McCollum's Column: One door closes, another opens

It’s the end of an era — one that has had changing technology, great triumphs and shattering defeats.

Through 39 years of broadcasting Conway athletics on KASR radio, Mike Harrison has seen it all and broadcast so much of it — many times through a often-shaky land-line telephone receiver.

Thirty-nine years is an exceptional time for a partnership.

We’ve seen the smiles on Mike’s face, the handshakes and pats on the back after victories defeats. He’s greeted many a Conway athlete with either a handshake or a hug after scholarship signings and has interviewed hundreds of parents, friends and coaches during the celebrations.

Harrison and Louis Ambers, his broadcast partner of 34 of those 39 years, have not only lent their voices to Conway athletics — but their hearta and souls. No one can question their passion.

Beginning next athletic season, Conway games will be broadcast on Y107, which outbid Harrison for the rights and seems poised to usher in a new era of play-by-play for athletic events.

Harrison suspected he would be outgunned by the Crain Media affiliate in the bidding process. Play-by-play rights often make for a competitive business.

He and Ambers traveled the state broadcasting Conway sports. They often got in the the wee honors but they never publically complained. This was a labor of love.

“It was family,” he said. “I appreciate everything Conway High did for us. I loved the association with the coaches and relationships with the kids and school.”

“Mike’s been a friend for a long time and he and his crew did a good job for us,” said Steve Daniels, athletic director for Conway Public Schools.

Harrison, who broadcasts and telecasts online games for a variety of state high schools through the Creative Sports Network, already has a new gig.

He will announce this week that KASR, his Conway flagship, will now broadcast and telecast Little Rock Catholic athletic events.

“My heart has always been with Conway sports, but everything comes to an end some day,” he said.

“I pray every morning and the Lord tells me when one door closes, two more usually open.”

So, through the transition, things seem win-win.

Conway High still has a strong local affiliate, whose personnel seem enthusiastic and eager for the opportunity, and Harrison has a new partnership with strong possibilities for sponsorships and enhanced relationships with another community.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)

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