Radio Host JT the Brick Could Be the Hardest Working Man in Sports - page 3

By Jeff Ferrantino on December 31, 2005

JT the Brick, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, Fox Sports, sports, radio, show, hostTournour says that he is pushing interaction with his audience more than ever these days, and he's utilizing the Web to connect with his fans. He said that being able to blog on his own Web site is an opportunity that he takes full advantage of whenever time allows.

"It's an opportunity for me to get my opinions out there when I'm not on the air," he explained. "I'm only on the air four hours a night, so if something breaks or there's something that really gets me going, I can get it out there."

He goes as far as to tout his program as "sports radio's most interactive show," and much of that has to do with his ability to relate to his fans better than the average host.

"Unlike other shows that don't interact and the host is talking the entire time, mine's the opposite," he explained. "I'm trying to get fans to interact and get involved. I think fans are getting pushed aside when it comes to sports talk radio. Fans are kind of being told that it's a privilege to call into a show. I treat it like it's a privilege to have people wanting to call into my show.

"More and more of my colleagues in the business don't go to sporting events. I go to these events because I want to be able to talk about it on the air, instead of just watching the highlights on SportsCenter and acting like I know it all. They don't respect their audience, they leave their callers on hold for an hour, and they think that their time as a host is more valuable than other people's time. Most people have busy lives too.

"We're in a lucky business. It shouldn't be too tough for people in this industry to recognize the fact that we get paid a lot of money to connect with sports fans."

One of Tournour's more recent ways of connecting with sports fans has been through his discovery of NASCAR.

"I found out about three of four years ago that you had to be part of NASCAR if you wanted to be legit on the radio or in sports," he said. "I've gone to the races, I've connected with the fans in the infield, the drivers, and I'm hooked on it. I've always tried to find that intensity of a Yankees game or a Raiders game, and NASCAR has delivered that for me."

Calling it a perk "that he doesn't take advantage of," Tournour said that one of his greatest joys has been developing close friendships with athletes, including some of the greatest legends in the history of sports.

"There's nothing like meeting an athlete who has their priorities in place and is a good role model," he said. "To say that I'm literally friends with Joe Montana, Pete Rose and Jim Brown, that's been a really nice experience for me."

In fact, Tournour is the only sports talk show host in the country with an exclusive contract with Brown, who is a weekly guest on the show.

"I'm very proud of the fact that I'm able to put money into Jim Brown's pocket — the greatest football player ever," J.T. proclaimed.

Tournour says he gets asked often by broadcasting hopefuls about the best path taken to reaching the airwaves.

"In sports radio, your education doesn't mean a thing," he said. "You can be a four-year graduate of Syracuse's communication school and that is not going to make you better on the air. There are no short cuts. You have to log the hours on the air until you feel comfortable talking about anything."

Tournour knows plenty about logging hours on the air. At one time, he was broadcasting an unheard of eight hours per day.

"It's all paying off now," he said. "I've got a job that I love and I'm working for a company that I love."

In recent years, Tournour has started to develop a television resume. Every Tuesday, he flies from his Los Angeles home to the Bay Area to host a television show for the Oakland Raiders. He is also a regular contributor to Fox News and MSNBC and says that his busy schedule does not impact his nightly radio show.

"For me, the biggest challenge is planning my schedule, because other than that, it's very easy to do a sports talk radio show," he said. "There aren't any challenges with regards to finding things to talk about and being prepared. It's more of what to turn down, what not to concentrate on, and where to focus my energy."

As for the future, "The Brick" says that he wants to continue increasing his presence on television, as well as keep building what is already the largest syndication network of sports radio at night.

"My goal when I first got into this business was to be the biggest in the history of sports radio," he said. "Maybe I won't accomplish that goal, but I still haven't lost the ability to think that I'm going to do that."

Be sure to check out JT's official Web site — www.jtthebrick.com