast syndicated show.

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On KABC he's introduced as reporting from the station's sports desk. Little does his Los Angeles audience know, the KABC sports desk is about 1,750 miles away in a quiet neighborhood in Columbia.

It's a comfortable 10-step commute from his bedroom across the hall into his studio. A desk with a microphone, computer and television, surrounded by pictures of family and friends greets him. On occasion, his cat pries his door open and watches him speak about sports.

"My carbon footprint is really small," Donoho said with a smile.

Donoho hears his cue from his producer and immediately gets to work. He puts his headphones on and takes a quick look at his spiral notebook. In it are scribbled scores from the past day's baseball and women's basketball games.

He clicks his green stopwatch and belts out game highlights and a preview of the upcoming MLB All-Star Game. KABC thanks him, and he clicks the stopwatch again without even looking at it. He has a 45-second limit on his broadcasts, and he clocks in at 44.37, showing off his internal clock.

As one of his segments finishes, he reclines in his chair to monitor the Internet for the sports news of the day.

Technology makes Donoho's short commute possible. He said the Internet and cable television allow him to effortlessly keep up with Los Angeles sports. The most important piece of technology, though, is a black box on his desk. The box is wired into the shows he's featured on so the shows' producers can communicate with Donoho directly.

"Twenty years ago this wouldn't have been possible," Donoho said, occasionally looking over at the highlights from last night's baseball game on his television. "It's really easy to follow Los Angeles sports from Columbia now."

He flips a switch on the box, and he's wired into the Mark and Brian Show, where there is a more conversational environment. Monday, he compares Tim Lincecum to former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass. Donoho isn't the only person on the show broadcasting from outside of Los Angeles. Co-host Mark Thompson follows a similar routine from North Carolina.

After working as a sports broadcaster in Los Angeles for 20 years, Donoho moved to Columbia in 2004. He and his family wanted to move to a more familiar area. For Donoho, Columbia was as familiar as he could get. He graduated from MU in 1977 and met his wife there too.

After moving to Columbia, Donoho was contacted by the Mark and Brian Show, which he had worked for in Los Angeles, about doing a sports spot from home. In March, Donoho was hired by KABC to do sports for Doug McIntyre's show.

"He's an incredibly knowledgeable and nice guy," KABC Executive Producer Nathan Baker said. "He has an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and the Los Angeles area."

Since he's moved to Columbia, Donoho considers himself semi-retired, but he said he still does sportscasting out of routine and because it keeps him sharp.

"I've been having morning conversations with Mark and Brian for 25 years," Donoho said. "It's fun to get up every day and have a voice to say something about sports."

His love for MU athletics also played a big role in his move. Donoho said that although he followed Southern California sports, it was mostly for work. His true passion is following Missouri sports.

"I used to follow Mizzou from the Rose Bowl press box while covering UCLA," Donoho said. "It's time I moved to Columbia and follow my passions."

Donoho brought his Tiger Pride onto the Mark and Brian Show on Monday. He talked about having a rendezvous with the hosts in Tampa when MU football plays Florida in November, sending out an invitation for them to join him at an alumni tailgate on-air.

Many of Donoho's recent projects revolve around MU. Donoho has written a book about the history of the Missouri football team and children's books revolving around Truman the Tiger. He also hosts the postgame show on the Tiger Radio Network after Missouri basketball games.

"I've written books and email blogs. I've done play-by-play and sideline stuff," Donoho said. "It never stays the same. You just keep reinventing yourself."

As his Los Angeles audience gets off the congested highways and into their cubicles, it's almost noon already in Columbia. When Donoho finishes his last broadcast, he looks forward to the rest of the day. The golf course is just a short walk from his house.

"There are no drawbacks," Donoho said about working from afar.

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.


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