December 3rd 2018 sees the Sports Leadership And Management School (SLAM) Miami embark on making radio history and changing the game in education and the way in which students are prepared for careers in the sports media industry with the launch of SLAM Talk Radio.
The cutting edge school will be the first high school to launch a national radio station in partnership with SiriusXM on channel 145. A professional radio station that will be produced and presented by high school students at SLAM and on air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and aims to reach a wider audience outside of students spanning from an age range of 18 to 80. Sports, entertainment and journalism will be at the heart of its core focus. With Pitbull making history with the school as Co-Founder and Ambassador for SLAM, the radio station and its alliance with SiriusXM will be the first to give a practical and first-hand learning experience of running a radio station with this innovative program. With plans to expand to other SLAM schools across the country.
Students at SLAM are excited to be the trailblazers, pave the way and be the first to produce and present a national radio station. “Being a part of this project is an honor. I am very excited to see what new doors and opportunities SLAM Radio will bring. I transferred schools after my sophomore year to lead this project on a student level. As Student Station General Manager, I’ve had a chance to work with other students and take on a leadership role. Our students at SLAM are excited and are ready for history!” –Amanda Milian, SLAM Radio Student Station General Manager
As the Sports Broadcasting Teacher at the school and the Program Director of SLAM Talk Radio,
Larry “The Amigo” Milian, will also be hosting his very own Morning Show on SLAM Talk Radio. “The Amigo” is not only the teacher, but also the mentor and coach who is currently preparing students in the run up to this pioneering moment in radio history and will oversee the running of the station on a day to day basis.
Larry Milian is no stranger to media let alone being a part of making history. Larry Milian was one part duo of the ‘Dos Amigos Show’ which was the first Spanglish sports talk show in the USA. Students at SLAM Talk Radio couldn’t be in better hands with this ‘Amigo’.
From Producer/Production Coordinator/Host of Generation Ñ Media, Senior
Writer StateOfTheU.com (SB Nation), Radio Talk Show host at 940 WINZ, 640 WFTL Sports, Sports Talk 790 The Ticket to CEO/Director of Operations at Fast Action Sports (Florida) to name but a few milestones in the career of Larry Milian, who will bring an amplitude of knowledge, skills, experience and wisdom from his career in the sports media industry. Larry Milian talks in more depth about SLAM Talk Radio and how the programming will be produced, his very own Morning Show, the process of building up to the launch and of course Pitbull and much more in an exclusive interview below.
Radio to teaching at a school. Talk to me Larry, how did the journey lead you to SLAM School?
Crazy journey indeed. The opportunity to see our radio students at SLAM get excited for our launch that makes all of this worthwhile. While I never expected to be in the classroom, the truth is getting to know our amazing students has been the best part of this journey. Makes me feel like Coach Nick Saban recruiting top college football prospects for their national championship program. The truth is these young adults want to be a part of something special.
Exciting times, who is going to do the programming?
It’s an interesting dynamic, the original press release said the Juniors and Seniors here at SLAM will be doing the programming. We have expanded that role so it’s going to be the High School students at SLAM that are part of this group and are going to create the majority of the content. In recent weeks we have also created an elite group of future eighth graders which are one year away from getting to high school and start training them ahead of time so when they get into high school they are more ready to be on the air and create the evergreen content.
A lot of the content is pre-recorded, the only Live show will be mine in the morning. The rest will be content produced and created by the students.
Just going back on evergreen content – For those that aren’t familiar with the term could you explain a little about what this is?
Evergreen means it doesn’t have an expiration date. So not going to be topical to the game that was played yesterday for example but it will be content based. So if it’s a story that happened in the past or relevant to something that has to do with a sport or a topic within a sport it doesn’t have an expiration date where it needs to be aired by a certain time.
How does it work, will the students get to pick the topics for the show?
With my approval as the Program Director of the station, I have the final say with what goes on.
What kind of programming can listeners expect?
We want the content to be appropriate, fitting and appeal to the masses so it’s not just student radio. We’re hoping to tackle issues that are common to the sports fan but we will also delve into entertainment and we will have Live DJ’s mixers from time to time on the weekends. More importantly we will be creating content for anyone between the ages of 18 to 80.
Touching on entertainment, can you tell us a bit more on this area?
