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New sports editor joins Times-Recorder staff

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — The Americus Times-Recorder has a new sports editor. Ken Gustafson joined the staff Monday. He comes to Americus from Lawrenceville where he served as a news and sports reporter for three papers: the Buford News, the Gwinnett Daily Post and the Barrow News-Journal.
However, Gustafson is no stranger to Southwest Georgia. He also worked for the Albany Herald as a sports writer, covering mainly Albany-area sports, but also some Americus-Sumter and Southland Academy sports.
“I’m extremely excited to be here in Americus and serving as sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder,” Gustafson said. “Americus is a beautiful town and I’m eager to get involved in the community, connecting with student-athletes, coaches, parents and fans.”
From the time he was 14 years old, Gustafson dreamed of being on the radio and doing sports play-by-play.
“I watched and listened to a lot of sporting events growing up,” Gustafson said. “I remember listening to Atlanta Braves broadcasters Ernie Johnson, Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray. I thought it would be so much fun to broadcast games, travel with the team and get to know the players. It would be a way I could go to big-time sporting events and not have to pay money to get in.”
Noticing his desire to be in the sports broadcast business, Gustafson’s father was able to arrange for his son to meet with Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren.
“I remember Pete Van Wieren telling me to not just focus on sports communications, but on all communications,”Gustafson said. “He impressed upon me to broaden my horizons as far as the media is concerned.”
While studying communications in college in 1992, Gustafson and his father went down to meet nationally-syndicated sports talk show host Ron Barr, who was doing a remote broadcast from a restaurant at the Marriott Marquis. “Barr told me that in order to get into sports broadcasting, I would need to work on my writing skills,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson took the advice he was given to heart. While at Bryan College, he worked on the school newspaper: The Triangle, reporting on news and sports. After graduating from Bryan College in 1994, he worked for several radio stations, as well as becoming a videographer, video-taping youth, high school and college sports.
As far as play-by-play is concerned, Gustafson finally realized his dream. In 2013, he was hired to be on the broadcast team for Georgia State Women’s Basketball games during the 2013-2014 season. He served mostly as a color commentator, but did one solo broadcast of a game against Arkansas State in which Georgia State won 76-74.
Realizing that play-by-play jobs were hard to come by and not as lucrative as he thought, Gustafson decided to focus on another talent and passion he had: journalism.
“I figured that if I can’t make it to the top as a sportscaster, the more realistic route would be as a sportswriter, so I decided to focus on sports journalism,” he said.
In 2010, Gustafson got his first job as a news/sportswriter in Atlanta for an internet newspaper called Patch.com.
“This enabled me to not only write articles on news and sports, but to also use my videography talents to post pictures and videos on the Patch sites,” he said. While at Patch, Gustafson not only covered local high school sports, but also city council meetings for the city of Roswell. “Reporting on things other than sports enabled me to be more versatile and broadened my perspective on life in a community,” Gustafson said.
Though he still has a passion for sportscasting, Gustafson is happy and content to work in community journalism in a small town for a community newspaper.
“I love living in a small town like Americus,” Gustafson said. “You don’t have the immense traffic problems that you have in a metro area like Atlanta, and this will give me the opportunity to get to know people in the community and make lasting friendships.”
Beth Alston, editor and publisher of the Times-Recorder, said, “We welcome Ken to our team and I expect him to be a valued and productive member. In addition to local sports, he will also be covering government and other areas of our community.”
Gustafson can be contacted via e-mail ken.gustafson@americustimesrecorder.com or phone 229-924-2751.