Radio Host JT the Brick Could Be the Hardest Working Man in Sports

By Jeff Ferrantino on December 31, 2005

JT the Brick, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, Fox Sports, sports, radio, show, hostHe might be the hardest working guy in sports media today, which quite frankly, isn't all that surprising when considering how J.T. "The Brick" managed to become one of the top sports talk hosts on radio today.

After graduating with a degree in communications from Geneseo State University, J.T., also known in real life as native New Yorker John Tournour, landed a job on Wall Street of all places at the ripe age of 21.

"I didn't want to start at the bottom of a TV or radio station," Tournour explained about not going directly into broadcasting. "All I had to do was study for a test and get a license, and boom, four or five months later I was making money selling stocks."

Tournour would eventually move out west to Southern California to work for Merrill Lynch, and it was then that he fell in love with sports radio, and Jim Rome in particular. "The Brick" emerged as one of Rome's most popular callers, eventually seeing his life change one day in April of 1995 when he won Rome's first-ever "Smak Off" for the best call of the year.

Shortly after winning the "Smak off," KMAX, an all-sports radio station in Los Angeles, hired Tournour to do a 10 p.m. to midnight show on Sunday nights.

In order to do the show, Tournour would drive 2 ½ hours each way, back and forth to Pasadena from his home in San Diego County. He would arrive home at 2:30 in the morning, knowing he would have to be at work as a stockbroker just four hours later.

While the show was an immediate hit, Tournour ran into trouble just 10 weeks after first going on to the air.

In trouble financially, KMAX decided to plug into Las Vegas-based SportsFan Radio Network, instead of hiring talent for the late night and weekend shifts.

"They just came to me and said, 'Hey J.T., we're going with SportsFan Radio Network,' " recalled Tournour. "I was like, 'What are you talking about? I built this whole thing up. It's huge.' "

One week after hearing the news that he was out, Tournour approached KMAX with the idea of selling his own advertising to keep the show on the air.

"They said, 'We didn't think you wanted to do that,' " he recalled. "I'm like, 'What are you kidding? I've been driving five hours in the middle of the night to do a show. Why didn't you offer that to me? Why did you pull me off the air and make me look like an idiot?' "

Utilizing his sales skills, Tournour persevered and quickly found a sponsor, and soon his show, "The Brickhouse," found its way back to the airwaves. He would eventually take his show closer to home to KFMB in San Diego.

It didn't take long for program directors all across the country to begin taking notice. Within one year of winning the Smak Off, Tournour landed a full-time sports radio gig on, ironically enough, the SportsFan Radio Network, where he went on to spend five years building the largest syndication network at night in sports radio.

"For a long time, people referred to me as the Jim Rome caller, and I was proud of that," said the 40-year-old father of two. "That was a really big deal with my life and if that didn't happen, I wouldn't be on the radio today."