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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

790/The Zone introduces its Young Guns

(l-r) Hunter Weeks, 26; Matt Baxendell, 26; Kirk Carter, 22; Matt Dagostino, 29 CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

(l-r) Hunter Weeks, 29; Matt Baxendell, 26; Kirk Carter, 22; Matt Dagostino, 29 CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Steak Shapiro introduced the new “Young Guns” team Tuesday during the 5 p.m. hour. Their show begins officially (minus Steak) from 7 to 9 p.m. August 31.

Culled from 250 applicants, the station picked an engineer, a would-be lawyer from UGA, a mixed martial arts expert and a Turner Sports freelancer. And two are named Matt so they go by shortened versions of their last names.

I talked briefly with each:

Matt Dagostino: He wasn’t picked just because he’s bald like Nick Cellini, Chris Dimino and Steak. Rather, “Dags” is considered more structured than the others, said Matt Edgar, who will be their producer. “He’s got great pipes and seems a little more mature.” Living in Atlanta for 12 years, he’s freelanced at Turner Sports hosting  a baseball show and has done some work for the PGA and Major League Baseball. He’s more a baseball and basketball guy but knows enough football to  get by. He’s also the only single guy in the group.

Kirk Carter: A University of Georgia grad, he has “unbelievable SEC knowledge,” Edgar said. He’s also the wittiest guy who has the makings of being the next Mike Bell, he added. Despite his relative youth, he said, “I feel I can hold my own. I’ve been immersing myself in sports since I was little. And i just graduated so I don’t know the crushing depression of the real world just yet.” He is also attached and plans to go into law school. He admits he has to work on his vocal delivery. “I kept saying 790 the Zone last night and I sounded like a strip club announcer,” he said.

Matt Baxendall: Based on the hour I heard, “Bax” is quick on his feet and was willing to mock Georgia State University’s new fight song even though Georgia State is an advertiser. “He has a little bit of flair and passion about him,” he said. Already married a year, he is a graduate of Ohio State and is a roadway design engineer. He’s a college football expert.

Hunter Weeks: “There’s an incredible karma about him. He’s had an incredible life, good pipes, great passion, a sports encyclopedia” Edgar said. Hunter, at 29, is the oldest and has by far the most tattoos. He’s the manager of an X3 Sports facility for mixed martial arts and kickboxing. He hosts a show on Comcast called “Inside Punch” and has worked with CSS Sports for four years. “But that’s all in the past,” he said. “This is our opportunity to shine.” He is a pro sports specialist, born at Northside Hospital and is about to get married on Friday.

Several night-time Zone guys have gone on to do bigger and better things including the 2 Live Stews, now syndicated and on in the afternoons; Jamie Dukes, who now works at NFL Network; and Dennis Scott, who is now an NBA TV analyst and continues to do a night show for the Zone.

Here’s video of their first few minutes on air Tuesday:

The station is going to announce its new mid-day lineup next week, said Andrew Saltzman, president. He wouldn’t confirm or deny rumors it may be Georgia Tech football and Falcons play-by-play man Wes Durham and college football expert Tony Barnhart. , who already work with the station.

And here was an inspirational vitamin at the entrance of 790/The Zone, which has had some ratings conniptions lately but refuses to bow down.

sign-of-encouragement

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85 comments Add your comment

observor

August 25th, 2010
10:53 am

The Zone’s latest self aggrandizing promotional attempt. It also further reinforces how amazingly cheap and strapped for cash they are as its yet another attempt to bring in a bunch of no names of limited ability that they can pay virtually nothing while taking advantage of them since they have no leverage or experience in the industry. They’ve tried this in the past with their previous mid day show, which was a steaming pile of crap, and this will most likely be more of the same.

Mike

August 25th, 2010
10:57 am

I imagine this will be Rodney’s biggest comment section for the week if not month.

andy

August 25th, 2010
11:14 am

it worked out fine with dimino. face it both stations need new talent. Since 790 doesn’t reach outside of 285 especially at night – having a 7pm show is a joke anyway…

Long Time Zone Listener

August 25th, 2010
11:40 am

The debut of the young gun talent was not bad, but it would have been considerably better if Shapiro was a silent observer. 790 should pay attention to their recent audience/consumer testing which overwhelmingly slammed Shapiro.

If you take away the relentless self-promoting and commercial time, there is really not much substance or content to 790thezone. I am reluctantly spending more time listening to 680. BTW, Pollack is gone soon, ESPN (esp Kirk Herbstreit) is grooming him for a bigger role…

Common Sense

August 25th, 2010
11:40 am

Dear 790 the Zone,

Could someone please tell that Ohio State clown that if he’s going to make fun of Georgia State for supposedly trying to be like Georgia Tech, it would perhaps be beneficial for him to do some research for once in his life and realize that Georgia State WAS part of Georgia Tech, as in the GA Tech’s Evening School of Commerce. I understand Ohio State fans have a proud tradition of watching their football team get annihilated by SEC squads, but there is no reason to take out their life’s frustrations on a start-up.

