40 UNDER 40: JUSTIN HULL
Blessed: Broadcaster lands his dream job

By NICHOLAS DETTMANN - Daily News

Sept. 8, 2017

Justin Hull is host of a statewide radio show, “In the Huddle,” which features Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley and wide receiver Jeff Janis.
Submitted photo


Justin Hull’s dream of being a big-time athlete ended by the time he graduated from Germantown High School in 2000.

His dream of being a television sports anchor ended a few years into college at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

“I had camera fright,” Hull said.

Luckily, he still had another avenue for a career path: sports radio broadcasting.

“I got involved in a sports talk show and I fell in love with it,” Hull said.

Today, the 35-year-old is the brand manager for WHBY, WSCO and Woodward Radio Group in Appleton. He is also the host of a statewide radio show, “In the Huddle,” which features Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley and wide receiver Jeff Janis.

“I was a big sports fan growing up,” Hull said. “Once I realized my athletic ability would take me as far as my senior year in high school, I tried to find something to stay with it.”

Going into college, Hull’s dream was to be on ESPN’s SportsCenter. That dream vanished quickly, he said.

“I watched videos of my sportscasts,” Hull said. “They were terrible. It was a very humbling moment.”

Radio suited him perfectly.

“There were no cameras in my face,” he said, adding to be able to talk about sports as a career was a dream come true.

While at UW-Oshkosh, he also did some high school football broadcasts. From there, he was hooked.

“I never had cable growing up, so it was always the local guys,” Hull said. “My favorite was Kevin Hunt at WTMJ (Channel 4). He brought a fun attitude to his sports broadcasts. It was always enjoyable to watch.”

And there were more broadcasters Hull looked up to as his passion for the industry began to flourish.

“We were blessed to have play-byplay guys like Bob Uecker, Pat Hughes, Jim Powell, Matt LePay for the Badgers, Max (McGee) and Jim (Irwin) on Packers broadcasts and later Wayne (Larrivee) and Larry (McCarren). We’ve been blessed in the state with the individuals that call games for our state teams.”

Hull has been with Woodward Radio Group for nearly 10 years, starting there in February 2008.

After earning a degree in communications at UW-Oshkosh in 2004, Hull worked at KFIZ radio in Fond du Lac for two years.

“At KFIZ, I did everything I could do to work full-time in radio, kind of a jack of all trades,” Hull said.

Then he left Fond du Lac and KFIZ for KLGA radio in Algona, Iowa, about two hours north of Des Moines. There, he was the sports director.

A year later, he moved to the Fox Valley to be the brand manager at Woodward.

As brand manager, he is in charge of programming on each station, manages the staff, coaches on-air talent, does air checks and puts together schedules, essentially the business side of radio.

When he joined Woodward, he was immediately put onto the staff producing “In the Huddle.”

Four years later, he became the host of the statewide network. The season premiered Monday and can be heard at 6 p.m. on AM920 in Washington County.

“It’s a deeper look into players,” Hull said of the show. “We’ll talk about games, opponents, but it’s also an opportunity for listeners to the show to introduce them to the player. We try not to take it too seriously.

“NFL players have their head in football 70-80 hours a week. This is one way to let loose a bit. The players enjoy it.”

Hull’s he-made-it moment happened shortly after he became the host for “In the Huddle.”

“I heard the intro to my sports talk show, it was introducing me as a host to this thing,” Hull said. “It was like, ‘Whoa. Here I am.’” It’s been a statewide broadcast for the last six years.

“I think the reach with it is great,” Hull said. “What we’re able to do is we’re able to give access to Packers fans who don’t normally have it.”

Hull also likes the camaraderie the show builds between himself and guests of the show — the Packers players.

“I get to meet the players on a different level,” Hull said. “They’re real people. To see TJ Lang come with his kid one week, seeing him as a dad, it’s really neat to see that.”

Hull is also active within the Fox Valley community through several charity events, with the help of his employer. Woodward Radio’s stations have done events such as golf outings, toy drives and fundraisers for hospitalized children.