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Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk semifinals airs at 4 p.m. today

Posted on 15 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

We’re down to the final seven contestants in the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk competition after Wednesday night’s live semifinals at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk. Today on Limited Access, we’ll play the five-minute auditions from the 11 semifinalists on AM 1570 beginning just after 4 p.m. and we’ll have all of the videos up in the wnsTV vault by day’s end as well.

We have a great show today with our WNST.net horse racing analyst Gary Quill sitting in from 2 til 4 and we’ll have visits from Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee as well as our very own Stacey Keibler, who is the head honcho celebrity at this year’s Preakness.

Now, if we could get the fog to clear…

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The Seven Finalists

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Seven contestants move on in Coors Light King Of Baltimore Sportstalk contest

Posted on 14 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

After an evening of fun interviews, cold beer and bad hockey and baseball in Dundalk last night at Donna’s Tavern, the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk has produced seven finalists for the two-month blogging and sports radio competition.

The seven contestants moving forward are: Todd Salkowski, Jerry Reinhardt, Luke Jones, Christopher Stoner, Tom Clayton, Lawson Lambert and Marco Romanell.

The Seven Finalists

Each of last night’s contestants were given a special “Baltimore Sports Quiz,” which was produced by a WNST interior panel of hosts. We’ll post the actual questions from the quiz on a later blog but the questions were universally deemed “hard” by most of the contestants.

Of course, my answer to that was simple: “The JOB is hard!”

And it is…

Special thanks to our local “mystery” celebrities last night: legendary sportswriter Phil Jackman and former MLB rock star Bill Ripken came to Donna’s Tavern last night and participated and laughed with many WNST listeners and friends and families of the contestants.

The format was simple: we drew random names of hosts and then a random interview from a rotation of Jackman, Ripken, Drew Forrester, Bob Haynie and myself. The questions and interview segments were part comedy, part history and part current and relevant sports issues. All of the contestants were asked to step up their game in a live setting.

I suppose this competition has been enlightening and fun in many ways but it’s always disappointing to have to eliminate nice people from the competition and some were quite disappointed.

We will be getting the videos into wnsTV later in the day and we’ll also be featuring their segments on AM 1570 as well as in our audio vault.

The Championship of the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk competition will also feature some “surprises” and will be held on Wednesday, May 27th at Padonia Station in Timonium.

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Share the Game 7 madness with us tonight in Dundalk!

Posted on 13 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Tonight in Washington D.C., a place where five years ago hockey was a rumor or perhaps a myth, the Capitals will host the Penguins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ second round. I don’t need to tell you that it will be one of the best sporting events of this (or any) year. I can all but guarantee it.

Honestly, tell me another sport — other than an NFL playoff game, but even those are influenced by injuries, weather, weird bounces, blowouts, etc. — where you know you’ll be getting what you’re paying for tonight.

It’s 3-3. The teams clearly don’t like each other. The penalties have been lopsided in the Penguins direction. The “one name” stars are all out — my man Jim Williams of The Examiner wrote about the incredible worldwide audience for this game — Ovechkin and Federov, Sidney and Malkin.

Who’ll win? The pesky Capitals who have been outplayed dramatically but have been incredibly resiliant and realiably cardiac over the past three weeks certainly have a shot. They are the NHL team with nine lives at this point.

A home crowd of 20,000 red maniacs, taunting Sidney Crosby and Segei Gonchar not to mention Marc-Andre Fleury all night.

For all of the initiated, don’t worry about all of the strange pronunciations and rules and icing and penalties. Don’t focus on “I can’t see the puck” anymore.

Just watch the action. And the passion. And the flow of the game. And the intensity of the crowd.

Unfortunately “scheduling” has cost me an opportunity to be at the Verizon Center tonight acting like a fool. But instead, you can watch me flip out in a red Skipjacks jersey tonight and participate in the idiocy and intensity of Game 7.

