Sandra Golden, who was on 790/The Zone’s “Mayhem in the AM” from 2004 to 2008, will be joining rival show the Rude Awakening on 680/The Fan starting Feb. 14.
Golden left in 2008 to start her own media coaching firm. She has also worked at CSS’s “Sports Nite” the past few years. In 2009, she returned part time to the Zone but the station has not had any openings for anything meaningful full time.
David Dickey, the Fan general manager, said she will add a new voice to a team that features Chris Rude, Perry Laurentino and Leo Mazzone.
“We want to continue to evolve the brand,” Dickey said, “and broaden the appeal. She’s not a former coach or player. She’s coming in as an established sportscaster. She has great relations with the local teams and within the various leagues, professional and college. She’s a great gal.”
Golden said Dickey called her with the offer. “I really feel like when the Dickeys call, to be part of something successful, you’d have to be an idiot not to join,” she said.
The bosses at the Zone were understanding, she said – even Steak Shapiro. “He didn’t take it personally. It’s not the Hatfield vs. the McCoys anymore,” she said, since Big League Broadcasting (partly owned by Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman) sold out to Lincoln Financial last year.
I.J. Rosenberg, owner of Score Publishing, said it’s a great move for the Fan. “She’s got a great wit about her,” he said. “I thought she did real well at 790. She got caught in the buzz cut over there. In any male program, she really fits in nicely. She tends to keep the males in line.”
Golden’s early game plan is to “sit back, learn a little something and contribute as much as I can.” But she won’t just read the sports news. She will have full power to say anything anytime.
In fact, she said going back to childhood, she’s always been used to being one of the guys. “My dad was a sportscaster,” she said. “He did play by play for my high school. I always sat with him and grew up watching sports. I was my dad’s girl.”
Golden started as a TV broadcaster in Panama City, Fla. before moving to Tallahassee and West Palm Beach. She came to Atlanta to join Fox Sports South.
She is part of a growing Zone expat community at the Fan, including Chuck Oliver and Matt Chernoff.
The Zone used to be the sports leader in town in both ratings and revenue. That’s not the case anymore.
[UPDATE: Someone at the Zone took issue with the previous statement. The Fan has been beating the Zone for much of the past two years in ratings, reversing previous trends. The Zone used to thrash the Fan in revenues a few years back. I'm not sure who is ahead anymore though it seems like a dogfight now dollar for dollar but he said he will provide me figures. Will the relative financial stability of Lincoln Financial enable the Zone to invest in its product and resume the momentum it's lost the past couple of years or will losing the feistiness of being a stand-alone radio station hurt the station in the long run?]
By Rodney Ho, email@example.com, AJCRadioTV blog