Sports Commentary

By Joe Schmit
Aug/Sept 2003
Ed Karow may have had the best ad-lib line ever uttered on KSTP-TV.

A few years ago when Bob Bruce was the main sports anchor at Channel 5, he took part in a 500-mile snowmobile race that started in Canada and finished in Minnesota. It was a great opportunity to give some coverage to a popular recreational sport, and a better opportunity to show off a new satellite truck that could bring viewers to remote locations live and in color.

About two days into the race, Bob was in dead last and anxious to get back to the warmth and comfort of the KSTP studios on University Avenue. Bob's Amazing Race took a dramatic turn when he was given a citation for relieving himself alongside some country road that was so far in the boondocks that it was too rustic for Eric Rudolph.

Talk about your news leak, every single person in the KSTP newsroom and production studio knew about Bob's yellow snow adventure, however, this was one story that was never reported over the air. That night when Ron Magers turned to Ed for sports, it went like this:
Ron: How's Bob Bruce doing in his big snowmobile race?
Ed: Well, he's still a-whizzing in the ditches.

Nobody at home understood why Magers and everyone else in the studio was losing it. Ed played it straight-faced and went on with the sports. That was classic Ed Karow.

Ed died on May 14, 2003. He was 65 years old.

I believe my partner Eric Gislason said it best when he stated; "To know him, was to love him." I worked with Ed for 18 years and I saw that sense of humor many times. I also saw a man who survived 35 years in a business where longevity is rare. The only way you last that long in the TV news world is if you are a real professional and if you can adapt to change. Think of the dramatic changes Ed saw in 35 years of the sports business. There were no ESPN's around when he started. You showed the highlights with the film you shot, edited, and processed.

Think of the dramatic changes Ed saw in 35 years of the sports business...You showed the highlights
with the film you shot, edited, and processed.
Ed Karow was on the scene for many of Minnesota's most memorable sporting events. He covered all four Super Bowls that the Vikings played in. He used to do the Bud Grant Show. He covered the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and got the first interview with USA Head Coach Herb Brooks. I also saw Ed get one-on-one interviews with athletes such as Arnold Palmer, when he was supposedly only doing a news conference for all the media.

Ed died of prostate cancer and I know he would not mind me using this column to encourage all men over 40 to see a doctor for the test. It's a simple blood test that takes 10 minutes. If it's caught early enough, it's a very curable cancer. Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for the man many of you grew up watching.

When Ed got sick, he never missed a day of work. Now there's not a day at work where Ed is not missed. He was a great storyteller and in the TV business, that's a great trait to have. Dick Jonkowski, the voice of Gopher Basketball at Williams Arena said; "He used to interview the Vikings and Twins. Now he is interviewing the Saints and the Angels." Ed would have liked that one.

Ed was a husband, father of three and friend to many. I can only think of one guy Ed did not like. We had a photographer who was with Ed on the Minnesota fishing opener one year. Ed had just bought a new rod and reel to catch a nice trophy lunker. That became impossible when the photographer snapped the rod in half when he closed the hatchback of the car on it. Ed didn't have time to cool off before that same photographer decided not to take Ed's advice on how to exit a soft,muddy area near a boat ramp, and buried the car up to the axles. This was the same photographer who drove a golf cart "baja style" through a sand trap at the state open. Did I mention that Ed was a patient man?

Twins Legend Kent Hrbek helped Eric Gislason carry Ed's wheelchair to his car for a doctor visit late in his life. He looked up at Herbie and said, "I feel like Larry Flynt." That was Ed. That's the Ed I miss every time I walk past his desk.

We put a tape together for Ed with some of his many career highlights. Members of the Sports Department past and present all contributed. We showed Ed the tape two days before he died. He was weak and tired, but still had his ability to make us smile
...through our tears.