Dan Lucero has missed the bar-b-que and craft beer at the Blind Tiger, the gourmet grilled cheeses at The Wheel Barrel and the carnitas soft tacos at Tacos El Mexicano. Those stops were among Lucero and his fiancé Abbey’s favorite stops when Dan worked at 580 WIBQ in Topeka, KS.
They can now once again revisit those destination eateries. Lucero is returning to WIBW almost two years after the pandemic forced his departure.
“I had been at WIBW longer than I’d been almost anywhere else in my radio career,” Lucero reminisces. He worked a WIBW from 2016 to 2020 after shorter stints in Worland, WY, North Platte, NE, Wichita, KS and Sterling, CO. Lucero been an STAA member through much of it; he joined the organization in 2012.
Lucero’s prior stint at WIBW ended through no fault of his own. “Alpha Media (WIBW’s parent company) announced furloughs a month into the pandemic in April of 2020,” he recounts. “Unfortunately, I was one of the unlucky ones. We were all hopeful that it would be temporary but as the pandemic persisted, those furloughs were changed to lay-offs in August of 2020.”
It took less a month for Lucero to find his next opportunity. He moved west to Colby, KS for an operations manager/play-by-play position with Rocking M Media. All the while, though, Lucero stayed in touch with WIBW Sports Director and fellow STAA member Jake Lebahn. “Back in March, when an non-sports on-air talent at the station announced her departure, I let Jake know that if that departure created any kind of an opportunity to come back that I would be interested.”
Groundwork for a return
When Lucero was laid off, he did his best to depart with dignity and on the best possible terms with everyone there. “Those relationships are what made me want to come back if it ever became a real possibility.”
Lucero’s sportscasting duties in his WBIW return will be many. “I will be co-hosting afternoon drive sports talk from 3pm to 6pm, basically the same time slot I had back before I left. The station is expanding from one four-hour sports talk show into two three-hour shows, and I’ll work with [fellow STAA member] Brendan Dzwierzynski on the heritage ‘580 Sports Talk’ program. I’ll also be involved with coverage of local high school and Washburn University athletics, do some on-site reporting from college and pro games, and assist the sales department in selling segment and guest sponsorships on our family of sports talk shows.”
Lucero’s fiancé Abbey is a native Topekan and teaches school in her hometown. It was an emotional moment when Lucero told her he is returning to the city. “We’d hoped and prayed and dreamed of such an opportunity for over a year and a half so when the chance finally arrived it felt surreal,” he recalls. “I will never forget the day I FaceTimed her with the good news. She was driving and had to pull off into a parking lot. I’m not ashamed to say there were tears on both ends of that call.”
Now Lucero and Abbey can celebrate their good fortune with a trip to The Blind Tiger or Tacos El Mexicano.