Thirteen years ago this week, when I was still in my 20’s, I drove down Hart Road here in Towson for the first time with a cult following on a sports talk radio show from an AM big band radio station with a bunch of local listeners and a handful of small local business owners (largely bars and restaurants) who promoted their dreams via my dream to build the kind of company and Baltimore sports radio station my Pop would be proud of if he had lived long enough to hear it come to life.
Three months later, on August 1, 1998 we launched WNST-AM 1570 – “The Station With Balls.” The Baltimore Sun wrote a front-page piece that predicted our demise and quoted the general manager of WBAL-AM 1090 as giving us long odds to survive.
So before I ambitiously and enthusiastically begin updating all of you on our cool progress, growth and ambitious next chapter circa 2011 here at WNST, I want to simply say: THANKS!
Thanks for all of the nice gestures over these years as a community. From the crazy events, road trips, charity gatherings and parties to the conversations on the radio, to the kind words and pleasantries people always seem to give me as I move about the city from concerts to sporting events to dinners and walks through the city, it’s always a privilege to get to do this for a living. This is everything I’ve always wanted to do since I was 5-years old in Dundalk and reading the morning sports section. And 27 years into my working career as a Baltimore sports journalist and entrepreneur, I’m glad we’re all still here talking about sports in Baltimore and its civic significance in 2011.
But I’ll admit that sometimes in the era of social media, email contacts and texts blowing up my mobile device, it can get a little overwhelming. We have about 50,000 people in our WNST database and I swear to God I think I’ve met every one of you at some point in my 42 years on the planet – all spent living between Dundalk, White Marsh, Towson and downtown Baltimore.
You don’t know how much love you have in your life until someone files a baseless lawsuit against you, and the community comes to the fore in an authentic way that lets you know people have your back. So thanks for the support and love!
Thanks for all of the kind notes and wacky news tips and beers offered (some accepted and many more rejected) and laughs and memories created that quite frankly would be a lot less memorable without you being there and taking pictures and leading cheers and talking sports because you care as much as I do about Baltimore sports.
But what we all REALLY care about is Baltimore, the place. Our hometown. Our city. Our community. Our local pride and our future as a relevant, great place to live – or “the land of pleasant living.”
What would Whiskey Joe’s have been in Tampa in 2001 without Baltimore sports fans? What would all of those purple-slathered road trips have been like alone? And I’m still living under the belief that at some point we’ll get our baseball team back, the one we grew up loving and we’ll have orange World Series games in downtown Baltimore at some point in my lifetime. I’m now grey and grizzled enough to have lived through baseball strikes, football teams leaving town and coming to town, the loss of minor league hockey teams and NBA franchises. The coming and going of coaches and players and legends and we’ve all watched it together as a community and that’s what’s made it so much fun.
But thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you’ve done to add color, flavor and personal and spiritual growth via being “Nasty” Nestor and now morphing into a 42-year business owner who is trying to take his company to the next level to better serve Baltimore sports fans with the best news and analysis and still deliver Baltimore businesses a tremendous hometown value for their marketing dollars in a crowded, mostly corporate and out-of-town interested, conglomerate world that calls itself “traditional media” but has no local soul beyond a spreadsheet.
We’ve always felt like WNST was built and maintained via our authentic relationship with Baltimore and the citizens here who are just like us: we love this town and we believe in our community