MRN Announcer Spotlight: Steve Post
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on August 6, 2014 | 7:30 A.M. EST
Steve Post interviews Danica Patrick after she won the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
Get to know Steve Post - Pit Road Reporter - in this week's edition of MRN Announcer Spotlight. Post is also the host of "MRN 360" and co-host of "Winged Nation" and "Fast Food" at MRN.com.
Q: When did you first become interested in broadcasting?
Post: I became interested in broadcasting as a kid. I listened to a lot of baseball on the radio. I remember living in Northeastern Pennsylvania, listening to Cincinnati Reds games on a transistor radio. As I continued to develop a passion for racing, somewhere along the way I discovered MRN. I liked the way the picture was painted and this was back in the days where races on TV weren't an option. There was the Daytona 500, the 400-mile race from Daytona that was on "Wide World of Sports" and maybe one other race. Radio was the way to follow NASCAR and that's really where the passion came from. And I have a strong voice, I can’t deny that.
Q: When was the first time you picked up a microphone at a race track?
Post: My joke is the first race I missed at the local tracks was the night of my junior prom. I had so much fun at my junior prom that on the night of my senior prom, I was at Five-Mile Point Speedway - where I belonged. I loved racing. When I was a kid, I could mimic all the short-track announcers in the area. Penn Can Speedway was my "home track" and my dad would take me up in the booth because he knew the announcers. I think the first announcing gig I did was a summer job at Five-Mile Point Speedway. The regular announcer was doing a good job, a guy named Ed Billings - a great, great guy. One night, I'm not sure what happened but he wasn’t there. He was late or something and they gave me the microphone. I realized at that point that this is something I really want to do.
Q: How did you become involved with the Motor Racing Network?
Post: At some point in the mid-90s, I realized that being a floor covering salesman in Northeastern Pennsylvania was not necessarily where I wanted to be going forward. I was listening to a guy named Kevin Lynn on AM radio in Pennsylvania, driving down the road selling carpet and doing my thing, when he said something that hit me at the right time: "Figure out what you want to do and find someone to pay you to do it." It was instantaneous. I knew then I didn’t want to be a carpet salesman. I wanted to do racing full-time. At the time, I was doing short-track announcing, owned the programs for two tracks and wrote for a racing trade paper ... plus, I worked as a volunteer at Pocono. Through writing for the trade paper, I covered races at Pocono, Dover, Watkins Glen and - I believe - Richmond. Through all of that, I was able to see how the NASCAR business worked and that gave me the idea that I needed to move south. I was able to volunteer at Charlotte Motor Speedway, doing pit notes on race weekends, and then I moved into PR with the Square D Company and Kenny Wallace. I worked with IWX Motor Freight with Randy Tolsma in the Truck Series, Tony Roper in the Nationwide Series, and Derrike Cope and a series of other drivers. My final PR job was with Texaco/Havoline, working with Ricky Rudd at Robert Yates Racing. It was during that time period that I realized I was enjoying what I was doing, but it still wasn’t that final step. Along the way, I developed a relationship with David Hyatt (MRN president and executive producer). We were standing at Pocono one time and I said, "If you're ever doing auditions, let me know." He said, "As a matter of fact, in a few weeks we are doing auditions at New Hampshire." My audition was a Modified race at New Hampshire, broadcasting from a billboard in Turn 3. I guess the rest is history.
Q: What do you remember about your audition?
Post: Ironically, I auditioned in the same race as Kyle Rickey, which is kind of neat. We're from the same class, if you will. Another thing I remember is working with Ricky Rudd, who was a genuine and sincere guy, and he knew I was doing it. It was after qualifying on Friday, he actually grabbed a team scanner and was in his motor coach. When I got done doing the audition, he told me to swing by and he gave me some advice on what he liked and disliked. Beyond the tips that Barney (Hall) and Joe (Moore) at MRN gave me that day, it was interesting to get Rudd's perspective.
Q: When was your first broadcast with the Motor Racing Network and what stood out to you the most in that race?
