The Shoot turns 7 on Sunday: Gary reflects on the show’s history

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The very first Shoot digital promo from April of 2007
The very first Shoot digital promo from April of 2007

Hard to believe the day has come where The Shoot would reach the 7 year old mark. When i went live for the first time on April 20th, 2007 i had no idea that at this point and on the same token when i pulled the plug on The Shoot in 2010 after getting burned out i had no idea in 2014 i’d still be doing shows. When i look back at the show’s turbulent history and that’s putting it kindly it’s amazing that i’m even here to tell the story. Every since i started the show, i always kept it close to the vest so to speak. Co-Hosts came and went back in the day before i finally hit gold with Alan Martin who stuck with me through thick and thin. The show started out as a late night Friday thing, the only reason i did that was because i loved the Shadowe Man and no thats no typo he had an E at the end of Shadowe. He was my first early exposure to Wrestling Radio and if you go way back you may remember him dating back to the early-mid 90s on the Cable Radio Network. His style on the air was infectious to me. It was my inspiration to want to even get into doing wrestling radio. Once i decided to get into it, i made the decision that going live was best for me as there was no net. It seemed like the only way to go. I used some marketing techniques i picked up while being in several local underground bands and utilzed the early days of Social Media with MySpace to promote my show to anyone who’d give me the time of day. I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning sending Messages and Friend Requests to people knowing full well i needed to be up at 6am to get ready for my day job as a Digital Pressman for a printing company. Once the show got off and running, i moved the show to 8pm on Thursdays in “Primetime” as it proved to be the best decision i ever made for the show at that time. We were on BlogTalkRadio and attracting listeners from all over. After 2 months i decided to add a cohost to the mix. John Krauser who had 2-3 years of prior internet radio experience on BWR came aboard the team, but due to several other commitments wasn’t able to be a regular. Knowing this, i brought on Nick Malone who i found out about through being MySpace buddies and boy was he eager to get on the show. I treated Nick like shit and i regret that. Luckily he has forgiven me since then. At the time he was very green, but so was I and he didn’t deserve it. As we headed into the summer, we ended up having a few shows as a 3 man team which was interesting but it didn’t last long.

Summer of 2007 with Co-Hosts John & Michelle
Summer of 2007 with Co-Hosts John & Michelle

When the summer was just getting kicked off, an issue between Nick and a listener of the show was brought on air. Rather than squashing it privately, i thought it would be more interesting on the air. I ended up firing Nick live on the air. After his firing, i did some thinking about the show and decided all of a sudden that I wanted to take the show in yet another direction. I wanted a female voice to balance out John and I in a climate of Wrestling Radio shows that was much much lighter than it is today and that was just something that wasn’t being done at that time. I always tried new things because i didn’t give a shit if it worked or not, i just wanted to try something new and sometimes for better or worse it would either be a home run or a flat out failure. So we brought Michelle onto the show. She was a listener much like everyone else who had joined the show at that point. Back in the days of the shows with John & Michelle, we would just fire up the live show and have fun. In a lot of cases our humor wasn’t for everyone and we didn’t get a lot done, but we had fun. I was so young with “radio” at that point, i was just getting my feet wet. I didn’t know everything then and i’m still learning new things all the time. The experiment with John and Michelle ended up being a short run and i hate how it ended. I blame myself because i knew there was a better way to go about it and instead i took the wrong approach after we had a show filled with technical difficulties and instead of doing a make up show with them, i did a make up show test run with a new co-host. Justin who hosted a YouTube show with his friends Alan & Will showed up on my radar likely after the exposure we got for our Heidenreich & Jason Sensation interviews which were 2 of the most talked about interviews among people in the Internet Wrestling Community in 2007. We made an epic splash with those 2 interviews and despite their controversial nature, they proved to be the real launching point for the show that got us noticed by people. Justin wanted a more serious approach, as did i. We shifted from the heavy comedy that was a regular in the John & Michelle days and it served as the foundation for what Alan and I would build on when Justin left the show without notice in November of 2007. With Justin on board, we had 4 great interviews as a team with Buff Bagwell, Shawn Daivari (his first live interview after being released from WWE), JJ Dillon & Chris Masters. I think these were some great shows, and although i’m disappointed that Justin left me without notice it almost seemed like karma biting me in the ass for the way things were handled with Nick, John & Michelle.

