This spring, B.A.S.S. is celebrating 50 glorious years since insurance salesman Ray Scott founded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. I became a lifetime member in 1981, at the age of 20, and have carried the shield proudly ever since. But this week marks another anniversary, one not nearly as impressive, but an anniversary none the less. Bassmaster Radio will air it’s 52nd episode this week, marking one full year in the can!
A little background is in order here. I am a 20-year sports talk veteran, mainly in the Southeast, with an afternoon drive show that at various times has been on terrestrial radio in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. In 2004, my home base became Huntsville, Ala., and a specialty program was launched called “Bass, Buck and Duck Radio,” sponsored by a popular local tackle shop in Athens, Ala. Their website was BassBuckandDuck.com. It’s a great name, but as you can imagine, I was horrified by the possibility of running amuck with the FCC if I got a little fast and loose with the title!
In 2007, I moved to Nashville, and the show became “Southern Bass Radio,” heard throughout the region on seven stations. The focus became tournament fishing, and many of the big guns, past and present, became frequent guests. Around then, Mark Zona also became a listener favorite, and with Zona, he had crossover appeal, often appearing on my regular sports talk show (The Thom Abraham Show).
Last winter, the opportunity presented itself to take the show national on the SB Nation Radio Network. However, to make that happen, we needed a major, big name title sponsor. The idea for “Bassmaster Radio” was born. With the encouragement of Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall, plus Mark Zona and Kevin VanDam, I took the idea to BASS CEO Bruce Akin and VP Dave Precht.
Over a casual lunch in the Largemouth Room at B.A.S.S. headquarters, they bought into the passion I had for the outdoors, and bass fishing in general, and Bassmaster in particular, and off we went!
This first year has featured Jerry McKinnis (twice), new owner Chase Anderson, Toyota Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk, and every Elite Series winner of the season. Plus several Open, and College events winners, and even a few High School All-Americans! We’ve done “how to” segments with countless pros and guides, and featured every member of the Bassmaster LIVE team, plus many of the top writers in the business.
Bassmaster Radio closed the loop on all the media platforms for B.A.S.S. We had the magazine first, and then TV, and B.A.S.S. Times, and then the best website site in the industry. Podcasts were inevitable, but how about good old-fashioned RADIO, hosted by a sports guy who is a tournament fisherman and a lifetime B.A.S.S. member.I am blessed to be that guy.
I’m looking forward to being on site at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods this year at Lake Hartwell, and doing what I can to help tell the story of the greatest event in our sport. So if you see a guy rolling around in a Bassmaster Radio tournament jersey, say hello, and till then, keep those nets heavy and lines tight, and we’ll see you on the RADIO!
Also, each week you can listen to the show embedded at bassmaster.com/radio.