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.