(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler, who writes The Genz blog at www.genzmania.com.)

“Each time we say a word, think a thought or create an action; we evolve into who we are destined to become. So with each shift we are continually changing never to be that same person again.” ~ Author Kaoru Shinmon

I’m not sure why some people see life as a glass half-full and others with a glass half-empty. I do know this; it takes less energy to smile than frown.

Smiles, positive thinking and living life with their glass half-full define Mike Henriksen and Mark Ovenden, the co-hosts of Calling All Sports, a Sioux Falls, S.D., based sports talk show. Each day, the duo helps make our lives a little better with their fun and informative sports talk radio show that adds something new every day.

It is a show that provides a powerful human interest niche to the local market. Whether Mike H. and Mark O. are interviewing a rising musical star, a high school sports standout, a new media professional in the area, analyzing the relevance of the State-U rivalry, or a myriad of things happening in the local, regional and even national scene, these guys always bring it.

A person doesn’t have to see them to feel their trademark positive tone. CAS is an upbeat, lively show that makes me smile a bit, think some, and always enjoy. When it is half over, you don’t notice. The time flies as swiftly and smoothly as the interplay between Mike H. and Mark O. and their guests.

One day recently, I stopped in to observe the two wily old broadcast pros. Believe me, they are a pair with energetic personalities and enviable pep in their step.

Over the course of the hour at the KWSN studio, they hit on snowball fights and how to make a snow angel, what team might win the Super Bowl or why a local band was worth a look.

Recently, they interviewed O’Gorman coach Steve Flynn about the one-day bowling state tourney and what makes bowling a unique sport. Another day, they dedicated a show to visit with people impacted by Missouri River flooding in Pierre, Dakota Dunes and elsewhere.

Just reviewing the show’s various guests indicates that they go down a varied path.

The list of guests ranges far and wide, including former Mt. Vernon native and now Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway and former Augustana and Broncos standout Karl Mecklenburg. They have discussed kicking and football issues with NFL kickers such as David Treadwell and Nick Lowery.

At various points they have interviewed Twins announcer Dick Bremer to discuss baseball. They chatted about Super Bowl beverages with Ashley Kirsch of Cask and Cork in Sioux Falls and visited with Mark Cartwright of the Cartwright Brothers about the Dan Christopherson Bash for Cash. They talked about college football with Oklahoma Sooners offensive coordinator and former Aberdeen native Josh Heupel. Another guest was the irrepressible and 90-year old former U.S. Senator George McGovern.

They have interviewed new media talent in the area like KSFY’s Paige Pearson and spoke with former Tyndall resident and now model and personal trainer Jodi Tiahrt of Los Angeles. They brought on USD men’s BB coach Dave Boots after his 600th win and SDSU basketball coach Scott Nagy after career win 300. The guest list includes various sports information guys, numerous coaches, newspaper and TV guys, plus former Vikings QB Joe Kapp and Olympian pole vaulter Derek Miles. Guests have also included Terri Lawrenz and Todd Magnuson of Nature Adventures on SDPB, among a host of many others.

As I sat and observed the pair in the studio, I laughed quite a bit, learned some, and generally had a great time. I even quizzed the interview pros.

So who are these guys?

Both men are family guys who have made South Dakota home after finding their way to Sioux Falls from different parts of the country. Ovenden, a Boston native, attended the University of Richmond and worked in Rockford, Ill., before coming to the Sioux Falls area.

Henriksen is a Lincoln, Neb., native who found his way to Sioux Falls in 1978, roughly the same time as Ovenden.

Mark O., who balances two jobs as an accounting rep at Nichols Media and KDLT sports director, wears his emotions on his sleeve. He loves Boston sports teams, especially the Bruins, and Red Sox. He also has deep passion for the Celtics and of course, the Patriots. He will let you know what he thinks but always in a controlled, confident manner.

Mike H., a little more reserved, loves the Kansas City Royals in baseball and the Detroit Lions in football. Henriksen’s real passion is with Dell Rapids High School sports team, where he has made his home. Mike H. has a quiet confidence and demeanor but he too is all about treating people with respect. They have Dakota values bred in their being, even as their roots are elsewhere.

