By Matt Jones on ©March 14th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Sources tell KSR that Vince Marrow and the University of Kentucky have agreed in principle to a three-year contract extension that will keep Marrow at UK as the Recruiting Coordinator through 2020. The deal will increase Marrow’s salary to close to $500,000 a year, making him towards the top of salaries nationwide for the position. The deal is expected to be signed and made official by the end of the week.
Great news for UK Football as a key ingredient of the success of Mark Stoops and the program is locked in for a few more years.
By Nick Roush on ©February 27th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
This weekend Matt Jones spoke at Southland Christian Church’s annual men’s conference. Matt touched on a variety of topics in the 30-minute discussion. He shared how his parents influenced his life, not being afraid to fail, how his faith helps him in this profession and much more.
Matt and Drew discussed a variety of topics on today’s Hey Kentucky, but the most contentious topic was about the University of Louisville. Surprisingly, hookers weren’t involved (but a lot of money was). A student who won almost $40,000 in prize money for hitting a halftime half-court shot left empty-handed on a technicality. Fair or nah?
Watch the entire episode with Matt and Drew after the jump.
By Nick Roush on ©February 23rd, 2017 @ 8:30pm
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear took a break from his day job to co-host Hey Kentucky! with Matt Jones. Beshear discussed his first year in office, his contentious relationship with Governor Matt Bevin, and if he’s considered running against Bevin in 2019.
See the Kentucky Attorney General talk about a variety of topics by watching the entire episode after the jump.
To figure out who is fit to fill the hole in Matt’s heart, he got a little help from Maria Montgomery. The girls go through boot camp, things get a little physical and Ryan still doesn’t know what Amanda’s up to in the third installment of Hey Kentucky, the Bachelor.
Watch the entire episode with Lee Cruse after the jump.
By Matt Jones on ©February 20th, 2017 @ 3:38pm
There was no doubt in my mind when I woke up this morning that Colin Cowherd was going to be a major topic of discussion across Big Blue Nation. After his idiotic comments from Friday (where he basically said all UK players in the NBA were either disappointing or “underwhelming”), the batch of young UK pros had a spectacular weekend at the NBA All Star game. Jamal Murray was named MVP of the “Rising Stars” game, Anthony Davis MVP of the big game and Demarcus Cousins was traded to New Orleans to create a Brow Boogie show the basketball world can’t wait to see. In three days, all the insane ramblings of Cowherd had been proven silly and dismissed by performance, as all reasonable arguments should be. A rational sportscaster interested in fairness and normalcy would have come on the radio and admitted he had just taken a “L” and then tried to laugh it off for the future. We all make mistakes, just as I did when I insisted last season Villanova couldn’t win a title. Reasonable people know sports is ultimately irrelevant in the world and thus when we are wrong, we move forward to the next topic. It is what makes sports conversation great.
Colin Cowherd of course chose the opposite approach. When faced with facts (and criticism) showcasing his points were inane, Cowherd doubled down and went even deeper, criticizing the UK program, its history, players and fans. He turned his entire show into an anti-UK rant and got some in the BBN into a frenzy with his nonsense. The reason is of course obvious. It doesn’t matter whether Cowherd genuinely believes his drivel or not (my guess is he doesn’t). He knew it would get attention and having found a morsel of relevance in a post-ESPN landscape where often his words go harmlessly into the ether, he had to pounce. Cowherd is now a story in the largest college basketball fan base and more people sent me links/reactions to his comments in 1 hour than have collectively in total over the past year-plus since he has moved to FS1. In a modern sports media world filled with non-stop, ubiquitous content, Cowherd had found a way to break through…even on a very small, regional level. He had to pounce and more flaming takes were inevitable.
It is always a struggle here at KSR when national commenters troll the Big Blue Nation. On the one hand, the simplest solution would just be to ignore their comments. Over the years I have leaned towards this policy and it is why the names Jeff Goodman and Pat Forde are read less and less on this site. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, did it fall? Since Goodman has moved to the “Insider” section of ESPN and Forde when to the nether regions of Yahoo Sports, their most relevance in the world of UK Basketball is when we bring them up. If we don’t feed the trolls, they can remain in anonymity talking A-10 Hoops or covering random swimming meets. It is objectively the best solution.
