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790/The Zone ‘Young Guns’ experiment is over

(l-r) Hunter Weeks; Matt Baxendell; Kirk Carter; Matt Dagostino CREDIT: Rodney Ho/

(l-r) Hunter Weeks; Matt Baxendell; Kirk Carter; Matt Dagostino CREDIT: Rodney Ho/

'Young Guns' experiment

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“Young Guns” are out. “Football Night in Atlanta” is in.

With 790/The Zone’s new commitments to the Atlanta Falcons, management decided to create an all-year-around football show every weeknight at 7 p.m. with John Michaels. It began last month.

Michaels has been part of the air staff for awhile, doing several football specialty shows over the years, including the Falcons pre-game show.

The football-heavy mid-day show hosted by Tony Barnhardt and Wes Durham will be back on the air July 18 after taking a few weeks off, Saltzman said.

Last summer, 790/The Zone sought new talent through a series of applications and tryouts and took four of them last August to form the “Young Guns.”

“The experiment worked in terms of developing young talent and how they fit into the rest of the station,” said Andrew Saltzman, founder and president of the station.

New program director Bob Richards, who came from Clear Channel Colorado, will assess the current talent and make any necessary changes.   (He replaced Matt Edgar, who decided after 14 years that he needed to find a job closer to home. His commute was painfully long, he said.)

The “Young Guns” quartet, all in their 20s, talked sports three times a week in the evenings.

“We all had a great experience and had a blast doing it,” said Hunter Weeks, who remains as a fill-in host. “I still feel like part of the family.” He considered “Young Guns” an “extended try-out period.”

“He has a future in sports radio,” Saltzman said.

Matt Baxendall declined to comment about his future at the station until he meets with the new program director.

Kirk Carter said “it was a lot of fun” but he’s off to law school in the fall in the University of Minnesota so he would have left anyway. “We learned a lot.”

Matt Dagostino continues to do voiceover work at Turner Sports. “I enjoyed doing it,” Dagostino said.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho,, AJCRadioTV blog

43 comments Add your comment


June 28th, 2011
10:11 am

You have to be parked out in front of the station in order to get any reception and hear anything at 7pm anyway.

Matty Ice

June 28th, 2011
10:13 am

Steak said on multiple times that a Zone personality will be a sideline reporter during Falcons games.

I wonder if the FM partner was informed about that.

Johnny Fever

June 28th, 2011
10:17 am

Why does Steak always insist that they’re all dysfunctional? Is that in the radio cliche playbook? Is that what sells?

Even I think that act is phony.


June 28th, 2011
10:31 am

I thought there show was pretty good. How long until 680 hires them? It worked with Chuck, Chernoff, and everyone else at that station. With 680s better signal theyd kill 790 at night. Who wants to listen to a pro football show when there wont even be an NFL season? Atlanta is a college football town anyway.

Sage of Bluesland

June 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

The absolute boredom of the 680 morning clowns began the process of making the switch to 790 (again, after many years)….Kincade and his asinine defense of the indefensible regarding the ASG and the Atlanta Thrashers made me make the switch permanently.

The tool Kincade was too busy fighting for the scraps from Thrashers’ ownership/management’s table to be credible whatsoever–and actually blamed the fans for not subsidizing the incompetence of Don Waddell, Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon, et. al.

I don’t subsidize incompetence; never have, never will….and thus my dial stays on 790 now…

B. Karloff

June 28th, 2011
1:55 pm

I wish the Mike Bell experiment would end soon.


June 28th, 2011
2:23 pm

Mike Bell keeps me from listening in the afternoon


June 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

Buck Belue is only famous for handing the ball off to Herschel Walker.

Mike Bell is THE reason...

June 28th, 2011
3:57 pm

…I listen to 790 in the afternoon.

