If you like Orange sports, you should get to know Brent Axe if you don't already. I had the pleasure to interview him over a year ago and although it's an old one, its still one of my favorites.
In my second interview, I went with the man who first introduced me to blogging. At the time, he was a former talk show host and now has another show at WNSS ESPN Radio 1260 from 3pm to 6pm every weekday, please welcome to the blog, Brent Axe a.k.a. The Axeman.
You can also find a link to Axe's blog on Syracuse.com to the left of the page and enjoy his writing style there. He does a great balance of Syracuse sports, big topics in the sports world period, and occasionally his Bills or Red Sox opinions can be noted well in his writing as well.
I hope you enjoy this insight into the mind of a man who will pull no punches and keep you entertained as well. I personally would like to thank Axe who as you will see took a lot of time to answer these and I think answered my questions and many more not asked as well. Here is the one, the only, Axeman.
12 Reasons Why.....Axe Is The Man For 'Cuse Action
1. For those who have never heard of Brent Axe, please give them some insight into that evil mind of yours and who you are?
Always the hardest question to answer. I could give you the answer that Dr. Evil gave in "Austin Powers", but I will go with this instead. I'll quote another movie here. As the priest in "Spaceballs" said, here is the short, short version.
I was born and raised in Syracuse. My father took me to an SU game when I was five and I was hooked on sports from that moment on. I played all kinds of sports in school, but lacrosse was my game.
The highlight of my career was when Ryan Powell and I shared MVP honors at the 1996 All-Star Game. He went on to a lucrative lacrosse career. Let's just say I did not. I went on to college at Herkimer County Community College.
I was determined to be the next Dan Patrick when I got there, but soon fell in love with talk radio when I got an internship with Brad Davies at WIBX Radio in Utica. That internship turned into a part-time job as a producer, that turned into a co-host role, that turned into my own show eventually.
I'm leaving out the details of how pathetic my salary was and other radio horror stories. I went on to work for Sportsradio 620 WHEN in Syracuse from 2002-2006, highlights being when I was on the air until 4 a.m. the night SU won the national title in basketball and the grief I still get to this day that "you got Coach P fired."
I did a good show there, and had a lot of fun, but then one day Clear Channel had a "let's lay some people off" party and I was unfortunately invited. Since then, I have been blogging for Syracuse.com and recently returned to the talk radio world on ESPN Radio 1260 in Syracuse.
Outside of sports, cooking is my other passion. If I am not watching ESPN, then chances are I am watching the Food Network. My wife thinks I watch it to stare at Giada's cleavage. She may be right.
2. What is your educational background and what courses did you take that helped get you where you are today?
I have what I like to call a "half-and-half" degree. I earned a Communications degree at Herkimer County Community College and will be forever grateful for all that I learned there. But it was the life experience of internships and working part-time in radio that taught me what I needed to know about the business.
3. What made you decide to go this path and what advice would you give those also considering any part of it?
It was kind of an accident how it happened. I was always passionate about sports. While other kids were doing last minute homework assignments or gossiping in homeroom, I was the geek reading the sports page.
Sister Nancy at Bishop Ludden High School, where I went, noticed that I used to blab in the hallways a lot (but never in class of course!) about sports so she challenged me to do the morning announcements over the PA system at school. This was junior year in high school. I loved it.
That summer, I got the chance to intern at Z89 in Syracuse and had a blast doing that as well. When it came time to go to college, I noticed "Radio/TV Communications" as a major. "Hey, I can do that" I thought and off I went.
Advice? Have a backup plan. Seriously. This is a great industry if you can get into it, but it will test your passion to its limits and contrary to popular belief IT DOES NOT PAY WELL.
It is a lot like baseball. When you are in the minors, you have to scrape by. If you make to to the big leagues, you can do well for yourself. But be prepared to get a second job to pay the bills.
4. If you weren't doing this, what do you think you would be doing, besides playing pro lacrosse?
LOL. You read my mind on the lacrosse thing. Good question. I would probably be a middle school social studies teacher. I had a passion for history and government when I was younger before sports took over my life.
5. Please give us a glimpse into a day in the life of Axe, what is your day like between your blog The Axeman on www.syracuse.com
and your radio show on ESPN Radio 1260 AM in Syracuse from 3-6 PM every weekday at www.espnradio1260.com
The great thing about my life is no two days are the same. For Dot Com, the good thing is during SU football and nasketball season, the schedule pretty much sets itself.
I write wrap-ups after every game and opinion pieces in between them. I go to the game, take notes during it, go to the post game press conferences to get reaction, and come home and start banging the keyboard. That is where it gets interesting.
Some nights it takes me less than an hour to write my thoughts, transcribe the quotes I get from players and coaches, and insert a few pictures. Some nights I am there for hours staring at the screen.
It all depends on what kind of creative flow you get into. I have written posts that required very little editing. Some posts it takes me longer to edit it than it took to write it. And if I miss anything, boy do the people in the comments section let me know about it!
The radio show is more of a grind and takes more work than people think. You don't just show up and blab for three hours. Anyone can do that. The challenge we face everyday is can we entertain you for three hours everyday?
