SBJ/October 24-30, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Kraig Kann, chief communications officer, LPGA

After a long and successful career in front of the cameras, Kraig Kann has moved from the anchor desk to the LPGA, where he now serves as the tour’s chief communications officer. Kann spent 16 years at Golf Channel as host of numerous shows, and he even spent a couple of seasons as its lead play-by-play announcer. Kann spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.

Age: 45
New title: Chief communications officer, LPGA
Previous title: Golf Channel anchor/host
First job: Paper route, Park District baseball coach
College education: Bachelor of journalism (broadcast), University of Missouri
Resides: Orlando, with wife Kimberly, and children Hailey, Trent and Kendall
Grew up: Suburban Chicago (Western Springs, Ill.)
Executive most admired: Joe Gibbs, co-founder, Golf Channel
Brand most admired: Under Armour
Favorite vacation spot: Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Last book read: “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” by Malcolm Gladwell
Last movie seen: “Moneyball”
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans,” “Fletch,” “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Favorite musician/band: Dave Matthews Band


What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Creating a bigger platform and a greater stage to communicate the new LPGA message. I need to grow the mountain from which the LPGA stars can shout about all the great things they do.

What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
Probably taking this position. Letting go of a 25-year career in television to go in a different direction was not an easy decision. But I don’t have a rearview mirror and I’ve always liked risk and the challenge and motivation that come from it.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Longevity at Golf Channel and handling as many roles as I was given is something I’m very proud of. But starting my media consulting venture in 2010, HTK Media, has been my biggest step. Client projects and speaking seminars have provided an avenue to use my media experience to help others shape and deliver a better media message. It also helped me land at LPGA.

What is your biggest professional disappointment in your career?
Not finding my way into a play-by-play opportunity in baseball or college football. I still think about it a lot.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?
Be ready to be told “no,” but stand firm in your commitment to making the most of every opportunity. … And have a plan! “A goal, without a plan, is just a wish.”

What is one story you are continuing to watch in sports today?
College football conference realignment. Every school is trying to brand itself and create added revenue and exposure. But at what cost to the fans, and how does it affect the players?

What is one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
These days it really seems like it’s money first at all costs and people second. I’ll always be a people guy.
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