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Personality Profile: Chris Dimino

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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

Doug Gottlieb, Nick Wright Feud Over College Sports NIL Issues

“Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known.”

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FOX Sports hosts Doug Gottlieb and Nick Wright definitely do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to money going to college athletes.

Despite both being employed by the same company, Gottlieb, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, fired back at Wright Friday regarding his take on college football’s NIL rule in the wake of Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s claiming Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher “brought” his recruits.

On Wright’s morning show, First Things First, the colorful broadcaster had a two minute rant about how he’s happy that schools are finding workarounds under the new NIL rules implemented by the NCAA to pay the players for their name, image and likeness. He said the universities have been taking advantage of college athletes, particularly black student athletes from rough backgrounds, for years and now that the tide has shifted, people are freaking out.

“The general sports public wants extra regulations and extra rules, is keeping their thumbs on college football and basketball players because their is an undeniable and always has been an incredibly uncomfortable racial context of the guys,” Wright said. “It’s mostly young black men from mostly really tough circumstances, generating billions of dollars. Who’s sharing in that?” Wright asked.

“An overwhelmingly white administration, an overwhelmingly white coaching staff, and an overwhelmingly white non-revenue sports. How do we pay for the tennis team and golf team, ah men’s football and basketball. What do they get? A scholarship. Be happy, we pulled you out the hood. Maybe you’ll have a better life if somehow you make the league or do something with your education.”

Gottlieb caught wind of Wright’s rant and let his disapproval be known. That resulted in a back and forth between the two sports personalities on Twitter.

Gottlieb continued, claiming the NIL rule puts exceedingly high expectations on the student-athletes before ever stepping on campus and are given something without having to “earn it.”

“The sad part is this push to pay SAs before they have even played a game, taken a class or assimilated to a school sets them up for failure in their post sports career. If you have been given before you earn, where is the motivation when you get to the real world?”

Wright then took a shot at Gottlieb, saying it always feels good that his take is the complete opposite of Gottlieb’s.

The dialogue continued with Gottlieb throwing shots at Wright, calling his take “embarrassing” and mentioning how he failed to point out the educational imbalance in society during his take. Wright asked Gottlieb what are some of the other “fake racism” takes that he claims are out in the media.

Gottlieb is no stranger to conflict with his FOX Sports colleagues. Troy Aikman called his opinion on Andrew Luck’s retirement “total bullshit” in a tweet from 2019. More recently, Gottlieb got into it with Speak for Yourself co-host Emmanuel Acho after Gottlieb ripped his brother Sam’s “Top 5 QB list” on First Take. He also called out Skip Bayless for name-calling.

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Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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