Meet a Loper Graduate: Traeton Harimon transitions from football field to broadcasting booth

Traeton Harimon arrived at UNK in fall 2020 with “a ton of uncertainty” about his future plans.

“Now, I’m leaving knowing confidently that the work I did in college has set me up to be successful in a career I love,” he says.

A Bayard native, Harimon was a three-year letterwinner on the Tiger football team, earning Western Trails Conference Special Teams Player of the Year honors as a senior. He came to UNK to continue his athletic career, but ended up starring in a complementary role.

“I spent three years as a punter on the Loper football team before I outgrew that motivation and left it behind to focus on my work in sports media,” he explained. “This worked out, as right after I told my coaches I was moving on, I got a call from Jim Timm of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, who was calling to let me know I was selected as one of their college scholarship recipients.”

Harimon has been part of the sports staff at the campus radio station, KLPR 91.1 FM, since his sophomore year and he served as sports editor for The Antelope student newspaper as a senior.

Although he no longer plays for the Lopers, he’s received a ton of recognition for his work covering them. Among his many awards, he won the best sports play-by-play category in the International Student Broadcasting Championship and partnered with fellow UNK senior Alex Hammeke to take first place for best live sports event in radio during the Nebraska Broadcasters Association’s annual Pinnacle Awards competition. The KLPR sports team also won the best sports update category during the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Media Awards in New York City and Harimon received top honors in three categories during this year’s Northern Plains Collegiate Media Association Golden Leaf Awards, including best sports game story, best sports feature story and best multimedia sports story (with Shelby Berglund and Jon Willis).

Harimon graduates magna cum laude next week with a bachelor’s degree in sports communication and a minor in media production.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be heading back to the Panhandle to continue working for the Rural Radio Network in Scottsbluff (KNEB), where I completed my internship last summer. I want to focus on going back to the area that raised me and give back by helping provide sports coverage for the small schools throughout the Panhandle because I know how much athletics means to these communities.

How did your campus involvement prepare you for this career?
It provided me with real-world experience in my career field. This is especially true for my involvement with KLPR broadcasting Loper sports, as I called my first game ever in February 2022 and had a job broadcasting high school sports by November 2022 with the Rural Radio Network in Holdrege (KUVR) and Lexington (KRVN).

What’s your most memorable experience at UNK?
Being able to broadcast the Volleyball Day in Nebraska match against Wayne State at Memorial Stadium with some of my best friends takes the cake. It was quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with an atmosphere that will probably never be matched in my life.

Who was the most influential person during your undergraduate career?
I can’t pick one, but I will pick three. Ford Clark guided me to getting on the air at KLPR for the first time and provided feedback that allowed me to hone my skills in a short amount of time. Rob Breeding got me involved at The Antelope and let me know that I was wanted in the communication department. Finally, Jacob Rosdail helped me get involved with video production, a skill that is becoming increasingly valuable.

What’s your favorite place on campus?
The KLPR studios and Mitchell Center because that’s where I have gotten to know some of my best friends during my time at UNK.

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
Get involved in the student media organizations sooner. I joined KLPR my sophomore year and The Antelope my junior year, but I still wish I was involved sooner.

What advice do you have for current and future Lopers?
Take the time to look around and appreciate what is around you, whether it be the people you’re around each day or the experiences you are having. Don’t focus so much on getting to the destination that you can’t appreciate the journey.