“This is going to sound weird,” offers up Adam Gold, as if he’s about to share an industry secret. His voice calm and direct. “I’m not entirely sure all of this has changed anything I do on the air all that much.”
You have no choice but to believe the midday host of 99.9 The Fan when he speaks. The man is a straight shooter in every sense of the word.
“Off the air I’m 100% available for anything they need in Sales. Private calls, social media videos, anything at all,” he explains. “As far as content is concerned, I haven’t had any trouble when it comes to material. In North Carolina, we hardly talk baseball. Once the Final Four is over, we basically just talk about the personalities in sports, the storylines in sports. I’ve always been much more interested in issues than breaking down the games.”
It’s that interest in storylines that has made Gold a fixture of sports talk radio in Raleigh and Durham over the last two decades. Interestingly enough, his company is responsible for producing perhaps the biggest storyline of this Independent Nation series.
Including The Fan, Capitol Broadcasting Company owns 9 radio and 3 TV stations between the Raleigh/Durham and Wilmington markets. It’s hardly a “small” company, but you can’t deny it’s connection and devotion to the communities CBC calls home.
Like just about every other privately owned media company, CBC immediately used their platforms to share whatever information they could pertaining to their advertising partners. Giving small business owners air time, producing new ads on the fly, and hammering home any and all details as they changed on social media.
Feeling the need to do more, the brainstorming continued. It was late March when Brian Maloney, CBC VP of Radio, cooked up an idea that has proven to be immensely valuable.
Here to Help: Local Business Virtual Conference Series
It’s a weekly webinar – free to anyone – featuring community business leaders and administration professionals simply sharing ideas on how to navigate the troubled waters.
“In true CBC fashion, when I mentioned it the team jumped on it and made it happen by that Thursday,” recalls Maloney.
From Bank Presidents to HR Directors – anyone who could offer any insight on how to keep the lights on throughout the Spring has participated on the weekly Thursday webinars. Well over a month in, Here to Help draws a digital audience of 100-170 viewers every week.
“It’s not a sales pitch,” stresses Maloney. “We’re not there to push any kind of service on anyone. We’re just there to share information and it’s proven to be really helpful for a lot of people.”
Starting at 2 pm EST, the 60 minute meetings start with an introduction of the week’s presenters and is generally followed by power point presentations with a little Q & A session as the clock reaches the end of the hour.
This week’s theme was the pandemic’s impact on local non-profits and featured three local CEOs and the VP of Corporate Affairs for Coastal Federal Credit Union. While the presentations are, for the most part, geared towards North Carolina, the information is useful for small business owners and executives coast to coast.
Along with reliable and useful information, attitude and perspective has proven to be especially valuable over the last month, and Maloney is choosing positivity.
“As tragic as it’s been at times, I think there’s gonna be a lot of good that comes out of this. This is creating opportunities for us to improve and we have to be sure we take advantage.”
For more than a decade, Adam Gold and Joe Ovies were partners in afternoon drive on 99.9 the Fan. That changed in March when the station decided to shuffle its lineup. Now, when Gold wraps up his show at 3 pm, Joe Ovies takes over The Fan alongside his new partner Joe Giglio.
“It’s tough to call it ‘Afternoon Drive,’ when no one is driving,” jokes Ovies. “This is a commuter town and no one is commuting, which is fine. We just need to give people a reason to listen digitally. It’s our job to put out a product that our listeners will choose as they walk their dog, do their yard work, any day to day task where we can entertain them.”
As fate would have it, Ovies and Giglio kicked off their partnerships earlier this year just as everything began turning sideways.
“I do the show from my wife’s home office and Joe broadcasts from his bathroom,” laughs Ovies. “I told him if we can weather this storm, it’ll be smooth sailing the rest of the way.”
Like Gold on the midday show, Ovies believes there’s value in giving people some sense of normal sports talk radio without completely losing track of where we are globally.
