E.S.P.N. loves South Florida
By Don Valentine
The “Mother-Ship”, also known as E.S.P.N., promoted two South Florida favorites. They gave second generation Cuban resident Dan Le Betard the highly desired 10a.m. – 1p.m. radio slot. Then they gave his rising protégé, Bomani Jones, the afternoon drive shift of 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on their national radio show. In radio parlance, the afternoon drive shift is the second best spot to retain next to the morning drive shift.
This speaks volumes about how Bomani’s talent is rising nationally. It is an even more significant statement about E.S.P.N’s racial diversity versus the other national sport radio outlets; the other outlets have a paucity of talent that is not white male. By contrast, E.S.P.N. has Black females, Hispanics, white females and Asians on their broadcast roster.
In a recent interview with the Westside Gazette, Bomani said, “On the T.V. broadcast we have good representation on camera with C.B.S. James Brown, Pam Oliver, N.B.C. Sunday night football has Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Hines Ward etc. The real danger zone is the lack of color behind the camera.”
Bomani has a unique style on his radio show. He integrates the urban barber shop banter with a spectacular intellectual wit. Oddly he has two economic degrees and found his calling in sports radio. Bomani was doing freelancing writing while in graduate school. The esteemed writer Ralph Wiley came across his work and the two formed a mentoring relationship. This led to a small partnership on an E.S.P.N. project with Dan LeBetard that evolved into the career spot he has in afternoon drive nationally on E.S.P.N.
I asked him why there are not more Black radio talk show host and Bomani said, “It’s hard to convince the program directors that they can sell ads on a show driven by a Black host and the bottom line, even if you can get the P.D. to be open to a Black host driving the show, they don’t is selling sponsorship.” That demonstrates the broad thinking of E.S.P.N. They are having little trouble selling ads.