Al Fagerli makes his final high school game call Thursday at Parker

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By Gary Rau, Special to the Gazette
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How do you summarize the contributions of a man to a community without making it sound like a eulogy? Al Fagerli lives, however, he leaves a legacy to the athletic community of Janesville and the surrounding communities.

For so many years, those with an interest could always expect to hear Al on WCLO (1230 AM on your radio dial) providing a broadcast of a football or basketball game, or perhaps a hockey or baseball broadcast during playoff runs. He did it with a professionalism beyond reproach.

 During his tenure at WCLO, Al was committed to provide as much coverage as the sales department could support (and year after year they did just that). Janesville athletes were provided with journalistic exposure that so many student-athletes are not afforded. Many parents, grandparents, family and general sports enthusiasts had the opportunity to follow Janesville sports teams from August through March—and sometimes through June—because Al Fagerli was dedicated to do so.

Obviously Al received compensation for his duties. But, for a moment consider what his schedule entailed.

Al rolled out of bed each morning in the neighborhood of 3 a.m. and made his way to the radio station to engage his duties as Sports Director of WCLO. His workday at the station concluded around 10:30 a.m.

From August through March, he then had to find time to track down coaches of many sports at multiple sites to get quotes and interviews to enhance the sports programming. During football season, on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays, he would set out around 5:30 p.m. to get the the contest of the evening and prepare to broadcast. Those evenings usually got him home by 10:30 p.m.

Long days to get up and do it all over again.

Basketball is even more brutal. Consider the weather, and often broadcasts on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and sometimes twice on Saturday, and you begin to appreciate Al's schedule.

Through all these obstacles, Janesville area listeners received professional and enthusiastic broadcasts. In addition, Al recognizes that these are student-athletes and affords them positive and supportive play-by-play.

Often, I see Al jump up from his chair and pump his hand in approval of a good play. … You gotta love his enthusiasm.

I can also attest that Al is a Janesville booster, not partial to Craig or Parker. When performing these duties, the public scrutiny is undeniable, and Al passes the test.

In my many years, and perhaps 500 games as Al's partner on basketball broadcasts, I am continually impressed with his enthusiasm, commitment to Janesville sports and resolve to deliver a quality product. Until I put on the headset, I had no idea the difficulty and challenge of being live on-air. To be fluid and fluent in delivery is an art. Al has that unique quality.

We will miss Al on the air, both day and night. Josh Golberg, who is set to replace him, has monster shoes to fill and a giant shadow.

And if anyone deserves a place in the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame, it is Al Fagerli. He has left a lasting imprint on Janesville athletes and athletic programs.

We will miss you, Al! Enjoy many years of retirement … you deserve it.

Last updated: 8:33 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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