“First couple of weeks we did a lot of news as we were just processing information. We had our TV anchors on to chat about policies on the state and federal level. That was important and that’s what listeners wanted. Since we’ve been able to adapt nicely and we’re doing, what I believe to be, really good radio.”
Toward the end of our conversation, Adam Gold backtracked ever so slightly on the idea that his show hasn’t changed much through it all.
“I’m really good friends with a lot of our partners. One in particular is Gordon Miller of Miller Lending. He’s a mortgage lender,” Gold details slowly and carefully, as if he’s outlining his theory on the future of Cam Newton. “I’ve been reading ads for Miller Lending for 21 years. Since this started, I haven’t mentioned the word ‘mortgage’ in any of his ads. Instead, it’s been about buying gift cards to local restaurants. He wants his air time to be about investing in the community.”
Gold pauses on the edge of full sentimental mode to lighten the mood.
“It’s also an investment in yourself. I mean, you’re gonna eat the food.”
Jack Ferris writes feature stories for BSM and serves as an update anchor for iHeart Radio in San Francisco and as a freelance contributor for the PAC-12 Network. Previously he has worked as a sports anchor for KXLY-TV in Spokane and as the co-host of the Don West Show on KPQ in Central Washington. You can find him on Twitter @JFerris714 or reach him by email at FerrisJack54@gmail.com.
Adam Hawk Knew Life Outside Radio Was Possible
The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Meaning, your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time.
Waking up at a normal time the day after the Super Bowl was another pleasant reminder to Adam Hawk that his life wasn’t consumed by the grind of radio. For the previous 15 years, watching the Super Bowl meant the stress of constantly taking notes, and trying to create content for everything that was happening, all while facing the inevitability of waking up at 4 a.m. the next day to prep for the biggest The Jim Rome Show of the year.
But not this year. Instead, Hawk spent the night with family and friends and even indulged in a few drinks, all while watching a classic finish between the Rams and Bengals. It was his first Super Bowl in several years where he wasn’t an executive producer of a nationally syndicated radio show. And he loved the change of pace.
However, that feeling is in no way indicative of what his time on The Jim Rome Show was like. It’s just the opposite. Hawk left the show in late July of 2021 because he wanted a different lifestyle than what radio could offer. He was always passionate about creating the best show possible daily and doing it with a group of coworkers he calls close friends, but he wanted a less demanding lifestyle.
“I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes since leaving The Jim Rome Show and radio in general,” said Hawk. “It’s just been a completely different lifestyle. I’ve been super busy with my own business, working another job for a golf association, and then two kids. I filled up my schedule and I felt a sense of freedom that I hadn’t felt in a long time before. That’s not necessarily indicative of The Jim Rome Show, that’s just radio. You’re always chasing content and glued to your phone and TV. Just to have that away from me, it’s felt like five years, in a good way, not a bad way.”
The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time. If you’re used to waking up at 4 a.m. like Hawk was every weekday, you’re bound to find yourself waking up at the same time for several days after.
“The two things I couldn’t shake right away were, my body clock was still waking me up at 4 in the morning,” laughed Hawk. “The show started at 9 a.m. but we were showing up at 5 a.m. I also couldn’t shake the feeling of whenever I would see sports on television, the idea that I needed to form an opinion about what I’m seeing and then turn it into content. When it sunk in that I didn’t have to do that anymore, it was a massive relief.”
Deleting Twitter has also been a massive relief for Hawk. Like so many others in radio, it used to consume his everyday life. It never allowed him to leave work at his actual workplace. Work was always on the screen of his iPhone even at home. So when he decided to leave radio, he couldn’t wait to delete Twitter. Sure, it was odd at first, but he swears by a lifestyle that isn’t controlled by an app.
