Arthur R. "Art" Hains has ink in his blood, but it's been a golden throat which has made him an institution in Ozarks radio as the main play-by-play announcer of Southwest Missouri State/Missouri State University football and basketball for all but four years since 1977.
He's now the newest member of the Kansas City Chiefs broadcast team, hosting the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows on the Chiefs Radio Network -- of which KMMO/Marshall is an affiliate.
"I can draw on a lifetime of being a Chiefs fan," Hains explained. "I think I can bring a little bit of the fan's perspective. I've lived and died with the Chiefs for many years."
Hains ultimately chose a career on the air, but he grew up in a print family. He is the grandson of Rosier Hains, who owned The Marshall Democrat-News from 1924 to 1967, and both of his parents -- Randall and Sarah Hains, the latter still living in Marshall -- devoted their professional lives to the paper.
Fresh out of Southern Baptist University in Dallas, the 1973 MHS grad came home to work for a year part-time with both the local newspaper and radio station before Stouffer Communications, which owned the Democrat-News at the time, bought KGBX-AM in Springfield and acquired the SMSU radio rights. Hains was hired in 1977, paired with long-time announcer and former Missouri Valley College basketball player Vern Hawkins.
"He was quite a guy," Hains said about one of his early mentors. "Back in those days, we drove everywhere, so we'd talk all the time."
When KGBX dropped sports four years later, Hains returned to Dallas to join powerhouse KRLD-AM, which gave him his first brush with the NFL as studio host of the Cowboys -- as well as Southwest Conference football.
"That helped me get the job with the Chiefs," Hains said. "Even though it had been 25 years, I'd had that previous experience in the NFL."
In 1985, with his first child due to arrive, Hains "had to make a decision." By that time, SMSU had moved to NCAA Division I and was looking for stability in its broadcast presentation. That's when they called on Hains.
"They wanted a consistent 'voice' on all their games," Hains recalled. That the school got, especially for the 20 years that Hains and Springfield television legend Ned Reynolds -- the sports anchor at KYTV for over 40 years -- teamed up on football and home basketball games. When KY3 lost the Bears' football TV rights four years ago, KOLR-TV anchor Scott Opfer joined Hains, who also works with separate road and home color analysts for hoops.
Hains became a comfortable presence on Springfield radio, hosting an evening talk show on KWTO-FM (Jock 98.7), morning sports report on KWTO-AM and calling select high school games on Meyer Communications stations. He also became a full-time MSU employee earlier this year as University Marketing Specialist.
He'll retain most of those duties, but will add Sunday NFL work to his schedule -- thanks to Chiefs play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus, with whom Hains developed a friendship through Holthus' work on the Missouri Valley Conference basketball network.
"This was all his doing," Hains said. "Mitch is involved in the minute details of the format, the sales and even the personnel."
The opportunity arose when Cumulus Media Partners dropped veteran announcer Bob Gretz, then hired former Chiefs player Kendall Gammon as sideline reporter and sought a new studio voice.
"They're making significant changes in the sound of the broadcast," Hains said. "The fact that I've done it before, I was confident we could make it work.
"From a technical standpoint, I'm used to doing live broadcasts," Hains noted, realizing that preparation -- which he'll do largely by e-mail while remaining in Springfield during the week -- is the key. "We hope to have most of the hay in the barn before I sit down Sunday morning."
Still, "it's live radio," Hains remarked. "There are unpredictable, spontaneous things which happen, and I can handle that."