By Joe Giglio
“Fantasy Phenom” changed my life.
Five years ago, I was looking for work in the world of sports but unsure which direction to go.
My college degree was in sports management, giving me the option to work for a team or arena. Without a law school degree, any hopes of landing in an NFL or MLB front office were remote. Sports talk was always my passion, but I had little experience as a solo host, no formal training and little reason to believe a station would take a chance on my drive and knowledge without credentials.
Then I heard the commercial for “Fantasy Phenom.”
I’d followed the contest for years. In fact, I showed up at a show Mike Francesa did at Bar A in 2008 —weeks after the departure of Chris Russo from the station. In what was billed (at least as I remember it) as a tryout of sorts to be his co-host, I arrived with the hope of, I don’t know, a chance. Four years later, that arrived.
After initial two-minute monologues in the first legs of the competition, I got the call: “You made it to the top five and would be appearing on stage with Mike Francesa at Bar A for the chance to win the competition.”
When the initial shock and excitement wore off, I tried to calm myself and do what I’ve always done since I can remember: talk sports.
Thanks to the support from the home crowd at Bar A (I grew up in Howell, New Jersey, a 15-minute ride from the site of the show), Mike’s support (he switched chairs with me seconds before I was to go on air for a monologue because the setting sun was in my face), voters and the support of WFAN, I won.
The end of that journey was the start of my career. My initial year at WFAN was a learning experience and opened the door to opportunities in writing and podcasting. Eventually, a gig at WFAN’s sister station in Philadelphia, WIP, arrived. I now have the chance to do what I love for WFAN, WIP and NJ Advance Media — all thanks to “Fantasy Phenom.”
Follow Joe on Twitter at @JoeGiglioSports