July 25th marked one year since leaving the radio business. On that day, some reflection likely happened with Hawk on his decision. Though he’s still happy with the way he decided to take his professional career, you can bet there was a moment when he looked back at the great times he had on The Jim Rome Show. Those good memories that popped into his mind were the camaraderie he had with the rest of the staff. The days were everyone pulled together to accomplish something great. That happened a lot as an executive producer and those are the days he looks most fondly at over his 15-year career.
“I’ve also missed the invitation to be creative every day,” Hawk said. “Radio affords you the opportunity to be creative because every day you have to build a sandcastle, a wave is going to knock it down and you start all over again. The content changes and you have to start over every single day. There aren’t a lot of jobs where you start from zero every day.”
Hawk will always have a special legacy with The Jim Rome Show, seeing as he was the executive producer at the time Rome was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 2019. Not only was he there at the time of the highest honor in show history, but he pushed to make it happen. Hawk was even mentioned in Rome’s speech, which was one of the most surreal moments of his entire career.
“Jim had to stump for votes, which was kind of demeaning for a guy of his skill set, talent, and importance to the industry,” said Hawk. “But I can see how the Hall of Fame, in order to get some buzz going, would want to have these hosts ask their listeners to vote for them because at the very least it gets the hosts talking about it. We had to ask our listeners to vote and find a way to entice them to do so. We created this thing called The Box of Chaos, where we threw a bunch of things into this box, like, we’re going to do these things if we beat the hosts we were up against.”
“We were up against some conservative talk radio guys, where we had no shot, because they had this built-in fan base that’s so much bigger than even Jim Rome’s, but we ended up thanking the listeners and pulling some of that stuff out because they went so hard for us. The box of chaos was super, super fun and it ended with my good friend James Kelly, who works on the show, reading mean tweets about the size of his forehead and it was one of the funniest payoffs and one of the most fun couple of weeks. I got to work really hard on something I really believed in, which was Jim getting into The Hall of Fame. Ultimately it didn’t work, but he got in the next year on his own merit. I got name-checked by Jim Rome in his hall of fame speech which, as a kid, that’s something I would have never imagined. Radio was some of the best times of my life.”
There’s also the thrill and excitement of producing Smack-Off which is one of the most well-known sports radio features the business has ever seen. It’s a huge time for the show and likely a stressful time, as well.
“Every Smack-Off was a proud moment because there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes in terms of producing that show,” said Hawk. “That show, in my opinion, is still the most important radio show of the year for our genre, because it’s been around for 30 years and it trends on Twitter and people take it very seriously. It was always a proud moment to produce those.”
Those memories were undoubtedly on Hawk’s mind when he started to consider leaving radio in 2020. He didn’t leave the business until 2021, but the pandemic contributed heavily to his decision. Hawk watched as so many people around him transitioned into a work life from home, where they could set their hours. He was envious of their ability to work remotely and reconnect with family and friends on a different level.
“I know people have Comrex setups and things like that, but you can’t do The Jim Rome Show from home,” Hawk said. “That’s not possible. I realized that I was in this business where it’s incredibly hard to get time off because content never stops. I think anyone in radio can attest to this. It’s stressful around Thanksgiving and Christmas to think about taking time off because everyone wants it but someone has to be on the air. There’s a lot of games during the holidays. It’s not a normal life. After 15 years of this, I finally thought, I want to trade this in for a normal life. Everyone is thinking, with us, this is the greatest gig in the world. And in some respects it is, but it’s not what the general public thinks. It’s not sitting courtside at Laker games. It’s not flying on private jets to the Super Bowl or being best friends with Odell Beckham Jr. it’s a lot of work and that content doesn’t produce itself.”
If Hawk was going to leave sports radio, he wanted to chase something he was passionate about. He found that in 2020 with a company that specializes in preserving the swanky style of a well-dressed golfer. Nation Golf is a clothing brand for golfers and a style that Hawk believes in wholeheartedly. He was immediately drawn to the business and knew it was a venture he wanted to chase.
