Blake Cripps fits Kansas like wheat fields and rolling hills. He grew up in Topeka and graduated from Kansas University. His parents live in Burlingame; his sister in Kansas City. And Cripps has spent the past 11 years working in Wichita. He has accepted a new job, but one that will keep him in the Sunflower State. Cripps is joining KVOE Radio in Emporia as Operations Manager and Voice of the Emporia State University Hornets.
“I accepted the job because of the amazing reputation of the staff and stations in Emporia,” Cripps enthuses. “The community is heavily interested and invested in the Hornets. And the Emporia State athletic department is a consistent contender for MIAA championships and postseason appearances. I truly believe this is one of, if not the best, Division II jobs in the country.”
Fast hiring process
Cripps learned of the ESU opportunity through a Jobs Leads+ email. “I applied the same day and received a message from Emporia’s Radio Stations GM Ron Thomas the same day that he’d like to talk the next day,” Cripps recalls. “Things progressed quickly from there!”
In addition to play-by-play, Cripps will be in charge of operations for KVOE. “Basically making sure that all of the content we are planning to air is getting to where it is supposed to go. I would say that, and ESU coverage, will combine for 85% of the job. The rest is normal odds and ends stuff like sports anchoring, production, website writing, hosting our Saturday sports show, etc.”
Cripps has big shoes to fill as Voice of the Hornets. He succeeds Greg Rahe, a Kansas broadcasting icon. “It is an incredible honor to follow an ESU Hall of Famer like Greg Rahe in this role,” Cripps states. “He’s been such a huge part of the Emporia community for 35 years and I’m incredibly grateful for all of his help during this transition. Greg is a true gentleman in this profession and an impossible act to follow. And while I’ll never be able to replace it, I hope that I’ll be able to continue his legacy in the booth and in the community.”
Love for Wichita
Cripps moves to Emporia from Wichita, less than 90 minutes southwest of Emporia on Interstate 35. He’s held various play-by-play roles in Wichita since 2012, including calling games for Wichita State University and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. For the past four years, he’s been the voice of Newman University (NCAA DII) men’s and women’s basketball.
“I’m incredibly grateful to Wichita and the many personal and professional friends I have made there over the last decade, but I won’t be too far away and I’ll definitely be visiting when I can!
Cripps has been an STAA member since 2012. “STAA has been a tremendous resource for me, from helping to construct my talent page to job updates that you just can’t get anywhere else.”
Cripps’ new hometown of Emporia is the birthplace of college basketball legend Dean Smith. And it’s a great fit for Cripps. “Emporia is literally the perfect middle ground right in the middle of my home state. I’m looking forward to getting settled in the community. My grandma grew up in Emporia so I have ties there as well!”