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Bomani Jones Is Blazing His Own Trail In Sports Media

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Bomani Jones likes to talk. Not just in the selfish manner of someone who likes to hear himself, but as someone interested in sharing ideas with anyone who’ll listen. He’s hardly predictable, rarely brief, and full of elongated vowels. His cadence is too quick to diminish as a drawl, yet distinctly relaxed and unmistakably southern. He’s both common and unique; the approachable man with the unattainable intellect. Holding master’s degrees in both politics and economics, he’s regularly called the smartest person in sports media. But “smartest” feels too lofty for someone so grounded, no?

“I have everyman tendencies.” says Jones over the phone while overlooking the pastel glitz of South Beach. “But at this point, talking to you on the balcony of this beachfront condo, it’s very difficult for me to sell that as the everyman experience. That being said, I do feel like the everyman that somehow ended up in a beachfront condo.”

Besides, what is it to be ‘smart’ anyway? Is it retention or comprehension? What value does it have without proper dissemination? What value does that have if it devolves into mere rhetoric? Trite questions, yes, however they matter to anyone looking to amass an audience rooted in sincerity. So Jones asks himself daily, and the numbers for his ESPN radio show, The Right Time, keep growing. Considering his non-traditional background and the fact he was fired four times in five years— including once by ESPN—perhaps we should be calling him the luckiest man in sports?

You see, those four letters screwed a lot of people this year. Through controversy, circumstance, or cord cutting, three of ESPN’s most notable names—Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock—all departed along with hundreds of full time employees and millions of dollars in subscriptions. But from the quaint little corner of the internet in which many of us reside, only Grantland was mourned. Only Grantland mattered.

ESPN is more than a conglomerate. It’s as intrinsic and inescapable to sports fans as the sky itself. Yet despite compelling documentaries, interviews and reporting, their reliance on hot takes and insipid sound bytes have left us wondering whether the goal is driving discussion or simply drawing attention. Grantland’s existence was a tacit acknowledgement that there was more to be said; that there was more than the bottom line, that the sky rains on the just and the unjust alike. But the last thing they need is another eulogy. We just need another Grantland.

Jones, 35, couldn’t have risen to prominence at a better time. While his style differs greatly from Simmons, or for that matter any of the folks formerly associated with Grantland, he can more than match their level of substance. The Right Time is a forum for deconstructing the complex and celebrating silliness, a place where the message is never compromised and the news is only as mundane as you make it. The power of the written word remains self-evident, however, as we become more connected online and the news cycle turns faster each day, by the time the word is written, the conversation has changed. But radio, the dinosaur of all media technologies, has always allowed the discussion to happen in real time. The Right Time, even. It’s what Jones lives for.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Houston, Jones is the son of professors in economics and political science. Discussion is in his blood. A childhood surrounded by PhDs enriched it. Yet it was only after a bachelor’s from Clark Atlanta University and a master’s from Claremont that—en route a master’s in economics at UNC Chapel Hill under renowned economist Sandy Darity—our protagonist found his calling.

A mutual friend shared Jones’ fledgling work with the late Ralph Wiley, who complimented Jones on his writing. A year later, Jones received his first assignment upon Wiley’s recommendation for ESPN. Two years later, he was under contract with the Worldwide Leader. Briefly, that is. The one-year contract was not renewed. But hey, sometimes that’s just the way things work and it was through this turn of events that Jones found the radio. Back in North Carolina, this time at Duke as an adjunct professor on the Black Athlete in America, he was asked by a friend to host a Saturday sports show on 850 The Buzz, in Raleigh. The rest, as they say, is history.

Except, it wasn’t. A year later the station was sold and Jones read of his replacement in a press release. He made a few more stops; Hardcore Sports Radio, The Score, SB Nation, but in the interest of your time and our space, let’s just say he learned two all-important lessons on his way back to ESPN: He would never be afraid to be himself and if he lost a job, it wasn’t the end of the world.

To continue reading this article visit Complex where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Sports Radio News

Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Sports Radio News

Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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