Our guest for this week’s Q & A is no stranger to the Wisconsin sporting landscape, Trenni Kusnierek. If you don’t listen to Trenni currently on 540 ESPN or on The Broadside podcast with Jen Lada, you may have seen her last year on the MLB Network or perhaps before that on FSN Wisconsin. Trenni is also very active with her charity work across the state, most notably the MACC Fund in Milwaukee .  In addition to all that, Trenni just recently returned from a trip to India where she worked with the Hope Foundation volunteering her time to teach English to 3 rd & 4 th graders. So without further ado, let’s get some questions answered.

You’re currently working with 540 ESPN on the D-List & the Broadside podcast.  Previous to that you hung your spurs at the MLB Network & FSN Wisconsin.  What’s the change been like, transitioning primarily to radio/voice work & also being less of a travelling nomad?

Not traveling has been the best change.  After spending eight years on the road (FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Wisconsin, and MLB Network), I was a little road weary.  It’s nice waking up in my own bed, seeing my family and friends, and enjoying Milwaukee!  With that said, I’m really going to miss priority lines and hotel upgrades when my points expire!

As for the transition to radio, it really hasn’t been much of a transition at all.  I’ve always been a big fan of voicing my opinion on talk radio and started doing so while I worked in Pittsburgh.  So essentially, I’ve worked both ends of media for the last seven years.  I love being able to not do my hair or makeup and just talk sports.  What I’ve missed most during my break from TV is the immediacy of getting stories and the relationships you build with players, coaches, managers, and other media members.  There is a special bond in our business when you spend eight hours together at the ballpark! 

You grew up in Milwaukee so I’m guessing you were a Brewers fan.  Was it ever hard to separate the fan from the reporter during your time at FSN while covering the Brewers exclusively?

Actually, no.  It was much harder when I worked in Pittsburgh and covered the Pirates.  When you work for a regional network, the fans expect you to root for the home team, and quite honestly, that was really, really difficult for me when it came to the Pirates and the Brewers.  

I asked a similar question to your Broadside partner Jen Lada a few months back, so will ask you as well.  How much prep goes into each Boradside podcast and what’s it like working with Jen?

Not as much as you would think, but for good reason.  I’m not a big fan of prepared opinions.  The best radio/podcasts are organic.  People can always tell when you’ve prepared a statement or read from a list of statistics and that’s not why anyone is listening.  I truly believe that people want authentic emotion and opinion on topics.  Jen’s preparation may be different, but for me it’s just finding topics that interest me and throwing the idea out to her.  If we both think it’s discussion worthy, I’ll read an article and keep my reaction to myself until we hit record.  However, seeing as Jen and I are really close friends, secrecy isn’t always easy!

This past year, you spent a great deal more time covering teams & sports outside of baseball. As a sports reporter, do you have to adapt what you do based on which sport/team you’re covering?  For example, is there a difference as to how you would prepare to talk about the Packers vs the Brewers.

Not at all.  Again, I’m not a fan of over preparation.  Yes, I read newspapers and listen to talk radio in whatever city I may be working to make sure I’m up on what’s being focused on, but I like to ask questions and come up with stories based on my own observations.  Right or wrong, I think the best stories and interviews come when you listen  to your subject.  I’ve seen too many people come in with a prepared list of questions they never stray from.  If I’m doing a sit down or one on one interview I always prepare a few questions and have an idea of what I’d like to talk about, but I usually get away from my “1-10″.  And that is usually where I get my best answers.  

You’ve most likely been to more Major League Ballparks than anyone else I’ve every spoken to.  What are a couple of your favorites based on your experiences.

Coors Field, Citizens Bank, Kaufmann Stadium, AT&T Ballpark, and of course Miller and PNC Park!  

Who have been some truly memorable people you’ve interviewed thus far in your career?

This is one of the toughest questions I ever get asked.  So, I’ll tell the story of my favorite interview ever.  It was the day after the Brewers fired Ned Yost in 2008 and replaced him with Dale Svuem.  We all know that Robin Yount was hired to be the Brewers bench coach.  Yount took the time to address the media before that first game against the Cubs and when I asked Robin a question, he said “Tren” and then answered.  I about lost it.  Robin Yount is easily my all time favorite Brewer and to have him not only know my name, but use my nickname was, for lack of a better phrase, so freaking cool.

So….exactly what do you do in-between on-air spots during an MLB game?

Watch the game!  Ha!  I always, always keep a score sheet.  There is such an pure pleasure in a scorecard.  Plus, by keeping score, it is easy for me to go back and know key players, plays, and moments in the game.

You’re an alum of Marquette and based on what I see on Twitter, a fan of Marquette hoops.  What are your thoughts on what has been a somewhat disappointing season for the Golden Eagles?

I try to be optimistic, so I’m hoping this year was one of growing pains.  MU has played really good teams hard and close, but unlike in past years they haven’t been able to close things out.  I think that ties directly in with their lack of age and experience at the Big East level.  Yes, you’ve got a guy like Jae Crowder who has emerged as an obvious leader, but you can’t forget he only played at the JC level before this year.  Vander Blue went from being a high school super star to playing in the toughest conference in all of college basketball.  I’m still optimistic this team has what it takes to compete at a high level and I’ll be getting season tickets for 2011-2012!

Fan expectation for the Brewers is pretty high this season and I think rightfully so. What does your professional crystal ball foretell for the Brewers in 2011?

Simple, if they stay healthy they win the NL Central and compete for the NL crown.  One major injury to the pitching staff where there is virtually no depth and we may be looking up at the Cubs, Reds, or Astros.  (The Cardinals as well, but only if Adam Wainwright isn’t out for the year.)

…and now for the lighting round.

Your all-time favorite professional athlete is:  

Robin Yount

Your favorite sports blog to read is:

Cheesehead TV  

If there were no sports to report, you would be doing:

Either a foreign war correspondent or running a non-profit

Normally I would ask the ‘if you were a professional athlete’ question here, but seeing as you’re a marathon runner I would already qualify you as a professional.  What’s your next big run?

Three big ones this summer/fall: The Celcom Green Bay half marathon where I’m hoping to set a PR (personal record), the Rock N’ Sole over the Hoan Bridge, and the Lakefront Marathon.  Hopefully I’ll also have no problem registering for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  I qualified in Philadelphia in late November with a 3:28:41, but Boston seems to be filling up faster and faster each year!

Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a _____________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

Depends on the day… 

  1. Hot summer night: Ice cold Miller Lite
  2. Relaxed afternoon: Red Wine–preferably a Malbec
  3. A crazy girl’s night out: Kettle One and soda with a lemon

And that will do it for this week’s Q & A.  A huge thanks to Trenni, who as you can tell is a very busy lady and I appreciate her taking the time to answer our questions for this week.  You can catch Trenni on 540 ESPN & ESPNMilwaukee.com  on the D-List as well as the podcast The Broadside.  Make sure to also give  Trenni a follow on Twitter while you’re at it.

Would you like to be the guest for a PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A? Let us know!

 

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