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LIVINGSTON: Join me and Rick O’Block for sports talk radio

I am a sports talk radio junkie. Friends often roll their eyes getting into my car while I’ve got the local station turned up with some host somewhere in the country talking about the day’s hottest subjects. I’ve always wanted to be one of those guys on the other end of the microphone.

Nearly a decade into my journalism career, I’m excited to announce my first weekly show. Rick O’Block, one of the voices of Fort Lewis College athletics, a cycling junkie and all-around great guy, and I will co-host the Four Corners Sports Block at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays. The show will broadcast on KIUP 930 AM, 97.3 and 106.3 FM, the local ESPN sports station for La Plata County. Yes, our voices also can be heard on the AM dial as far as Pagosa Springs and out to Cortez, giving it reach in three counties.

I’ve been one to grumble about the lack of local sports talk around the Durango area. I was eager for an opportunity to do something about it, and when program director Ed Lacy and the folks at Four Corners Broadcasting reached out about co-hosting the Sports Block with Rick O’Block, who successfully ran the interview-based show for four years, I was excited to put my touch on it.

Rather than run an interview for the full 24-minute show, we plan to discuss local sports for the opening minutes before jumping into subjects such as Colorado’s professional and collegiate sports teams. However, I plan to keep the focus on Fort Lewis College, our area high schools and the numerous incredible cyclists, runners and other adventure athletes we have in town.

After all, this is a show for you, and I want to make it about the topics that matter to you.

I hope the show is a great way to supplement the local coverage you receive daily through The Durango Herald. We will dive deeper into many of the subjects in the Herald’s headlines and hopefully provide some all-access interviews so you get to learn about the subjects I frequently write about through their own voices.

Unfortunately, the show will be pre-recorded before its air date, which means we won’t be able to take phone callers. That is another step I’d love to take someday. I fell asleep every night as a child listening to some of my favorite radio hosts such as JT The Brick and Jorge Sedano. The way they handled callers was beautiful to listen to. In fact, I went into journalism school hoping to do sports talk radio.

Teachers in high school always told me I was a better writer than speaker, so I went into newspaper journalism and have had a blast doing it. But, over the last decade, I’ve found a voice that I’m ready to share with you.

I can partly credit Steve Bortstein, the host of First Sports with Steve Bortstein on Fox Sports 1340 AM, 93.9 FM in Farmington, for my on-air development. Bortstein brought me on in my first summer as a reporter with the Farmington Daily Times in 2010 to talk about the Connie Mack World Series. His callers mocked me, wondering if my mother knew I was playing with the telephone. I chuckle thinking about being a 21-year-old rookie fresh out of the University of Colorado and being thrown into that. Yes, going into writing was the right call.

Thanks to Bortstein, that wouldn’t be my last radio appearance. He brought me back every Friday morning for 10 or 15 minutes to talk about local high school sports, and he let me talk about the Denver Broncos and mixed martial arts, too.

In Durango, I’ve had the pleasure of co-hosting Cross & Peel with my old Durango Herald co-worker John Peel when his co-host Jim Cross was out of town. The experience made me know I was ready to host a show of my own.

While I won’t be able to take callers, please send me questions, feedback or ideas of topics you would like to hear discussed. As most of you know, you can always get me on Twitter, but I’m more than happy to answer your mailbag questions in my email, too.

So join us at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. For our debut show, we will talk about the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, and we have a great interview with two-time marathon mountain bike national champion Payson McElveen. I hope you like what you hear and come back for more each week.

I also hope maybe I can give you a reason to turn up sports talk radio, and hopefully, your friends won’t roll their eyes when they get in your car.

John Livingston is the Regional Sports Editor for Ballantine Communications. He can be reached on Twitter @jlivi2 or at jlivingston@durangoherald.com.

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