Rockies broadcaster Jerry Schemmel debuts “Amazing Americans” radio show

Rockies broadcaster Jerry Schemmel debuts “Amazing Americans” radio show

Jerry Schemmel has a dream job. The 2019 season will be his 10th calling Rockies baseball games on the radio for 850 KOA.

Schemmel never takes that for granted, but he’s always searching for meaning beyond the box score. Hence, his new, one-hour weekly series that premiers at 8 a.m. on Sunday on KOA. It’s called “Amazing Americans.”

The first episode features Sean Swarner, who survived cancer as a teenager to summit Mount Everest and also achieved the “Explorer’s Grand Slam” — scaling the highest peaks on all all seven continents, plus trekking to the South and North Poles. He was given a 6 percent chance of surviving cancer, but he persevered, even after having one lung removed.

“Every doctor told me the same thing, that it was physiologically impossible for a human with one lung to climb Mount Everest,” Swarner tells Schemmel in the first episode.

“The show features interviews with the some of the world’s most interesting, motivational and inspiring people,” Schemmel said. “These are stories of triumph as well as tragedy. Stories of perseverance and passion.”

Schemmel said the idea for the show “has been percolating in my mind for about 10 years.”

“I thought it would make a great radio show some day and (program director) Greg Foster said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’ ” Schemmel said.

So why this show? Why now?

“It hit me that there are so many negative stories out there,” Schemmel said. “There is so much angry political rhetoric and so many angry columnists right now. But I also knew that there are so many great motivational stories out there. I wanted to share some of them.”

Through the years, Schemmel read stories and then jotted down names of people he would like to interview. When he got the go-ahead for the show from KOA, he began the task of whittling down his list of 121 names.

Among the upcoming guests are:

— Susie Krabacher, a former Playboy centerfold who established and now operates an orphanage for special needs children in Haiti.

— Trish Downing, a world-class cyclist and triathlete who was left a paraplegic from an accident. She fought her way back to become the first female paraplegic to finish an Ironman distance triathlon.

— Kim Hess, a Steamboat Springs resident who is one of the few females ever to conquer the “Seven Summits” — scaling the highest peaks in all seven continents.

— Matt Elliott and Justin Garrity, two young men from Raleigh, N.C. who overcame their addictions to drug and alcohol and established the Oak City Recovery Run Club.

Schemmel, who was the radio play-by-play voice for the Nuggets for 18 seasons, has made it part of his life’s mission to shed light on inspirational people and institutions.

Schemmel is a survivor of the crash of United Flight 232 in Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989. The crash killed 112 of the 296 on board. He wrote “Chosen to Live,” which chronicles the crash of Flight 232 and how if affected his life.

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