The doting daddy side of Darren Wolfson permeates this interview with the KSTP-TV sports anchor.
He’s got two boys, Drew, 7, and Keaton, 4, and when they call for him, he will respond, “Yes, Love.”
The former KFANer has, maturity-wise, outgrown the radio nickname Doogie, but he still answers to it. After getting laid off by KFAN, he did some freelance work, notably covering Brett Favre’s first season with the Vikings for CBSSports.com. Then he reconnected with his mentor since high school, KSTP-TV’s Joe Schmit.
When “Joe came back to KSTP in December of ’09, they gave him the keys to the sports department. He knew I was looking for full-time work. He hired me in January 2010.”
With his wife, Laura, away on a girls’ weekend, I encouraged Wolfson to bring the boys to this interview, because I knew they would be good entertainment. They were, between big brother treating little brother like a dodge ball target and Keaton unleashing a daredevil move on the swing while I pushed.
Q: Why do sports radio and TV people get a pass on having the classic broadcasting voice?
A: You think they get a pass? Jeff Dubay, think about “PA & Dubay” back in the day [on KFAN]. Jeff doesn’t have a classic radio voice, yet he was beloved.
Q: I can’t remember Dubay’s voice.
A: High pitched at times. Not a distinctive radio voice.
Q: From where did your nickname come?
A: I was a religious listener of KFAN back in 1996, ’95, ’94. I was doing a mentorship at Channel 5 and my mom [Trina] said, Hey, what are you doing your senior year of high school? … You’ve got free time. I connected with a guy by the name of Eric Webster. For some reason he thought it would be cool if he and I taped a weekly segment. At the time the “Doogie Howser, M.D.” show was popular in syndication. This child prodigy doctor. I’ve always contended that if I was some kind of child prodigy, I’d be a doctor, an attorney, CEO of some company. I am far from any prodigy — and I am also 38 years old. At some point you can’t be Doogie when you are approaching 40 years old. But the nickname has stuck, so if people want to call me Doogie, there’s far worse. Your colleague Sid Hartman for the longest time called me the certain word that begins with an A. It’s better than being called that.
Q: Are two kids enough?
A: Yeah, there is a decent chance we’re done. If you guarantee me a baby girl, a daddy’s little girl, that would tempt me and I think I could get my wife on board. My wife and I are careful with our money. [Both work full time.] We are not living check to check but we are not breaking the bank. We have the 4-year-old in full-time preschool. It’s great that my 7-year-old made an under-9 traveling soccer team for the fall but you think about uniform costs, the cost to participate. I’m confident we can give these two kids a fun life. They can play every sport they want to play, do every activity they want, go on yearly trips, sometimes two or three trips a year. But you bring a third child into that mix and you start wondering if all that stuff is doable.
Q: What sport do you really not understand?
A: [Keaton encourages his dad to say, “Soccer.”] I understand soccer. Personally I’m not a fan of soccer but get the competition nature of it, I get the conditioning. I grew up in Philadelphia, moved here between second and third grade. My late father [Steve] was a big basketball, baseball, football fan. He was never a hockey fan. Being in the State of Hockey and doing what I do for a living, I better have some working knowledge of hockey, but if you wanted me to explain what offsides is … I still never to this day understand why you have to have goons, why there is fist fighting, but I will say this much: There are no better athletes to deal with. ... Baseball players are close, but dealing with hockey players? … The nicest individuals on the planet.
Q: Your boys playing tackle football?
A: My wife is against it. Not as much me, if you learn how to take a hit, how to deliver a hit, if you have the right coaches in place, it helps a lot.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.”