However sometimes you can’t help it. Sometimes comments are so ridiculous and platforms so large (such as the 2nd largest national sports network and one of the loudest radio personalities) that “not feeding the trolls” simply doesn’t work. Plus, there is the reality that KSR isn’t above the marketplace as well. Crushing terrible takes and spotlighting the worst opinions of those on the other side is terrific for the bottom-line of every media organization. There is a reason that Fox News finds the dumbest liberals to put on TV so that O’Reilly and Tucker Carlson can crush them…their (conservative) audience LOVES to see them bite the dust. It is the same reason liberals love watching Jon Stewart (or John Oliver) make mince meat out of the most simplistic versions of conservative principles…it is fun seeing those you disagree with take losses. So by highlighting the dumbest anti-UK takes, like the one Cowherd articulates, KSR gets traffic, my radio show gets buzz and we have a collective enemy for us all to hate. In reality, everyone wins.
Scratch that…everyone wins, except those of us that like sanity and rationality. What bothers me about Colin Cowherd is that he represents the worst of what sports (and political) media is becoming. Because there are so many outlets, voices and methods for people to get their information and opinion, the main way to stand out is to say something outrageous. It works in politics (see that dude Milo), it works in Entertainment (see Kanye), it works in sports (see Skip Bayless’s entire “Lebron is Overrated” schtick). Sometimes the outrageousness is based on sheer stupidity. That doesn’t bother me as much. I genuinely don’t get upset when people that I think honestly believe their idiotic statements give them on television (think most celebrities who talk politics, Kyrie Irving on the Earth being flat or the cast of “Fox and Friends” on basically anything). As Forrest says, “stupid is as stupid does” and it isn’t the individuals fault their opinions are dumb…it is our fault for caring what they say. But what really bothers me is when otherwise intelligent people KNOW that what they are saying is ridiculous, but do it just to get attention and make noise. Being ill-informed is unfortunate, if understandable, but being fraudulent is indefensible.
This seems to be the current modus operandi of the hiring right now at FS1. I went to FS1 last year for a tryout and I find the people that work there to be really creative and interesting. They have been innovative with some of their programming choices and I think in the long run, they will find more success. But in the short term, it is clear that their hiring practice is to get relatively smart people (or in the case of Clay Travis, very smart) and have them say things they may not even believe to (a) make waves and (b) cater to the uniformed click bait masses. That is what is so disappointing. Colin Cowherd is not stupid…he knows his points are ridiculous as showcased by how he Yuks it up when Calipari and others confront him. He is very talented on the radio and while he isn’t always my cup of tea, like talents as wide ranging as Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, I can appreciate his talent. When he gets on a subject that he treats with respect and humor, I find him to be one of the best radio hosts in all of sports. But then there is the trolling side.
Faced with the realities of the current marketplace, Cowherd has to troll to rise up the public eye. He says these comments like his UK rant because no longer on ESPN, he has to make noise. He doesn’t have the advantage of being the first “great” show doing opinion in a given field (think Bill O’Reilly on politics or PTI on sports…both shows that paved the way for an entire flock of less talented copycats), so to make noise he has to be outrageous. He knows his opinions about UK are insane (no one who has risen as far as he is can really believe John Wall is permanently immature and a bad human being because he danced during Pregame warmups six years ago), but he has to say them so someone, anyone will pay attention. When you don’t have the top dog platform (ESPN), you aren’t the originator that built the first loyal following (PTI) and you can’t do anything insanely unique (it is sports talk radio after all), you have to create fake outrage. Cowherd does it, we respond, rinse and repeat.
I wish I could say that the next time Cowherd or someone likes him makes an outrageous anti-BBN statement, we will ignore it. But the reality is I can’t. We all live in this new media world and if you don’t adapt, you die. I remember when KSR started, the mainstream media used to roll their eyes and make fun of us for photoshopped pictures, Live Blogs, “Fans of the Day”, being on social media, mocking media members, embedding goofy videos and everything in between. Now they all do it. Why? Because it works. The same thing is true with Cowherd’s trolling. He does it because it works…the unfortunate thing is he could do better. Alas poor Yorick, he won’t.
By Nick Roush on ©February 16th, 2017 @ 8:30pm
If you thought Hey Kentucky, The Bachelor was funny, wait till you see the outtakes.