“I’ve always been drawn to the timeless, aesthetic of yesteryear,” said Hawk. “You look at these old timers that are wearing these clean pressed shirts and slacks, you’re just like wow, they look as good today, as they did 50 or 60 years ago. It’s the pure definition of timeless. You turn on TV and watch the PGA Tour, nobody is dressing like that, they’re like NASCAR drivers covered in logos or clowns like Ricky Fowler in his bright Orange. There’s no style, charisma, or charm and I think when those guys see photos of themselves in 10 years they’re going to be embarrassed.
“I started looking immediately for vintage golf clothes and Zuckerberg is listening to everything you’re thinking so he put Nation Golf in front of me. I was like, holy s***, I can’t believe someone is doing this and I can buy it new, I don’t have to go to a thrift store. I can buy it new. I just got immediately sucked into it.”
Hawk noticed the Instagram following for Nation Golf was much lower than he thought it should be for a brand so cool. Something clicked for him at that moment. As the executive producer of a Hall of Fame radio show, he had confidence in his abilities to operate promotions and social media on a big-time level. He was curious if he could apply those skills and apply it to the business. He was out to see if he could do just that with Nation Golf so he reached out to founder and CEO Ryan Engle.
“I loved the logo, I loved the name, I loved the clothes and I ended up loving the guy,” Hawk said. “He told me he had taken it as far as it could possibly go on his own and it was the perfect time for me to come down and pitch him. He said, hey, Let’s play 18 holes together, if you’re not a serial killer, we can do this. And we did.”
Business for Nation Golf has gotten progressively better to the point it’s grown exponentially. But he never wanted to rely on The Jim Rome Show to help with the growth of the company, even when he was balancing both jobs daily. Rome was fully supportive of Hawk’s side hustle and only reminded him to ‘keep the main thing, the main thing.’
“I take a lot of pride in the fact I never used Jim’s platform to sell the company,” said Hawk. “I didn’t feed callers to him that were going to talk about it. I didn’t put emails in front of him that were going to talk about it. I tried to keep it as separate as possible. Even on my last day when Jim asked me on the air what was next, I did say ‘Hey, I don’t want to turn this into a commercial for what I’m doing next, but I am going to run my own business’. Didn’t even mention Nation Golf by name, because I felt like he had been sailing that giant yacht of a radio show for 30 years and I didn’t want to be the clown who’s about to jump off and pulling the parachute that has a giant logo of the company on it. That just wasn’t my thing.”
Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at TylerMcComas08@yahoo.com.
Sports Talkers Podcast – Tim Kurkjian
Fresh off of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Tim Kurkjian joins Stephen Strom to talk about his love for the sport and his appreciation of his place in it.
Stephen Strom can be heard hosting ‘The Sports Talkers Podcast’ for Barrett Sports Media. In addition to hosting here, Stephen works as a broadcasting assistant for the Miami Heat and color analyst for Nova Southeastern. Additional career experiences include working for SiriusXM, performing analyst duties for Princeton basketball, and hosting shows for TalkNorth.com. You can find him on Twitter @SStrom_.
A Great Catchphrase Can Make a Baseball Broadcast Iconic
Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television.
Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television. Some are clever and some are excellent. A few have been made into t-shirts. Many of those phrases are delivered back to the announcers when fans see them in public. These catchphrases can be for any play during a game. A great defensive play, a walk-off win, but mainly you hear them during a home run call. That’s where a lot of the ones used today are featured.
For example. “See. You. Later!” from Nationals television voice Bob Carpenter. When a Washington player hits one out, Carpenter gets very deliberate and articulate with the three-word phrase.
Hall of Famer Eric Nadel in Texas exclaims, “That ball is history!” when a Rangers player goes yard.
Michael Kay on the YES Network says, “Going back, at the track, at the wall… SSSEEYA!”, really drawing out the “s” sound.
A jubilant Tom Hamilton on Guardians radio, belts out, “Swing and a drive, deep to left, a “waaaaaay” back and it is gone!”, and the fans eat it up.
