Thursday, October 18, 2012

ESPNU’s lead anchor Dari Nowkhah tells the Daily Times Herald that a recent arrangement to showcase the comedic work of Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker holds great promise for the college-sports-focused channel in ESPN’s considerable network.

Iowa Filmmakers is scheduled to shoot two, two-minute videos each week for ESPNU, one picking college football games, the other recapping contests from the previous week. The videos will be broadcast on ESPNU’s “College Football Daily,” which airs from noon to 3 p.m. CST. Siepker, 29, the on-air talent for the troupe he helped found, expects his spots to air about 12:45 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. Friday (for previews) and Wednesday (for reviews).

“Right now, the agreement is through the rest of the year,” Siepker said in an interview. “It’s open-ended. Maybe it will grow into basketball. Maybe it won’t.”

Nowkhah says Iowa Filmmakers adds something very unique to “College Football Daily.”

“We are a very opinion-driven show, and Scott has an incredibly creative way of delivering witty opinion about college football, about which he happens to know a great deal,” Nowkhah said. “Every time we air one of their videos, we instantly get feedback from viewers who love it.  I’m not sure how many Nebraskans enjoy their work (ha) but about everybody else does.  Ours is a show where this works well.  We are big, not only on opinion, but on humor and on trying different elements that other shows have not tried.  This is perfect for us.  It’s topical, fun, creative and generally hilarious.”

Earlier this year, Iowa Filmmakers earned an Official Honoree designation at the 16th annual Webby Awards in the Viral category for “Iowa Nice.”

That two-minute video, released on Jan. 1, seeks to debunk certain coastal narratives about Iowa being a cultural monolith of prejudiced reactionaries. Siepker and “Iowa Nice” director, his longtime theatrical collaborator, Paul D. Benedict, have seen their work go viral.

In the last few weeks, “Iowa Nice” soared from regional fame and YouTube popularity to the big time, an entertainment world-equivalent of skipping from sixth grade to high school on a single test score.

“We happened to run across one of their original clips and aired it one day,” Nowkhah said. “Then, sitting in our newsroom chatting, my producer Baron Miller and I just sort of came up with the idea — ‘Hey, why don’t we have them do something every week if they want to.’  So we called them, they were receptive and here we are.  It’s worked out perfectly.”

For his part, Nowkhah is also a co-host of “Dari and Mel” on ESPN Radio. Mel is the NFL draft guru and football analyst Mel Kiper.

In a feature published in last Friday’s Daily Times Herald, Siepker and the Iowa Filmmakers discussed the process of crafting commentary blending college football takes with humor based largely on over-the-top stereotypes about states, regions and their people.

Earlier this week, Siepker announced some more news: he will be a regular guest on KNXO-1460AM radio out of Des Moines on the “Murph and Andy Show.” Siepker will be on at 2:30 p.m. this Friday.

Siepker graduated from Iowa State in 2005 with a degree in psychology. He’s a member of the CHS Class of 2001. He’s also is a leading player in the launch of a “webisode,” an online dramatic independent movie, that chronicles bootlegging and surrounding issues in 1931 rural western Iowa. Carroll County factors into the series known as “Valentine Road,” which co-stars Siepker, the co-producer

Siepker is a son of Mount Carmel residents Terry “Zip” Siepker, a veteran of Pella Corp., and Janie Siepker, who works for Whylie Eye Care Center. His grandmother Mary Lou Schultes lives in Carroll.