Check out the entire episode with Chip Cosby after the jump.
It’s rare I get a night off without anything work-related to do and tonight is one of those great evenings. So of course, I felt the need to write a quick blog post and take my restless energy away from more leisurely pursuits (Raw, The Bachelor and my book “Confidence Men” weren’t holding my attention). Since our decision last summer to take our radio show to the GOP and Democratic National Convention, I have gotten more comments about the decision I have made to not “Stick to Sports” on KSR and Hey Kentucky. The question I usually get is some form of, “Matt, why would you want to alienate half our audience and talk about politics/current events when you could just talk about UK Sports?” It is a fair question and one that I think is worthy of an explanation. UK Athletics is a commonality that bonds the vast majority of this state (at least the sane non-UL citizens) and there are some who wonder why I would want to deviate from that topic to talk about anything else, especially something that is seen as so divisive as politics. This blog seems like as good a forum as any to explain my thinking and whether you agree or disagree, at least give my viewpoint:
1. KSR has Never really Stuck to Sports
A common theme around the question of whether I should stick to sports it the belief that somehow we are acting differently than we have in the past. This just isn’t the case. From Day One of KSR, other topics besides sports have been a major part of the site. From the earliest days of the blog, we have written about topics ranging from The Bachelor to Kentucky county reviews to ranking the women of Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show (still Turkey Hunter’s best work). I started KSR not to become what it has become…the central place for UK fans to get news about the Cats. I started KSR as a place to create a sports community based upon one commonality (UK Sports) that becomes the starting point for broader entertainment. I used to write a nightly post that was nothing but my thoughts on life, about half of which were about UK and the other half about whatever else was on my mind. I was never interested in creating solely a “UK News” site. I wanted a UK Fan community site…and the blog and the radio show after were created to reflect that.
2. UK Athletics is still BY FAR the biggest thing we do on all KSR Forums
Sometimes I will see critics (usually on message boards) claim that “KSR doesn’t even talk sports any more.” That is insanity. The VAST majority of every show is still about UK, the games, the players, the coaches, etc. Except during the summer (when there is little to say about anything sports related), virtually every show begins with UK talk and certain of our programs (like the Post Game Show) are almost exclusively sports-centric. What often happens is that when other topics come on the radio (like politics, or fast food brackets or cantaloupes), people magnify their importance by exaggerating the amount of time we spend on them. With the exception of our shows hosting Debates, I can’t think of a show ever where more than one segment was ever spent on politics or current affairs. The reality is that I know those topics have limited shelf lives and thus we spend small amounts of time on them…just like the Grammys, wrestling, country music, tennis, Ryan’s wife fights, etc, they are things we touch on and then move on. The show moves quick, but the only thing that is continually brought up over and over….UK Athletics.
3. People Like When we don’t Stick to Sports
Which brings me to the main point…whether people realize it or not, I don’t stick to sports because the audience doesn’t like when I do. I am a numbers guy…I study all the metrics of radio, tv, blogs, viewership, listenership, readership, etc with intense detail. When it comes to marketing and studying audience behavior, I am the dorkiest of dorks. I know our audience…and here is the reality. The more we deviate from sports, the more our audience grows. That is the secret to KSR…people ask me all the time, “why is KSR so popular?” Well in part it is because of how huge the BBN is…but there have been a ton of UK radio shows over the years and there are many others now…why has KSR hit the mark? Because we don’t stick to sports. KSR is about our lives…period. IT isn’t just about UK Athletics…any idiot can talk about that and most can do it with more knowledge than I, Ryan or Shannon have. But KSR is about living the fan experience on the radio and opening up our lives to share them with you. If you listen to the show, you know me…maybe not as if we were really friends but what you hear on the air is pretty close to how I really am. The same is true of Ryan, Shannon, Drew, etc. We are authentic and as such, we talk about whatever is important to us…often it is UK sports. But it isn’t always. And the reality is that as we have increased our talk about non-UK topics, our ratings have increased.