In nearly 35 years in Sioux Falls, they’ve developed a strong rep for being easily approachable sorts. Ovenden, a racquetball and golfing aficionado, once did an hour-long radio program in Sioux Falls. He related a story about an interview with Frank Viola after the Twins won the World Series. Viola was named the 1987 World Series MVP and had the national media after him for interviews. The night after winning baseball’s top prize, he stayed with Mark for an interview. A lot of that was on “Sweet Music” but it also lay with Ovenden’s respectful treatment of guests.

Mark O. makes regular appearances before the public in five minute TV segments on KDLT most nights. Henriksen, who does TV broadcasts as a play-by-play and color analyst for SD high school championships, is comfortable on the big screen but more honed to radio.

For several years Mike H. did a radio program on KWSN with Craig Mattick (Craig and Mike Show on KWSN) but is primarily attached to a Sportsmax show, which he has done for five years. He took over Sportsmax, an hour-long, interview show on sports-topics, about five years after his friend Tom Maxwell died in a tragic car accident (2001).

Calling All Sports was Henriksen’s idea. He wanted to do a show with Mark O., after meeting and interacting with him regularly when he was a co-host on the Craig and Mike show on KWSN. The two men, and Calling All Sports, came together in May 2010 after Henriksen finally persuaded Ovenden to give it a try.

“I thought, how in the world I can do something like that,” said Ovenden, acknowledging Henriksen as someone he respected, liked and with whom he thought a sports talk show might work. “I had two full-time jobs and I was wondering just how (could I make this work)? I decided that this could be a lot of fun. Once I go forward with something, I find a way to make it work,” he said.

Now, nearly two years later, Ovenden, and Henriksen, have no regrets.

“I could be having a bad day at one of the other jobs but I know for an hour each day, I will have a great time and have fun. And, there are those days I have great days at all three and it makes for a pretty great day,” said Mark O.

Watching or listening, it is easy to see they complement each other. You feel their chemistry, a vital component in successful sports talk radio programming.

“Mark is a guy that brings a lot to the show every day. He offers an inviting interview style and he is just fun to interact with on a daily basis,” said Henriksen.

According to Ovenden, the idea for the show and the daily presentation is a credit to Henriksen, whom he calls “well-rounded, especially with the history of local artists and athletes.”

It is a show that doesn’t feature the loud noise (and voices) of some sports talk shows, especially on a more national stage.

Mike H. and Mark O. make guests feel welcomed and I think a little special.

Is it all laughs and fun? That depends on your take. My view is they are two regular guys having a little fun, as they interact with people about sports and life.

They will pose tough questions to guests but in a respectful manner. The duo’s understanding of sports, and its many variables, give them the experience and the sensitivity to broach topics without going over the cliff.

This show works because each of them is a little-different in presentation. Mark O. is a self-described story-teller. “Ask my kids,” he says a bit off the cuff. “Sometimes they think I embellish a bit, but…over time and years sometimes the stuff gets a little bit enhanced.”

Maybe, but who hasn’t added a little flair to a story. In the studio, you don’t hear much of that embellished stuff. They want their guests to tell the story because that is what makes CAS go. Because of that philosophical bent, we get those moments of laughter, of serious tone, and where we think, “Oh, wow.”

Needless to say, they debate and discuss topics; and they don’t always agree.

“I think we have a civil discussion on issues,” said Henriksen. “But we don’t go overboard and go on and on about a topic,” he said.

Mark O. offers cutting humor, masked sometimes in his passion, especially when talking about his sports teams. Mike H. has that dry sense of humor that makes us all smile.

“With some topics, both us are well-versed or plugged in; and there are other areas where he has more interest and more knowledge,” said Mark O. “Those times, I will defer to him. What it boils down to is that we respect each other’s abilities.”

Thirty-four years ago, they began doing their media thing in Sioux Falls. I don’t think either of them thought they would be here for that long. But they are. And, I am not sure; they thought that an hour-long sports talk radio could provide such satisfaction. It does.

Even when they get a little criticism for laughing too much or being too nice to the guests, they take it in stride. “OK,” Henriksen said. “Maybe we do, but isn’t that what it is all about.”

“We don’t manufacture stuff. We just let it (flow of the show) happen,” said Henriksen.

Shinmon, a self-help author, said with each word, or perhaps action, a person evolves and changes and is never again that same person. To me, that is what makes this show worth a person’s time every day.

What we hear, what they present, makes both of us a little different today and maybe a little better tomorrow.

A lot of good things happen when the glass is half-full.