We’ll be at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk for the Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk competition at 7 p.m. We have 12 contestants (Jay Trucker has unfortunately had to withdraw) each doing a few minutes of live, mystery radio.

Our competition will end well before 9 p.m., which means a post-competition party with 3rd period, Game 7 nuttiness as a dessert for the evening. We might even have a few Coors Lights.

And, as important as the competition is, we DO have a game to watch tonight. Drop by Donna’s and support some of the amateurs and Rock The Red with us!

Orioles go for the sweep. Caps go for a Game 7 win. And WNST has some fun with some real Baltimore sports fans in Dundalk with celebrities, cheap beer, great food and all on a Wednesday night, no less!

Game 7 is the best, isn’t it?

Today is gonna be a great day!

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Game 7 is a go: Caps beat Penguins 5-4 in OT

Posted on 11 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Washington Capitals season will march on after a 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh that was one of the more exciting events of the year. David Steckel’s tip-in off a shot from Brooks Laich went past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury at 6:22 of overtime and the Caps have forged a Game 7 on Wednesday at Verizon Center.

We watched the action at Silver Spring Mining Company with another packed house of Rock The Red nuts. It’s as much fun as I’ve had in years, especially sharing hockey with a community of like-minded fans. It’s like a little mini-Ravens fan celebration.

The game was sensational throughout with the Caps holding leads throughout the third period only to allow the Penguins to force overtime on a goal from Sidney Crosby with 4:14 remaining in regulation. It could’ve been devastating and the Caps even put the Penguins on a power play on a slashing call on Brooks Laich with 2:02 remaining in the third period.

The Caps tightened up. They got the game into overtime and found a way to win. Even Alexander Semin came back to life tonight, scoring a goal in the second period.

I’ve said it many, many time. Game Seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs is the best, most-consistently excited sporting event there is in the world.

We’ll be at the Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk semifinals during the game on Wednesday night with the 13 contestants and some local celebrities at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk. A great time is guaranteed on Wednesday.

Game 7 — there’s nothing like it!

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All 13 King of Baltimore hopefuls invited to Donna’s in Dundalk on Wednesday

Posted on 10 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

If you watch “American Idol,” then you know the phrase, “You’re going to Hollywood!” If you’ve heard our “Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk” you now know the phrase: “You’re going to Dundalk!”

We decided to not eliminate any of the 13 candidates and have all of them come out to Dundalk do a “live” segment in a crowded tavern with celebrity judges and a whole group of WNST staffers. So, on Wednesday, everyone is invited to come out and meet, greet and cheer for your favorites in our competition.

The party starts at 7 p.m. and each of the 13 will have a “mystery” assignment. As you can imagine, we have some surprises up our sleeve. Plus, Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk has a great stage, excellent food and friendly folks.

Here is the note I sent out to the hopefuls on Saturday:

Hello future King (or Queen):

After deliberating through the week and reading and listening and watching your work, we’ve decided that cutting people from the “Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition at this point would be counterproductive to the process in a few ways:

1.    I sense all of you are committed and serious about wanting to win and continue
2.    I sense all of you dread “getting cut”
3.    I’d really like to see and hear all of you do sports talk – especially in front of a live crowd – one more time
4.    I think it’ll be more fun and more interesting and entertaining with more participants on Wednesday night
5.    I think it’ll be fun to have a “mix and mingle” night in general with all of these interesting, different Baltimore sports fans in one place at one time

So, if you’re still interested — and I hope you are — I look forward to seeing all 13 of you Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Donna’s Tavern on Pine Avenue in Dundalk for a night of mystery and laughs and Coors Light and food.

We will have each of you doing a five-minute “live bar show” that we’ll audio and video for future use at WNST.net. You will not be given any clues or information ahead of time. All of you will be given your “assignment” around 7 p.m. at Donna’s. Please try to arrive around 6:30.

It’ll be like American Idol, only in Dundalk instead of Hollywood.

