Story by James O’Sullivan
Trapped behind the table or up in the booth at every Valley basketball and football game are the two men that do not get enough credit for what they do to make the valley games enjoyable. Ken Kujawa and Joe Aull are the voices of Missouri Valley College on the Viking Sports Network.
Kujawa is in his fourth year at MVC directing the Viking Sports Network and teaching radio classes. After working in radio for 30 years in Nebraska, South Dakota, and the town of Moberly, Kujawa looked for something different to do. Kujawa already knew MVC Athletic Director Tom Fifer and President Bonnie Humphrey.
“It is nice to know I helped start Viking Sports Network to get more games on the air,” Kujawa said. Kujawa said that he made the right decision to come to work at Valley because he can still do play-by-play, be around students, and help them learn and get better on the radio
Kujawa has taught a lot of people the basics to be successful in the broadcast industry. “It is rewarding when a student gets a job and I know I had a part in it,” Kujawa said.
Kujawa always wanted to do broadcasting from a very young age from when he was listening to ball games on the radio.
Kujawa has twice been named the sportscaster of the year by the Missouri Broadcasters Association in 1995 and 2002 when he was at KRES in Moberly and he said, “It is an honor.” Kujawa said his success had a lot to do with the fact that he was able to broadcast good games.
Unlike Kujawa, Aull does not teach full time at Missouri Valley College although he does teach occasional classes on campus. In the past, he taught sports reporting as part of the Mass Communication department, and now he teaches school and community relations once a week.
Aull took a different path before becoming a member of the Viking family five years ago. In college, he majored in education, more specifically in math. After that, he got his master’s in Educational Administration.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in education. I love to work with kids, and my years in education have been very rewarding,” Aull said.
Aull has been a math teacher, basketball coach, a middle school and high school principal as well as a superintendent. When he retired from education in 2004, he wanted to give back to the community and make lives better so he decided to seek elected office, becoming a Missouri state representative.
“I have enjoyed my time as a legislator because it has given me a chance to serve and give back to many people who have been good to me in my life,” Aull said. Right now, Aull is the vice president of Wentworth Military Academy and College. To go along with all of his duties as vice president, he finds time to prepare and broadcast all of the Viking football and basketball games
Aull has always enjoyed sports. Broadcasting started as one of his hobbies but soon became a part of his life. He has been doing sports broadcasting for more than 20 years. For the last 12 years, he has worked on KMMO radio in Marshall doing a high school football scoreboard show after football games on Friday night and a show called “Sports of All Sorts.”
He came to Valley five years ago and did the basketball play-by-play while Harry Carrell, currently assistant professor of Mass Communication, did the commentary. Occasionally students from the sports reporting class did some of the commentary as well. When the college started broadcasting audio over the Internet, ever the educator, Aull helped develop the on-air broadcasting skills of the students.
During the last four years, Aull has been the color commentator to Kujawa’s play-by-play during football games and the two split the play-by-play duties for the basketball games.
Over those years, Aull has enjoyed his time working with Kujawa.
Aull has won a few awards of his own. In 1980, he won coach of the year while coaching men’s basketball. In 2002, he won the Pearce award for outstanding superintendent in the state of Missouri and the Legislator of the Year award from many different organizations.
Aull and Kujawa also work together on the annual Marshall Chamber of Commerce auction broadcast by the Missouri Valley College Broadcast students every year.
“I think their strength, other than their vast years of experience and professionalism, is they very seldom draw attention to themselves,” said Carrell. “They focus on the game.”