J-Stew Article (as referenced in Smackoff)

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SlumpBuster

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J-Stew Article (as referenced in Smackoff)
« on: May 10, 2005, 11:32:34 am »
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/Stories/0,1413,206%257E29580%257E2854531,00.html

(Here is the article text in case the link doesn't work)

Stewart: Rome's connection to biggest names in sports

This is the latest in a series about the coolest jobs in the sports media. Today, a look at a sports radio talk-show associate producer. @Drop cap:ON

his wireless BlackBerry, Jason Stewart scrolls through the list of about 500 names and contact numbers he has programmed to instantly reach some of the most in-demand sports figures in the world today.

"There are about 20 'A-listers' who might take weeks of phone calls before they'll finally agree, but once they do, I take a tremendous amount of pride when I can get them on,' the 32-year-old was explaining the other day about the sometimes grueling process by which he books guests for Jim Rome's weekday nationally syndicated sports-talk show, heard in Southern California on XTRA 570- AM and KAVL 610-AM from 9 a.m.- to-noon.

From the time he reaches the Premiere Radio Network's fifth- floor offices on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks at 6:30 a.m. each weekday and well beyond heading back to his Burbank home at about 3:30 p.m., Stewart is making and returning e-mails and calls, chasing down someone Rome requested to bring on and thinking ahead to shows three and four days away.

If a Lance Armstrong, Charles Barkley, Wayne Gretzky, Andre Agassi or Bret Favre make it on, whether it be via a direct call or a contact through an agent, team executive or close associate, Stewart has hit a proverbial home run.

Since the day about six years ago when Rome picked him from more than 12,000 applicants for a chance to join his staff with producer Travis Rodgers, Stewart has been applying tenacity and resourcefulness to keep the most talked-about sports- talk show as fresh and entertaining as possible. The job demands it, and so do the listeners.

"You'd be amazed at how much work goes into getting some of these guys, but the luxury of a show like this means you can get some of the biggest names on short notice, where producers on any other show may not even have a shot at them,' Stewart said.

Several years of cultivating contacts while producing Ron Barr's syndicated radio show in the Bay Area and working as a production assistant at a Sacramento news station prepared Stewart well for this role with Rome. But Stewart's prep work may have come many years earlier.

Since he was in high school in Orange County, Stewart said he always dreamed of having a radio talk show like Rome's. While delivering pizzas to help get him through the broadcast journalism program at Cal State Fullerton in the early '90s, Stewart would not just listen to Rome's local nighttime show but call in a couple times a week. Sometimes, he even missed a campus lecture just to stay on hold for hours at a time waiting his turn.

He won the show's "Huge Call of the Day' several times and was established so much as a regular, he was invited to compete in what is now a Rome staple the very first "Smack Off' contest in 1995, a collection of all the show's best callers to establish "Jungle' bragging rights.

As the 11th annual "Smack Off' gets under way this morning, with regulars such as Sean the Cablinasian, Irie Craig, Terrence in Sierra Madre and Iafrate working their best takes, Stewart's other important role with the show the call screener puts him in another enviable role. He'll be assembling the lineup and letting Rome know from the other side of the glass in the studio who's ready to bring it.

On a normal show, maybe one of 15 callers makes it through Stewart's screening process. His experience as a caller puts him in the unique position to put the best or sometimes the worst of the clones on the air to either sink or swim.

"Jim takes the callers as a very serious way to contribute to the show's success,' Stewart said. "Maybe only five or six get on a show each day. I'm looking for the ones who have their takes well thought out, or the ones who'll say things that are so absurd and will lead to other callers reacting to him. Either way, it's quite an achievement just to get on the air with the hundreds who try to get in.'

The bizarre recognition Stewart now gets from the show whether it be from clones asking for his autograph at Rome's famous "Tour Stops,' to landing small roles in movies or appearing on TV's "Blind Date' to getting a spot at the World Series of Poker is the residue of his hard work and loyalty to Rome.

"J-Stew has a job that a lot of guys would cut off their right arm for, but it's far from easy,' Rome said. "He slugs through it, keeps his head and keeps grinding. It takes a certain amount of mental toughness and a thick skin to hammer it out every day and he does it without complaining.

"People hear us jock him for being in a movie, but they don't realize he has to make 20 calls to get that interview, or power through 20 callers before he finds one lucid enough to get on the air.'

When asked for any trade secrets about landing a cool job like this one, Stewart likens the requirements of any successful salesman or retail worker.

"You've got to be able to take rejection and be motivated by it,' Stewart said. "It's amazing to me how little my college education is applied to this. It's not so much needing to have a type-A personality, but having to be highly motivated and passionate in what you do. You have to be able to come up with information quickly. You have to be savvy.

"My path to this job was kind of unusual, but basically it was about establishing credentials and references and relationships. And now I'm at a job where I get paid to do something many listeners would want to do. Maybe they resent me for it, but I know I wake up every day not knowing what to expect on the show, and I have direct access to some of the biggest names in sports.

"I thought someday I'd want to be an on-air personality, but I've totally embraced this production side. I'll be here as long as Jim wants me. I know I can't go across the street and find anything better than this. In the field of sports broadcasting, I'm already at the top.'

Tom Hoffarth can be reached at (818) 713-3661.

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Re: J-Stew Article (as referenced in Smackoff)
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2005, 01:05:42 pm »
You sure are at the top j-stew.  At least in my eyes.  J-Stew is my hero!



war "haha you always say that"