Granted, it’s a sports school and feature speciality sports such as football and baseball. But we will also talk about movies for example. We are also going to delve into music, especially at the weekends. We have several DJ’s here at SLAM that are going to make themselves a part of the radio station so on the weekends you may have “You’re listening to the mix of DJ(?)”
Interesting! So not the typical sports show. Sounds like a lot of programme expansion coming up. How far in advance will the programmes be prepared?
We’re going to have weekly meetings in classes which will help come up with ideas to create evergreen content.
My morning show isn’t evergreen and we will talk Live about the shows that were played last night but tomorrow we can’t talk about the games played last night so there’s a huge difference.
The evergreen content will help us be able to replace some programming. 168 hours a week is a lot of time. Professionals have a hard time filling that time so when you’re talking about students we’re going to have a challenge on our hands.
But certainly they are also going to be creating content that does have an expiration date and for that we are going to meet once or twice a week about how we create that content and my very best will be able to do that on a weekly basis and create the more relevant programming that will be on the station aside from the morning show and then the evergreen content the things you may have done last week we can play it over the next few weeks.
Some students are already thinking of doing a series of programmes relevant to what their show content is about. They want to do features on players in soccer for example, the feature today will be Ronaldo Cristiano and next week will feature Lionel Messi. While others will be interview based so they will go out and find people in an industry that they want to cover and do interviews. All these will be pre-recorded.
We’re excited as it’s going to be a mix of Live programming, music and more. Our goal is also to not make it not sound like ‘student radio’ and that people are listening to this and enjoying what they are listening to.
Talk me through what is happening right now Larry, where are we currently in the process of launching?
Construction is completed of our state of the art studio. Not just recording booths and rooms for some of the evergreen content but we’re also going to have a main studio where I’m going to be doing my Live show.
Far as community involvement, part of my job is to get out into the community and spread the message about what we are doing at Slam Talk Radio. There are currently over 100 students matriculated in Radio classes.
My day can get very intense. I start early as 6:30 in the morning and can be here late as 9-10pm at night. There’s a lot of work to be done as we get ready to embark on making history.
This is radio history! Let’s call it like we see it. I’ve worked in the business for years and radio is an amazing medium to communicate. Some people may deem it as ‘old school’, but radio has had a ‘re-birth’ in my opinion, because of the video element in it. I’m just excited about how we’re embarking on this journey into history, being that we’re a high school and were going to have a national radio platform.
The students are also going to be involved in creating their own content that’s pre-recorded and that’s an amazing element as well. They’re not going to sit in a room and watch me do a Live show. They are going to get involved in the creation of that show. Doing the research necessary.
Seems like it’s a REALLY hands-on process Larry
It’s very hands on. Another element we are going to be using that has never been done on sports radio is a Live DJ. So we’re going to not only have DJ on the weekends and play on the weekends.
Sports shows generally come back from their break play a song and end it out in 15 seconds and then they go into their content.
Sounds like a great platform and opportunity for the up and coming DJ’s within the school too
Absolutely. They will also get the opportunity during their morning show to create 6-8 minute mixes before we get into the content. So the listener will have the opportunity to dance a little bit, hear a little spot, go to break, come back and get some more mixes.
It’s very unique. It’s very ‘Pitbullish’ It’s got that Pitbull flair to it and I know that when I spoke to Pitbull about it he absolutely loved the idea because it’s unique. It’s different and it has our SLAM stamp to it. We’re excited about how it’s going to come about.
Tell me more about your Morning Show on Slam Talk Radio. For someone who has never heard any of your shows or aware of your style – How would you describe what your part will bring to Slam Talk Radio
My show will be a good eclectic mix of sports and entertainment. It’s when a DJ Laz Morning Show marries a sports show like The Dan LeBatard Show.
If you marry those two together and you create the hybrid nature of both of those shows, unite them you get my show. I don’t pretend to be DJ Laz or Dan LeBatard but there’s going to be elements I get from both of them who have served as mentors in my radio career and I’m very excited about putting that into play.
I think they will be proud in knowing they had an influence on making this historic journey possible. My show will be heavy sports but entertainment will play a big role in it. I plan on having guests on the show and with the help of Mr 305, Mr Worldwide himself I’m sure he will come on from time to time with us but tap into some of his friends to join us in the studio or over the phone and that’s what we‘re really excited about. Having guests on the show that are going to be a part of our program whether it’s Marc Antony or Derek Jeter. Whoever it is, we really plan on making this a wide open platform for the entertainment world as well as the sports world.
