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Veneri movin' up to KKEA booth

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 12:07 a.m. HST, Jul 28, 2011

John Veneri is moving to the next level in football broadcasting.

In accepting the job as color analyst for KKEA's broadcasts of Warrior football games, Veneri is moving from the sidelines, where he has worked as an on-field reporter for 16 seasons, to the broadcasters' booth on the loge level.

Moving to the higher viewpoint, Veneri said, is "kind of the way I like to watch the game. You can see the entire field. It'll be different because I'll have my eye on more of the game and the technical side (instead of reporting on) who's hurt."

Veneri, who is KHON's marketing director, succeeds Robert Kekaula, who has been named play-by-play announcer for Oceanic's UH football telecasts.

KKEA's play-by-play announcer, Bobby Curran, said Veneri, a former Warrior slotback, was his first choice as Kekaula's replacement.

"Robert did such a great job," Veneri said. "A lot of people liked hearing him, which is one of the reasons he's moving over to Oceanic."

Away from the cameras, Veneri is known for his wit and dead-on impersonations. That playfulness often was restrained as a sports reporter and anchor for KHON.

"I've already been told I can let loose a little bit more," Veneri said. "I'm going to call it like I see it. I'm going to call the Xs and Os, have a little fun, and let the Portuguese in me do the rest."

He said his aim is to describe football schemes to viewers with different levels of interest and football knowledge.

Veneri broke into broadcasting as a Warrior sophomore, providing diary-like reports of the 1992 Holiday Bowl practices for KFVE.

"He knows the game," said sportscaster Jim Leahey, who recommended Veneri for the assignment. "He has a gift for conveying things, and he does it in a very effective way. He went on to do a lot of good things."

Veneri said: "That kind of planted the seeds. When I was a kid, I never aspired to doing sports broadcasting. I was always interested in law enforcement. … I really enjoy (broadcasting). After 16 years, I hope people like what I have to say. It'll be a change going up in the booth, but it certainly is an honor."

KKEA, UH agree in principle on new contract

KKEA also announced an agreement in principle for a new three-year contract to broadcast Hawaii athletics exclusively for all UH sporting events through June of 2014. Games will be aired on KKEA 1420-AM and KHKA 1500-AM.

In the new agreement, KKEA will give part of its net operating income to the university after it has covered a portion of its sales costs and expenses. The UH athletic department will also assist KKEA in its sales efforts.

"We are pleased to continue our relationship with the University of Hawaii and its athletic programs," KKEA general manager Randal Ikeda said in a press release.

"Moving forward, the added aspect of net income sharing promises a broader partnership between ESPN Honolulu and the university. It is a win-win situation for both parties and we look forward to partnering with the university to provide the best possible sports coverage for UH sports fans."

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