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The Joys And Challenges Of Talking Sports At Night

“. The topics that we’re discussing have already been brushed through 5 to 6 times by the previous shows.”

Tyler McComas




I’ve always had a fascination of wanting to try and host a show during the late evening hours. There’s just a different feel behind the mic compared to the other shifts during the day. It’s more relaxed, you can be a little bit more aggressive with your topics and how you present them, the callers are a complete wildcard, anything and everything can happen during those hours which really creates a unique and fun environment.

You should have a deep appreciation for the guys that are able to entertain so many people in the late hours of the night. It’s no easy task to sit with no co-host, talk about the same topics that have been discussed for the past 12 hours, bring an energy that will keep the listener both engaged and awake, while still delivering an entertaining show with few guests. 

But as Mike North told Jonas Knox when he was set to host his first ever weekend overnight show: “Jonas, stay focused and f*cking fire away, baby.” 

That’s about as solid of advice as you can get. 

Jonas Knox – Fox Sports Radio – Friday: 11pm-3am – Saturday 1-5pm – Sunday 5-8 pm – Pacific Time

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Tyler McComas: You always want to bring energy to the show, but seeing as you’re on late Friday nights, do you want to bring even more energy during that time slot? 

Knox: Oh I think about it every single time the light goes on. I learned a long time ago from Andy Furman and Mike North that it’s all about energy. Guys like that, who have been around for as long as they have, you’d be hard-pressed to find two hosts who bring more energy. Energy can deliver your point of view in a manner that has a greater impact than if you said the same thing but in a quieter tone.

If you emphasize what your thoughts and philosophies are with a certain tone and a certain energy that can be somewhat infectious, regardless if you disagree with somebody, you appreciate the fact they’re bringing it and it doesn’t sound like they’re mailing it in.

One the most frustrating things to me is when you hear a host that sounds like they’re tired. If I’m up in the middle the night and I’m driving around, whether I’m working the graveyard shift as a security guard or I’m throwing papers as a third job or I’m driving a truck across the country, I’m working, I’m really working. I’ve got to be there, because I’ve got to make ends meet. If you can’t find it within you to muster up a little bit of energy and a little bit of excitement to talk sports for four hours, then you shouldn’t be doing this job. We are so blessed and lucky to have what we do and I hear more complaints and more frustration than I do appreciation. That part gets to me a little bit.

TM: So how do you handle the biggest story of the day or what you think is going to be your biggest segment? Do you have a designated time or just lead with your best? 

JK: I think you always open up the show with the biggest story. That’s always been my thought. If there’s a 1A and 1B story then you can maybe split up that first segment.

What I try and do is find the biggest stories, so I’m not repeating exactly what my thought is, I don’t have just one take on a story, that story has legs. The topic tree philosophy, to where you have an overarching story and you have branch off segments from each of those. I try to layer those in throughout. Just because it’s the first segment for me doesn’t mean it’s the first segment for somebody else. The first segment for somebody else could be 1:15 or 1:45.

I don’t want to be pigeonholed as just, oh he’s only built for weekend overnights. So what I’ve done and I’ve talked to my boss Scott Shapiro about it, and just said I want my show to be able to play at any time slot, but also to recognize it’s the middle the night and that you can get a little bit edgy with certain things, but still be cognizant of what the ultimate goal is, which is to place it anywhere on the network at any time.

TM: How do you approach the fact the biggest story of the day has likely been talked about for 12 hours before you go on?

JK: One of the things I think is a mistake, when you work on the weekends, people will sometimes go back to something that happened on Monday or Tuesday because it’s been their first opportunity to get a crack at it. I never do that. If there’s not a new element to that story by the time my show comes around, then I’m doing outdated stuff. Unless I have a thought on it that’s unique and a different perspective. So you do have to be a little bit open minded. But for the most part I try not to do stories that are old.

If something comes up like, oh hey, this happened on Thursday, I can say the most interesting part about this is this to me. If it’s unique and a different approach then I think I’m more open minded to it then.

Colby Powell – 107.7 The Franchise – 6-8pm – Central Time

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TM: What’s the biggest challenge of hosting a show from 6-8? 

