After 14 years as the Program Director of Sports Talk 790 the Zone (WQXI) in Atlanta Matt Edgar turned in his gloves and spikes and called it a day. Edgar started out as a producer at the station and worked his up to program director. He's been replaced by Bob Richards. Our Atlanta Blogger Chadd Scott caught up with Edgar about his time in Atlanta. Here's Chadd's latest Blog Post.
In your 14 years with 790, what is the biggest change you've noticed at the station?
Matt Edgar: Being bought out by a much larger radio company, Lincoln Financial Media, is by far the biggest change. I don't think people truly realize what Steak Shapiro, Andrew Saltzman and Beau Bock did back in 1997. They started a radio station from scratch...and in a large market! It will never be duplicated again.
How about with sports talk radio in general?
Edgar: I started in this business 17 years ago I would have laughed at you if had told me how big FM sports talk would become.
What are you most proud of having accomplished at 790?
Edgar: Our annual Camp Twin Lakes Radiothon which is in its 5th year. Our listeners have helped us raise over a million dollars and the awareness we've created has been sensational. And how my guys handle it every year is the amazing part. This is not your typical radio or TV fundraiser with sappy stories and boring time fillers.
What do you wish you'd been able to accomplish that you were not?
Edgar: Ratings! 790 The Zone never received the ratings it deserved. We sold tens of millions of dollars in advertising, brought hundreds of thousands of our listeners out to events, BUT we never had much in the ratings column to show for it. Very frustrating!
RI: What is your favorite memory from your time there?
Edgar: It seems silly and idealistic but that's easy.....the people. We were a family and it is one of those special places, truly special places in the world. My favorite memory is the people of 790 The Zone.
RI: Why are you leaving now?
Edgar: The past year I have commuted 130 miles round trip each day and I just couldn't do it anymore. I now live in the country community of Sonoraville and love it!
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. Bob Richards will do a sensational job and I look forward to listening each and every day!
RI: What do you see as the biggest coming trend in sports talk radio?
Edgar: FM, FM, FM! It is where sports talk belongs and as the results have shown, it works. 790 The Zone belongs on the FM dial as well.
RI: What most concerns you about the industry?
Edgar: Too much syndication and conglomeration. This is not an original answer for sure but being in a big market for well over a decade I see it all the time. No one wants to swing and miss anymore. That was one of the fantastic things about Big League Broadcasting, the willingness to not be too afraid to try something new. There is nothing wrong with failing.
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 SonoravilleSports.com. We may be a smaller town but our high school sports appetite is as big as anyone's.
Chadd Scott is a blogger for Radio Ink from Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter @ChaddScott
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