Sincerely,

Common Sense

Peachtree Pete

August 25th, 2010
11:45 am

I agree with Andy. Unless 790 plans to boost its signal at night, what’s the point? Dimino is the only guy they have with any talent anyway, and that includes Steak & Cellini.

Taylor Hanson

August 25th, 2010
11:55 am

Rodney…how does a station petition the FCC for a stronger signal? Is that even possible? Or is the only remedy to change positions on the dial?

Oh Brother!

August 25th, 2010
11:58 am

Sounds like these guys could turn out to be entertaining. Of course the youngest buck needs to get his radio voice down, but the other three seem to have the talent to do well. Let’s see how they do.

As for the whole 7pm thing, a couple of observations:
- the evening shift is usually heard by single males who work night hours and can listen to radio
- if you can’t listen on radio, then you can stream the station over the net – which happens more than people make it out to be.
- the sports bars will also be hopping during the evening shifts. These guys have already said they are taking their show on the road to places around Atlanta to meet their audience. This will bring in new listeners by doing something that 790 got away from in the last several years and that is going on the road. 680 does this religiously and you see how it has helped them.

Keep an eye on the mid-day show. I know Nick and Chris filled in for Pollack and Bell on Monday. It is no mistake that Steak even mentioned the “old Bottom Line” when he hyped the show earlier in the day on Mayhem. Don’t be surprised if the Bottom Line is resurrected. Hans Heiserer(sp) and John Michaels have also been doing weekend shows for awhile now and seem to click well together. They could be a mid-day tandem as well.

Eventually these young guns will be called up to take over once Pollack leaves. Whether that is the afternoon drive slot or mid-day remains to be seen. It will probably be next summer before any of this happens anyway. I still think that once 790 finally gets the cojones to buy an FM station and simulcast, then they will take off and can have an effective evening show.

Jay W.

August 25th, 2010
12:12 pm

Guys look like a bunch of nerds.

Get Real

August 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

Please, it sounds like a college show. Who makes a big deal about a show that is on from 7-9pm?!

790 keeps screwing around with their lineup. Obviously the midday show has been blown up, AGAIN, and they are trying to get any pub they can. What are the advertising rates for a 7-9pm show, on an AM signal, that you can’t hear 3 miles from the station at night?

A Mets Fan, a MMA guy, a Georgia guy and a guy from the Midwest…so Mike Bell, Pollack, Nick Cellini all over again- and a guy who looks like a biker dude. Big move 790!

Kirk Carter-22 “I’ve been immersing myself in sports since I was little”-HE’S 22! Being a UGA guy he sounds like a Pollack-lite but some spoiled rich kid and the next Mike Bell in the making? What the hell are they thinking? More Mike Bell, yeah that’s the way to go to #1.

Bax-A college football expert at 26? So he has a wealth of resources and has great relationships with movers and shakers from his college days in Ohio. Great to come in and start trashing Georgia State football buddy before they even get started you jerk. Good Luck to Ga State this year.

Hunter Weeks-“He was born at Northside Hospital?” What the hell does that have to do with anything?

I have a feeling that the cost of the show divided by 4=another cheap move by 790, who just fired Brandon Adams and probable has Designated poor Woolvy for assignment.

No wonder 680 beats them in the ratings. 790 just can’t figure out that this town wants decent sports banter and not contrived characters, who are all supposed to be the next big thing.

680 wins again by just doing sports. Get Real.

LagTime

August 25th, 2010
12:27 pm

This is all very piss poor.

Chill Out

August 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

I don’t get why everybody is so quick to be so critical of these guys. I think they sounded pretty good for the first time. I mean, most of these guys have no experience on the radio. They’ll learn. I’m going to give them a couple of shows before I decide whether it’s worth streaming it on the computer at night.

Pure Attention Grab

August 25th, 2010
1:18 pm

The Rocky quote is hilarious. It comes from a washed up fighter, who is punch drunk, after once being on top and losing it all. Fitting. Maybe Steak will put on a blazer and stagger around the Palm telling old stories like the “stallion”. Just go out to pasture cha cha.

No radio station makes real money from 7-9pm. The Stews are a perfect example.

They make money which is why they are on in the middle of the day and not banished to the nighttime signal.

I’m sure Steak regrets the day he let those clowns runoff his listeners and embarrass themselves, the station and the city every day. But Steak did it for the attention and money.

So why would 790 be boisterous about a show no one can hear and will not bring great revenue, but be coy about a question of whether Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham are the new midday guys… attention.