Pat Hughes on Cubs’ radio, “that ball has a chaaaance gone!”, building in an ‘out’ if you will incase the ball falls short of the fence. One of the more unique ones these days is from Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown, “Clear the deck! Cannonball coming (to the Allegheny)”, a very team centric phrase. Also, after a win, he “raises the Jolly Rodger!”
There are others, but it would take several columns to go through all of them. Growing up in Chicago, I was treated to many great announcers calling games. I remember some of their better home run calls. For Jack Brickhouse it was punctuated with a “HEY HEY!” on a Cubs home run. Harry Caray said, “it might be, it could be, it is! A home run! Holy Cow!”.
One of my favorite announcers as a kid was Vince Lloyd who paired with Lou Boudreau in the Cubs radio booth. Lloyd was known for “Holy mackerel!” He morphed into adding “It’s a bell-ringer!” after a fan sent the guys a cowbell to ring when a Cubs’ player hit a home run. That might have been a bit excessive, but I was a kid and loved it.
Fans throughout the years have been treated to some great phrases by equally great announcers. Here are a few of them, again knowing I left many of out. Many.
Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners – “Get out the rye bread and mustard, grandma, it is grand salami time!”, that was his signature call for a Mariners’ grand slam. His normal home run call was pretty good as well. “That ball is belted, deep to left field…and it will fly away!”, a great visual aid for those at home picturing the ball leaving the park.
Ernie Harwell, Detroit Tigers – “Called out for excessive window shopping.”, that was one of his calls for a strikeout. I like this one better though, “He stood there like a house on the side of the road.” How Midwest is that? Iconic.
Mel Allen, New York Yankees – “How about that!”, pretty simple, but relatable. That legend lived on thanks to “This Week in Baseball” back in the day.
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, Chicago White Sox – “You can put it on the booooooard…. Yes.”
There was no greater “homer” as in hometown guy, than the Hawk. That was just his home run call. There was also “Can of Corn” for a routine catch, “Duck Snort” for a bloop hit and a long drive that went foul, “Right size, wrong shape”. Throw in “stretch!” and “Mercy!” Pretty good and natural sounding stuff.
Red Barber, Brooklyn Dodgers – His signature was just “Oh, doctor!” Simple yet effective.
Vin Scully, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers – Vin didn’t have a catchphrase. He didn’t need one. Vin was the quintessential wordsmith and his use of the English language was better than any catchy saying. Setting the mood, the drama and the moment was what Vin did best. An amazingly talented broadcaster that was able to span generations and the country.
That’s a good spot to pick up. One of the best broadcasters in any sport anywhere, really didn’t have a catchphrase. There are many big-league announcers that don’t have one either. It’s not something to me, that’s a mandatory thing. I remember one well known announcer asking me when I first started with the Padres if I had a catchphrase. My answer was no. I thought he would tell me how important it was, but instead he said ‘good’. I asked why? He said a couple of things to me that I haven’t forgotten.
First this very talented announcer said something to the effect, it’s more important for you to establish yourself as a great game caller. He stressed this a couple of times. The meaning behind it, be good at what you were hired to do and worry about the rest of the flare later.
He also said if you have a signature home run call, it’s strange sometimes, because a homer in the first inning is different than a meaningful homer late in the game. I think the first point holds more water than the second. I mean if you’re not a good game caller, what’s the point of even having a catchphrase, right?
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t begrudge those that have their own phrases. Those that have made it to the upper echelons of the profession are already excellent game callers, so why not have one to use. I’ve got nothing against them, in fact, I got jealous of a few, wishing I was the one that came up with it!
I don’t think it’s imperative for up-and-coming broadcasters to have one just yet either. Instead, I would advise them to concentrate on doing a good broadcast first and foremost. That’s how you get noticed for the right reasons.
Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at Andy@Andy-Masur.com.