Bethalto native Darin Trent is a longtime St. Louis Cardinal fan, so his recent trip to spring training was a dream come true.
See, Trent didn’t just go as a fan; he was the winner of the 2015 KMOX Sport Correspondent contest. Trent put his professional-sounding voice to the test and came out on top, winning a trip to Florida to work with KMOX sports director Tom Ackerman from March 26-29. To top it all, he got to take his dad, Larry, as his guest.
It was a whirlwind for Trent and it all started when he decided to enter KMOX 1120’s annual broadcasting contest.
“Each year KMOX puts on the contest and Gold’s Gym is the sponsor,” Trent said. “This year there were five different locations and you can go and do a one-minute radio spot. Basically you’re reading a one-minute sportscast like you hear on KMOX. When you do that they videotape you and they send that videotape back to KMOX. The panel chosen by KMOX, which is most of their sports people, will then chose the top 10 out of all the candidates. There were somewhere between 100-150 this year and I made the top 10. I made the top 10 last year as well.”
Trent then won the online vote to be the guest correspondent at spring training. It was unexpected to Trent that he won. He has no previous paid broadcasting experience, but he’s no stranger to a microphone.
“I didn’t have any broadcast experience,” Trent said. “I did do some public address announcing at the East Alton Ice Arena for Bethalto hockey. I also did some charity events, one of which was the alumni for the St. Louis Blues, so I had a little bit of experience as far as speaking on a microphone in front of people, but as far as any experience as far as paid stuff, I didn’t have anything like that. It was all volunteer.”
Trent and his father arrived in Jupiter, Fla., on Thursday, March 26, and got settled in. When Friday hit it was time to get to work.
“We went in and I met with KMOX sports director Tom Ackerman and Tom showed me around the stadium, along with my dad, and introduced me to some KMOX personnel,” Trent said. “I met a few people with the Cardinals, attended the game and the dinner they had where (outfielder) Peter Bourjos, (hitting coach) John Mabry and (pitcher) Marco Gonzalez were at. I got to meet those guys as well as John Rooney, who is one of the Cardinal broadcasters.”
Trent learned first hand the nature of the sports business, as Cards’ pitcher Jaimie Garcia was injured and pitcher Sam Freeman was traded, changing up his schedule. He was supposed to do interviews on Friday, but they were pushed to Sunday. He did some interviews with Ackerman that were sent back to the station.
The Cardinals traveled on Saturday, but then Sunday hit and Trent got the opportunity of a lifetime for a Cards fan.
“Sunday we got there about 8 a.m. and right off the bat I got to interview Lou Brock in front of the home dugout,” Trent said. “I asked him several questions about his experience with Cardinal baseball. He couldn’t have been any more gracious. Al Hrabosky couldn’t have been any more gracious. The organization as a whole and KMOX were so accommodating. I couldn’t have asked for anything better with them.”
Ackerman informed Trent of the Brock interview on Saturday night. Interviewing a Hall of Famer was definitely exciting for the Bethalto native.
“When (Ackerman) told me on Saturday night that I was going to be interviewing Lou Brock the next day I almost fell out of my chair,” Trent said. “I went over a couple questions with my dad, who filled me in on a couple things I didn’t know about Brock ... Guys like that, it’s not an arrogance, but a confidence that they know what their abilities are.”
Trent also performed a one-on-one interview with Cardinal outfielder Matt Holiday and met Mike Shannon and longtime St. Louis sports broadcaster Mike Claiborne. It was an unforgettable weekend. Trent blogged about his experiences for KMOX’s website.
Trent, the Madison County Courthouse security supervisor, loves broadcasting but knows he’s coming to it a little late in the game. He’ll leave it to the professionals and always reminisce about the one weekend he got called to the big leagues.
“I’d love to do that sort of thing and be in radio, but I’m six years from retiring in the job I’m in at the sheriff’s office and I’m kind of locked into that,” Trent said. “I kind of got into this late and I know very well with the media, whether it’s print, or TV, there are a lot of dues you have to pay and you really need to do that when you’re younger when you have the time to do that. I have an appreciation for that and I wouldn’t disrespect people by thinking I could just jump right in and do that, but it is something I would like to do.
“It was just a wonderful experience and a time I will never forget for the rest of my life.”