And, if Ken Kade, would go back to Philly, and LaurenTINO would go back to Pittsburgh or So Cal (I am so tired of hearing about MY Phillies and MY Eagles, and MY Steelers and MY Trojans) Atlanta would be a better place. And, yes, I do not listen to either of them so my tiredness is related to their continued presence in Atlanta and on Atlanta radio…

Ted Striker

June 28th, 2011
4:44 pm

I haven’t listened to 790 in about 6 years…I see they are still doing dumb stuff…nothing has changed…..As long as Shapiro is at the helm, nothing ever good will come from it


June 28th, 2011
4:57 pm

Mike Bell is a mental midget who still thinks he’s 25. Who says Holy Sshnikees any more?

Terrence Moore

June 28th, 2011
7:09 pm

Hey Matty Ice you MV7 wannabe.. 790 is the home of the Falcons now. Thier FM partner is their sister station, Star 94 so I think that they will be ok with it.

Zone Zen

June 28th, 2011
7:14 pm

Morning show is generally hilarious. Most of my friends listen. Bell is pretty funny too. Keep up the good work 790!

Steak is a blow hard

June 28th, 2011
9:11 pm

Amen Ted Striker. Steak needs to realize that he has no business being on the air, and running the show there. There are many people like me who refuse to listen to 790 just because of him. He’s also a complete jerk in public.

Chaddd Scottt: ex 790/680/ESPN employee

June 28th, 2011
9:46 pm

Since when is Steak Shapiro considered a “talent” ???

Maybe in his own mind.


June 28th, 2011
10:44 pm

Yeah, Mike Bell is immature, but he’s pretty funny. I think Bell & Cellini would make a great show.


June 28th, 2011
10:49 pm

Mike bell needs to expand his ideology ! Everything black doesn’t have to be about “the brothers” his act is so 70s yet he wonders why he never made it to the big league (no pun) and the big money! Great impressions but shallow like a kiddie pool it’s kind of sad since his talent like the southern novel may be GONE WITH THE WIND.

Nothing but the Truth

June 29th, 2011
2:40 am

…and another change at 790. yaaaaaawwwwwn, A joke of a station. Always chasing their tails for a losing cause. Fans will listen to the games on Star 94 NOT 790 b/c you can’t hear the weak am signal.

Michaels is a loser, sounds like a lost white 3rd live Stew. Good thing is no one will hear him after 7pm.


June 29th, 2011
8:52 am

I listen to to them a few times a week they only have one problem on that station they don’t talk about sports…I don’t care about where you ate last night, or what your daughter did yesterday. I could care less about about your wife and whats going on with her. I care about sports, why can’t you guys just talk about sports. Give me sports talk and sports talk callers and I will listen again..Well I can dream…


June 29th, 2011
9:16 am

I listen to 680 The Fan for 1 reason: Chuck and Chernoff. Kincade is just so boring. Not good, not bad, just uniteresting. Any white, suburban North Atlanta dad could do as well. 790 is unlistenable. Their best talent now resides at 680 or elsewhere.


June 29th, 2011
9:28 am

Hey 3rd, haven’t you realized that none of the sports shows here in Atlanta actually talk sports. Rude Awakening spends more time on Lindsay Lohan than Tommy Hanson.

Chuck & Chernoff and Barnhart & Durham are the only “sports” shows on Atlanta radio. Buck an Kincade might talk sports but I usually fall asleep 5 minutes into it.


June 29th, 2011
9:41 am

Yea steak and gang are so old and tired its not even funny. First off we need sports people that have loyalty to Atlanta not some guys from the Northeast that could care less about Atlanta sports. Kinda ASG they could care less about the Thrashers or the Hawks it was a business deal for them. They put in 30 mil each and if they can pull out 50 mil each their ok with that. I think one of owners is from Boston right? Tell me he’s not a Celtics fan. The NBA should be ashamed of how they let some rich people buy their franchises wit no loyalty to that community.

