An Interview with Jim Host, Author of 'Changing the Game'


About to introduce Jim Jim host to the audience who book changing the game. And I don't know if the gym host even remembers but When I was a newspaper reporter I thought of a great idea for a profile of talking about one of the great entrepreneurs in the SEC. Someone who created the Kentucky Broadcast Network and then moved onto the AA. But for whatever reason Jim Oh just did not like Google doing interviews back then and I never even asked him why because it's irrelevant but thank you. Thank you very much Jim for for joining us. And congratulations on the book. Paul thank you very much before we start. I want to say that You meant so much to Mike slide. And he was like a close friend of mine and we had several conversations. But you and job. You did the eulogy at his. Fennel is something. I'll never forget so. I just wanted to make sure that I got that cost. Jim Thank you. Thank you very much For saying that I remember talking to you at the graveside and I know how much you meant to commissioner slot as well well thank you for that and let let me let me start at the beginning for those. Who Don't know your fister who haven't had a chance to read your book you. You're a baseball player. Uk and then you went onto a minor league ball. And I'm sure you've wondered what would have happened. Had you matriculated to the big leagues and had a different career. Well I got one of the first to pull baseball. Scholarships every given at UK. And I'm the first person I've got sixty one first cousins and I'm the first one on either side of my family ever to go to college and I would have never gotten the college that had been for the athletic scholarship at UK and as it was all of that by major radio and television journalism and the rest of its history so there is an example of somebody. You've got a college scholarship who Because he blew his arm out and pro. Baseball couldn't continue on it for baseball. Was able then to build a business based on my college education. I'll be forever grateful to University of Kentucky for allowing me to play there as you moved on from from your baseball career You dabbled in a number of things From the political arena to to business I think all of us would be fascinated by how you ended up moving in into the the genre that now you get so much credit for And been given credit by by leaders in the field as one of the if not. We'll forget one of the innovator when it comes to sports marketing well if I was I got the radio rights by asking the question that final four MC. One goal the final four. This one. That's basketball championship in. Nineteen seventy five in San Diego. I was on the floor Uk It got to the finals. And I was doing the UK broadcast with Kayla Leopard Packer and As a result Bias the question. How much bitch will paying for the radio rights and Tom Johnston? They came with round the foreign. They said three thousand dollars. I said well how much you getting? All the rights for people like me and they said twenty one thousand dollars plus Nice of. I'll tell you what I'll give you thirty thousand dollars. I'll take over the administration and I'll do a whole lot better job and that's how I got started just as asking the question at at that point. Nobody really wanted to radio. And then as I started to try to sell the radio I'm standing in front of of the press table and nineteen seventy seven that the championship in in Atlanta One Alma. Choirs last game and One of one of the members of the committee was complaining about how bad the final four the championship program book. Because those years the program was produced by the arena and I stepped around I said. Would you guys like we do that? And they said well you're doing a great job with radio network out one or two do that That's how I started doing programs and and then I had one problem. I really couldn't sell it very well. Because I had no national distribution as it related to sales people so I have spent time with proctor and gamble and learned that that They they had a Cava issue having to do with how they got their packages sold at supermarkets. I'm sorry I came up with a scroll down which turned out to be pretty good about. Why don't we see if we can't Put a MCA championship on So Fox's and on bar soaps and so on and see if we can't create some revenue and that basis and I went to wall virus and made the suggestion. It took them two years to agree that it might make some sense and that's kind of how it started and I love the chapter in the book. When when you're dealing with Walter Byers who was a legendary figure but based on I never met him but based on what I've read he wasn't always the easiest person to make a point across to Paul He. I've been in the Oval Office of every presence that's Nixon. A Nineteen Sixty. I live never been at all of anybody in my life other than Walter. Byers he was the smartest single individual I was ever around He would meet with you one on one he knew more about Your Business and then you did. He had his homework done. He never had a piece of paper in front of them and He and I learned a great deal problem. So that's my analysis of you did so many other things and I know I don't WanNa diminish the body of work but when I read about your involvement in the building of Arena definitely got my attention because it's a building that's been there more than forty years. It's still one of the Meccas of college basketball. How how did how did that? Come about well One of my first the first of all I ran for governor state and got my buddy thank God and And I was going to do it the right way so I wouldn't take any campaign. Contributions I spent all the money I made in the sixties and the real estate and insurance business and Came out of the campaign. Had One hundred seven dollars in my pocket. Looks Seventy six thousand eight hundred eighty seven dollars the campaign? That didn't happen. The income could put my real estate and insurance businesses back together so The mayor and the county judge came to they said We'd like you to be the first executive director the lesson I eventually commission and I said how much does it pay? They said eighteen thousand dollars a year. And I said I'll tell you what you can hire them a company I get to do other things and And the first meeting we add. They said we're gonNA tell you why we are hired you there's a There's a good much tracks through downtown. We've taken they've been taken offline urban renewal and we've got in-kind contribution of twenty percent that if we don't build a civic center on the west end of Bovine Street We've got to pay three million dollars back in the city that have that kind of money so you got to build civic center in the arena. So that's how that got started I wanted stop for just a second and talk about How you've done And maybe some some basic tennis. We talked to a young person our staff who who talked about growing when he went to University of Georgia recently. Everyone wants to go into sports. Marketing. And and that's not really what I want to ask you about to Jim because you wrote in the book about some very basic tenants Simple things that we probably should learn at an early age that that you had certain I would say rules for yourself and for your employees that were as simple as this kind of things we heard as a kid but I wish he would explain and share those with all of us to rules of business one is you do not misrepresent. Lie about anything if you do. You're fired and number two. You do not Take five cents from the expense account. If you do your part everybody that came into business. Understood it and violated. I immediately called him in and fired him They didn't get a second chance. If somebody had a drug problem and I'll call problem. I gave a second chance. I paid for the Rehabilitation GonNa back and in the second chance of the violate that that they were those who are rules and business. I also said that In any guy. I never got sued by any school by any conference by the. Mcaa TAB for one. Reason is that I believe that it's either black or white if it's black that's in their favor of its whites in my favorite. It's great and their favorite and that was on the way. That's the way a random business before you go and I would strongly encourage any any young person who's thinking about getting into this business to read gyms book but but I I would like to ask you about some of the big issues that we're facing today certainly They are countless. But but the one that's front and center is the the name image likeness Situation I know having been an athlete having been involved in sports marketing and the industry at the front a at the front row for so long. What are your thoughts on today? And where we go from here in intercollegiate athletics. I wrote my epilogue at the end of the book that I fully believe that time has come when student athletes need to be compensated for the likeness and people think that this has to do with Just basketball football. It doesn't They've we've we've had some unbelievable track athletes at UK One of whom has gone under set world records Young Woman has gone on set world records. We take great tennis players here We've had other individuals who have done well and they would. They would benefit from this as well. So Mike my contention is that they need to be compensated It needs to be done. Under the under the scope of the university because it media right holder at this point as revenue coming from corporate sponsors. So the way to do it. I believe is to Get The individual Have the university Media Group represents individual have the flow through them have the bunny then put into a separate account and they once the individual graduates or leaves the university the individual gets the money Jim Hosts the name of the book changing the Game Career in collegiate sports marketing. John I cannot thank you enough all the best on the book and it has been all of our pleasure to be able to share with you with our audience. You're you're great knowledge and history. Thank you so much I wanNA make one other point The other they call the fuck Dr Eric. Moyen Is a professor at the University of Talk Miss Up Mississippi State and he's done unbelievably great job. Thank you certainly Dr More in. We appreciate that as well. Jim Hope to see you very soon. Thanks for coming

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