Kleinjan named to NDAPSSA Hall of FameRod Kleinjan never imagined that after 36 years of “just doing his job,” he would be honored in a manner reserved for the most respected in his industry.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Rod Kleinjan never imagined that after 36 years of “just doing his job,” he would be honored in a manner reserved for the most respected in his industry.
After three-and-a-half decades on the air, most of which he spent at Dickinson’s KDIX radio station, Kleinjan has been named the latest inductee into the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.
“It’s something that you don’t really expect,” Kleinjan said. “You do your job, and it’s one of the things that maybe if you do your job long enough and well enough, maybe something like that comes along.”
NDAPSSA Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Dan Keating made the announcement Thursday. Plans for an induction ceremony are being finalized. Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots by NDAPSSA members to be chosen for the group’s Hall of Fame.
Kleinjan, a 1972 graduate of Mott Lincoln High School, began his career during his senior year of high school at KBJM in Lemmon, S.D.
He stayed at the station until 1973, when he enrolled at Dickinson State College. It was then he began working part-time at both KDIX and the DSC student radio station. Kleinjan began his full-time job at KDIX, which then had both radio and television, in May of 1974 and has been there ever since. He’s currently in his 34th year at the station.
Kleinjan said the honor makes him remember when he first started in broadcasting and the coaches and athletic directors who were willing to help a then-inexperienced sports broadcaster.
“You look at Dickinson State, when I started Roger Huffman was the A.D.,” Kleinjan said. “He got me going in the right direction several times.”
However, Kleinjan said he can’t pick out just one event from his career that he remembers most.
“Everything kind of stands out,” Kleinjan said. “I’d hate to pick one thing above another thing because there’s been so many things I’ve covered that have been special.”
Yet, Kleinjan points to one constant that has kept him going after 35 years of traveling and spending early mornings and late nights in the office and on the road — his family.
“The one aspect you really learn to appreciate is your family because you’re away from your family a lot,” Kleinjan said. “I’ve always had that support from my wife, Amy, and my two kids.”
Kleinjan was one of six candidates on the ballot this year. Three candidates just missed the honor after being named on 71 percent of the ballots.
Former KDIX broadcaster and long-time NDAPSAA member Bob Weiler, a man Kleinjan said had a major influence on his career, was one of the three. The others were Bismarck Tribune sports reporter Steve Thomas and Grand Forks Herald sports reporter Greg DeVillers.
“They were all pretty deserving,” Kleinjan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.