Post: It was a Truck Series race at Darlington in the spring of 2003. I was P-3 (pit reporter) and there was this young driver by the name of Carl Edwards. He blew his engine and they pushed him off the track in Turn 4, down behind the pit wall. Young, anxious MRN guy Steve Post and young, anxious driver Carl Edwards ... who is still sitting in his truck. I was told that you get the driver's attention and he'll motion you in if it’s alright. Carl, wanting to be interviewed, motioned me in. I, as a young pit reporter, was not paying attention as the crew guys moved in. The next thing you know, crew guys are picking me up and pushing the truck all the way down to the backstretch garage. So I literally did the Carl Edwards interview trying to run alongside the truck. You could see the look in his eyes and I know the look in my eyes had to be like, "we probably should have waited on this interview." But we got it done and that’s what really comes to mind in that first race.
Q: Since you co-host "Fast Food" every Thursday at MRN.com, what are your top two favorite restaurants to visit on the NASCAR circuit?
Post: There are a number of them on the tour. The best burgers are at "The Brickyard," just down the road from Daytona International Speedway on International Speedway Boulevard. Down the road from Kentucky Speedway, there’s a place called "Jewells on Main" in Warsaw. That's southern-style home cooking, a great little lunch place. I would dare say for places closest to the racetrack, that's my favorite. We found it by accident when the GPS was supposed to lead us to a chain restaurant and we've been in love with it ever since.
Q: Through the program you have met a bunch of famous chefs at the track and were even featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"...
Post: From a size and scope perspective, being on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" was one of the all-time check-off box bucket-list items. One time after a race, I had the chance to sample Guy Fieri's and Mario Batali's stone oven pizzas. They were hanging out cooking pizzas and we were talking racing. In Martinsville, Va., there's a guy on local cable named Chef Paul (Farrar) and he does a cooking show. Ever since I got involved with cooking and seeing cooking on TV, doing a cooking show has been something that's always captivated me. A couple years ago, I was his special guest and we cooked garden pizza and a chicken wing dip on that show. I would stack that up against, or even a little bit ahead of, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" just because the idea of cooking on a show I could watch on TV was just so cool. We had a little audience there and there were two cameras.
Q: You are headed to the Knoxville Nationals again for another set of live "Winged Nation" shows. Take us back to how the show was formed...
Post: I love dirt-track racing and grew up going to dirt tracks ... ironically, really not sprint cars - at that time - but more Dirt Modifieds. When sprint cars came to town, I would enjoy them. But I never really had a huge passion for it. With MRN.com, we wanted to develop more content for the sprint car audience that was already in place. We did what we called the "World of Outlaws Report." I would sit down in the studio for a 20-minute session, call one of the drivers and recap the previous races. That was four years ago, the year of the 50th anniversary of Knoxville. We decided that the show was doing alright but with the 50th, we needed to do something special. Our producer, Craig Moore, said maybe we should put together an hour-long show but we need a co-host. I knew exactly who I needed to get: Kendra Jacobs, who is Kenny's daughter. Our careers had crossed paths in many ways and she was doing PR for Mark Martin at the time at Hendrick Motorsports. We sat down ... I remember we had Bobby Allen, Donny Schatz and Brian Brown on the show. That was the first time Kendra had done radio and it just clicked. The beauty of that was I’m a radio guy that the sprint car world didn’t know. Kendra is royalty in the sprint car world. So that combination worked really well. I shared my "newbie" passion for sprint cars, and Kendra had the historical perspective and was someone known by everybody in the industry. We launched "Winged Nation" three years ago and it has been incredible ever since.
Q: Where does winning the Media Members (with Kendra) of the Year in the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll for two consecutive years rank among your career so far?
Post: I look at the North American Sprint Car Poll as the single best award I've been part of winning. Reason being, sprint car fans and the word "passion" go side-by-side. You can’t fool them. You can’t hide from them. You can’t come in and just try to sound like you know what you're doing. We've built an audience with "Winged Nation" and built that credibility. And personally built my own credibility in the sport beyond where Kendra’s is, which is still light years ahead of where I’m at.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for the latest MRN Announcer Spotlight.
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