The first Shoot digital promo featuring Alan Martin
The first Shoot digital promo featuring Alan Martin

Justin’s departure wasn’t all bad though, waiting in the wings was his friend Alan Martin. A guy who called me up and told me that Justin was leaving the show and wasn’t going to tell me. He told me, i’d like to do the show if you’ll have me. It’s a phone call that still sticks with me to this day. It’s a phone call i remembered quite well with the owner of Burnout Media (which by the way is long gone) told me that Alan Martin was no good and more than suggested i get rid of him. Well that wasn’t going to happen. In that time i remembered very well that Alan was there for me when no one else was, and this wasn’t going to be the time to leave him high and dry to mark out to Burnout Media. Alan and i, although completely opposites in terms of humor and personality made for a great time. He kept me in line most of the time and when something stunk he did the best thing he could as Alan Martin, the son of a bitch no sold me and let me tell you i loved him for it. It was very symbolic to me. There would be times where guys would rip us off or trash our show and i would hit the air ready to give them as Steve Austin now puts it some “Audio Whoop Ass”. I’d go to Alan and ask him what he thought about it and he would just blow it off or completely no sell it. Back in the day it frustrated me to the point where i wouldn’t even clue him in on some of the things i was going to do just to see if i could illicit a reaction from him and he was sharp. If something stunk, he let me know in his own way. I didn’t get it at the time because i think i was in my own bubble, but now i have a new found respect for it. When i wasn’t trying to push through my crazy ideas, Alan and I put together some great shows and welcomed some fun guests to the show, that list includes Lanny Poffo, Bobby Lashley, Nigel McGuinness and others.

2 Year Anniversary show promo teasing 3rd member
2 Year Anniversary show promo teasing 3rd member

By the time 2009 rolled around, Alan and I were on a roll. I thought as i looked ahead to the future it might be time to spice things up a bit. One of our regular callers “Jose from Baltimore” had a unique spin on things whenever he called in. On one of his calls he mentioned that he had his own radio show. Of course the nice guy i was i told him to plug it and after i went to check it out i knew this was a guy i wanted to pursue for the show. Jose was an alias for Diamond K, host of the Diamond K show, Rapper, DJ, Author, Actor, you name it he’s done it. It just goes to show you, you never know who’s actually calling your shows. After speaking with DK and getting him on board with the show we decided to debut him on the 2 year anniversary show. I thought we would have the perfect balance. Alan who was the serious one, DK who had a great take on things but could add a fun spin to it and myself who was all over the place. It took a month or two to really find our way with the new 3 man team. Alan and I had such a great chemistry that you couldn’t just thrown someone else in without having to go through the process of finding a new chemistry with all 3. Once we did, we were off and rolling again. We had quite a few good shows in 2009 but by the end of the year the writing was on the wall. As much fun as we were having on air, off the air Alan and I both had some personal issues while quite different were both taking our attention away from the show. My personal issues mixed with burnout put me in the position of not giving a shit how i came across on the show.