By the way, any 22 and 26 year old “expert” obtained his info from one place…the internet. Doesn’t make you an expert. Good luck to the guys, they’ll be off the air in the next set of Zone Changes. Between Tech hoops and Football, how much run will they get anyway?

The Zone has always wanted attention, but putting attention before doing good radio is why they have failed, have no money and are not well-liked in my opinion.

Doneycat

August 25th, 2010
1:38 pm

Hey, I’m ready to give these guys a shot. I’d rather listen to these guys talk about college football than a guy who handed the ball off and threw a screen pass 30 years ago.

And Bax was dead on about the GS fight song – why have something that sounds like it was made in 1920? We all know the program is brand new, how about you embrace that. Heck, the kids at Bayside wrote a better school song on “Saved by the Bell”.

Oh Brother!

August 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

Chill Out…..its is because these folks have never liked 790 the Zone before and are critical of anything that they do – good or bad. Most of them have been saying for 8 years now that the Zone is on its last leg.

Every successful media person will tell you that you have ups and downs in the business and sometimes you learn the hard way that you have to start over and be fresh. That seems to be what the Zone is doing. I doubt these guys will “only” be doing nights. I am sure they will fill in on weekends, daytime shows, etc… to get more work in and get their names out.

Oh and Get Real, 680 doesn’t always talk sports. I hear Rude talk music and movies all the time and Perry talks food, politics, etc…..Lord knows Chernoff learned from his idol Steak on how to discuss food and pop culture. Everything you jokes complain about regarding 790 happens just as much over at 680. So 680 is having a good run….thanks to the much successful re-pairing of Chernoff and Oliver and the Braves radio rights – which everyone, including the folks at 790, knew would happen.

Scott "Phillip" Wallace

August 25th, 2010
1:59 pm

Rodney – keep your hands off the these young men.

P.S. I hate Steak Shapiro

GTMustang

August 25th, 2010
2:19 pm

These guys are a joke.

Why the hell would you make fun of a start up program? Of course the fight song sounds old. Who the hell wants their fight song to sound “new”. I know I don’t.

This clown from OSU doesn’t know anything about GSU. GSU has been around since 1913, was a part of GT and they have quite a bit of tradition. Just because they didn’t have a football team until now doesn’t mean they don’t have tradition.

Maybe that nerd should just go back up to OSU since it’s obvious he can’t talk about SEC teams since he is now in SEC country because OSU is the SEC’s b****.

Get Real

August 25th, 2010
2:40 pm

@Oh Brother.- Point taken on Chernoff, but he and Chuck still do a better job of talking sports. And I think that most people in town used to like 790. Now 680 has gained new listeners.

The Hawks, Thrashers and Braves Clearly don’t want to be associated with the Zone and they all used to. That says something especially in this economy when every dollar and relationship matters.

James

August 25th, 2010
2:50 pm

Bax is a hoss, what a freaking stud.

Edgewood Adam

August 25th, 2010
2:59 pm

To that idiot bad mouthing the Two Live Stews:

Those guys really made fools of themselves didnt they? They humiliated themselves into a nationally syndicated radio show and a spot on ESPN. What a bunch of losers.

790 The Unlistenable Drivel

August 25th, 2010
3:21 pm

Has there ever been a BIGGER J E R K in the history of Atlanta media than Steak Shapiro?

Mel from SW

August 25th, 2010
3:23 pm

What weak bunch of punks. They are all carbon copies of each other. I tried to listen to these clowns audition and turn the radio off. Water pistols.

Les

August 25th, 2010
3:23 pm

790 The Zone airs more commercials than talk/sports talk. Check it for yourself. In any given hour, time how much commercials they do. Then, time how much sports updates and talk they do. You will discover that the commercial time exceeds the programming time.

790 The Zone is the only station that I know of that does that. For that reason alone I find the station unlistenable. They are just a bunch of on-air ads.

dan

August 25th, 2010
3:27 pm

the vitrol spewed here towards this radio station is always amusing…unwarranted,imho…but great for a smile.

reservoirDAWG

August 25th, 2010
3:28 pm

Well, these guys certainly could’t make the station any worse. By the way, if I see the morning line up on the street I’ll punch them in the face for being total douches.

folkboy

August 25th, 2010
3:29 pm

I am looking forward to the Zone going out of business. 680 is the clear sports leader and is is sad to watch 790 try and even stay in the Fans wake.

Most of the good Talent at 790 has already moved to 680. If only Dimino would defect there would be no reason to listen o 790 ever….

reservoirDAWG

August 25th, 2010
3:29 pm

*couldn’t.

RK

August 25th, 2010
3:30 pm

Good, more droning on about college football. That’s what this market needs..as if I could hear it after 7.

