Reusse Talks Retirement, Feuds & More
Like him or not, every sports fan in this
town has known the name Patrick Reusse for
decades. Knowledgeable, opinionated and, yes, at times irreverent,
Reusse has commanded attention for more than three decades but he
told Sports Headliners his days at the Star Tribune and
KSTP Radio could be ending in a couple of years.
Reusse, 64, talked last week about his
career, writing style, feuds, addictions and more during a candid
interview where he answered questions in detail, and often with
self-deprecating humor. For years a full-time columnist with the
Star Tribune, he now writes two columns a week because of the
opportunity to host a Monday-Friday morning radio show on KSTP-AM 1500.
“Patrick Reusse & Company,” which airs
from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., debuted in January. The show has Reusse out of
bed by 3 a.m. work days and welcoming an occasional afternoon nap.
Writing Thursdays and Sundays for the Star Tribune, Reusse
now only attends assigned sports events and often avoids night games.
“The hardest adjustment is only being a
two days a week columnist because you kind of feel like you’re out of it
a little bit, but there’s no way I could have maintained my newspaper
schedule and do this radio,” he said. “I am 64 years old. … Frankly,
this radio is a lot harder than writing four or five columns a week.
That had become such a habit. It was just something I looked forward
to. The radio, it’s a grind.”
Reusse signed on for the Monday-Friday
show knowing what he wanted the product to sound like. “It turned into
what I wanted it to be and if it works, fine,” he said. “If not, what
the heck. (It’s) a current events show, with numerous segments, lots of
interviews and not taking phone calls. …A morning show, it’s got to be
newsy, sportsy, and have traffic updates and stuff. You’re changing
topics every eight minutes."
Just like his approach for years with the
newspaper column, Reusse decided to make the KSTP show appealing to his
No. 1 target demographic--himself. “My audience is me and as I said
when I took the job I want a show that I could listen to,” he said.
“There’s nothing that I could listen to in town when I was in my car in
the morning, which wasn’t a lot. But I just don’t like wacky,
completely wacky. And I don’t like full blown promotional WCCO: 'Aren’t
the Gophers great? They made 201 yards against Iowa. We’re so proud of
them.' That homerism in all things radio. I just want a kind of
candid, quick hitting radio (show) with sports and news and politicians.”
Reusse had logged air time on KSTP for
years but nothing that commands the commitment of his new Monday-Friday
show. The faltering and uncertain economics of the newspaper industry
impacted his decision as he pondered his future livelihood. But he was
also curious to see how he would do hosting a show like “Patrick Reusse
& Company” and so he agreed to a three year contract with KSTP.
“When the contract is done, I am probably
done, both here (Star Tribune) and there,” he said. “I’ll be 66
and hopefully I will be able to retire then. I don’t know. I would like
to keep writing in some form. I enjoy the writing as much as I ever did
but it’s certainly not the same job it used to be.”
Reusse didn’t say what his combined income
is from KSTP and his part-time work with the Star Tribune.
The total is believed to be in six figures and Reusse said
that despite less compensation from the Star Tribune his total
income remains similar to when he was a full-time columnist and worked
part-time on radio.
“I am doing okay, but somehow my wife (Katy)
and I have managed to stay in a situation where I still have to work two
jobs,” he said. "I don’t know how we’ve done it, but it’s quite a
Awhile ago the Reusses remodeled their suburban Minneapolis home, increasing the mortgage and adding
to another financial burden-- the swimming pool that came with the house
when Reusse bought it in 1988. “That’s worse than having five kids,” he
said. “I can’t plead with people enough not to have a pool. If you’re
looking for financial well being, don’t have a pool. That’s my
Reusse said his columns are often more
oriented toward reporting and feature writing than they are
opinion pieces. He strives for reaction including a response from readers of “Gee, I didn’t know that.”
The columns do frequently have an “edge”
to them. Reusse doesn’t advocate soft approaches to opinions when he
puts them in print. “Don’t pull a punch,” he said.
Reusse admits some readers see him as a
“negative SOB.” He writes what interests him and hopes for reader
reaction, whether it makes you scream, laugh or just “feel good about
some other human being.”