KSHB’s Frank Boal Shares His Journey To The Sports Desk In Kansas City
Sometimes the journey we began in life evolves in ways we could never imagine.
Such is the case for KSHB’s Frank Boal.
Boal is well known to Johnson County sports fans because of his almost continuous presence on TV news since April 1981, but many likely don’t know about the path that led him to sports broadcasting.
He was a running back in high school at Central Catholic in Pittsburgh, Pa., and received a scholarship to Villanova University, which is near Philadelphia. He was a three-year starter and graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in finance.
Rather than enter the business world, Boal worked as an assistant coach at Villanova for five years. And that is when his life changed.
“I did a coach’s show once a week on the local radio station that broadcasted our games,” says Boal. “None of the other coaches wanted to do it, so it fell to me.”
He enjoyed doing the show, but things changed when the head coach was fired.
“I went to a coaching convention in San Francisco to look for a job, which I didn’t find,” he says. “I went back to Philly, discouraged, and ran into one of the guys I did the radio show with and he told me what Bill Burns at KDKA-TV told me, ‘You should try broadcasting.’’’
Boal didn’t have a journalism background, so he went back to school. He went to San Francisco where he could take night classes and drove a truck for a bank delivery service from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. And the rest, as they say, is history.
He got his first job in Grand Coulee, Washington. After a much traveled road, Boal ended up in Kansas City in 1981.
“When I was in Green Bay, I was the weekend anchor and weekday reporter at WBAY-TV, the dominant station in the market,” says Boal. “A consultant got in touch with our news director and said WDAF-TV in Kansas City was looking for a weekday sports anchor. Our news director didn’t want the sports director to leave because of the ratings, so he sent my tape instead.”
Boal was with WDAF until June 2009 when he took the buyout at Fox 4. He has worked part-time in radio with 810WHB since July 2001.
He talks about the importance of always transitioning jobs positively in the broadcasting world.
“I think the best piece of advice I can give everyone is ‘don’t burn any bridges,’ says Boal. “You never know when you’ll cross and re-cross paths with your colleagues.” Case in point, his career again intersected with a friend, Jack Harry, who was getting back in the business at KSHB-TV in September 2009. Boal worked with Harry at KSHB until he took over for him on July 1 becoming a full-time employee.
“Jack and I have been great friends since I arrived here back in 1981 and we had a great run together doing Sunday nights, basketball and football specials and the 2014 run to the World Series,” he says. “What a ride.” He has a lot of sports memories from his time in Kansas City.
My best memories are pretty obvious,” he says. “I covered both the 1985 and 2015 World Series from George Brett to Eric Hosmer. That is a pretty nice run. And, of course, being an eyewitness to Brett’s Hall of Fame career and the 1999 induction ceremony in Cooperstown.
“There are many others that aren’t as obvious. Covering Tom Watson when he defended his U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont near my hometown of Pittsburgh is right up there. It was incredible to be ‘inside the ropes’ walking hole to hole with one of the greatest golfers of all time.”
Other career highlights he recalls include Joe Montana’s short but incredible run as the Chiefs quarterback and the team’s run to the AFC Championship game in Buffalo. The demise of the Kansas City Kings, KU’s National Championship runs in 1988 and 2008, Norm Stewart, the rise of the Bill Snyder era at Kansas State and the Mizzou and KU ‘Border War’ football games at Arrowhead.
“These are just a few… I’ve been incredibly blessed to witness each and every one of them,” say Boal.