Radio Host JT the Brick Could Be the Hardest Working Man in Sports - page 2

By Jeff Ferrantino on December 31, 2005

JT the Brick, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, Fox Sports, sports, radio, show, hostJust four years ago, Tournour began working for Fox Sports Radio, which is syndicated by Premier Radio Network, a subsidiary of Clear Channel, the largest radio company in the world.

"It's been a success story and it happened pretty quick, but it's been a lot of nights on the radio paying dues," he said. "I don't think there's been a guy that's been on the radio more hours in sports radio than me over the last decade or so."

"The Brick's" show airs every weeknight on Fox Sports Radio.

"I'm on at night because that's where you need to be when you're syndicated," he explained. "I've had to make the decision, but it's one that I'm comfortable with, that I'd much rather be on nationally in 175 markets like I am now, than broadcast in one market during the day."

Tournour says that being on nationally allows him to switch gears every night and not be pigeon-holed as he would be broadcasting in a local market.

When he first hit the airwaves, "The Brick" said that one of his biggest challenges was getting listeners to believe that he was capable of hosting his own show.

"I think people just thought I was going to be some caller who got on the air and said, 'Hey, this is J.T., give me a call,' " he said. "You can't do that on the radio. You get thrown right out."

It didn't take long for listeners to realize that Tournour was more than capable. What many failed to realize was that while "The Brick" was achieving stardom as a caller, he was also quietly auditioning for his true calling in life.

"It was training me how to be organized when the spotlight was on," he explained. "It was giving me tremendous experience."

Tournour also credits his days as a businessman for giving him an edge over the competition.

"That really helped me," he said. "When I got into radio, I didn't treat it as a job, I treated it as a career, and a big part of the career is being able to connect with advertisers and affiliates and find a way to bring in business. All of that came from my years as a businessman growing up working 100 percent on commission as a stockbroker.

"Look, if I had gotten into this business when I was 21 years old, I would have been a train wreck. I would have wanted it all too quickly, and you're seeing that now today in the business. There's no new talent coming up because everybody wants to take a short cut.

"You're seeking all these bombastic FM talk radio guys who want to get into sports radio and they want to go immediately to the top and pass over five guys like me, and Tony Bruno, and Jim Rome, and they think that it's their right to have their own sports talk show and not talk sports, but just do guy talk. I'm trying to keep my focus on the sports side of it, because I think that's a niche that people are starting to forget about."

Having lived the life of a caller, Tournour says that has always held an edge unfamiliar to most talk-show hosts.

"A lot of people take the callers for granted," he said. "These other shows, they don't realize how good these guys are. My attitude is, if I've got a good caller on hold, do you want to listen to me or the caller?

"I should be saying me, but no, I'm at a point where hey, if I've got some great guy who's totally fired up, foaming at the mouth, I'm getting right to his call.

"I love that man, because that's what I used to be like. I'd have the most unbelievable blast in front of me and I'd be on hold and they wouldn't go to me, wouldn't go to me, then go to a commercial, and I'd be like, 'Dude, you won't believe what I'm about to say.' "

While J.T. said he is proud of his past as a caller, he acknowledged that he has been told more than once by people in the sports radio business to disassociate himself from his past.

"I've kind of come full circle," he said. "I spent a lot of years trying to get away from that, but I kind of enjoy the fact that people respect me because they remember that I was that guy that used to sit on hold. And that's what I respect the most about this business. Back then, the only way that I could get my opinions out was by calling into sports radio. Now, as I'm sitting here, I have a complete understanding of the people on the other end and I don't want to lose that edge."