Feb 282014

Racing champion, Jeff Gordon, teams up with Pepsi MAX to pull a prank on an unsuspecting automotive journalist, Travis Okluski.

 Okluski, of the web site Jalopnik.com, had questioned the authenticity of the original Pepsi “Test Drive” commercial.

I’m sure Gordon proved his point.

In case you missed it, here’s the original.

Sep 132013

From BizJournals.com by Erik Spanberg.

Paul Finebaum In Studio

Paul Finebaum In Studio

The talk-show host, bespectacled and in his late-50s, checks his smartphone for text messages and shifts his gaze to a nearby computer screen. He clicks the mouse, scrolls through a story or two, then turns his attention back to Jim from Tuscaloosa, who is still talking.

 For the third time in 90 minutes, Jim is on the air, complaining about the show. This, of course, breaks all of the unwritten rules of talk radio. Callers rarely are allowed to insult the host or his employers for long, if at all, and they certainly aren’t allowed to claim the airwaves three times in a single broadcast.

 Except, of course, on any show hosted by Paul Finebaum. Trim and wearing a maroon tie and a white button-down shirt, Finebaum, who looks and speaks like the lawyer he once aspired to be, sits in a makeshift studio at a Ballantyne office park on a recent afternoon, sipping coffee and punching buttons to take calls. Meet the one-man band who happens to be the most powerful and notorious voice in college football.

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Sep 132013

From Bizjournals.com by Erik Spanberg.

On Saturday, another college football game of the century arrives. This time, it’s Alabama versus Texas A&M.

You will recall that Alabama has won three of the past four national championships, while A&M is a threatening Johnny (Manziel)-come-lately to the Southeastern Conference thanks to its Heisman-winning quarteback. Manziel, the cover boy on last week’s issue of Time, makes the match-up all the more intriguing since what he does off the field is almost as exciting as what he does on it. Since the Aggies beat Bama in Tuscaloosa last season, a side dish of revenge can also be enjoyed in the run-up to kick-off (CBS, 3:30 p.m., in case you forgot).

That the game involves two SEC schools makes it all the better (apologies, ACC fans). A&M’s Kyle Field is the site of the game and, as with almost any SEC match-up, you can expect a roaring full house. Alabama, A&M and the other 12 schools in the conference routinely lead the nation in attendance at college games.

Which explains, in part, why a mild-mannered man in late-middle-age named Paul Finebaum has managed to convert a Birmingham sports-talk show into a national role at ESPN. Last month, Finebaum took up residence in Charlotte, working out of ESPN’s Ballantyne studios on his relaunched radio show and planning for a daily national simulcast on the new SEC cable network in August 2014.

In tomorrow’s print edition of the Charlotte Business Journal, you can read the business story behind Finebaum and ESPN’s SEC Network.

Until then, here are a few thoughts on the Finebaum phenomenon and his move to Charlotte.

For now, Finebaum can be heard online, on select radio stations in the Southeast (his show isn’t carried in Charlotte) and on ESPN podcasts. Already, the ESPN alliance has raised his profile, earning him guest appearances on ESPN’s College GameDay and College Football Live in recent weeks.

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