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It Started With Two: The Creation of Hawk Talk

Parker Robinson and Nathaniel Easton’s first experiences with the athletic programs at Dickinson State University were as members of the fledgling men’s golf teams. But their legacies to athletics at the school continue to this day throw a program they launched called Hawk Talk.

“We were not the most competitive golfers by any means,” said Robinson, a 2018 DSU graduate who grew up in Gardner, Montana, and now works as director of marketing and advertising for Sportzturf in Lincoln, Neb. “We were there and tried our best but the athletic ability wasn’t up to par.

Easton laughed and agreed. “That was not a successful thing,” said Easton, a DSU grad who is completing his Ph.D. in organizational management at the University of Connecticut. “Thadd (golf coach Thadd O’Donnell) let us do our thing. There was no professional golf in our future, But he didn’t limit us from participating.”

Hawk Talk is a now-televised weekly show seen on Consolidated Telecom. Robinson and Easton started the show with one camera in a local bar and grill and a love of sports.

“I was a communications student and Nate was a business student and we were big into sports,” Robinson recalled. “We were both on the golf team and thought ‘Why not have a show?’ whether a podcast or YouTube series to highlight awesome things that Dickinson State students are doing on and off the field. We were doing a live stream from a corner booth at Players off a phone. It was haphazardly put together but people enjoyed it and student-athletes enjoyed it.”

Easton said the first official Hawk Talk aired in 2014. He interned with the athletic department in 2015 and in 2016, former basketball coach and DSU Heritage Foundation Executive Director, Ty Orton advised the pair to contact Consolidated Telecom.

“We had a conversation and they were like as long as we let them put it on the network, we could shoot it there and put it on the website. It turned what was a pretty small-time thing, into a more professional operation,” Easton said.

Robinson and Easton also have the distinction of being the first student employees of the DSU Heritage Foundation. That experience helped them in their post-DSU lives.

“We were the starters of that program,” Robinson noted. “We would help out however we could in fundraising efforts, calling donors and updating databases. We did a lot of information for marketing and social media and we would be liaisons for the students as well. Doing that kind of stuff puts you in positions to build relationships. It was the stuff we learned in the classroom and then applied it to the stuff we put out with the foundation.”

Easton, a Bismarck native who followed his family to Columbia, Missouri, and then Laramie, Wyoming, before winding up at DSU, found the confidence needed to pursue his MBA and Ph.D.

“I was the manager for (Orton) and we developed trust and respect and when he came back to the foundation, I was waffling. He gave me an opportunity to pay bills while figuring out the next step,” Easton said. “That gave me confidence. There was a lot of opportunity for people willing to take it. That’s the Hawk Talk story in a nutshell. There was a void and you can fill the void if you’re willing to put yourself out there. The experience I got was doing things I wasn’t necessarily qualified for, that I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity at a different place, gave me the comfort to trust myself to try different things.”

With the departure of Robinson and Easton, others have carried on with Hawk Talk. The show now includes segments on all DSU programs in addition to features like On Campus, In Studio, Recap and Minute with Easton, Nate’s father. Five students served as hosts in 2023-24: Cheyenne Jacobs, Dallis Mitchell, Cass Venner, Xander Beeson and Jacob Marley.

Hawk Talk can be seen every Thursday on Consolidated Channel 18 at 5 p.m.

By: Scooter Pursley, DSU Heritage Foundation Communication Specialist

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