Our first show was on April 25th, 2005. I was 27 when I came to Omaha from WUMP in Huntsville and was in a relationship with a girl that was back in Alabama that caused me a lot of issues - most of which never made the air. 1 episode - unfortunately - did on Todd and Tyler one morning. That was the low point of my time here in Omaha and forced me to move mentally to Omaha. Once that happened, a lot good things fell into place. Omaha became home and quickly became the best place I've ever worked.
Some of you of have known about this news for a few weeks and I really appreciate all the love you have shown to me. There was a internet report that came out that detailed some ratings numbers that made it sound like the show wasn't doing well and maybe that was why the show is over. I just want everyone to know that this show was doing very well in all areas. Sales were up. Ratings were good. And the show was more popular than ever. Sure, we did our best during Creighton basketball season but that is why the station was put on the air. We "hung our hat" on Creighton basketball as my old boss would say during our first years. But in life, nothing stays the same - that goes 2 fold for radio.
I found out on December 30th that I was being let go at the end of March. I can not tell you exactly why Journal decided to not renew my contract. It was a process that I wasn't a part of - only affected by. What I can tell you and what I do want you to know is that I fought for 4 months to stay and keep the show going. I went as far as to offer to reduce my salary by 2/3 which was ultimately rejected. We made the company money but radio is sick right now. Our other properties are really suffering - thus cuts had to be made. Downsizing is never fun but local radio is a labor of love. You have to want to make it succeed and do the little things to be successful. That's not the nature of my industry at the moment.
I am leaving Omaha with my head held very high. We did everything we were suppose to do but sometimes, when you work for someone else, you end up on the cutting room floor. Creighton basketball will always be special to me as will the fans of the Jays. I felt like the show was a place for them to hear about their program and hear players, coaches, and media members talk about the Jays. I wanted the Jays' fans to feel on the same level as Nebraska for once because I saw them that way. It made my job a ton of fun.
As for my next step, I don't think I will be out of work for too long. It's funny, in January I was a finalist for a Top 20 market job on the West Coast and truly thought I was leaving Omaha. I was sad then to leave and I'm just as sad now to leave without a new job. Yet, a lot has changed for me professionally over the past 2 years in Omaha and I am truly excited about what is in front of me. I'm ready for something new.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever read this blog, emailed me, or listened to the show over the years. I know we haven't always agreed on issues but that's part of being a talk show host. Omaha is filled with some of the nicest people I've ever met. To those of you outside of Omaha that I never got a chance to meet, thank you as well for listening every afternoon.
There is someone who doesn't get talked about enough that I want to thank. Brian Delehant, the producer of the Big Show, is responsible for the show working here in Omaha. I want to thank him so much for his hard work and putting up with my moody ass. Seriously, the kid has been my shrink with my relationships with girls, has been my priest when I was mad at myself for being stupid, and my friend to go drink a pint with after work. I'll miss working with him and wish him nothing but the best. He's the best producer a talk show host could ask for. He just gets it.
In closing, I'm so proud of what we did in just 4 years. From starting the first ever call-in show for the Jays post game, to raising $25,000 for the victims of the Westroads shootings, to bringing an injured Nebraska service man back from North Carolina to see the Huskers play USC for not a penny out of his pocket, to helping the downtown stadium project become a reality - The Big Show left its mark.
As a talk show host, that's all you try to do. I will miss you all and as always - thanks for listening.
PS: Here are my top 5 sports moments over the past 4 years - feel free to share your at Matt@bigsports590.com
5. Jays play Kentucky in the NIT
4. Nebraska vs. USC in LA (Live from Jim Rome's Studios)
3. Steve Pederson gets fired
2. Tom Osborne comes back as AD
1. Dana Altman comes back
Honorable mention : Jays beat URI in the NIT on Witter's shot, Jays beat SIU in Overtime with crazy finish, Nebraska hires Bo Pelini, Huskers nearly beat Top 5 Texas Tech on the road, Ripping on Doc Sadler :), Jays kill Nebraska at the Qwest Center - more I'm forgetting I'm sure....