BYU Sports Nation comes up on its one-year anniversary as this year’s football season takes off.
The daily sports talk show with hosts Spencer Linton and Jarom Jordan began airing — on radio only —Labor Day 2013. Now, almost a year later, the show is simulcast on both BYU Radio (SiriusXM 143) and BYUtv.
“It’s fun to watch how far we’ve come in just under a year. Now we’re simulcast,” Linton said. “It’s fun to see the growth personally and as a team.”
Originally, BYU Sports Nation was not created for Linton and Jordan to host.
“It’s was actually a fluke; we had two other people in mind to be the hosts of the show initially,” said sports coordinating producer Mikel Minor.
After the original hosts fell through, Minor looked to newly hired Linton to host. Finding the co-host ended up being a simple process.
“It was one of those things where the answer was in front of me, and boy was that the right answer. Their chemistry is great,” Minor said. “It’s so hard to find two cohosts who immediately get along, but do they ever. They bring it every day. It’s natural. They call each other out, and it’s exactly the dynamic we wanted for the show.”
Linton and Jordan’s connection had begun years before BYU Sports Nation. The two initially met as students in a sports broadcasting class.
“[Jordan] would be hanging around the communications department, and I was working on an iProvo show called ‘Sports Valley,’ and when I took that show over, I asked Jarom if he wanted to get on board,” Linton said.
On this local show, they covered high school sports around the area.
“We did Provo and Timpview games and a 30-minute weekly show. The chemistry and friendship were there,” Jordan said. “There were future BYU athletes that we covered like Micheal Alisa, Brandon Kafusi, Kyle Collingsworth. All those guys.”
After graduation they parted ways. But in February they were reunited when Linton was hired to do play-by-play for BYUtv; Jordan had been working as a producer. In August they were chosen as hosts for BYU Sports Nation, and their first show followed soon after.
“Our producer was hired the day before the show. The morning of the show was the first time we sat down as a team. It’s amazing that it got off the ground and has become what it has become,” Linton said.
Their show launched on national radio on Sept. 2, 2013.
“Our first show was on Labor Day, and BYU had just lost to Virginia and now we’re supposed to launch this show, and it almost felt like we had to justify the loss,” Jordan said.
“There were some nerves. It was so fast, and Jarom and I were both rookies on the radio. It’s a totally different dynamic than television: the format, the whole approach. So we were both a little shaky off the top in terms of nerves,” Linton said. “I remember getting that first show done and just being like, if we can survive the first show after the Virginia loss then we can make it.”
They did more than survive. Their first show was an immediate success on BYU radio and quickly gained a social media following. They began simulcasting on BYUtv in March, expanding the show’s reach.
“They talk to the younger demographic. It resonates with them,” Minor said. “In the beginning, our management said, ‘They’re awful young looking,’ but my perspective was that it was a good thing. The fact that they’re professionals helps. You only have to listen to a segment or two to see that these guys are professionals. They know what they’re doing. It’s very fun and very personality driven, but at the end of the day they gave good insight, information, access and knowledge about BYU.”
A year later, the show is going strong, gaining traction with each episode. BYU Sports Nation looks like it’s found a permanent place within Cougar nation.
“Jarom and I have talked about how long we think this will go. Right now, it’s like, ‘Let’s ride the track as long as they’ll let us,'” Linton said. “For what I want in my life — to have a broadcasting career and have a family and stability and cover the team I love the most — this is it. I don’t see a scenario, for me in my life, where I could like my job more than I do now, covering BYU sports.”
Jordan explained his main goal for the show.
“Keep BYU Sports Nation rocking and developing,” he said. “It’s always a work in progress to try and get better and better.”