Come as you are (it’s casual), bring some friends and/or family if you wish, and we’ll bring some celebrity judges and surprises and maybe even a few WNST listeners.

You’ll be doing no more than five minutes of “work” on Wednesday night. So don’t sweat it too much. Or think about it too much. If you’re truly a Baltimore sports “expert” – and that is our expectation — this should be a relatively easy assignment.

At the end of the evening, we will announce the finalists for the championship live show at Padonia Station on Wednesday, May 27th.

In the meantime, let’s have some fun this Wednesday at Donna’s.
6607 Pine Ave
Baltimore, MD 21222
(410) 633-6677

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Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk competition continues today…

Posted on 04 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The second round of the WNST.net “Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition will commence at 2 p.m. today on “Limited Access.” Neal Bortmes, Geoff Peckham, Christopher Stoner and Jerry Reinhardt will be doing lengthy segments today of “real” sports radio.

They’ll have 15 minutes to do radio, discuss today’s topics, take calls, engage WNST listeners and, hopefully, have some fun and move to the Semfinals at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk next Wednesday night.

So, for our semifinalists, we’ll tell them: “YOU’RE GOING TO DUNDALK!”

We will have celebs and fun at the two live events. Make plans to join us at Donna’s and/or at the Finals on Wednesday, May 27th at Padonia Station in Timonium.

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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! King of Baltimore Sportstalk continues…

Posted on 21 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Hopefully, by now you’ve seen some of the video or heard some of the interviews and auditions or read some of the great blogs we’ve been featuring here at WNST.net over the past two weeks as the “Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition rolls on this week via our blogosphere below.

With the Orioles, the NFL Draft, the Caps and the Stanley Cup playoffs, lacrosse, golf and many other sports blossoming here in the early days of spring, there’s PLENTY to write about and watch for our prospective crew of 27 entrants into the KOBST parade of talent. (Yes, we had 54 actual applicants and only 27 have actually “followed through” with the energy to participate! We’ve already eliminated half of the original “field.”)

Many folks have inquired regarding how the competition will work, and although there are several spots on the website with the rules and voting regulations, I just wanted to reiterate that voting for the “Top 3” bloggers will end on Thursday evening.

We will announce the “Top 3” on Friday morning. Over the weekend the remaining candidates will have a chance to blog for four more days through the NFL Draft and on Tuesday at 2 p.m., I will announce the remaining second-round contestants on “Limited Access.”

We expect about a dozen second-round contestants to make it through.

We will bring back the survivors for another more thorough audition and segment the week of May 4th.

Our semfinals will be held at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk on Wednesday, May 13 and the championship will be at Padonia Station in Timonium on Wednesday, May 27.

Don’t forget to read your favorite blogs and vote for the best!

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Help us find the next Baltimore sports media superstar…

Posted on 10 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Let the games begin! I’ve been talking about the “Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition for two months and today we will finally begin the tournament where the challenge is to cover Baltimore sports in the new media universe at WNST.net like the professionals do every day. After watching “American Idol” in its totality for the first time this season, I got very inspired about finding creative ways to find Baltimore’s next great sports media stars.

Perhaps I’m biased, but I firmly believe WNST.net is the best sports media company in the marketplace for Baltimore sports news, conversation and information. Everyone at WNST works nonstop to be the best – to set us apart from amateur internet bloggers and from “out of town” corporate entities who do not have the best interests of our community at heart. Our hard work is justified and rewarded when our www.Alexa.com reports continues to show us as BY FAR the most-visited sports website in the region on a daily basis. And we continue to battle it out with WBAL.com as the top two sites for radio – AM or FM – in the marketplace.

I take my business seriously. I must, because everyone in my company who wants to feed their family in this incredibly difficult economy also needs my vision and energy to keep WNST strong. And quality companies are comprised of quality people. We are always searching for the best writers, sports talk show hosts and reporters and journalists in Baltimore. My only personal goal remaining after 25 years of being a sports journalist locally and nationally is to make WNST.net the premier place for Baltimore sports fans to congregate and have fun.