In 2016, our highest rated radio shows in terms of ratings and online listeners showcased this variety. Our 5 highest weeks were those of the Katina Powell interview, the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, the two political conventions we attended and the week of the election. Why were those the highest weeks? In my opinion, because they were the weeks where we were a part of some of the biggest stories in the state and country, either because we attended them, did the interviews or expressed our thoughts. It is that simple. All of you know that if you want sheer expertise on UK Sports, we aren’t the people for you. We are entertainers with a few inside connections and we find a way to present all the relevant UK news in “the most ridiculous manner possible.” But the reality is that to make the show as popular as it currently is, we have to extend it beyond the hardcore UK sports fan world…we have to get the casual fan, the college students, the grandmas, the folks who like to laugh. Leave the hardcore talk for everyone else…we are trying to reach a mass audience…and to do that, you have to get beyond the relative tedium of constant sports chatter.
Bottom line…individuals often dislike a particular topic we might discuss. But it is because we talk about all those topics that there are so many diverse individuals that listen. Nobody is going to like every topic…but we hope everyone can like some topic.
4. The Show is a Reflection of Me and I think variety is interesting and important
All of that brings me to my last point. I think KSR is an amazingly unique situation found almost nowhere else in the country. In the middle of a state with no top 50 metro areas and no professional sports team, a radio show gets record-setting ratings and is nationally relevant while sticking to no obvious sports formula. A show hosted by a (moderate) progressive is listened to by a (majority) conservative audience and both sides (for the most part) respect their differences. Breaking every supposed Radio demographic assumption, a “Sports” show can not only win the 25-54 male demo, but every relevant demo, including females, Seniors and kids. That simply doesn’t happen…but it happens on KSR. On the same television show in one 30 minute segment, the hosts can debate whether White Nationalists holding a rally at a state park, interview John Calipari’s wife and do a parody of “The Bachelor.” There is literally nowhere else in the country where those can all happen in the same place. The same radio show can in one week, debate a UK football win, host a Governor’s Debate, have the Sklar Brothers co-host, fight with Dan Dakich, have a Chester/Darryl debate, interview the UK Athletic Director and host a Fast Food Bracket. I know of no other show that does that, but we do.
At the end of the day, most people who complain about me not “sticking to sports” do so because they are very Conservative, care deeply about politics and don’t want to hear from a “stinkin’ liberal” they disagree with. I understand that. And I acknowledge that expressing my opinions on some issues (especially in the Trump era) may cause some of those folks to not want to listen. I wish that weren’t the case, but I know that it happens. However I believe that the vast majority of people want authenticity and to hear what people really think, even when they disagree. For many of those people, I can be their “one liberal friend”, a description I have been called many times on the road and one I am always appreciative of. I am who I am…a dork from Middlesboro who found his way to a lottery ticket of a life by being in the right place at the right time and getting to live his dream. From day one I have been determined to be my total authentic self on the air and not be fake no matter what. I don’t think my opinions are better than anyone else’s and I certainly don’t feel it is my job to “educate” my listeners on my opinions (liberal sportswriters who use this excuse do make me gag since many are significantly less informed than they believe). Instead, I just share them because like my opinions on topics as far ranging as Sturgill Simpson to tennis, my political views are just sometimes on my mind. But so are lots of other things as well. If you have listened to the show from the beginning, you have heard me really suck initially, laugh consistently, get impatient with callers, cry at listeners’ stories, complain about my bosses, make stupid jokes, be a mediocre Fish and Wildlife Spokesman, fight with Ryan, break up with a girlfriend, eulogize my Grandmother, consider running for Congress, apologize for dumb comments, challenge power, be a mama’s boy, get fired, make plans I never follow through with, celebrate wins, call for coaches’ jobs, create awkwardness, tease John Short and anything and everything in between. The show is me, warts and all…and that includes not “sticking to sports.”
With that, I have some wrestling to watch (April 11 Smackdown comes to Yum Center…see you there!)
After the introductions in episode one, things got much more aggressive in the second edition of Hey Kentucky, The Bachelor. A rivalry emerged following a fight between Crystal and Nicole as they battled for Matt’s affections. See if they received a gold-dipped rose from The Castle in the first elimination round of Hey Kentucky, The Bachelor.
If you haven’t seen this seven-minute segment yet, stop what you are doing and watch it immediately.
A short-list of the funniest moments:
- Matt’s Age: 32 (on Facebook)
- Marilyn’s SnapChat Game
- Ted Cruz
- The Nose Whistle
- Amanda Lemond?