Milwaukee Talks: WISN 12 Sports Director Dan Needles
Podcast: Dan Needles talks about his pre-TV job as a lifeguard
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It's probably taken us too long to catch up with Dan Needles. After all, he spends the first few hours of his day alongside OnMilwaukee.com Senior Editor Drew Olson as co-host of "The D-List" on Milwaukee's ESPN Radio affiliate (540 AM).
Then, he heads over to his "full-time" job, sports director at WISN 12 (with which we also have a promotional relationship).
But Needles, 45, is an easy interview subject. He's a Waukesha native who still roots for his home teams. He started his career in Wausau, New London and Chippewa Falls, but has been working locally for the last 18 years. He's seen TV sports coverage change of the years, and he's changed along with it.
Still, Needles' style is all his own. For a guy who's played golf with Brett Favre and once worked as a lifeguard, Needles is the last to complain about the 14-hour days. "It's not digging ditches," he says.
Enjoy this Milwaukee Talks with Dan Needles.
OMC: You start at 9 a.m. on the radio, but you must get here earlier to do some show prep, right?
DN: Maybe 8:59. Bill (Johnson) and Drew do all the work, then I show up and stay stupid things and leave at noon.
OMC: Do you go straight to Channel 12?
DN: Sometimes. It depends on what's going on that day and who's working. Today, I'm solo, so I'm going right in. But on a normal weekday, I get up around 7:30, take two of my girlfriend's kids to school, come in here, go home and try to take a nap for a half hour, get ready for work and go to the TV station.
OMC: And what time does that wrap up?
DN: Usually about 10:45 p.m. I work Sunday through Thursday. I've been at Channel 12 for 18 years, and at the radio station since 2004.
OMC: Are you burning out at all?
DN: If it were something that I didn't like, I might be, but to be honest, doing radio is more fun than doing television -- and that's no knock because (Channel 12) is the most important job to me. But this, we're just talking sports, nothing else. It's not work, it's just a lot of fun.
OMC: Is hard to go back and forth between straight reporting and hosting a show with some humor?
DN: It is sometimes. When Brett Favre retired, and I wasn't opinionated in any way, on TV I mentioned that I was there for Favre's first pass, which he completed to himself in Tampa, and I was there for his last pass, which was an interception. A viewer called in about my "acid tongue," and how "this is supposed to be a day we're celebrating, and why do you have to bring up that he threw an interception ..." And that wasn't even opinionated! It's really hard sometimes to catch myself and not be too opinionated on TV, because they're not paying me for that. They're paying me to report.
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Bobby Tanzilo | Sept. 4, 2012 at 9:07 a.m. (report)
Check the date, this story is from 2008. Bobby
Great timing on this story, guys. I hope the domestic-violence arrest was a misunderstanding, but it'll overshadow any attempt to make him seem like a lovable local.
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