Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Sports Radio News

Tom Krasniqi – 620 WDAE

Jason Barrett

Published

on

When you first get an opportunity to work at a sports radio station, you’re not thinking about how the lessons you learn might serve you one day down the line. You’re just hoping to remain employed and in the company’s good graces. The thought of crossing state lines and building a brand as an on-air talent in another market is the furthest thing from your mind.

Once you’ve been in the industry for a while though, it’s amazing how the people you once spoke with, met, or shared a press box with, emerge as industry friends or connections. In some cases they even become direct competitors or colleagues.

mikedog

When I started my career, I worked in upstate New York, about an hour from New York City. Everyone’s goal in that market was to make it to WFAN. ESPN New York didn’t exist, sending snail mail to ESPN in Bristol, CT and being considered for employment was thought to be a pipedream, and local radio had its perks but only provided a small portion of what was possible in sports radio.

It was in local radio in upstate NY though that I became familiar with Tom Krasniqi. I was hosting afternoons on 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie and had just been promoted to Program Director of the radio station. I was determined to develop the second coming of WFAN (which was very unrealistic) and I started interviewing people who shared the same passion and vision as I did for sports radio.

As I searched for people who understood my vision, I came across Tom Krasniqi’s resume and aircheck. Although he was still new to the business, so was I, and I liked what I heard. Plus I saw that he had spent time at WFAN so I reached out and arranged a meeting.

He showed up, and three things stood out. First, he was easily the sharpest dressed guy in our building. Secondly, he towered over me, and third, he had a lot of passion for sports talk radio.

As we talked about sports, radio and professional experiences, I could tell that we had a lot in common. Tom had recently worked for WFAS in Westchester and was trying to find a spot which would allow him to develop further as a sports talk show host. After our interview ended, I spoke to my bosses about the possibility of adding him and they gave me the green light to do so but shared two things that I knew would make it difficult to attract a good candidate.

  1. The offer had to be part time and at minimum wage
  2. The radio station had just been sold and a format flip could be coming

Sensing that it wouldn’t be a positive situation for Tom or anyone else, I elected not to make an offer. We did speak and have a great conversation and I knew he’d end up landing in a good situation because he was young, talented, and hungry.

weok

As luck would have it, my radio station in Poughkeepsie did flip formats a few months later from sports to spanish, so it’s a good thing that I never asked Tom to head north. That allowed him to focus his time on other opportunities, and after landing some work in New York City, he eventually migrated south to Florida where he began building his brand in Tampa.

Tom got a break in 2004 when he was hired as an anchor and host by 1010AM. Five years later that led to an opportunity at ESPN 1040am where he eventually became the station’s afternoon drive host. It wasn’t until 2012 though when he earned his biggest opportunity, working for 620 WDAE, Tampa’s leading sports radio station.

“TKras” as he’s known to his audience, started as an anchor, host, and Bucs reporter on WDAE. Two years later when the radio station had a chance to upgrade their local programming schedule, Tom was named host of the 9a-12p midday program, alongside Ronnie “Night Train” Lane, his former on-air partner at ESPN 1040.

tkras5

Since teaming up, the pair have not disappointed. In the recent January ratings, “Ronnie and TKras” delivered the highest ratings on WDAE. Their show focuses primarily on the local Tampa sports scene and the chemistry and difference in the way each of them sound and approach topics is easy to detect.

Given that many in the sports format may not know Tom’s story, background, or the way his program has climbed the ratings ladder at WDAE, I thought it’d be interesting to catch up with him and get some insight on how he’s progressed over the years, and what he believes is important in creating great sports talk radio for a local audience.

Q: Who did you listen to growing up that influenced you to want to pursue a career in the sports radio business?  

A: From the very first day of existence back in 1987, I grew up listening to WFAN in New York.  Steve Somers, Chris Russo & Mike Francesa were the inspirations for me. When I finally got a chance to intern & work there, it was a dream come true. I was able to get an up close view as to how to be a compelling sports talk host from these guys. Being able to pick their brains was invaluable to me. It was instrumental in my development.

Q: Prior to landing at WDAE, where did you work previously and what were the best/worst parts of those career experiences?

tkras9

A: Prior to WDAE, I was a sports anchor and host at Genesis Communications 1040-AM in Tampa. Before that, I spent nearly 6 years at all-sports 1010am in Tampa also as a sports anchor and host. All in all, I’ve been in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market for more than 12 years. I enjoyed the people I worked with and the opportunity to cover some of the greatest moments in Tampa Bay sports, namely the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2008 World Series. The downside? Cutbacks in recent years by corporate entities has hindered the business greatly.

