By John Jastremski
Since I was a little kid, I was hoping for the chance to host my own sports radio show. I grew up with WFAN as a part of my sports soundtrack, and it was my dream to work at the station I listened to. I attended Syracuse University and studied in the Newhouse School of Broadcast Communications in order to put myself in a position to achieve that dream. After graduation, I was hoping for that big break in the business. So I guess it’s fair to say that the “Fantasy Phenom” contest changed my life.
The contest gave me the chance to showcase that I was capable of hosting at the No. 1 sports station in the country, and it put me in a position to show management, listeners and fans that I was deserving of that opportunity.
I’ll never forget being down at Bar A in the summer of 2011 for the finals of the competition on Mike Francesa’s show. It was simulcast on YES, heard on WFAN and held in front of about a thousand people, and I really didn’t grasp the magnitude of the stage until I finished up with Mike.
I remember interviewing Yankees reliever David Robertson, performing a three-minute monologue on the state of the Yankees’ playoff rotation and the ineptitude of former Yankee A.J. Burnett, and it was easily one of the coolest moments of my career.
Interviewing a Yankee, shooting the breeze with Mike Francesa on live radio — it seemed too good to be true! Except that it was.
After a long weekend of awaiting the results, receiving the phone call that I had won the competition was easily one of the happiest moments of my life. I was going to get the chance to live my dream.
As grateful as I was for the opportunity to do a two-hour show once a week, it was my mission to prove that I was more than just a “contest winner.” I wanted to prove that I was a legitimate sports radio host who was just waiting for his opportunity and was going to make the most of it.
Thankfully, almost six years later, I’ve been able to host countless shows on both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio and have established myself in the business.
For that, I’m beyond thankful for the “Fantasy Phenom” competition.
Follow John on Twitter at @john_jastremski.