CP: Hosting a show from 6:00 to 8:00 is so much different because every take on whatever the big story is has already been taken. It’s 6:00 and our station has been on for 12 1/2 hours. The topics that we’re discussing have already been brushed through 5 to 6 times by the previous shows. For us it’s about trying to have fun and keeping it light for people after their day of work.

We want to talk about sports, but we want to give people a reason to laugh. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’ll make fun of ourselves, get a little self-deprecating, all that good stuff. By the time 7:30 rolls around we’re just trying to have fun with the listener, we’re not trying to hammer OU football down their throat.

A couple of weeks ago Russell Westbrook got traded at 7:20. That’s probably the one exception where you go full sports. But other than that you’re just trying to have fun with the listener at that point of the day.

TM: What about Thunder games that start at 7:00? You’re on from 6-7 with the pregame show and then the final hour is your regular show. How do you handle those nights? 

CP: On those nights, whenever there’s a Thunder game airing on our rival station, at that point, we keep it even lighter and even more off the rails. We’re talking about fun sports stories, non-sports stories, if anything crazy in the game happens we might mention it, but our thing isn’t doing play-by-play for the on-going Thunder game.

We don’t really talk much about the basketball game while it’s going on. Whoever is with you at that point, those are the diehards and the people that listen to you regularly. We get pretty decent engagement at those times when the basketball game is on.

TM: So is the thought, well, whoever wants to watch the Thunder is probably doing so on TV? Is your goal during those times to serve the listener that doesn’t enjoy the NBA? 

CP: I should probably split it up because I was talking only about Thunder season. But let’s say it’s the last week in October and OU has a big game on Saturday but the Thunder play Friday night at 7:00. We’ll do our Thunder pregame from 6:00 to 7:00, but from 7:00-8:00 we now have the advantage of being able to hammer OU football for an hour.

The OU football fan, who hasn’t switched their brain into basketball mode yet, those people aren’t going to be listening to the basketball game, they’re going to be listening to us talk about OU football. Until December 1st that’s a huge advantage, or I should say a week later because OU wins the Heisman every year. When it’s just basketball season, we’ll talk NFL because it extends well into a basketball season. And then, of course, we’ll talk about some general NBA things, as well.

Joe Ostrowski – 670 The Score – 6-10 pm – Central Time Zone 

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TM: You have the transition segment with McNeil and Parkins before your show actually begins. Do you like being able to tease what’s happening for the next four hours on the show, seeing as it’s not during peak hours? How much does it really help?

 JO: I think it’s a good thing. If you don’t have it it’s just kind of weird, when you have that cold ending and you really don’t know what’s going on in the next show. You have this opportunity to pitch your show and you should take advantage of that.

A lot of people probably hear me during those transition segments that don’t normally listen to the show. If they like what they hear they’re going to hang out. There can even be, oh, you have a guest at this particular time that I want to hear. I’m going to make sure I tune in for that segment. It’s important to sell your show doing the few minutes that you have.

TM: Since you’re on from 6-10, have you found it harder to book guests compared to an afternoon show host? 

JO: I don’t think it’s that difficult. Most media members understand that it’s not just a 100 percent favor that they’re doing, they’re getting some publicity themselves when they come on the air. But I did forget how tough it is on Friday night to book a guest. Even if I’m the one that’s reaching out, it was always a struggle as a producer and it’s a struggle now is a show host.

It’s a Friday night so I completely understand it, so I’m not opposed to coming into studio a couple of hours before to do a pre-recorded interview. As long as it still going to be timely by the time I re-air the interview. But that’s really the only time I’ve seen it as a challenge

TM: Let’s say you’re on the air this year during a Bears game on Thursday night. How will you handle it? 

JO: (Laughs) I’ve done those shows before, I’ve gone against playoff games, NFL games, yeah, you’re up against it. This goes back to not treating your audience like they’re a bunch of idiots. They know what’s happening. But I’m not just going to sit around for four hours and focus on it the entire time, we have a sister station that broadcasts all the Bears games. But on nights like those I do have enough counter programming to get through the shows. You just have to except that not a whole lot of people are listening.

TM: What do you enjoy most about your time slot? 

JO: It’s an interesting position being, for the most part, the first show that’s really on after Cubs afternoon games. But how am I going to take a topic that’s been beat to death all day on our station and spend it with a fresh view point by the time I come on the air? That’s a challenge every day and something I certainly appreciate. 

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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Barrett Media Writers

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