- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - Behind the microphones are thousands of miles worth of stories.

Traveling across North Iowa calling prep sporting events isn’t a glamorous gig.

At times, your best friend is Interstate 35. Well, that or Highway 18.

The nights are long. As the years tick by, the mornings come earlier. For Tim Fleming and Bob Fisher, this is life - and it’s a life they say they wouldn’t trade for anything.

“I think I came to Mason City thinking I’d be here for one year,” Fleming said. “But I enjoy the town, the radio station. It’s been such a nice place for my family to grow up in that we are still here, 37 years later, on the radio.”

The two veteran voices bring different styles to their broadcasts.

Fisher, a self-proclaimed news guy, doesn’t veer off the path often. He’s about facts, stats and final scores.

Fleming is more apt to step outside the game he is calling and recant a story from yesteryear, talk about an athlete’s dad who was an all-stater in the 80s or plead to the fans to try the popcorn or plug the bratwursts or hot dogs.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1mlmDGW ) they are two distinct styles molded from decades of games at the prep and collegiate level. One thing they have in common: Passion.

“I always joke that he and I are the kings of afternoon naps,” Fisher said. “We are both taking them on days we are doing play-by-play. But obviously, we have that passion. Play-by-play, I’m not saying it’s not a job, but it’s a totally different aspect of broadcasting than sitting in a studio.”

Fleming grew up in a broadcasting family. The question was always when as opposed to if regarding his plans to get behind the mic.

His father, Pat, was a play-by-play man in Dubuque when Tim was growing up.

In the mid-1970s, Pat was calling a Dubuque Senior football game and Tim was doing the color commentary.

“At halftime, he turned it over to me to do the stats,” Fleming recalled. “And then he said: ‘And now, with the second half, here is Tim Fleming.’ He stood up and walked out of the booth. So I took it and said: ‘Here’s the second-half kickoff. It’s a high, end-over-end kick.’ “

The rest, as they say, is history.

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