Preparation is key to Kendall Gammon’s success in the Chiefs’ broadcast booth

It’s 2:58 p.m., on a Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s only minutes away from kickoff and Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs, is packed with nearly 80,000 exuberant fans.

Nearly 260 feet above the field, Kendall Gammon, color commentator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, takes a deep breath, quickly reviews his depth chart, gives his broadcast partner, the “Voice of the Chiefs,” Mitch Holthus a fist-bump, and prepares to deliver the game action to nearly 1 million Chiefs fans across 80 stations and 14 states.

The scene is a long way from where Gammon’s broadcasting career began, nearly two decades ago as an early morning intern at Sports Radio 810.

“On Tuesday mornings, my one day off, I’d go in at 5:30 a.m. and just be there to learn,” said Gammon, who earned a degree in education from Pittsburg State in 1994.

It’s also a long way from Carnie Smith Stadium, where Gammon was captain of the football team his junior and senior year. In 1991, he was part of the D-II National Championship team.

Kendall Gammon

Kendall Gammon

Gammon went on to become a long-snapper and tight end who played for three teams in the National Football League, including the Chiefs.

“I was fortunate that when I retired, 101 the FOX (the radio flagship for the Chiefs) asked me if I’d be interested in doing sideline,” said Gammon. “I jumped at the chance to be involved in what I did for 15 years.”

The transition from NFL Pro-Bowler to broadcaster wasn’t an easy one. Luckily, Gammon had one of the nation’s best broadcast producers, Chiefs Radio Network Executive Producer Dan Israel, willing to help him out.

“Dan is a hands-on coach,” said Gammon. “Three years before I transitioned from sidelines to the broadcast booth, Dan was working with me. Every Thursday we would be in his studio re-watching last week’s broadcast and calling the games. I vividly remember the first one because I was so awful. There’s no way I was ready. Dan prepared me for the booth.”

Israel credits Gammon’s coachability and work ethic with his successful transition.

“I don’t care what you do for a living, the more prepared you are the better you will be,” Israel said. “One of the reasons NFL players are able to make a transition into broadcasting is because they live this way. You have to know where you can go before you get to a crisis moment. I told Kendall, ‘If you throw 50 percent of your prep away each week, I’m good with that’.”

Gammon, who works as special assistant to the president at PSU, is now starting his second year as the full-time color commentator for the Chiefs Radio Network. It’s been more than 30 years since he first stepped onto a football field, but the thrill is still the same.

“You get used to the size of the stadiums,” Gammon said. “But it’s still game day. I absolutely love it.”