Kent Hormann is restarting one Fort Wayne media career as one comes to an end.
The longtime broadcaster has announced his retirement from WISE on Jan. 29 after a 44-year television career, and is resuming his daily “SportsWise” radio show on WKJG, 1380-AM from 2-4 p.m. today. As he turns 67 on Thursday, the retirement has been planned for more than a year, but the idea of the radio show came up in October when Hormann was approached by Federated Media General Sales Manager Kassie Taksey.
Then friends Dave Lazzer and Paul Stephens died recently because of cancer.
“Just seeing people suffer tragic circumstances like that made me realize I need to stop and smell the flowers a little,” Hormann said.
“SportsWise” started as an hourlong WKJG-radio show on Dec. 10, 2010, and ended in June 1, 2012, when the station changed formats.
The Heritage High School and Ball State graduate started his professional career at WFFT in 1978 before moving to WKJG-TV in 1981 until 1995 and from 1998 to 2005 with a stop at Federated Media in between. Along with working at IPFW from 2005 to 2008, he started freelancing in 2005 for WPTA and started full-time for WISE (formerly WKJG-TV) again in 2014.
He was inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Fort Wayne Komets Hall of Fame in 2018.
Hormann has called games for local high school, college and professional sports, including the Komets, Fury, and Wizards/TinCaps. Among his highlights are calling the first Wizards game in 1993, the first Fort Wayne Fury game in 1991, the Komets' 1993 Turner Cup championship-clinching game and the IPFW 1994 men's volleyball match against No. 1-ranked UCLA. He also broadcast TinCaps games on cable TV for many years.
Among recent accomplishments, he started the Blue Ball Open charity golf outing in 2010, which continues raising money for men's health issues, primarily prostate cancer.
The new show will be a mixture of guests and call-in, Hormann said. Komets coach Ben Boudreau will be his first guest.
“I have always loved the freedom and flexibility of radio,” he said. “You have the chance to breathe a little more than on TV. My favorite thing of all-time is doing sports play-by-play because you are describing history as it's being made, and a radio show is something of the same. You never know who is going to get hired or fired or what is going to get canceled because of COVID. You never know what's going to happen every day, and I'm looking forward to that.”
Hormann said among the sports he wants to provide exposure to are non-revenue high school sports and events such as the men's and women's city golf tournaments. He took pride in covering the underexposed sports while he was the sports director at WKJG-TV.
Fort Wayne's history of sports talk radio doesn't go very far into the past. The cornerstone has always been “SportsTalk” on WOWO, which ran weeknight evenings from 1985 to 2003, primarily with Art Saltsberg and Dean Pantazi hosting.
Brad “Lefty” Davis hosted a daily afternoon call-in show on WGL from 1994 to 1996, and Billy Elvis and Stiller presented “The BS Sports Show” afternoons on WKJG radio from 2012 to 2015, followed by Brett Rump and “The Sports Rush” in 2016, which continues weekday afternoons on WKJG.
Jim Shovlin debuted “Talkin' Sports” in 2008 and continues Saturday mornings on WKJG. “Fat Guys on Sports” with Randi Marcom and Tom Snider ran Saturday mornings from 1992 to 1995 on WGL, and D.C. Hendrix and Brice Vance hosted the “Sideline Sports Show” from 2016 to 2020 on weekends on WKJG.