Wednesday, March 24, 2010

These junkies are an addiction worth having (Part 2)

While attending the Arnold's Classic in 2008, George ran into his new friend Chuck Zito, who suggested that he had some friends at Sirius Radio who may be interested in the show the guys were producing. Thus, an eventual meeting was set up in New York, however after the meeting with Sirius; George was once again met with disappointment, as there was no interest on their part. Sirius felt the show needed a bit more polishing, which George totally understood.

Just about ready to give up on the show, a stroke of misfortune proved to be heaven sent. George missed his flight home; thus he was forced to stay in New York one more day. While there he had an epiphany and he decided he would give it one last shot, so he called Dann Stupp who was the editor and founder of a website he had started called MMAJunkie. Originally the site was just a blog called UFCJunkie, but just like the sport it was covering it slowly began to grow into a full-fledged MMA news site.

After the phone call, instead of flying back to the West Coast, George was on a flight bound for Cincinnati. George and Goze already had a relationship with MMAJunkie as they had been paying to post a banner on the site promoting their radio show. By the same token, Junkie was doing daily recaps of TAGG Radio shows on their site and noticed those were the columns that seemed to be drawing the most attention.
After the impromptu business meeting, where George was just hoping to be able to pick Dann's brain on what else he could possibly do to elevate the show, the two up and comers decided to merge and TAGG Radio was absorbed; it would now be known as Junkie Radio.

With the new deal in place, George decided it was now time for him to make the move to Vegas where Trigg and Goze already were. Also there was a woman behind the scenes, literally, as Goze's girlfriend Jenny had been an integral part of the show assisting in all facets of production, handling the phone calls and helping to take the show to the proverbial next level by adding a new wrinkle. Someone suggested the idea of a video stream and Jenny ran with it, learning how to do it and eventually working the camera. This new feature improved the show dramatically because it brought to life these characters we were listening to on a daily basis.

While in Vegas they continued to broadcast the show from their home, until one day an introduction to Rick Rosen gave them the contact they needed to reach out to Mandalay Bay. You see, word had gotten back to them about a seldom used studio that the hotel had inside the Race and Sportsbook and the brothers thought this could be the next step up in their evolution. They pitched the idea of using the studio to broadcast their show and the pitch was a strike; the radio show that started in a home in Southern California now had a new name and a new home.

Soon after the move to Mandalay Bay a new addition was added into the mix. John Morgan, a staff reporter and writer for MMAJunkie, decided to move to Las Vegas from Dallas to become Junkie's West Coast lead reporter. As part of the Junkie family, he was welcomed onto the show and the move was an instant success. The chemistry between the four was perfect; you had a lead host, a pro-fighter for analysis, an MMA insider and an ace producer. However, just as things were taking off, so was Trigg?

Offered an opportunity to continue his fighting career in the UFC, he left the show to dedicate himself 100% to what he needed to do; plus, the show would be considered a conflict of interest under the terms of his contract. Nonetheless, the fearsome threesome forged ahead and so did the show. Its unique style has made it the most popular MMA talk show on-line. The junkies have found a way to bridge a professional insightful show covering the sport of Mixed Martial Arts with a down to earth connection it has with its listeners.

One of the ways they have done this is by making the listeners a crucial part of the show. A long list of regular callers have become a cast of characters that are now anticipated as much by the listening audience as they are the hosts. Other distinct features such as Stun-Gun Monday's, Off-Topic Tuesdays and Goze's infamous 'Five Questions', that he asks all the fighters interviewed, are just part of what makes this show so popular. Those five questions by the way, are a descendant of something Trigg originally introduced when he was a co-host on 'Soundoff' with Ryan Bennett. Goze's unbridled sense of humor though has cultivated them into an art form that has reached legendary status.

Almost three years and over 700 shows later, Junkie radio has become to me and so many others worldwide what 'Soundoff' once was, a part of our everyday lives. So much so, that last year, through their encouragement, George and Goze helped me live out a dream that was unfulfilled. Back in the day, I had hoped to someday attend a UFC event in Las Vegas and finally meet Ryan Bennett and Trigg face to face during one of the remote broadcasts they would do in Vegas while covering the UFC.

Alas, once Ryan passed away, I assumed my dream died with him. However, last year Goze invited me to come to Vegas for UFC 100, even offering to let me stay at his home for part of the trip and sharing a hotel room with me the rest of the time to help me defray the cost. These two guys, just a couple of voices behind microphones, had picked up where Ryan Bennett left off; They became friends and if that's what being a junkie is all about, then this is an addiction well worth having.

George and Goze would like to acknowledge all their co-hosts over the years, guests hosts included, especially Frank Trigg, John Morgan and Marc Laimon. They also would like to thank 'Jenny from the block', Dann Stupp and the entire staff of MMAJunkie.com (Recently voted the #1 MMA News Site @ The World MMA Awards)

I personally want to thank Gorgeous George and Goze for this interview and more importantly, for their continued friendship.

2 comments:

  1. Very inspiring! I love to hear stories like this.
    GG, Goze and the rest of the Junkie crew deserve all their success. Superb job, Sam!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this piece! You captured the spirit behind the show perfectly. And you even gave kudos to Jenny! You nailed it.

    ReplyDelete

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