The Shoot's logo from 2008-2010
The Shoot’s logo from 2008-2010

In the early part of 2010, DK was nice enough to book Dutch Mantel on the show you younger folks know him better as Zeb Colter who manages Jack Swawgger in the WWE. He had just left TNA a few months prior and was putting out a book. Rather than get some potential great content for the show, because Dutch showed up 45 mins late to the show i decided to hang up on him when he finally called in. Boy was that stupid! It was this new initiative of having more of an edge to my persona on the show. You see at that time i was desperately seeking attention from Tampa based radio DJ Bubba the Love Sponge. He was my favorite radio host at the time and i wanted to get in his good graces. But of course with being on BlogTalkRadio with a show that from an audio standpoint sounded like absolute garbage, i had no business getting the clicks i was about to get in February of 2010 when we put together a huge on air angle involving the Honky Tonk Man. The premise was simple, Honky Tonk Man would never call into Bubba’s show. When Bubba and co would call into other shows that Honky Tonk Man was on, whomever the call screeners and producers were wouldn’t put them through. I was in the right place at the right time. This was my last hurrah in the first era of The Shoot. We had Bubba’s producer and co-host Matt Loyd known better as Spice call in to confront Honky Tonk Man. For nearly 10 minutes the two went back and forth as i just sat back thinking to myself this thing is going to be everywhere tomorrow and i was right in the middle of it. It would go on to be the most downloaded show in Shoot history. The next morning as Bubba took the airwaves of the Howard 101 channel on Sirius XM, he would spend over 30 minutes talking about this segment and it drove people to my site. I finally had the 15 minutes of fame i desperately wanted and funny enough it went away as quickly as it came. The last few weeks of the show were some of the lowest we ever had and i’m not afraid to admit that. We were a wrestling show and we insulted a wrestling legend while taking the side of a radio guy who was HATED in TNA. I was never more relieved than when the show wrapped up in 2010 because by that time it had become a heavy burden on my shoulders, i was never more happy to end it. Looking back at the shows early years, i wouldn’t have changed a damn thing. Because if not i wouldn’t have learned from my mistakes in the first part of the show’s history so i could correct course and turn it all around for the better of today’s shows.

Between the shows end in 2010 and the return in 2013, there were a few times i got the itch to want to return. Some “old” friends of mine were doing some radio shows online down in Florida. This was part of the reason i wanted to jump back in, you add that in with technology advancing over 3 years and Internet radio had come so much further (and it’s still progressing) that i decided that 2013 was the perfect year to come back. I decided to come back as a solo act and to set the expectation that the show wouldn’t be 100% wrestling as it was before or as it was expected to be. I chose Sundays at 4pm because it didn’t interfere with my work schedule. To make the transition smoother our first 2 guests were wrestling based. We brought on 2 former writers from WWE: Andrew Goldstein & Alex Greenfield. From there, we started talking to other entertainment personalities like Bert Kreischer, Joe Piscopo, Rich Vos & others. Our interviews were getting rave reviews from listeners and it seemed the show was on the right track again. In the summer of 2013, i welcomed Chris McManamy onto the show after we won a co-host search contest. He was the people’s choice and very popular among mutual friends. He has proved to be a great addition to the show. He has been helpful to run ideas by and contributed many great hours of radio with me. I’d like to say our return was all perfect but, lets face it a Shoot return wouldn’t be complete without some controversy in the mix. After a staged feud with another personality on the network we were on turned into a shoot, it would set the framework to see our inevitable end at that place. It set the wheels in motion and ended up turning a few key players from that team against our show and it never got better from there. This network went on to sign a show that friends of ours on another show had a an issue with. We joined in the fight to stand up for our friends and yes like radio guys we poked the bear a little and pissed off the people who didn’t like us to begin with. This would be the best decision that we would ever make because the next day after the shitstorm, we ended up finding a new home in More Like Radio. Over at MLR, we already had so many friends over there doing the best shows on the internet and we made plenty of new friends as well. We jumped to MLR in the first week of October and have had nothing but a good time doing radio. The first time it’s been truly fun since the early days. We’ve since had some of the older cohosts back to hang out with us and have welcomed on some great guests. Right now, i’m pretty non-committal in terms of how long the show will be around in this era. If i have my way we’ll be around for years to come. Without the pressure of having to do a 100% wrestling show, and having great chemistry with Chris i don’t see the show stopping anytime soon. Of course the most important thing is the listeners, and if there’s no listeners there is no show. It’s pretty simple. That said as i wrap up here, i want to take a moment and thank each and everyone who has listened over the years and we hope you’re ready for the next wave of The Shoot as the future looks bright from here.