Behind The Scenes

Another family reunion sounds good: Go inside Audio Avenue’s sequel

Putting opinionated and passionate sports radio hosts from Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Raleigh and Syracuse together for an entire day might seem like a risky proposition.

But that’s exactly what ESPN Radio’s day-long “Audio Avenue” initiative set out to do — and it worked.

ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus played host to 16 stations from across the country and the Dominican Republic during the second annual edition of the event. ESPN Radio’s national shows also participated.

“It was a fun day at the office — it felt like the energy you had when you went on a field trip at school,” said ESPN New York 98.7 FM co-host Ryan Ruocco, who did his 1-3 p.m. Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show outside on the campus’ “quad” on Wednesday.

He added: “It was a good way to build a feeling of community. We have a lot of ESPN analysts and guests on the phone, but it was great to hang with them, and actually get the chance to sit across from them for a change.”

Judd Zulgad, from 1500 ESPN Twin Cities’ Judd and Phunn Show in Minneapolis, agreed: “I anticipated that being on the ESPN campus would be a neat experience. But actually seeing the campus and broadcasting from the grounds with so many figures from the sports world present exceeded all of those expectations, and led to some great on-air conversations that helped make for a good show.”

Even a former Chicago Bear was welcomed in Patriots and Giants country.

“You often don’t realize how good you have it until you experience something like we experienced Wednesday,” said Tom Waddle, of ESPN Chicago 1000’s Waddle & Silvy Show. “The way we were treated, the way things were run only solidified my belief that I’m at the right place with the right people.”

In fact, the event was so successful, it sounds like some of the hosts are prepared to visit Bristol more often.

“We look forward to doing it three or four times a month, I’m pretty sure it’s in the budget,” joked Jeff “Skin” Wade of ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Ben and Skin Show.

Well, maybe not, but it shouldn’t be too long before the ESPN stations are back in Bristol for another visit.


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