We want to be the place you come every morning with a cup of coffee to read up on what’s happening in Baltimore’s sports world. We want you to join our text service. We want you to call into AM 1570 and chat with our hosts during the day. We want you following our live game blogs this summer during Orioles games.

Along with my partners and staff and former Ravens head coach Brian Billick, we are excited about making our company something you’re proud of as well.

This “Coors Light King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk” competition, which will end with a pair of live shows on May 13 and May 27, is not for a “job” at WNST — but instead it’s a contest with a grand prize of a trip for two from Baltimore to Bermuda on the Royal Caribbean ship we always see parked down in Port Covington in the spring. (Special thanks to The Cruise Lady, who has been doing Orioles cruises for years and she hooked us up with a super prize for our winner).

The last time I did a similar competition — in November 2006, before the legitimate era of internet sports blogging and social media — we found a myriad of nice people who, just like us, love Baltimore sports and wanted to investigate a career in sports journalism. Our current evening host, Thyrl Nelson, didn’t win our competition but used it as a springboard to becoming a daily host on WNST after 2 1/2 years of honing his craft. (We think Thyrl is great! You should check out his blog and radio show as a guideline for what we’re looking to accomplish with this contest.) Rex Snider and Mark Suchy were also “discovered” in that pool of talent and have been great additions to WNST. I am a kid from Dundalk. Drew Forrester is from Glen Burnie. Bob Haynie claims several Baltimore locales. Ray Bachman is from South Baltimore. Glenn Clark is from Perry Hall. We think a company full of people who are from Baltimore just makes sense!

And, we were all amateurs and “first timers” at one point. Now, we’re “professionals.” It’s not easy, but it’s possible as we’ve proven over the last 11 years.

I’ll be writing a lot about the competition and weighing in with some helpful hints and some frank feedback about what I think – I’ll try to be a little more kind than Simon Cowell, but I’m sure I’ll be called a jerk as well – and I hope all of the WNST.net readers and users will be checking out nearly 30 competitors’ writing, video and audio bits over the next two weeks.

We’ll begin the online voting for your favorites next week, with the top three vote-getters receiving automatic bids to the second round of the competition.

We will begin the second round the week of May 4th. There will be many surprises, celebrity visits and twists and turns — not unlike what we deal with every day in a 24-hour live sports media environment.

Here is the tentative schedule for the next week of competition:

Friday, April 10: Barry Barnes, Justin Keys, Geoff Peckham,

Monday, April 13: J.D. Jackson, Neal Bortmes, Rick Crabbe, Andrew Frank, Luke Jones,

Tuesday, April 14: Todd Salkowski, Jeremiah Moyer, Chris Allsep

Wednesday, April 15: Ryan Sebring, Christopher Stoner, Marco Romanell, Christina Tarleton, Tom Clayton, Bryan Knouse, John McKay,

Thursday, April 16: Vic Ganderson, Lawson Lambert, Mike Williams, Brian Swoboda

Friday, April 17: Ken Phillips, Rick Moore, Francis Lucia

Several other folks not listed here have also requested entrance in our competition but do not have confirmed audition times for next week. We currently have a sea of men and one woman in the competition, hence the “King” or “Queen” status. (Good luck Christina!) Most of the competitors I’ve never even met so this will be fun!

We also have a pair of “under 21” college hopefuls — Peter Dilutis and Troy Shuman – who are not officially in the competition and are not eligible for the grand prize but who want to write and do some radio and we’re going to allow them the opportunity to “show their stuff” as well in our main blogosphere.

In the spirit of WNST, we hope this competition is compelling, exciting and helps some of these folks follow their dream of a being a Baltimore sports journalist in the new millennium and in the amazing era of new and social media. We’d love for you to read their stuff, watch their video and listen to their live “auditions” over the next few weeks.