Q: How did you end up landing on the airwaves of WDAE? 

A: They were aggressive in pursuing me back in 2012 and that was really attractive to me. It’s a great feeling to be wanted. They had a plan for me to come in — cover the Bucs, sports anchoring and filling in as a host on occasion. Fortunately, I was able to establish myself to the point where I was able to land a regular hosting gig. I’m grateful to iHeartMedia for that.

Q: When it comes to your show, what do you read, watch and listen to in order to help you prepare and create content? 

tkras3

A: I’m online reading and researching about 4 hours per day, sometimes more. I’m watching games at night and always observing the mainstream sports networks, ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL, MLB & NHL Network. I’m always interested to get the national perspective to the local Tampa Bay area teams.

Q: During the span of a 3 hour show, how many topics do you try to  introduce to the audience? 

A: It’s a heavy emphasis on the local sports scene, Bucs, Rays & Lightning, as well as the major college sports in Florida with some relevant national topics mixed in. I’m always eager to express my opinion on the hot button issues, both locally & nationally.

Q: Why do you believe recycling/not recycling content is a smart strategy? 

tkras10

A: I believe recycling content is an effective strategy to a certain point. The average sports radio listener doesn’t stick around for long. Of course, we always love the P1 fanatics but they’re few & far between. What I always like to do is take a different angle to the same topic, advance the story when we touch upon it again later in the show. For example, The Lightning win last night. Early in the show we mention the big plays & analyze what happened. When we bring up the topic later in the show, I try to advance it. What’s next? Who’s playing well? Who needs to pick it up? Injury updates, that sort of thing. Recycle, but keep it fresh with updated content.

Q: How much value do you place on callers being a part of your show? Why do/don’t they matter to you? 

A: I always enjoy interacting with callers. It can be highly entertaining at times but it should never be the end all, be all when it comes to hosting. You don’t want to rely on it constantly. At the end of the day, people are tuning in to hear YOUR opinion.

Q: When you lay out your 3-hour program, what’s your approach to adding guests?

tkras7

A: Unless there’s a big story developing, you never want to jam your show with wall to wall guests. You want to bring people on that bring something to the table, opinions, insight & entertainment value.

Q: As it pertains to social media, how important do you think it is for an on-air talent to be accessible in the space? How do you incorporate it into your show? 

A: Social media these days is very important to sports radio! You want to interact with the fans and at the same time, use it as a tool to promote your brand/show. Tease subject matters & invite them to listen in when you’re ready to make a big prediction or offer a hot take on a topic. Twitter/Facebook are great tools to push your content and reel in new listeners. You never know who’s listening.

Q: If there’s one area of sports radio today that you believe is sub-par and needs to be improved what is it? 

tkras6

A: I think it’s always the race to try and break news first, rather than get it right. I also believe in objectivity when it comes to local teams. You want to be fair & balanced. Do I want to see the local teams succeed? Absolutely! We’re the radio home to the Bucs, Rays & Lightning. When they do well, we do well. But at the same time, you have to remain objective & avoid being a homer. And stay away from the personal attacks and cheap shots. That’s how you gain credibility.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your broadcast career?  

A: Be humble. Work hard & stay resilient. Never say no to opportunities when they come along. Be versatile. Learn how to cover the field as a reporter as well as being a producer, anchor and eventually a host. Start at the bottom and work your way up. That’s the only way you’ll learn responsibility and when that hard work eventually pays off, it’s that much more gratifying. If you can’t conquer the task in front of you (board-op, reporter, producer), what makes you think you can tackle the bigger jobs with more responsibility? My good friends Ian Eagle and Sweeny Murti of WFAN instilled that in me years ago and I’ll never forget it. Great piece of advice that I pass along to others today.

tkras12

Q: As you look to the future, what is it you still want to accomplish?   

A: I hope to continue doing what I do. I pride myself on being entertaining, passionate and opinionated.  I’m never satisfied with status quo. I’m always striving to improve. At the same time, I’m blessed to be living a lifelong dream and I’ll always be grateful for being in this crazy business.

Tom Krasniqi aka TKras can be heard weekdays from 9a-12p on 620 WDAE in Tampa. For more information on his show with Ronnie “Nighttrain” Lane, click here. You can also follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

blank

Published

on

blank

The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

blank

Published

on

Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

blank

Published

on

blank

Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.