Farewell After Nearly 40 Years in Radio
Even though he isn't an announcer with KRFO radio, John Connor's voice and presence has helped mold the station into what it is today during a career that has spanned nearly 40 years with the station. Connor is retiring from his position as sales executive at the end of June. A celebration will be held at the Owatonna Knights of Columbus Hall Wednesday, June 26 from 4:30 to 7 pm.
Connor's voice is known to many through his on-air work during the Steele County Fair, as an auctioneer for the annual Young Life Cake Auction and through a variety of sports play-by-play and reporting. He is also the public address announcer at the Owatonna gym for basketball games. At one time he filed regular reports on AWA wrestling. His office has several wrestling-related photographs. More than that however, Connor's office is filled with family photos. He is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and, "Relaxing and enjoying life."
Connor started at KRFO August 27, 1979, the same day his wife Lori began teaching at St. Mary's School. Connor graduated from St. Peter High School.
He interviewed for a sales position with the station with Jerry Boos, who owned KRFO with Todd Hale and Pink Allen at the time. The first client he called on was Mary Groth with Groth Furniture ("...on top of the hill in Ellendale.") Connor said he wanted to announce too but there wasn't a position available. Still, he found a way to get on-air in a variety of capacities.
Connor was part of the broadcast team for the Medford state football championship in 1981 and the Triton state title run of 1994. He also broadcast Owatonna High School football for a few seasons, a portion of that time with current commentator Brad Fischer.
Connor tells a story of covering a Claremont Parrots football game with a mobile broadcast unit connected to the battery of his Volkswagon Beetle while sitting on the roof of the vehicle.
Former KRFO owner and current columnist for the Owatonna People's Press Todd Hale stated in this week's issue, "His loyalty and expertise has always been a valuable contribution to the sales operation." Connor has been active with the Rotary Club, Knight of Columbus and Junior Achievement through the years.
Plans include Connor to assist with KRFO's coverage of the fair this August. That should mean he will again host the watermelon seed spitting competition. A career highlight came the year Senator Paul Wellstone participated.
And we can hope to still hear his declaration during home Huskies' basketball games that, "It's time to play BASKETBALL!"