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Personality Profile: Chris Dimino

Jason Barrett

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Welcome to the first installment of our “Personality Profile” and this week’s featured guest is Atlanta Sports Radio Personality Chris Dimino. Over the past 20+ years, Chris has become a household name in the Atlanta market where he’s hosted morning and afternoon drive, mid-days and even Pre/Post-Game shows. He truly has a love and passion for his craft that is felt in every word he utters and he’s someone who puts his heart and soul into his profession.

I had the privilege to manage Chris while running 590 The Fan in St. Louis and the one thing I always admired was how hard he worked to provide a well prepared and thought provoking talk show. His approach isn’t built on delivering ratings or trying to please his corporate bosses. Instead he focuses on providing a product that the audience can enjoy and appreciate while also hoping to satisfy his own personal tastes and interests.

dimino680It’s that type of attitude and mentality which has led him to multiple stints working for 790 The Zone and 680 The Fan, two stations who have competed against one another for the better part of two decades. When you listen to Chris on the air, you’ll quickly discover that he comes across as prepared, honest, convincing and connected. He’s not interested in putting out a fake persona to get your attention. Instead he’s genuine and looking to provide you with something interesting that you can’t get anywhere else. He appreciates his audience and allows them into his world plus he spends time developing important relationships and isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong or made a mistake. Simply put with Chris, “what you see is what you get”.

I recently swapped some e-mails with Chris to pick his brain on how he goes about preparing, creating and navigating through each show and I think you’ll find his answers to be very interesting. Enjoy!

Q: What do you read, watch and listen to in order to help you prepare your daily talk show?

A: The night before I make sure I have “Headlines” – scores and stories I’ll need. Not much changes after 11pm in that regard. I’ll also try to get local reaction to any big story the night before online. A beat writer or columnist usually has a different perspective than national guys. Locally on gameday’s there are game reactions, quotes and audio to use and on the morning of a show, I’m a creature of habit. One TV will be on SportsCenter, another is on the MLB or NFL Network or if it’s the NBA post-season that could be on too.

On the internet I burn through ESPN, CNNSI, SPORTSLINE and MLB quickly. I have an idea of what I’m looking for. DEADSPIN and AthlonSports.com can also give you great material. 90% I’ll never use so lately I’ve tried to find different perspectives on bigger stories.

Q: How many topics do you try to introduce over the course of a 3-4 hour show?

A: 3 or 4. Recycled but hopefully fresher because of different perspectives in the room. I like quick “relatable” hits. Off-shoot stuff. Personality driven and absurd stuff that wouldn’t on first blush be “topics” but needs to be mentioned in a way that can tie into a local angle or bring a lighter moment. For example it can be a movie I’ve seen or want to see. Relatable “dad” stuff that is brought up to enhance relationship listening.

Q: How do you determine what matters most to yourself and your audience each day?

A: Am i personally fired up about it? Am I disgusted, happy or even confused by the story? Then can it be easily relatable to convey any or all of those feelings? Reading the headline isn’t that. It’s how it effects you and the listener. And it doesn’t have to be earth shattering on the surface. Just interesting as either a statement or opening question for engagement.

diminosmoltzQ: What’s the #1 thing you’re hoping to accomplish when conducting an interview with a guest?

A: I’ve always seen it as different types of guests require different approaches. Here’s what I mean.

Straight Info Interview – “How will the CFB committee pick 4 teams?” – “The TV ratings for the World Cup means what?” – in this setting I’m looking for an answer, not an opinion. Most like a Q & A.

Conversation interview – the goal is to get the guest to say something they haven’t said anywhere yet, take what is said and be thinking of how that moves the discussion among the hosts and keeps the listeners moving forward and entertains those who wouldn’t have thought that guest would go in the direction you just took them. This style of interview should NEVER feel like a Q & A.

An interview with someone who’s premise, stance or opinion you disagree with – Tell them up front where I stand and be ready for a counter. I have done this with the likes of the NCAA President and Conference Commisioners, writers and coaches. Usually good back and forth dialogue becomes key. Sometimes it’s confrontational but hopefully we have an agree to disagree tone to the conversation.

Q: How much value do you place on callers being a part of your show? Why do or don’t they matter to you?

A: It depends on the subject. I like a few more than a lot of hosts. Too much “agreement” isn’t a great thing. A counter point of view or something I haven’t thought of has the value I seek.

dimino790Q: How critical do you think it is to have a presence in the social media space? How active are you in it?

A: I do it because I like the release. It allows me to get to stuff that I sometimes won’t get to during the show. I love observational humor or another point of view and it’s great practice to do it on Twitter in short bursts. To express an emotion or point of view in 140 characters is a challenge worth taking. Also I enjoy using it to to link to others work whether it’s video or something written. I do something called the Starting 5 everyday and maybe it’s as much for me as anyone else but it helps.

Q: When using audio in your show, how do you determine what gets used and how it gets presented?

A: I love this question because its trickier than most people think. The RIGHT type of audio can be tremendous. The best is not having to set up the premise of discussion as much if you have the right kind of sound. I love it coming into segments because it helps you build momentum. I try to avoid throwing away sound because it can be as important as creating good stuff. I also think well placed drops – self effacing movie lines, famous speeches or underbed music can make a difference when used right. That can often be the best homerun you can hit.

Q: What’s the one area of sports radio today that you believe is sub-par and needs to be improved?

A: Theater of the mind. Creating the stories “angle” and conveying relatability without it being pablum. Also we can be much better at TEASING, TEASING, TEASING!

diminofieldQ: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as it relates to your broadcasting career?

