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KHON's Veneri ready to go behind the scenes


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POSTED: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Go Johnny Go! ... But, wait, not so fast.

John Veneri—a KHON sports fixture the past 15 years as reporter, weekend anchor and star of the Go Johnny Go challenge-the-jock feature—is phasing into a new role as the station's marketing and promotions director.

But the 37-year-old former Hawaii slotback won't completely move into his new slot for at least a few weeks. Football season is just too busy a time for a major change in sports coverage (he also does sideline reports for 1420-AM's radio broadcast of UH football games). And it's also ratings season.

“;It's important that I stay in front of the camera for now because we don't want to shock the viewers at this time,”; Veneri said.

“;Sports is great, but my kids are getting a little older and I'd like to enjoy some weekends with my family,”; the husband and father of three added. “;And for a few years I've been thinking about doing something different, behind the camera. I'm kind of a computer geek and I got into designing graphics. Before you know it, it led to other things and splitting time with the marketing and promotions department.”;

Sports director Kanoa Leahey hopes to have at least a temporary replacement hired around the start of the year. Veneri said he's agreeable to pitching in as an anchor or in other capacities when needed.

“;John's one of those guys who has skills everyone taps into,”; Leahey said. “;His expertise in computers, programming, graphics as well as, obviously, sports, has been a great benefit to the station. This is a natural transition, but I don't think it will be the end of his on-air career.”;

» I asked Greg McMackin to put himself in the position of New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker as he plans against his UH offense, which rolled for 360 rushing yards and 337 passing last week.

“;I'd try to make them one-dimensional,”; he said. “;Usually you try to take away the run game. And I would try to keep their offense off the field.”;

Balance kills. Usually, the Warriors have made themselves one-dimensional, by falling behind early.

» Pegasus—mythical creature, and mythical basketball team the first time around. Former NBA player LaShun McDaniel is here to try to get a new version of the Honolulu Pegasus ABA team off the ground. He sounds like he's got a plan, and a few players, including guard Hirofumi Oga from Japan, and 7-foot-3 center Mike Boone from UC Davis.

Tryouts to fill out the roster are Saturday and Sunday at McKinley, and McDaniel says the 35-game schedule starts Dec. 4 against Seattle.

He understands why we're skeptical. We'll see.

» Thrilling win by Kahuku for the OIA football championship. “;They just find ways to win,”; a young observer marveled.

Older guys chuckled at that—we remember prior to 2000, when the Raiders often had what should have been overwhelming talent but fell victim to their own mistakes in postseason play.

» Hawaii was 9-0 at home (four softball games, two basketball exhibitions, two volleyball matches and the football game). Homecoming weeks don't get much better.

» If you're a UH fan, you want Utah to beat TCU on Saturday. If the Utes knock the Horned Frogs from the unbeaten ranks, Boise State has a chance to make a big bowl game ... and send some BCS money Hawaii's way.