FARGO - Steve Hallstrom - a former WDAY sports director - woke up the morning of the North Dakota State football national championship game wanting to hear some sports talk on the radio. He found radio silence.
"I've got the radio on at 9:30 in the morning and kickoff is about two hours away and there's nothing," Hallstrom said Tuesday. "There's got to be, in this community where it's so sports crazy, something in the morning. When you're going fishing or working in the garage, you want to turn on the radio and hear someone talking about the Twins or Bison. There's been nothing in our marketplace for a couple years."
Hallstrom has decided to break the silence, teaming with 1100-AM "The Flag" to begin "Steve's Sports Saturday," which will air from 8 to 10 a.m. every Saturday beginning this week.
"There's nothing that spans what people care about in the valley," Hallstrom said. "Hopefully, we can bring something that the people are missing from the airwaves."
The first 90 minutes of the show will talk about what's happening in area sports and national sports with interviews from coaches, administrators and athletes. The final 30 minutes will be a segment called "The Spirit of Sports," where Hallstrom parallels religion and sports and has athletes and coaches tell their stories.
"This idea where you talk the Xs and Os of sports and the human side is very intriguing," Hallstrom said. "We want to talk about the heart-and-soul-type of things. Kids who have faith in God and use that to find peace in what they're doing or the kids that are trying to overcome some kind of adversity. Those heart-and-soul stories are those things we can all relate to.
"You may not care if NDSU is going to run a Cover 2, but you will care if someone on that defense grew up in a bad neck of the woods and no one thought he'd live past 18."
Hallstrom - now the regional director of sales and marketing for the Northeast United States at Discovery Benefits - was on television screens for 12 years at WDAY before leaving in January of 2010 to spend more time with his family. What brought back Hallstrom to sports - this time behind a microphone - were the bonds he formed in the sporting world.
"I missed the relationships with the coaches and administrators," Hallstrom said. "I knew I needed some time away from sports and be a husband and a dad. Those relationships and connecting with people, you start to miss it more as time goes by. I was looking for a way to have my cake and eat it to. I wanted to keep the job I have now and talk sports on the weekend."
Hallstrom's first show Saturday will feature interviews with Moorhead High School varsity boys hockey coach Peter Cullen and Fargo Shanley varsity boys basketball coach Shane Alderman. NDSU linebacker Grant Olson will be featured in "The Spirit of Sports" segment talking about his stint in the hospital days before he played in the national championship game.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548