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Lia named to Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Andy Lia and Pine to Palm committee member Mark Larson ride in the back of a truck while announcing hole-by-hole coverage of the 2008 Pine to Palm Championship match, which is held on Sunday afternoon.1 / 3
Andy Lia2 / 3
Andy Lia, longtime Detroit Lakes radio broadcaster and the Voice of the Lakers and the Pine to Palm.3 / 3

Andy Lia, 68, longtime morning host and sports director of KDLM Radio (1340 AM) will be inducted into Minnesota's Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame on October 10, 2009. The ninth annual gala takes place at Golden Valley's Metropolitan Ballroom.

I visited with Andy about his broadcasting career and his radio coverage of the Pine to Palm for a question-answer session.

Question - How long have you been the voice of the Lakers and the Pine To Palm?

Answer - I joined the station in 1973, so I guess it's been 36 years. I've covered 36 consecutive Pine to Palms. In my first year, Bill Von Wald of Maplewood won his first of three straight P to P.

Q - As KDLM's sports director, how many Detroit Lakes H. S. games have you covered?

A. About 3,000 which includes football, boys & girls basketball, boys & girls hockey, girls volleyball, girls softball and boys baseball.

Q - During Pine to Palm week, how much coverage time are you on the air?

A - I do hourly reports (10:05 - 5:05 - Tuesday-Saturday), a wrap up show at 6:30 p.m. each night and live coverage of the championship match at 2:45 on Sunday afternoon.

Q - Your shot by shot coverage of the finals is very unique, in what way?

A - Over the years, Nereson's & Norseman's car dealerships have offered the use of brand new trucks.

My drivers over 36 years has been either Dave Knutson or Jeff Leighton of the radio station, who do an outstanding job maneuvering me around the golf course.

I also had very good color man starting with Dr. John Rutledge, Jim Adelson, Larry Huffman, Jack Waryan for over 15 years and Jay Sorenson, my sidekick at high school football games the last few years.

Q - What makes the Pine to Palm so competitive?

A - The tourney seems to draw the top amateurs from Minnesota, North Dakota and many colleges throughout the country. If we can get Tiger Wood's roommate (Notah Begay) to come in 1994, why not Tiger?

Q - Which players stick out in your mind when talking about the Pine to Palm?

A - Bill Israelson, Chris Perry, Mike Podolak, Jim Strandemo and Bill VonWald.

Q - Why is the Pine to Palm so special for you?

A - It has been a honor to be named to the Pine To Pine Committee, visiting and working with this fine group of volunteers who know their jobs so well over the past four decades.

Q - In 1998, you were named the recipient of the John B. Rutledge Memorial Award, what does that mean to you?

A - It meant that I have been a part of this tournament for a long time and I had a part in keeping the public informed about the results and up to date coverage during the week.

Q - What tournaments over the years have been most memorable to you?

A - The extra hole championship matches, Michael Larson, Arlington, Texas over Pat Herzog, Alexandria. in 1986.

The 1991 match between two U of M Gophers with Rick Kuhn of Bloomington edging Mark Hanson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa Andy Doeden, Fargo over Greg Melhus, Bismarck in 2001 and two years ago when Corey Blenkush, Maple Grove defeated Jason Rudquist of Peyton, Colorado.

Another highlight came in 2004 when we had our first local champion, Chris Braaten victory over David Schultz of Fargo 5 & 4.

Q - Tell us about your background and family?

A - I'm a 1959 H.S. graduate of Detroit Lakes and went to Brown Institute in Minneapolis for broadcasting.

My wife is Sandy and my son, Craig of Stillwater, and my daughter, Andrea of Mora.

Footnote: Andy was also inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997.

Lia and his wife Sandy also are great impersonators of "Ole & Lena" at various events.

He also runs some half marathons.

The other 10 broadcasting veteran and inductees are:

Diana Pierce - KARE-TV Channel 11 anchor.

Stan Turner - former KSTP-TV channel 5 news anchor.

Steve Edelman & Sharon Anderson - KSTP's "Good Company" hosts.

Wally Christensen - owner of KLOH/KISD of Pipestone.

Tom Jones - owner/founder of KNXR of Rochester.

Nancy Nelson - actress, news and weathercaster and infomercial pioneer

Posthumous inductees include:

Charlie Bush - veteran radio broadcaster.

Arv Johnson - WCCO Radio political reporter and newscaster.

John Lundell - radio traffic reporter and former head of Metro Traffic.

Brown College's Mike Kronforst will receive the museum's Distinguished Service Award

Hosts for the event will be Twin Cities native and comedian Louie Anderson and KSTP TV anchor Cyndy Brucato.

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