Chess

August 25th, 2010
3:39 pm

Mel is going to eat these guys alive. Hey guns I have a football question for you guys. What defense stop the run-and-shoot offense in the NFL? These guys look like “pledge pins on uniform.” Delta….Ki…..Delta…Ki

Nacho Daddy

August 25th, 2010
3:43 pm

I hate 680, they spent my drive time this morning talking crap about an info-mercial they saw on TV. what the phk

Paul From Milton

August 25th, 2010
3:43 pm

I can’t stop laughing. Tony Barnhart is a college football expert. These guys talk a lot about college football in the recent past. Big difference.

rb

August 25th, 2010
3:47 pm

Personally, I think 790 stinks and you cant hear them at night even inside the perimter. Steak is an self promoting ass.

Whatever

August 25th, 2010
3:55 pm

Even though these guys are new, I’d rather listen to them than Buck and Kincade. Hell, I’d rather listen to Mel from SW ATL discuss world politics than Buck and Kincade. They BLOW.

J

August 25th, 2010
3:55 pm

I actually know Dags. He’s a good guy with a great sense of humor and an unbelievable knowledge of sports. I suggest that you give them all a shot before you criticize them.

cowboys67

August 25th, 2010
3:57 pm

Amen Edgewood Adam, It is obvious that the people who bash the Stews dont like them for one reason skin color. They are by farrrrr the most sucessful show on either station and the one of the reasons is their show talks about much more than College Football and who’s the number 1 recruit for whatever football team. they are a novelty. They reach an audience that was totally ignored for so many years. In addition they have the best guest on either station and ask the questions that listeners want to hear not fluff. Now are they annoying @times yes do they waste far too much time goofing off yes. But by inlarge they serve a major purpose and to the haters step off and keep working at your boring $30k a year job while the Stews put it down.

H

August 25th, 2010
4:02 pm

Dags is the man. Steak actually did something decent. The idiot did put a UGA Frat boy on the Flagship of the Yellow Jackets. Hopefully Dags will make a name for himself and 680 will be calling. Steak sucks.

Chess

August 25th, 2010
4:02 pm

J – What is your point?

Beau Bock

August 25th, 2010
4:04 pm

Who cares?
Satellite is the only way to go.

Falconian

August 25th, 2010
4:08 pm

Anybody would be better than that little girl Kincaid on 680.

joe

August 25th, 2010
4:09 pm

Just what Atlanta sport talk radio needs…another UGA homer…don’t you have e-nuff of em already??

I mean, really?

August 25th, 2010
4:13 pm

Okay, most of us can agree we can’t stand Steak. But, Steak isn’t going to be on their show. Also, why are some people criticizing what these guys look like? For the record, I don’t know any frats that have guys with tatted sleeves, who are bald, or who wear cardigans. Since when do we care about what people look like on the radio?

Are you kidding?

August 25th, 2010
4:15 pm

Well said, Cowboys67. It is hilarious to hear the comments about the Stews. The proof is in the pudding. Syndication is the name of the game…and Sporting News Radio is NO slouch. 790 is just a little more entertaining than 680 overall. I guess its a matter of what you prefer. I say give these dudes a chance. And really is Steak any worse than Kincade as far as being an azz?

RK

August 25th, 2010
4:18 pm

BTW nice sweater, in the middle of the summer, on that guy. Did Randy Jackson give it to him?

Native since 87

August 25th, 2010
4:21 pm

790 was hip and happening until people realized their signal is terrible, you can’t hear them at night and the 2 live stews were a niche show that alienated the rest of the populus and moved them down to 680.

They have about 12-18 months in this economy before they bail.

NAACP

August 25th, 2010
4:21 pm

I see their’s no diversity at 790 the KKK Zone

Robert Morton

August 25th, 2010
4:25 pm

So Hunter is both 26 (the caption) and 29 (Rodney’s article)? A time traveling sports jock, that’s different.

Walter

August 25th, 2010
4:29 pm

A problem with 790 The Zone is that it’s too frustrating to listen to because of the commercial messages, regardless of who the hosts are. If you like listening to forty minutes of commercials every hour, then tune them in and enjoy. But if you want sports talk, try another option.

Buck N. Kincaid

August 25th, 2010
4:36 pm

We’d love to comment on this, but we are too busy talking about ice hockey.

Why bother discussing college football when we have become the “voice of the thrashers”?

Surely nobody would want to change the dial away from us after a weekend of college football just because we are contractually obligated to feature ice hockey junk during the afternoon drive home.

The Kang

August 25th, 2010
4:42 pm

Eh, I’m the real king of college football, listen to me afternoons 12-3.

Rodney Ho

August 25th, 2010
4:54 pm

I took the caption info off the press release, which had his age incorrect. He is 29.