I am always prepping for that show. I call it "the disease". You never, ever watch sports the same again when you do a radio show. You can't simply relax and watch a game or read something about sports. Two thoughts are constantly running through your head while watching a game, reading an article, etc.
1. Will I talk about this on the air?
2. How will I talk about this on the air.
6. Bob Costas recently did an hour and half long special on HBO discussing blogging and sports talk radio, both of which you have some expertise, well experience at least(just kidding). What was your opinion of that show and the opinions expressed on both issues and do you think they serve a valuable asset to our society?
That show was epic and should be required viewing for anyone that wants to go into the sports media business. On sports talk radio, I STRONGLY reject the notion that it is just a bunch of guys yelling at each other.
There are certainly shows that do that, but there are plenty of sports talk hosts out there that actually do a lot of research, have some intelligent things to say, and don't just want to fire coaches. Something Costas said on that show really stuck with me. He questioned how sports talk hosts could be so strongly opinionated on so many things everyday.
That couldn't be more right and because of that I try not to force things on my show if I'm not that passionate about them. On blogs, Buzz Bissinger did more favors for blogs on that show than they could ever do for themselves.
How a great writer like that could not tell the difference between a blog post itself and the comments section below it is beyond me.
Blogs and sports talk radio serve a great purpose. At the end of the day, they both give the fan an outlet to express their opinion and to call B.S. on the things the "MSM", a coach, a team, a player, etc, feeds them. Blogs and sports talk radio are by and large reaction mediums.
We watch a sport or news story, we react to it. Why the "MSM" is so threatened by that puzzles me. They are still delivering a majority of the content. There are simply more avenues for people to react to it now in a public forum. It is not like people weren't this opinionated before.
Only now, instead of telling a few people about it at the water cooler at work, they blog it, call a radio show, or get on a message board.That is really it. The sooner the "MSM" realizes that, they faster we can move on.
I will agree that some blogs take it way too far and some people just love the fact they can use bad words a little too much. But the great thing about this society is we have the freedom and ability to decide what it crap and what is legit.
7. You wake up tomorrow and someone calls to say your wish came true, what dream job or interview did you just get?
Co-Host of "The View"!! No, I'm living it baby. Seriously, I grew up in Syracuse and always wanted to be that guy on the radio talking SU sports. To be able to do that in my hometown, talking about the teams I grew up rooting for and to have my family be able to hear it everyday, how does it get better than that?
8. In your opinion, is the most over rated sport out there? Most underrated? And what is your top source for news information or sports media outlet?
ESPN.com and Syracuse.com are my top two sources.
9. There is a big sporting event coming up and you can't be there in person, where are you mostly likely to be when the game starts? And if its enjoying chicken tenders at Tully's, is there a seat near you left for me too?
Boring answer, but I'm on my couch. I'm a homebody. I don't really like to watch sports out that much because I like to hear what the announcers are saying. At a loud sports bar, that isn't always possible. That said, I love watching Red Sox games on a lazy summer night with a cold Sam Adams in hand at the Beginning II in Syracuse.
10. What one sports team or sport period could you not live without if for some reason it gets nixed like the women's softball team did in the Olympics?
Fall=Football. Without football, I am convinced I would shrivel up and die.
11. If someone were to ask about you, what would you hope they would say in your regards?
Hmmm. Good question. That I was real. That I was genuine. It always bothers me when I meet someone who is phony. I would hope I don't come across that way to people I meet.
12. Your Free Space, spill your beans but keep it clean. What ya got Axeman?
Oh goodie. A few things.
1. I just want people to know that 100% of what I write and what I say on the radio is real. I don't say things just for the sake of getting a reaction out of people. If my opinion happens to get a reaction out of you, than great.
But any opinion I give online and on the air is the exact same one you would get if you were on the bar stool next me to.
2. May we see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl in my lifetime.
3. I think things are going to get real interesting around here this fall with a certain football coach and I would be surprised if he made it through the season.
4. Why do we only get two presidential candidates to choose from?
5. No one will ever replace Tim Russert, but I have faith there is someone out there that can take the torch from Tim Russert and give the politicians hell.
I will simply leave you with the great words of my father, Douglas Axe. "Remember son, you only get out of life what you put into it." That is darn right.
So what did we learn from this interview besides he has great taste in movies quoting Spaceballs but as a Mets and Carolina Panther fans, not so sure about his tastes in teams (just picking with you Axe, I got much love for Bill Buckner to this day).
I will note that I have been enjoying Axe for over a year now back when he was just a blogger and did his weekly live blog stream and chat sessions and if there is one thing about Axe other then his great sense of humor, it's that he is not shy on his opinions and stands by them.
If you get the chance, you should check out his stuff whether its on his blog, which again, the link is on the left of the page or his radio gig, which has streaming audio from 3pm until 6pm every weekday at www.espnradio1260.com
Thank you again for your time Axe and for those of you who took the time to read this, let me know what you think or go to his sites and tell him yourself. I am Orange Chuck and this has been the biography of the man they call Axe.