Who are This Year’s Models in Lexington? Model Citizens? Visionaries? Innovators? Big Thinkers who are also long on Action? Every year, Ace celebrates “This Year’s Models” with a special year-end Annual Edition (on stands now). All year long, the readers nominate Lexingtonians who have made a difference in making Lexington a better place to live.
This year’s class includes an artist bent on revitalization, an athlete, a couple very different bloggers, post doo-wop moguls, and a bike-ridin’ cowboy.
MATT JONES: New Media Model
by Kevin W. Faris
For UK fans, the Wildcats are a passion; we live it, breathe it, and feel it deep in our souls. What it does not do, for most of us anyway, is pay the bills. Unless you work for the local media at the Lexington Herald-Leader or one of the TV and Radio stations that cover the game, our interest in UK sports does not keep a roof over our heads.
That’s why you have to admire someone like Matt Jones. In 2005, Matt Jones and a few of his fellow Transy grads, started his UK blog, Kentuckysportsradio.com (KSR), and since then, it has become arguably the most popular site for UK sports and information. What started as a part time job, supplemented by practicing law, has turned into a multimedia empire. Jones currently hosts a daily UK radio show on WKJK 1080 AM in Louisville (live streaming available at talkradio1080.com) from 10-12, a nightly television show on Insight channel 2 (KSTV), and will soon be joining CBSsports.com as a featured writer for their new college basketball blog.
His twitter account KYSportsRadio has over 18,000 followers, which is more than the Lexington Herald Leader’s John Clay, Jerry Tipton, or Chip Cosby and also more than the Courier-Journal’s Rick Bozich, Eric Crawford, or Brett Dawson. And I almost forgot to mention that he hosts the post-game show on 840 WHAS. Needless to say, the law practice has been left behind.
This rise from part-time blogger to full time multimedia guru has had some bumps along the way. Jones has hosted radio shows on stations which no longer exist, feuded with other UK bloggers and media members, and even had his car vandalized while covering the Rick Pitino/Karen Sypher trial. Despite these issues, KSR continued to grow and thrive. It would have been easy for Jones to walk away and devote his time to being a fulltime attorney. I’m sure he didn’t spend the time and money at Duke Law School (yes, that’s right Mr. UK Sports Media went to DUKE!) to not practice law, but as he prepares to hand over the day to day reins of the website to Thomas Beisner, Jones has accomplished what so many of us only dream of, he has made a living doing what we all do for free, talking about UK sports.
Matt Jones has created a successful media business outside of the traditional media bubble. Sure, the radio, TV show, and CBS gig no doubt qualify as traditional media, but none of that would be possible without the website. Jones has been successful because he understands what it means to be a UK fan. You can never go broke giving the people what they want, and Jones knows what UK fans want: Information, insight, and entertainment.
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