Longtime sportswriter Keith Osso leaves KXLY to focus on family and new opportunities

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Gracing TV screens and radio waves for just under two decades, Spokane’s Keith Osso entered his internship at KXLY in 2002 sporting a neat haircut and a clean-shaven face, thanks to his father’s guidance.

“My dad said, ‘You can’t go to work like this,’ referring to his previously unkempt appearance.

At the time, Osso didn’t see the point of it, thinking that all he had to do was work hard and the job would be his. But as usual, as Osso said, “The old man was right again.”

Bryan Osso died in December, opening a void in the Osso family.

He was the patriarch, the guy who kept the family together. He was always present at sporting events, recitals, birthdays, weddings.

The death of his father changed Osso’s perspective.

“When I noticed the fact that I wasn’t there as much as I wanted to be – and now that he won’t be there – I just knew it was time to find something that would be more beneficial for me. my family,” he said.

Leaving KXLY was a tough decision for Osso. He loved his job, his friends in the media and his time spent covering sports. But ultimately, the grueling sports schedule — especially in a sports-saturated city like Spokane — forced him away from the only career he’s known.

“When my father died, everything changed for me,” Osso said. “And I really had to take a look at my life and what I wanted it to be, and I think that’s a much better path for me for the next 20 years.”

Gone were the 2 p.m. to midnight shifts or unplanned weekends that didn’t allow Osso to live a normal, cohesive life with his family, which often took precedence over his passionate career.

“If it hadn’t been for those hours, I wouldn’t have gone,” he said. “(KXLY) treated me very well.”

Osso found himself considering a career change. His aunt approached him with the opportunity to teach at NEWTech (formerly the Spokane Skills Center), a Spokane regional career and technical education partnership serving high school juniors and seniors in the Spokane area.

Osso said he finds it instantly aligns with his aspirations, allowing him to continue fostering growth, opening channels for creativity, and spending more time with family.

“I wanted more work-life balance,” Osso said. “I wanted something that allowed me to be creative and I also wanted something that allowed me to be a positive influence.”

Osso was announced on July 22 on NEWTech’s Facebook page as an animation and special effects instructor as well as the head coach of the esports team.

It was a natural transition for Osso, who spent more than eight years as a sports director at KXLY, helping to shape the next generation of journalists.

“I think the desire to help kids and help people get better, that was one of the best things about my job,” he said. “When we hired people for the athletic department, we were hiring mostly pretty green people. Watching them and then teaching them and seeing them develop and improve was something that I really came to appreciate.

However, it took years for Osso to learn how to lead.

Osso grew up playing sports, including his time at East Valley High. He learned the high of victory and the overwhelming feeling of defeat, with an intense desire to focus on his personal successes.

He wanted people to grow because he wanted to win. He didn’t celebrate their improvement, he celebrated the number of wins he and the team have racked up.

“I was pretty selfish from a leadership perspective,” he said. “I really had to learn to celebrate other people’s wins, and it’s so much more satisfying now. It’s pretty cool to see other people flourish.

Osso will have 60 students looking for his leadership and knowledge. Seeing them succeed and seeing their wins will push him to improve, he said.

He said he would also like to develop unique lesson plans, helping his students improve faster.

Instead of designing games for his team, it will be assignments and structures for his classes. Instead of touchdowns and 3-pointers, he’ll give high marks to drafts.

“And then when a light bulb goes on, it’s pretty satisfying,” he said.

NEWTech has already proven to be a great start for students looking to get into production. Osso said the school was something of a pipeline for KXLY, providing some of its best production staff.

He saw the results of the program. It is now up to him to guide the students towards their final goals, be it production or something else in animation or special effects.

Osso said animation isn’t his forte, so he’ll need further study to learn the intricacies of the subject. Luckily, his job as head coach of the esports team doesn’t require too much grueling homework.

Osso has been playing video games since the Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1983 and has purchased other consoles along the way. He sports a PlayStation 5.

Much of his time on the controls went to Madden, MLB: The Show, PGA Tour golf games, and some first-person shooters.

Now he must learn to play organized games with the help of the Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association. These include Overwatch and Valorant, which are new to Osso, and Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., among others.

Learning to play these games on a PC with a mouse and keyboard will be an adjustment for longtime PlayStation owner Osso.

But his background in classic organized sports puts him well on this team of tech-savvy high schoolers.

“I’m just excited to get in there and see what that team atmosphere is – strategize, have a game plan and see if we can execute it,” he said. “Esports is new to some of us, but it’s going to be really cool to see how they develop together.”

Colleges are starting to offer esports scholarships, realizing the massive market that has recently been tapped.

“I think it’s really cool and I think it gives a pretty good opportunity for these kids to still have that team environment, to still be part of something, even if they can’t throw a ball. very strong,” he said. “Everyone plays video games to some degree; there’s an app on your phone or a Nintendo for me when I was a kid.

Osso said he will fondly remember his time in sports journalism, as it has been his entire professional life.

He specifically mentioned the radio show with Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens that ran for nine years on 700 ESPN with Osso as the third team member.

Their voices rang out over the radios at 3 p.m. every day of the week. Listeners never knew what would come out of their speakers – in the best possible way.

“It was a kick, I tell you what, the radio was the best,” Osso said. “We have never been short of advice. It was the most fun of my life.

While this gig was outside of her normal duties at KXLY, it was still a shock when her time on the radio came to an end. Even without the radio, he still had his normal job as a sports journalist to fall back on – until he made the decision to log out of KXLY for the final time.

“It was an honor to be able to do what I do,” Osso said. “My parents were able to watch me on television every day. Few people have the opportunity to have a job like me, let alone have that opportunity where they grew up. But this community has always been my home and I’m so grateful that I got to do this for as long as I have. And nothing but positive memories now that I move on to the next chapter.

On the day he announced he was leaving KXLY, notes of gratitude greeted Osso from viewers, colleagues, former colleagues and other members of the local media who had crossed paths with him.

“It was humbling. Everyone should have a day like this,” he said. “I didn’t deserve it, I just didn’t deserve it, but it was so personal to me. Everything I do, I put my heart into it. »

Osso said people often don’t allow their emotions to come out before the fact. From retirements to changes of employment until death, the unspoken until the finality of the situations.

Osso ended his reflections on his time at KXLY with another memory of his father, the one who sculpted him and continued to alter his journey after he left.

“I felt like it was part of my dad’s legacy,” Osso said. “The greatest comfort our family has had is that we left nothing unsaid with him and he left nothing unsaid with us. We knew where he was at. We figured out that we all loved each other, we knew that, and that’s something I tried to do with my personal life.

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