A: It’s 5 guys sitting around a bar. Never lose sight of that. You can tell someone in your “group” they’re crazy because the relationship is sound. That should be your relationship with your fellow hosts and listeners. For me “off the record” is sacred. You can say “more” if you’re willing to go back to locker room and own up to it. Lastly and it’s one i strongly feel now. I want to be right but I don’t need to be. It’s ok to say you were wrong if you miss.

Q: What’s the one accomplishment in your career that you’re most proud of?

A: Relationship building. I’ve never burned anyone. I’ve been in meetings with owners, coaches, general managers and players and I’ve always respected their job while not forgetting mine.

Chris Dimino is part of “The Rude Awakening” on 680 The Fan in Atlanta. You can learn more about the show by clicking here. You can also follow him on Twitter @ChrisDimino.

Sports Radio News

ESPNU, SiriusXM End Partnership, Channel 84 Rebrands as SiriusXM College Sports Radio

“Beyond the name and branding, nothing else for the channel has changed.”

Jordan Bondurant

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SiriusXM still has a college sports radio station on its platform. It’s just called something different now.

A report from Cord Cutters News confirmed that ESPNU and SiriusXM have ended their partnership. Channel 84, which used to be known as SiriusXM ESPNU Radio, is now known as SiriusXM College Sports Radio.

ESPNU had been with the satellite radio provider since 2017. The channel itself, which has been on the Sirius lineup since 2010, was called SiriusXM College Sports Nation when it first launched.

Beyond the name and branding, nothing else for the channel has changed. Listeners can still tune in to hear hosts like Danny Kanell, Dusty Dvoracek, Rick Neuheisel and EJ Manuel, as well as live college sports play-by-play broadcasts.

The move doesn’t end ESPN’s partnership with Sirius. Cord Cutters noted that College GameDay will still be fully simulcasted on channel 81, which is ESPN Xtra.

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Sports Radio News

Kay Adams: Filling In For Dan Patrick A ‘Pinch Me’ Moment

“It would be me and Chris Mannix. And he did his thing, and I was just happy to be along for the ride.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Kay Adams has been successfully forging her own path in media after leaving NFL Network, but there have been moments along the way that she hasn’t forgotten.

Appearing as a guest on Maggie & Perloff on Friday, Adams was asked if she has ever had any pinch-me moments in her career. She said that one of those came back in 2014 and 2015 when she got the chance to guest host The Dan Patrick Show.

“A career highlight was when I, no reason to be allowed to fill in for The Dan Patrick Show,” Adams said. “I somehow got to.”

Perloff, who had the nickname “McLovin” while working with Dan Patrick as a Dan-ette, said he remembered Adams hosting and thought she did a great job. But Adams advised the audience not to try and seek out those tapes.

“I had no idea what was going on,” Adams said. “It would be me and Chris Mannix. And he did his thing, and I was just happy to be along for the ride.”

Adams added that starting her own show with FanDuel has also been a kind of pinch-me moment. She said she was excited that FanDuel was enthusiastic about trying to create the best content possible.

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Sports Radio News

Grant Paulsen: Tony Romo Hasn’t Regressed, Haters Just Piling On

“I would be willing to bet CBS is not concerned that Tony Romo is bad at this after it wasn’t even two years ago he was the toast of commentary.”

Jordan Bondurant

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CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has come under scrutiny for his commentating the last few weeks.

Romo, once thought of as the top color commentator in football, has faced criticism for how he’s adjusted his broadcasting style from the one that made him so popular in recent years. New York Post media columnist Andrew Marchand recently wrote that bosses at CBS have had to stage what was called “an intervention” with Romo to tweak how he calls a game, although CBS says that is a mischaracterization of the meetings.

On 106.7 The Fan in DC, host Danny Rouhier said the wave that Romo rode to stardom in the booth has crashed, and the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback needs to catch up with the changing tides in the NFL.

“So much is different. He can’t just get by on all that base of knowledge that he had,” Rouhier said on Friday’s Grant & Danny. “And he could just walk into the booth without having done anything, know what everybody was doing all the time because he had just seen it. I think that’s gone, and I think he needs to have that sort of come to Jesus moment where he can be more prepared to get that sort of sense back.”

Co-host Grant Paulsen said it was more a matter of Romo catching hate because that’s what people on the internet love to do with commentators.

“I think he is unique and different. Unique and different is bashed, and I think people are bashing him,” Paulsen said. “I don’t think there’s much more to it than that.”

“I think he’s stopped predicting plays to some extent, he still does it a little bit, because he shouldn’t be predicting plays,” he added. “Like I always thought that was the worst part about what he’s doing. I know he got a lot of attention and credit and people loved it. But like telling us right before the play, ‘They’re gonna run left here,’ is not your job. I guess there was some novelty to it.”

Paulsen said since Romo is the top dog in terms of NFL analysts, being the subject of strict scrutiny for every little thing comes with the territory. He said other big names like Cris Collinsworth, Al Michaels and Joe Buck all catch flack.

But Paulsen added he didn’t think CBS has tried to have Romo dial back some of his commentary. He did believe CBS has met with Romo to offer notes and help him develop.

“If you’re paying someone 30 million dollars a year you probably do that,” he said. “I would be willing to bet CBS is not concerned that Tony Romo is bad at this after it wasn’t even two years ago he was the toast of commentary.”

“I guess I don’t see what everyone else sees about how he’s regressed,” Paulsen added. “I just think it’s piling on a guy people don’t like because it’s a job that people don’t like. I think there is an element of him having turned up the fader on the Romo-isms.”

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