And with the Orioles’ fast start and the Ravens’ draft prospects so wide open over the next few weeks — not to mention golf, NASCAR, tennis, MMA, NHL and NBA seasons in full swing — there will be plenty of material for these folks to opine about on a daily basis.

Good luck to all!

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Programming changes at WNST

Posted on 02 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

If you’ve been driving around Baltimore after 6 p.m. and have tuned into WNST-AM 1570 you’ve noticed some changes over the last two nights. Our partnership with Fox Sports Radio has ended and we’ve decided to feature our local talent in the evening hours for the foreseeable future and drop the top of the hour flashes, which were dreadful. We will provide local news in and out of every break.

Our staff works hard to produce Baltimore’s best sports talk radio and we’re delighted to offer more Bob Haynie and more Drew Forrester to our audience during the overnights when our signal is not at full strength. We hope you enjoy the extra time with our hosts on the radio. (Soon, you might even be able to get rid of me…LOL!)

We’ve had some technical glitches during the transition phase and we’re working to correct some of the computer issues and modulation issues and should have it all perfectly crafted soon. You will also be able to hear the programming in the evening via our “LISTEN LIVE” button here at WNST.net

More programming notes:

We are absolutely delighted to have Thyrl Nelson join our team on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for two hours per night of Baltimore’s coolest evening radio. Thryl’s “Mobtown Sports Beat” will air from 6 til 8 and be produced by Chris Bonetti, who writes a great daily blog here at WNST.net as well. Nelson was one of our finalists in our last talent search almost 30 months ago. If you’ve read either of their blogs or heard their work you’ll know that we made a great decision to have them join our team.

We will kick off our “King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk Competition” next week. We currently have 48 qualified contestants who will be going through a series of challenges that will end with two shows on May 13 and May 27. The contest is sponsored by Coors Light and will be one of the more adventurous competitions we’ve ever hosted at WNST.net. Many more details will be coming and you’ll start to hear and see our competitors during the 2 to 4 p.m. segments of my show from April 8th through April 17th.

Last but not least, a few folks have dropped me a note wondering why I never launched the remaining chapters of my baseball book about my Pop and the Orioles last week. Honestly, when I was out in California chasing coaches and owners, I didn’t get a chance every day to get it into my blogs but I’ll get them all onto the site by Monday.

I appreciate all of the nice notes I’ve received this week regarding the Orioles and their continued nonsense. It’s all good. The season starts on Monday. We’ll see how they do!

The webcam is coming very, very soon as well.

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Last call for WNST sportswriter and media star blogger search

Posted on 30 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m back on the air at 2 p.m. today and we’re getting closer to finalizing all of the contestants in our upcoming “King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk Competition.” Later this week, we’ll be announcing the details of the competition as well as the first-place prize for anyone who thinks they can do sports media on the radio and on the web at a professional level circa 2009.

Make no mistake about it: I’m the Simon Cowell of this competition and it will be a grueling competition with so many people serious about wanting to be more than a “blogger” on a website no one reads. Many of these letters have been passionate and full of confidence.

I’ve gotten about 100 resumes and cover letters — all with varying degree of expertise, quality and composition. Some folks can’t complete a written sentence without typos, usage errors and punctuation problems. Others claim complete “amateur” status and are more well-done than the “professionals.” It really has been interesting going through all of the applicants this week to test the waters.

This is the last chance to enter the competition so if you’re “on the fence” or know about a potential contestant, please feel free to drop them a note and tell them to get me a resume and a cover letter ASAP.

We’re a week away from Opening Day, the NCAA March Madness has produced an old-school Final Four of UNC, Villanova, UConn and Michigan State and the Stanley Cup tournament will be starting up in two weeks. We’ve got golf hitting its stride, the Triple Crown series about to heat up and the NFL Draft is less than a month away. It’s spring. It’s sports. It’s Baltimore.

Are YOU the next Baltimore sports media rock star?

“Show me what you got…”

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