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RTI and The VLZ Welcome Tony Basilio to 1180 am


Rocky Top Insider joins the rest of the brands on 1180 am, WVLZ, in welcoming aboard a true local icon, the great Tony Basilio. Because on April 1, the voice of the common fan will be broadcasting his daily, eponymous show on The VLZ at his regular time, 11am to 1pm.

“By adding Tony, we’ll literally have every angle covered when it comes to University of Tennessee sports,” said WVLZ General Manager Seth Stokes, who also co-hosts 1180’s The Swain Event. “Right now Jayson Swain delivers the perspective that only a former player can bring in the morning, Dave Hooker comes at listeners from a sports media perspective in the afternoon, and RTI Radio, with VFL Erik Ainge and UT beat writer Daniel Lewis, delivers a blend of both on the drive home.

“But with Tony, we add the perspective of the common fan. And that will make 1180 the most diverse local sports-talk lineup in the entire market. One that covers UT sports from every angle possible.”

But if you’re thinking this diverse collection of brands begins and ends on the radio, think again. Because Rocky Top Insider will be bringing them to the television as well, starting with the In the Pocket Orange and White Game Special, hosted by Tony Basilio and Tony Robinson.

“Teaming up with RTI for the Orange and White Game Special was a no-brainer,” said Craig Jenkins of The Jenkins Agency, which has been responsible for all of Basilio’s previous forays into television. “They have the experience, the vision and the reach to make it happen. Not to mention the state-of-the-art digital studio.”

Jenkins isn’t the only one who sees the benefit of these brands drafting off one another. “It’s a textbook win-win,” said Rocky Top Insider Co-Founder John Cave Osborne. “Suddenly, 1180 is boasting a collection of strong brands throughout the entire day, and we’re convinced those brands would be stronger still if they worked together every now and again. But this isn’t a situation where RTI and Tony Basilio are suddenly merging into one entity. RTI isn’t getting a piece of Tony’s pie, and Tony isn’t getting a piece of the RTI pie. Instead, we’re just combining our leftover ingredients to bake another one. We’re banding together to create more and better content together than we could apart. In our case, the whole truly will be greater than the sum of its parts.”

In addition to traditional television, fans can also expect more digital videos, each filmed in the RTI Digital Studio, each breaking down a different aspect of UT Sports, each available on the app of the talent that hosted the video.

“That’s where the industry is going,” said Rocky Top Insider Co-Founder Bob Baskerville. “Three-dimensional, portable content. Right now, our market as a whole does a great job of flat content for the Internet as well as live radio and podcasts. What’s missing in this market, though, is compelling video content. Short form, long form, you name it. And while we were certainly aware of the hole in our marketplace when we launched Rocky Top Insider, we lacked the personalities to consistently deliver informative and entertaining video content.

“But Tony Basilio coming over to 1180 filled out a top-shelf, hyperlocal daily lineup and that opened our eyes to the reality that those personalities are all around us. So it only makes sense that the Tony Basilios and the RTIs of the world start teaming up, whether it’s on a remote broadcast, on a conventional television show, or on digital videos. There’s a demand for more portable content. By joining forces, we can begin to accommodate that demand.”

“I just feel blessed,” said Basilio. “Blessed to have been doing this for so long. Blessed to have the following I have. Blessed to be joining the lineup over at 1180. And blessed to be in this new relationship with the folks at RTI. But it’s important for people to realize that I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I’m just finding more places I can roll it.”

So tune in to 1180 on April 1 at 11am to catch The Tony Basilio Show. And also be sure to tune into WTNZ Fox 43 on April 13 at 6:30 pm to watch the first ever RTI TV-Jenkins Agency production, the In the Pocket Orange and White Game Special.

Don’t be surprised if you see other 1180 WVLZ personalities making appearances on the show. And don’t be surprised to see more of these types of collaborative efforts moving forward. Because that’s a given.

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