Buck Beleu

June 29th, 2011
11:06 am

I really should be on South Georgia radio, but y’all love me. That’s why I am able to spend a whole radio segment about what my producer J-Chad ate for lunch. You love hearing about how I brought it in 1980 and won that National Championship. Get your windows at Weather Tite now.

Big Deal

June 29th, 2011
1:19 pm

Domino and Chellini are all washed up. BORING. And Steve Shapiro that guy is so uninteresting. If I have to hear about his daughters and fat arse wife again, I am going to slap him.

Mike K.

June 29th, 2011
1:40 pm

Whenever I listened to the Young Guns, I was always reminded of the ESPN commercial when they brought in the high school kid to do Sportscenter.

“Jimmy Key?! What is he like 45? I could hit him!”

Dave in Marietta

June 29th, 2011
3:49 pm

That dude in the picture sure made it a point to show off those tats. Totally juvenile.


June 29th, 2011
4:16 pm

Ever hear Buck and Leo Mazzone drooling all over the Braves during the pre-game show? Truly sad they have to grovel that hard for a paycheck.

John P

June 29th, 2011
4:44 pm

John Kincade and Mike Bell are both awful. Pollack literally doesn’t know anything. And Buck is dumber than him. Only guy who can and wants to talk sports is Dimino. Chuck and Matt Chernoff sound like two girls in study hall. The rest aren’t even worth mentioning.


June 29th, 2011
10:41 pm

So when Matt Edgar went “looking for a job closer to home” in this booming economy after 14 years as program director because of the “painful commute” did he find one or is this just the equivalent of saying someone wants to “spend more time with their family” to cover yet another 790 salary dump?

Some Monday morning soon listeners will turn to 790 and find out the gang is gone as the station goes to some new exciting format like Latino Gospel music

The Ol' Nexter

June 30th, 2011
1:34 am


Matt Edgar has mentioned on-air several times over the past couple of years that he lives up in the Calhoun area so I’d imagine he was being sincere when he cited the “painful commute”. No way I’d drive that far to work. I’d guess that he was spending roughly 3 hrs. per day on his commute.

N. W.

June 30th, 2011
10:57 am

Since when is “all-year-around” acceptable English? Could you please aspire to write a bit better?

Spirit of Joel Matlin

June 30th, 2011
1:19 pm

Top three most annoying commercials heard on radio: 1) AlarmForce and Joel Matlin’s obnoxious voice, then the music that sounds like a bad ripoff of Grace Slick and Jefferson Starship tops it off, 2) The Shane Company, 3) Superior Plumbing and the hysterical musings of Dave Baker and Kirk Mellish (”nice”).

Donald Finley

June 30th, 2011
1:57 pm

ESPN radio should take over 680 and sporting news over 790, both 680 and 790 suck, fire steak and his morning so call show who listen to all those bums anyway, cant wait for high school and college football go newnan cougars!


June 30th, 2011
7:04 pm

The Ol, Nexter

Lots of folks change their jobs or move due to the hellish Atlanta commutes, but my experience is you do not move out until you have another place to live and do not voluntarily quit your job because of the commute unless you have another job.

If Matt Edgar quit his job after 14 years without having landed another job there is more to this than the commute – when you consider the history of 790 departures over the last several years it is justifiable to conclude this is another money issue there

790 Listener

June 30th, 2011
9:46 pm

Dan….the 790 crew threw a bash for Edgar sometime in the last week as a going away party. Not really something you do for a guy if you are kicking him to the curb. The man lives in Calhoun and is very involved in his kids lives as they participate in extracurricular activities. If you ever listen to the station you would know this.

And enough of this money issue stuff. Lincoln Financial owns the station now and has the money to make it succeed. Also the Falcons partnership is a money making deal for them (just as the Braves deal is for 680) as well and trust me that they will not be hurting in the finances like they were after the St. Louis debacle. Edgar stuck around until they hired his replacement (and a guy moving from Colorado to Atlanta doesn’t sound like a cost cutting move either) and again the going away party is not something you do for someone you are pushing out the window.

