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Jones Conflicted About Entering Political Race

Jason Barrett

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When Matt Jones, the host of the popular sports talk show “Kentucky Sports Radio” landed in Washington, D.C., last week, it was his second trip to the capital since he began eyeing a run as a Democrat in the Bluegrass State’s 6th District against Republican Rep. Andy Barr.

Jones, well known back home after spending 10 hours on the radio each week for the past five years talking about all the things University of Kentucky athletics, was in town a few months ago to hear a pitch from congressional Democrats about “why it might make sense to consider a run” for office.

During last week’s visit, Jones was among the 45 candidates from 36 open or Republican-held congressional districts in town for three days of meetings as part of the the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s biennial “Candidate Week” – though he is still in the “recruitment” phase of a possible campaign.

“Having never run for an office — being a political junkie, but not someone involved in the day-to-day – there are some basics of things that I don’t know,” the 37-year-old said, pointing specifically to complex campaign finance regulations. “If you’re going to be a smart candidate and not some crackpot, you need to know those things.”

He is well known for his expertise on sports, but Jones said he wanted to learn the specifics about building a campaign infrastructure rather than relying fully on the knowledge of campaign consultants to focus on the minutia for him. A Duke-educated lawyer, Jones said, “I’m a detail sweater.”

At first, he tried to start a podcast for the Kentucky Sports Report website. But that site took a pass, telling Jones it would not be successful. So he created his own, Kentucky Sports Radio, in 2005.

“It shows my stubbornness — it made me want to make it successful,” he said.

Even though the show was created to focus on athletics, it has dived into politics. In 2014, he moderated a debate on his show between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. This fall, he hosted a debate with the candidates facing off in Kentucky’s heated governor’s race  and had an interview with presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that made national news.

And Jones has started to appear at political events. He emceed the Fancy Farm Picnic this year — an annual political cattle call in the western tip of the Bluegrass State — and has started to elevate his profile at events put on by Democrats.

He is taking the same careful approach to the possibility of becoming a candidate as he did when he entered sports radio.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Kentucky to get a lay of the land, the political landscape, and to think about whether this is something I want to do,” he said. “I want to know that I can win. I’m not getting in this to lose.”

The reaction from listeners on the possibility or running has been mixed. Some were encouraging, while others suggested he should stick around to ride out the scandal rocking the University of Louisville athletic department.

A spokesman for Barr said in August that the lawmaker was a fan of Jones’ radio show, but said, “like Congressman Barr, KSR listeners are passionate about University of Kentucky athletics, not politics.”

Having built Kentucky Sports Radio from scratch, Jones said the notion of giving it all up for a seat in Congress is certainly weighing on him. He said it was not clear whether Federal Communications Commission equal-time rules would require him to step aside from his day job, but he said things would certainly get complicated if he does make his candidacy official.

Jones said the kind of talk he’s hearing about a congressional run from the people who say he can’t do it is not unlike what he heard when he first tried to start his radio show.

“They say you’re a radio host and can’t win. Those are the kinds of things that sort of drive you,” he said.

To read the full article visit Roll Call where it was originally published

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Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research

“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.5 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.

This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.

“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of  Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

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