Would others outside the USA be able to listen to Slam Talk Radio, from the UK for example?
Of course, if you have Sirius XM. We’ll have you listen – we’ll have you on the show!
Wow, thank you it would be an honour Larry
We want to keep the content as fresh and as entertaining as possible and if you’re in the car and listening to the station it could be something that would captivate you and you would listen. That’s also where my challenge comes in. Fresh as in content and fresh in how we deliver the content.
Your Morning Show – will it be the only interactive show on the station?
Definitely my morning show program will be interactive and Live from 7am-12pm ET. We will have open lines, people calling into the show, interviews on air over the phone.
In the beginning we are going to make sure we concentrate on our content and delivering this content the best way possible and doing that will require more of a podcast and pre-recorded form. If there are students identified that are excellent I will consider creating a Live show for them but in the beginning it will be monitored closely and make sure it sounds right.
You briefly mentioned challenges about keeping content fresh and how SLAM Talk Radio deliver the content as one of the challenges. Are there any other challenges you currently face or foresee in the future?
There has never been a high school with a national radio platform, so it’s a tall task to take on and teach 15-16 year olds to create content that is going to be listenable on a radio station. That’s quite a challenge. My show will go 5 hours and having been on radio for many years, the students will get the ability to work behind the scenes of a true national syndicated morning show and know the ins and outs of what you need to do to prepare for a show on a daily basis. That’s a great experience for them.
Our challenge is also that it’s 168 hours of programming. 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have my 5 hour show and we will have the best of that the students will edit and get to read for the evening play. For the most part they need to create content, show and long form that will be adequate for Slam Talk Radio.
My biggest challenge in all of this is making it sound like a professional radio station that is being controlled and run by professionals. The challenge there is that I have young students we have to train, cross train and prepare well. Some of the exercises that we are going to do over the summer should begin that preparation process. Experience comes with practice.
As they prepare, start practicing and creating this evergreen content which will get better and better and from there pick who the best of the best are and consider Live programming with them a well. But for now they will be pre-recorded.
Because we do that it makes it easier to replace programming. I know a few students that will be creating programming on a weekly basis. We have an entertainment show that will be a pre-recorded podcast by students that will come on once a week on the radio station.
What are you looking forward to the most?
I have really made this all about the students. They warm my heart, they’re interesting, they’re dynamic. It is unique. It can be a little frustrating sometimes because there is an age difference but I get to their level as I am young at heart so I understand them better and can relate to them more than most teachers do. I relate to them. I listen to their music and watch the same shows because I swear sometimes I’m a teenager (both laugh).
Even though as a career radio guy there is a first in all of this for me. That this that it is the first time I will have a nationally syndicated broadcast on air. I’ve always been a local radio host. So the fact that i will be heard all over the country and world is exciting and nerve wrecking all at once. Demanding as well the demands of being a Program Director of Slam Talk Radio and making this station work as well as create content for 5 hours a day.
I owe that dynamic to Pitbull, he’s the one who really showed me this could be much more fulfilling on that side than anything that I do on the air so I’m going to have one of the best radio shows in the country but that’s because I’m confident and I have done this before and I know I can be entertaining, funny and quirky, unique and opinionated but to see them do this and be inspired by my work and be inspired by what I have taught them and then watch their young energy just come out on the microphone.
We haven’t even talked about the video element and side projects on the radio and watch that all come together and be able to stand like a proud dad and know that I helped make this happen. This is radio history. This is going to be my legacy in this business.
Pitbull also has the tag ‘Mr Education’ too! I have to throw in and ask, what is your favourite Pitbull song?
There are so many to choose from, but two of my favorite songs are “On the Floor” with JLo and “Rain Over Me” with Marc Anthony. Aside from Pitbull, they are my two favorite music artists.
Thank again so much for taking the time for sharing more with all of us about this exciting time and history in the making. I’m really looking forward to the launch of Slam Talk Radio and excited for you, the students, the listeners the radio industry that’s been hit with something new and innovative by SLAM
SLAM RADIO XM
SiriusXM Channel 145
Good Morning Amigo Show Weekdays 7am
Photo Credits: Larry Milian & Slam Radio XM