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Michelle Smallmon Loves St. Louis, But ESPN Radio Came Calling

“I am a St. Louis girl through and through and I know I’m going to end up there,” said Smallmon. “That’s where I want my life to be for the majority of my life moving forward.”

Tyler McComas

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Leaving home wasn’t easy, but Michelle Smallmon couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream. Granted, being a sports talk host in her hometown of St. Louis was the ultimate dream, and one she was able to live out at 101 ESPN, but the thought of living in a big city like New York was always something she wanted to try. So when an opportunity at ESPN Radio came calling, she decided it was the perfect time to chase a dream. Earlier this month, she packed her bags and headed to The Big Apple. 

What’s unique about this move for Smallmon is that she doesn’t intend to stay on the east coast for the rest of her career. Quite the opposite, actually. She fully intends to return to St. Louis at some point. It may be six months, or it could be six years, but her intention is to get back to the place she calls home. 

“I am a St. Louis girl through and through and I know I’m going to end up there,” said Smallmon. “That’s where I want my life to be for the majority of my life moving forward. I’ve never lived in a big city and I’ve always wanted to live in New York. This ESPN opportunity felt like not only a great growth point in my career, but a really good opportunity for me to live in a big city for a couple of years, give it a go, and know that I’ll always have St. Louis as my home and that I can always go back there.”

Smallmon is leaving quite the legacy at 101 ESPN. She was the only woman on the air at the station and the first to ever have her name on a show, as the co-host of Karraker and Smallmon. It’s incredible she was the first woman to ever find herself in that role, but one she didn’t truly understand until she announced on the air she was leaving. 

“Being the only female and getting my name on the show, I didn’t realize how important that was until I announced I was leaving,” said Smallmon. “I heard from thousands and thousands of people that wanted to wish me well and told me they enjoyed the show. A lot of the women I heard from said, ‘You are the reason I tuned in everyday and you gave me a voice in the sports world and it’s so refreshing for me to hear someone that sounds, looks and thinks like me’. Having that impact is something I’m really proud of.”

Smallmon will start out at ESPN hosting overnight SportsCenter updates on ESPN Radio. She won’t have her name on a radio show anymore, but she’s ok with that. And who knows, maybe someday, she will have her name on an ESPN Radio show. But right now it’s about the experience and journey of living in the big city and working for the Worldwide Leader. But St. Louis will never be far from Smallmon’s mind. 

“I don’t even know how to put it into words,” said Smallmon. “It is the best place to work and the best place to be. It was actually very, very hard for me to leave. But timing mattered. I loved working with Randy. It was a dream come true for me to work with him everyday.

“To not only get to host a show and talk about the teams I care about in my home city, but to do it as such a special time in St. Louis sports history, whether it was the Blues in the Stanley Cup or Albert Pujols’ return and the Cardinals getting back to the postseason. It was just really a dream come true and a great experience.”

What’s great, and smart of Smallmon, is that her fans won’t have to be up listening to ESPN Radio late at night to hear her voice. Even though she’ll be a timezone away, Smallmon plans on staying involved in the St. Louis sports scene with the MLS that’s debuting in 2023. 

“That was the one thing I wanted when this opportunity was presented to me,” said Smallmon. “I went to my boss, Tommy Mattern, and he knows I’ll eventually want to come home at some point and how much St. Louis means to me. I’ll actually be back and forth a lot, which is great, but I’m going to be hosting a soccer podcast with Moon, who is on 105.7 The Point, one of our sister stations. We’re recording our first show on Wednesday and it’s a great opportunity for me to still be involved with the St.Louis sports scene and with 101 ESPN.”

Smallmon isn’t afraid of the climb at ESPN. She did the exact same thing at 101 ESPN, starting with the station in 2018 doing mornings with Bernie Miklasz. She then shifted to a digital editor and fill-in host, before returning to mornings in May of 2020 with co-host Randy Karraker. The two began their new show together during the pandemic, which actually helped build a tight bond with the audience. But at ESPN she’s hoping to grow as a broadcaster and become the best version of herself on the air. 

There will be a point where home calls Smallmon back to St. Louis, but don’t be surprised if she returns with a wealth of experience at ESPN that helps propel her career, again, when she comes home.

“It’s more of an overarching motion that I know at some point I’m going to want to come home,” Smallmon said, “That could be four years from now or it could be 14 years from now. That’s where my family is and I just know I won’t stay away forever.”

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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