790 Listener

June 30th, 2011
9:48 pm

Spirit of Joel Matlin…..none of those are annoying as those hideous radio commercials for the GA Lottery. My god those jingles make my ears bleed.


June 30th, 2011
9:58 pm

790 Listener (or is that you Steak?)

Yeah – this sounds like someone who has left voluntarily and on good terms because of “the commute” to move on to a great new job:

“RI: What do you think should be the top priority for your replacement?
Edgar: Giving the station some new sizzle. My message started falling on deaf ears, much a like a coach who’s been there too long.

RI: What are your plans for the future?
Edgar: I’m starting a website to cover the local sports scene up here in Sonoraville. It is called We may be a smaller town but our high school sports appetite is as big as anyone’s.”

“Covering the local sports scene in Sonoraville” – that certainly will mean a big pay hike

I do not know what sorts of business circles you travel in, but I have been to quite a few great corporate going away parties where the guest of honor has the knife still stuck in his back = just because there is an open bar does not mean anything with regard to why someone is leaving


July 1st, 2011
7:54 am

Can we now call the steak shapiro in Atlanta experiment over as well? I would say it was over-done.

Georgia Lady, Born and Raised

July 1st, 2011
10:28 am

Mike Bell should join John Kincaid and Perry Larentino, and come on at 3:00 A.M. on a 100 watt radio station. That’s all the listenership they deserve with their idiocies. They all have “tired” talk and have nothing interesting to say. I now turn the dial when they’re on.

790 Listener

July 1st, 2011
8:38 pm

No Dan I am not Steak. I’m sorry, I forgot you have the crystal ball and know eeevvverrryyything about 790 the zone inside and out. Next time I will be sure to bow to whatever comment you make about something and claim it to be fact. So I guess I need to come to work for you or the company you work for and get pushed out the door? You know since you seem to claim that many places throw huge expensive bashes for people they FIRE.

790 Listener

July 1st, 2011
8:45 pm

Oh and since you want to play that game, I have a little business nugget for you. I have worked with a few guys who are or were in the same position as Matt Edgar – long commute, job not satisfying anymore, etc…. Some of them gave up very good careers and salaries just to be able to work closer to home and one of them went to work for himself and starting from scratch. Another one left a job that was close to making 6 figures just so he could go and manage a retail store closer to home and spend a total of 4 hours a day commuting to work. To them the commute, stress, and lack of family time played a huge part in their decisions, just as it seems to have played a part in Matt Edgar’s.

Look, I don’t know the guy personally and am only going by what I’ve heard on the station and from the hosts themselves. But please carry on as it seems you DO have all the answers.

Football guru

July 5th, 2011
4:02 pm

If you really want to hear a show that is focused solely on football. you should tune into 1570am or log onto endzone to from 7-8pm on Friday nights. I have caught the show a few times and really like it. They have a male and female co-host and who really go around the world of football. Lots of facts and opinions

S Tony

July 5th, 2011
5:15 pm

I have slowly but surely moved back to 790 for the mornings largely because Sandra Golden is now on 680. Then you combine her with Leo Mazzone’s constant overtalking and you have 2 BLEEDING EARS on 285 every day in my car. Mazzone is supposed to bring baseball expertise, but all he seems to bring is being a Braves homer and defending the 14yrs of divisions with 1 world series.
Rude & Perry were fine as a duo with the guy from Fox5 sitting in occassionally working well too!
The 790 Mayhem in the AM seems to have gotten away (NOT COMPLETELY) from what made me turn from them to 680 a few years ago, which is spending WAYYYYYY too much time talking about themselves and their personal lives.
I still don’t try to call in though because although I have a lengthy commute, it still makes no sense whatsoever to be on hold for an hour to get a 20 second comment in after the producer picks up the phone and seemingly admonishes you by saying to ’skip your greeting’ when you get on air…How rude is that!?