February 25, 2014

The man behind the microphone


One of the best-known Statesmen is not known for his playing ability, and few likely know his name or could pick him out of a crowd, but anyone who has been to a William Penn basketball or football game over the past decade likely knows his voice.
RD Keep came to Oskaloosa back in November of 1990 in search of a job. The Shenandoah native (South Page High School), received degrees from Culver-Stockton (Mo.) and Tarkio (Mo.), but not in areas that the navy and gold fan base know him for now.
      Keep began his tenure in Mahaska County’s seat at the Oskaloosa Herald in January of 1992 and worked there until September of 2000. He served as Sports Editor for five years and Assistant News Editor for another three, but his love was and has continued to be in the athletic realm. That is where the university on Trueblood Avenue enters into the story.
Covering the Statesmen for the newspaper, Keep was at most games, but late in the 1990s, he was approached with a new duty — something in which he had no prior experience, whatsoever.
“I think it was during the 1997-1998 basketball season, I was at the gym to cover a game,” Keep said. “Obviously, it has been a long time ago, because I can’t remember who, but someone asked me if I could do PA since their normal person was not there. I wasn’t taking pictures that night, so I figured I could do that as well as track the stats. I ended up doing a handful of games that year and then they asked me if I would do basketball full-time the following year.”
      By 2000, Keep had become the Public Address Announcer for basketball AND football (he has also dabbled in baseball, soccer and high school band), an unpaid role he has loved and held to this day. He has accepted small gifts, such as certificates or apparel, from time-to-time, but never an actual paycheck. Keep figures his free admission is more than enough compensation.

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