In the world of the South Eastern Conference, he’s known by one word..Finebaum. That’s what his television & radio congregation calls him every weekday afternoon on the SEC Network. Sometimes you’ll here them shout from the rooftops “Paaaawwwll!” This man of the college football cloth is Paul Finebaum. Former columnist, author, and long time radio host is now on the SEC Network from 3PM to 7PM eastern time where you hear him deliver his daily sermon for every SEC and college football fan. This is not just any sports talk show. It’s a caller driven show. After all, most radio talk shows are filled with interviews and little time for the callers to participate. Finebaum often says “it’s the inmates running the asylum.”
He perfected this format from the Birmingham, Alabama airwaves starting in the late 1980’s before moving to ESPN and Charlotte, North Carolina for the launch of the SEC Network in the Fall of 2014. He gives callers the opportunity to speak their mind. It didn’t hurt that the passion for the Alabama/Auburn rivalry from callers helped fuel the show in early days. It’s a formula that’s worked for almost 30 years. It’s worked so well that in 2009, the Orlando Sentinel named him as “one of the ten most powerful people in the SEC.” They’re known only by their radio call-signs: Phyllis from Mulga (AL), Jim from Tuscaloosa, Tammy, Charles from Reeltown, I-Man, Legend, etc. There’s more than I can name.
Not to say that Finebaum never does interviews or has guests. He does but it’s the right blend that keeps the show fresh and new. Former LSU and Dallas Cowboy standout Marcus Spears (The Big Swagu) now has a regular segment once a week with Paul in studio. It work’s really well. Both Finebaum and Spears play off each other and callers in a seamless rhythm. It’s brought something new to the show and works well. You have to watch it for yourself. It’s television/radio gold. The SEC Network has helped introduce Paul Finebaum to the rest of the country. It’s as popular as ever. There’s even a fan site dedicated to the show.
I’ve been listening to Finebaum since 1999 and was immediately hooked. It was something different that still resonates for me today. If you’re a fan of college football, you owe it to yourself to check out this daily soap opera. You won’t be disappointed.