WVON tackles sports radio

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Recently gracing the Chicago airwaves, WVON-AM/1690’s new sports show “Stats and Stilettos” is giving the city a side of sports it’s never seen.

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Recently gracing the Chicago airwaves, WVON-AM/1690’s new sports show “Stats and Stilettos” is giving the city a side of sports it’s never seen.

Thaisa Gee and Faruq Basir host the show that’s becoming more popular amongst Chicago sports fans. The two have been hosting the show for two months and have forged a partnership they feel will open up bigger opportunities in the future.

Gee, who came up with the concept of the show, grew up in the Beverly neighborhood and went to Ohio State before transferring to Howard University where she majored in journalism.

Basir has been a sound engineer at WVON for 15 months and was born and raised in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood. He started out at the Illinois Center for Broadcasting before coming on as on-air talent at WVON, the only black-owned and operated radio station in Chicago.

The first day Gee and Basir met, they spoke about the concept of the show and it was instant chemistry between the two, brought together by a common interest in sports.

“I think the chemistry was instant,” Basir said. “The night that we met, sports were a great conversation starter. It’s easy to take that from a conference room to in front of some microphones.”

The two hosts presented the idea to the station manager and the rest is history. The show is based on a concept not often seen: a man discussing sports in detail with a woman.

“We have a decent female following right now and I think it helps with relationships between men and women,” Basir said. He jokingly added, “That’s something that can probably bond them closer together. I feel like we’re serving the community.”

Gee manages to hold her ground in a male-dominated arena, growing up in a home with two brothers and her father where she said she had no choice but to be knowledgeable of sports. She considers herself as the “hybrid girlfriend.”

“I’m still a girl, I’m still gonna put heels on and I’m still gonna do my hair and my makeup,” she said. “There’s nothing butch about me, outside of watching football. I know when to be a woman and I know when to be a sports fan so it’s kind of like bringing your boy and your girlfriend together.”

Gee welcomes the challenge of being a minority in the sports world and has aspirations to be a household name by the end of her career.

“I don’t necessarily want to be a sideline reporter, but when people think of sports and they think of women, I just want my name to be mentioned,” she said, mentioning ESPN’s Jemele Hill as a female journalist she admires.

The duo is working on projects to expand the one-hour show to reach a larger audience and promises major strides in 2012. Both are excited about the opportunity to make a significant impact on sports and history in the city.

“I look forward to Sunday nights so much just to voice my opinion because it’s rare, Basir said. “We’re at a Black-owned radio station. We wouldn’t have this opportunity anywhere else in Chicago.”

“Stats and Stilettos” airs Sundays from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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