Tampas Got TalentThis was definitely a put yourself out there-kinda weekend for me. I woke up at the butt crack of dawn Saturday morning, drove myself to Ybor City, and got in line to do something I’ve never actually done before: audition. When I was doing production work in L.A. I flirted with the idea of taking an acting class to see if it was something that I could/would want to do. I never did. Pretty certain it’s not for me. I’m just way more comfortable 1) behind a camera, and 2) deflecting the attention (and sometimes, to my detriment, the credit). Saturday’s was a different kind of audition, though.

The top-rated radio station here in Tampa, 1025 the Bone, along with its hippety-hop sister station, Hot 1015, held a big public tryout called “Tampa Bay’s Got Talent” at the Ritz Ybor, with the winner receiving some cash and a 90-day on-air contract, and possible permanent on-air spot. I’m a lifelong fan of talk radio. I’ve listened to guys like Howard Stern, Bubba the Love Sponge, and Jim Rome for many years, but it was never something I thought I’d try, much less pursue, as a career. It’s still not my main passion, but after hosting a weekly internet radio show for nearly a year now—the Con Artist Podcast for those who don’t know—and loving every minute of it, it gave me the confidence to head down there and give it a shot.

I got to the venue way early, and as you can imagine, the kind of folks who were queued up at 7AM were the ones who were taking it pretty seriously. I was only 14th in line, but there was some real talent that went on before me—a couple local comedians, some interns from current radio shows, and a few guys who host podcasts of their own. There was some real shit, too. The gist of this tryout was that contestants were given two minutes to do their thing at an empty banquet table with only a handheld microphone, and boy, my nerves almost got the best of me when it was my turn.

My spiel ran the gamut from Lance Armstrong’s doping confession to Manti Te’o being “Catfished” to recounting a similar tale that happened to a friend of mine. The good news is they let me do my entire two minutes. Some were not so lucky, and got the loud buzzer before their allotted time was up. The very good news is that I won over the room, and the panel, made up of two 101.5 DJs, and the Bone’s Drew Garabo and my personal favorite radio personality, Cowhead, cracking them up a few times, namely when I said that a good name for the Armstrong biopic in the works would be “LiveStrong or Die Hard: The Rise and Ball of Lance Armstrong.” I also went over with an aside about banned substances, something to the effect of, “You know what else is on France’s banned substances list? Deoderant, shampoo.”

After your short opportunity, the panel gives you some constructive feedback, and/or clowns you pretty hard. Thankfully, I didn’t get much of the latter. That said, I have no delusions of grandeur about being one of the 10 finalists, the winner of which will be voted on through the stations’ respective websites. It doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I was able to muster the courage to go up in front of a panel of radio jocks, one of whom I greatly admire, as well as some high-up suits from Cox Radio, and about 50-60 onlookers (the event was open to the public). It was nerve-racking as hell, but I felt damn good afterward, and am so glad I took a chance and did it.


Yeah, I probably should’ve snapped a picture or two of me there. Either way, thanks for taking the time, guys. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

  1. Sue Mainer says:

    I am proud of you for stepping up to the plate! It is so easy to play ‘what if’ or ‘wish I could’ but real courage to do it. I look forward to your rise to fame! Every first step is a milestone!

  2. “LiveStrong or Die Hard,” LMAO! Clever. That’s pretty awesome you mustered up the courage and auditioned! Good luck. 🙂

  3. Nice job, Shawn! I was there to cheer on my boyfriend, and definitely didn’t have the courage to try out myself!

  4. Will you please vote for my boyfriend, Kris Dunn? http://www.theboneonline.com He’s losing to the stand up comedians 😦

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