10 Questions with ... Andy Furman
May 8, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
My background is simple. I loved sports and always wanted to work with a sports team. I worked my way from calling-in box scores at $5 a pop while in high school, to doing P.R. in the sports field, and eventually getting my break at WLW in Cincinnati doing sales for Reds baseball, as well as doing some on-air work. That turned into a full-time hosting opportunity with Sports Talk on WLW, followed by afternoon-drive hosting duties on Real Talk 1160 (WQRT). With a lot of hard work and subsequent success in radio, I was offered a position in network radio as a weekend co-host on the nationally syndicated FOX Sports Radio Network. This year, I started co-hosting FOX Sports Daybreak with Artrell Hawkins on weekday mornings, and have loved every minute of it.
1. How and why did you get into radio? What drew you to the medium? (And how did a New York guy become a Cincinnati fixture?)
I always wanted to get into sports, which happened to lead to a career in sports radio. In high school, I managed to get out of gym class for three years by becoming manager of the basketball team, and I called in the box scores after every game to the then seven daily newspapers in New York City, getting paid $5 per score. All the while, I was writing letters upon letters to sports executives, teams and other influential sports professionals hoping to someday work for them.
After high school, I attended undergraduate school at Hunter College in NYC working in sports information, and later became their sports publicist. Holding this position through grad school, I took a break from publicity and worked as the Sports Information Director at a few other colleges. I soon returned to P.R., this time in the sports field, working for the Miami Dolphins and the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers soccer team, later finding my way into race track publicity. I moved around doing P.R. at various racing establishments for some time, but when transferred to a track in Daytona Beach, I was hired as Sports Director for the local NBC-TV affiliate, making my first move into broadcasting (although it was on the business side).
Since I wasn't keen on this position, the General Manager moved me into Sales, where I made a once-in-a-lifetime sale to P&G for $160,000 on a deal in conjunction with the Cincinnati Reds TV Network. The WLW Radio General Manager, David Martin, took notice and offered me a position selling Reds baseball and doing some on-air work, which took me to my landing spot in Cincinnati. The rest is history. I moved from local sports radio to local talk radio in Cincy, where I've left my mark for more than 20 years. Even though I've moved to the network side of radio, I can still be heard in Cincinnati every morning with FOX Sports Daybreak.
2. After a few decades on Cincinnati radio, you've moved to the syndication/network side. What changes, if any, have you made to how you approach the job, now that you have a national audience?
Network radio is wonderful. We can talk about any and every sports subject. Locally, you're pigeon-holed into the local sports scene, and if your city lacks an NBA or NHL team, you're out of luck. Certainly, the national spot requires more work, being on top of everything, but it's great to chat with people from coast-to-coast.
3. You were a solo act in local radio, but you've been paired up with co-hosts on FSR, and you're presently working alongside Artrell Hawkins on the morning show. How was the adjustment to working with co-hosts, and how has it been working with Artrell? What's the best thing about working with him, and the worst? How about Lincoln Kennedy, your weekend partner?
My co-hosts, Artrell Hawkins and Lincoln Kennedy, are the best. They both let me question them on their football knowledge, and the forum is tremendous in creating a true debate.
Artrell is great. He's new in the radio business, and looking to excel every day. He's argumentative and I like that. The fact that I "didn't play the game" (in his words) annoys me. However, does it mean that I can't talk politics just because I haven't run for office?
Lincoln is a mild-mannered giant of a man, kind-hearted and never one to raise his voice. I do my best, at times, to try and get under his skin, but don't tell him that. His football knowledge and experience is second to none. By the way, he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
4. What, if any, changes have you seen in sports talk radio since you started? As sports radio has gotten more popular and widespread, do you think the tone of the conversation has changed? Has the introduction of things like Twitter or Deadspin and its web brethren had an effect on what you do on the air?
Sports talk radio has taken on a life of its own. The daily newspaper used to be where people got their information. With radio being immediate, and with the fan response and opportunity for caller interaction, it has become the number one choice for fans locally and nationwide. In fact, sports talk radio has given the sports fan a true voice, and we use that voice on-air. Everyday, we ask our "Eye Opener" question of the day, and listeners tweet responses. We read some of these thoughts during the show, in addition to welcoming callers on-air.
5. Who are your mentors, influences, and heroes?
I have learned a lot from two-time Marconi winner, friend and former co-worker Bill Cunningham. We "ruled" the airwaves in Cincinnati. Radio guru Randy Michaels has been a terrific teacher as well.
6. What's your process -- how do you prepare for each show? What resources do you use?
For each and every show, believe it or not, I read about 10-12 daily newspapers and check websites like FOXSportsRadio.com.
7. About what are you most passionate these days?
Honestly, I'm passionate about everything I do. I want to sound good, have a perfect show and entertain while informing listeners.
8. Of what are you most proud?
I am very proud to have achieved the top post in my profession, as a weekday and weekend co-host on FOX Sports Radio.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______________.
...checking my emails and reading my daily newspapers.
10. What's the best advice you've ever gotten? The worst?
The best advice came late in my career from the head of FOX Sports Radio and Senior Vice President of Premiere Sports, Don Martin. He told me to have fun...and I do. I'll leave it at that.