Sports talk radio has expanded into one of a popular radio format, allowing student the oppurutnity to voice their opinion.
With shows like ESPN’s, “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” and The Premier Network’s, “The Jim Rome Show,” having large audiences, it’s a wonder why WUTK’s sports talk program is not more popular.
Rock Solid Sports airs weeknights from 7 to 8 p.m. on 90.3 WUTK and focuses on the campus pulse towards Tennessee sports. Hosted by knowledgeable and entertaining hosts, the show openly discusses the good, the bad and the ugly about Tennessee sports from a strictly student prespective. The program takes advantage of allowing fans to voice their opinion, by answering calls live on the air through out the hour. The show also takes advantage of loyal alumni by having numerous professional athletes on the show.
Rock Solid Sports is co-hosted by sports director James Schagren, a senior in communication studies and journalism and electronic media and associate sports director Brian Belfeski, a senior in journalism and electronic media. Belefski hosts the on Tuesday through Thursday and Schagren host on Monday and Thursday.
Schargren who grew up talking sports with his family says he thought it made sense to talk sports for a career.
"Growing up, my Dad and brothers always talked and debated sports with me, so I thought why not make a career out of it," Schagren said. "I feel bad for my mom at times, but she can hold her own too when it comes to talking sports."
Schagren thinks that the show provides uniqueness that appeals to listeners, because of the show’s guest.
"I think our show is unique, especially for a student radio station," Schagren said. "Just this semester we have had former Vols such as John Henderson, from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Peerless Price, from the Buffalo Bills, Tee Martin, and Todd Helton, from the Colorado Rockies."
Some other guests that have been on the show are Chris Burke from the Houston Astros and Donte’ Stallworth from the Philadelphia Eagles. Listeners have the oppurtunity to listen to former Tennessee players discuss the transition to professional sports with an audience that watched them before they were stars.
Brandon Bergin, freshman in criminal justice, says that the show provides him with a nice opportunity to hear from former Vols.
"I really like hearing about former Vols that are playing professionally," Bergen said. "I hadn’t seen or heard much about Tee Martin but it is nice to hear what he has been up to since his playing days have been over."
Staff for the program gather information from around campus, to inform students of many things that do not make it into the paper. Belefski goes to Tennessee media days on Tuesdays to gather information about the upcoming football games.
In addition to having former guest on the show, Rock Solid Sports has added some new things this semester to appeal to its audience.
"This semester we do our show every Thursday from Coolbeans," Schagren said. "And on home football games we go live for the Rocky Top Pep Rally from Volunteer Landing near Calhouns two hours before every home game."
Rock Solid Sports broadcast from the WUTK station in the basement of Andy Holt Tower. Representing another avenue for students interested in the field of radio to become involved and begin learning how to prepare a show. The show which airs at 7 p.m., usually takes around an hour to prepare, as the hosts comb Tennessee and national websites for sports news relevant to Tennessee students.
"We take pride in being the radio station closest to UT. We have the advantage of being right across the street from Thompson Boiling Arena so we are near all the action," Schagren said.
The show provides fans a forum to voice their opinion, with other current students to provide a student prespective.
"The show lets me hear what other fans are thinking which I like because it allows me to get an idea of rather people are satisfied or dissatisfied with some of the things going on with our teams," Bergin said. "The show gives me information that I can’t really find any where else."