Many inspiring sports radio personalities dream of working for a big station in New York City.
Far Rockaway resident John Schiavone has had his heart set on working for the sports radio channel WFAN for a long time. And once again, Schiavone is competing in the fourth annual WFAN Fantasy Phenom Challenge, where the winner could get the opportunity to host a show for a full year on the radio station.
Schiavone, 28, has competed in the contest since its inception and will make his first appearance in the finals on August 23.
“I always made the semifinals, the top 50, and I always just missed the finals, so I kept coming back, because I said ‘you know what, I am not going to give up,’” Schiavone said. “Every time they say no is another opportunity for me to get better.”
Schiavone started in radio at Hunter College’s radio station, WHCS. He holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and was the program director for the inaugural year of Brooklyn College’s radio station, WBCR. He was the coordinating producer for the Brooklyn College Bulldogs on WBCR. Currently, he still hosts WBCR’s primer sports show Downtown Sports.
Schiavone learned about the competition simply listening to “the FAN.”
The contest is unique in that it takes the job interview straight to the stage. During the qualifying rounds contestants are expected to answer sports trivia and “rant” on sports topics. They advance based on their answers.
Schiavone thought this is the ultimate interview, “[Instead of] applying on a resume and looking at a person on a page and maybe hearing a five minute demo.”
In the finals he will be judged along with the other finalists on a question and answer show with on-air sports personality Mike Francesa.
Although it’s been a long 10 years in the radio world for Schiavone, he is hoping to clinch a win and finally get his big break.
“The people who make it in this industry are not the best, not the most talented; they are the ones who are willing to stick it out,” he said.
The WFAN Fantasy Phenom Finals will broadcast live from 1-6 p.m. on WFAN 660-AM, 101.9-FM and simulcast on television via the YES network.