Grad commands national airwaves

Since graduating from Geneseo in 1987, John Tournour, known on the Fox Sports Radio airways as "JT the Brick," has taken a long and winding career path that has led him to become one of the most successful sports talk personalities on the air today.

A die-hard fan of the New York Knicks and New York Yankees, he has let his enthusiasm for sports and great interpersonal skills carry him to the top of the sports radio world.

After growing up in North Massapequa on Long Island, Tournour arrived at Geneseo where he received a degree in speech communication in 1987. While at Geneseo, Tournour served as president of the Delta Kappa Tau fraternity, was an active member of the rugby team, and occasionally wrote sports articles for The Lamron.

"It was the best four years of my life," he said. "The reason I am where I am today is because of my father and the way he guided me through life and the experiences I had at Geneseo as president of the DK fraternity."

When he left Geneseo, Tournour did not seem destined to be the sports personality that he has become. "I never went to college to become a radio host. I now have the largest syndicated sports talk show at night in America," he said.

After graduation, Tournour worked as a stockbroker on Wall Street for several years. In 1992, he moved to San Diego and subsequently began calling in to sports radio talk shows. In 1995, he was invited to participate in the first ever "Smack-Off," an invite-only competition of the most dedicated callers to famed sports broadcaster Jim Rome's syndicated talk show. Tournour won the competition, and it jump-started his career in radio.

After winning the competition, Tournour moved to Las Vegas and co-hosted The Pete Rose Show with baseball legend Pete Rose. He then moved to San Francisco and hosted a local sports show on KNBR from noon to 3 p.m. At the same time, Tournour hosted a syndicated sports show from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m.

"I was the only radio host in America working eight hours a day," Tournour noted. He did this for two years.

In 1998, Tournour started working for the Oakland Raiders as host of their pre- and post-game show. He now hosts a weekly show for Raiders fans, The Raiders Report. Tournour is the only sports talk show host who is also on the payroll of an NFL team.

His current talk show, Game Time React, airs on over 190 stations and is also available on XM Satellite Radio. Many famous athletes make guest appearances on the show, including football legend Jim Brown. Brown is a personal friend of Tournour, and appears on the show once a week.

Perhaps some of Tournour's success comes from the attitude that he brings into his shows. "The theme of my show is always to connect with the fans," he said.

In addition to hosting his shows, Tournour has also been able to attend several of sports' most prestigious events. "I went from a small school in Geneseo, now I'm traveling to the biggest sporting events in the world," he noted.

Communication department chair Dr. Joseph Bulsys is glad to see Tournour's success as a graduate of the department. "I'm pleased to hear that an alumnus of our department, who focused on broadcasting courses, has become a successful sports personality in a major media market," he said.

Current DK fraternity members are also proud of Tournour's accomplishments. "JT was a deep brother, and his leadership as president of the fraternity and the way he conducted himself as a brother is very reflective of his current success," said Blaine Gallson, DK's vice president. "JT is a prime example of how successful our alumni have become after leaving Delta Kappa Tau."

Tournour still maintains that his experiences at Geneseo have helped him achieve success in broadcasting as well as in life itself. "Being president of DK and playing rugby molded me on top of my schoolwork. It teaches you how to grow up and be a man."