Sep 24, 2013 Joe Genco Uncategorized
While countless radio programs provide chatter on the latest Syracuse University sports news, there is only one place where listeners might hear James Southerland talking candidly about why he chose to wear number 43: the NAPA Syracuse Legends Show with Mike Bristol.
Southerland, a former SU forward known for his three-point shooting explained on a recent airing: “with 43, you’ve got Southerland for three on the back of the jersey.”
Hosted by Bristol, the hour-long Syracuse Legends program airs every Friday at 6 p.m. on Central New York’s ESPN Radio affiliates 97.7 and 100.1 FM and 1200 and 1440 AM.
After two successful years, the show has also recently been syndicated to 99.1 FM and 1310 AM in Utica, 1350 AM in Rome and 1230 AM in Little Falls where it airs at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Bristol said he and Galaxy Communications president and CEO Ed Levine developed the idea for the show about two years ago. The show is a similar format to the now defunct Mike Bristol Show, which aired on a different station.
Bristol describes the show as different than most sports talk radio shows due to its more relaxed environment. The focus is usually having casual conversations with the guests rather than analysis and debate about sports headlines.
“It’s like an up-close HBO-special show,” Bristol said.
The guests, typically current or former SU athletes, are often in person at the studio, acting as guest co-hosts. Recent guest co-hosts have included Michael Carter-Williams, Dion Waiters and Southerland – all of whom played for the Orange basketball team in 2013 and went on to sign with NBA teams – and Eric Devendorf another former SU basketball player.
“A lot of these guys I’ve become friends with from working with coach [Jim Boeheim] for so long, and we have a more personal relationship, so I’m able to talk about more personal stuff,” Bristol said.
After co-hosting the show for the first time on Sept. 20, Southerland, a recent signee with the Charlotte Bobcats, said he would like to do it again.
“The NAPA SU legends show is great. Mike keeps it real and the guys respect him. I enjoyed being on the radio show, talking about future Syracuse legends. It’s definitely something I could see myself doing in the future. I’ll be co-hosting again right after the season,” he said.
The Friday time-slot has been a good fit for the show, Bristol said. In addition to gathering a loyal group of listeners at that time, it also allows for many of the former SU basketball players to stop by when they are in town for the weekend.
“It’s a good way to lighten the mood and kick off the weekend,” said co-host and former SU running back Damien Rhodes.
Rhodes, who can’t do the show during the fall because he coaches the Fayetteville-Manlius football team, said he enjoys doing the show because he can relate to the young athletes.
“I’ve been through what they’re going through now when I was a player, so I can be like a big brother to them,” he said.
For Bristol, sports have been his passion for most of his life – and he has turned it into a career in Central New York. He went to Marcellus High School where he played soccer, basketball and baseball. He then went to SUNY Brockport where he majored in broadcast journalism and played point guard for the basketball team. As a freshman, Bristol helped the Golden Eagles win the division III national championship. After college he got into sports marketing, today he does marketing for the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation and former SU guard Carmelo Anthony.
Bristol also has been a local radio personality for about 15 years. In addition to Syracuse Legends, he hosts Inside High School Sports on Saturdays at 10 a.m. during the school year.
While sports talk radio still has a niche in Central New York, using social media platforms and multimedia to reach more people has also become a priority.
With that in mind, the show has recently launched a YouTube channel that will feature exclusive video interviews and segments filmed by local videographer Otto Media.
For those that can’t catch the show on Fridays, the interviews are also available anytime on the show’s website, syracuselegends.com.