George Plaster

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George Plaster (born May 7, 1959 in Nashville, Tennessee) is a sports administrator and former sports broadcast personality. He currently serves as associate athletic director at Belmont University.[1]

Plaster worked for 102.5 FM "The Game" (WPRT-FM) in Nashville, and hosted an afternoon drive-time (3 to 6 PM Central Time show, SportsNight, with former Vanderbilt Commodores basketball and baseball player and former minor league baseball player Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland. He is also the former host of The Sports Zone, a daily afternoon sports talk radio program broadcasting on WGFX-FM (104.5 The Zone) in Nashville, Tennessee. Plaster had hosted the show since shortly after its 2003 inception until leaving WGFX in September 2011, and for ten years prior, hosted SportsNight, a similar program on WWTN-FM.[2] Plaster also hosts The State Auto SportsZone, a weekly television show that airs on Sunday nights from August to May on WZTV.

Contract disputes[edit]

In the summer of 2003, Plaster was the central figure in a public contract dispute which led to, and later hampered, his move to WGFX. When Cumulus Media agreed to purchase WWTN from Gaylord Entertainment Company, Plaster invoked a contract loophole which voided his contract with WWTN. Earlier in the year, however, Plaster had begun negotiations with Citadel Broadcasting Company to move his show to then-classic rock station WGFX (Plaster was suspended from WWTN for nearly two weeks in February 2003 after Gaylord officials reportedly learned of his backroom dealings). Plaster left WWTN in July just as the sale to Cumulus was completed, having been employed by the station since the early 1990s. He announced through other media that his show would resume on WGFX in August.

However, on August 11, 2003, just hours before he was to debut on WGFX, Cumulus (with assistance from Gaylord) was granted an injunction in Davidson County Chancery Court, preventing Plaster from appearing on his new show. Cumulus had sought to quash Plaster's new contract, citing a non-compete clause in his original WWTN contract. Plaster was under the assumption the clause had been voided along with the contract, which had been signed by Gaylord Entertainment, not Cumulus. Cumulus then filed a breach of contract suit against Plaster, and he reacted with a counter suit alleging that Cumulus was illegally hampering his ability to make a living. Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland, who both also made the move to WGFX (though without legal consequence since neither was under contract to WWTN), took to the air in Plaster's place and continued that way for two full months. On October 11, the case was settled without trial, and Plaster received an undisclosed sum of money from Cumulus and Gaylord. He was also allowed to join his co-hosts on WGFX, where he continued to broadcast until September 16, 2011[6].

Public perception of the dispute favored Plaster, and most of his audience followed him to WGFX. Meanwhile, SportsNight continued at WWTN without Plaster, and was later moved to WNFN-FM, where it continued to compete with The Sports Zone until March 13, 2006. On that Wednesday, SportsNight was canceled and its hosts (those who once worked with Plaster) were fired. SportsNight saw its ratings consistently and significantly drop in the three years following Plaster's departure. In July 2006, after three months of earning respectable ratings airing ESPN Radio programming against Plaster, WNFN launched The Sports Guys, a new afternoon show hosted by Nashville sportscaster Robert Bob Bell and former Middle Tennessee State head football coach Boots Donnelly, although Bell's declining health later caused him to leave the program. In July, 2009, WNFN changed formats as ratings never approached those of Plaster's show.

On September 16, 2011, another contract dispute occurred when Cumulus acquired Citadel (the sale had occurred earlier but closed at this time) took over and Plaster left WGFX (104.5 The Zone). Plaster continued his work on TV, and returned to radio on July 23, 2012 as co-host of Baptist Sports Medicine SportsNight at the Game from 3:00 to 6:00 PM on 102.5 The Game (WPRT-FM) with Willy Daunic and Darren McFarland, where he remained until his departure on August 3, 2016.

Voice therapy[edit]

In February 2006, Plaster began to experience difficulties with his voice, which soon became serious enough that he was forced to curtail his on-air activities. He began receiving voice therapy at the Vanderbilt University Voice Center. In April 2006, Plaster's participation in The Sports Zone was limited to online "cyberchat" on the station's website. On May 17, it was announced that Plaster would return to the airwaves on a limited, one-hour-per-day basis, effective with the May 19 show. He did so, conducting an interview with his good friend, former NBA and Vanderbilt center Will Perdue, who now serves as a color analyst for ESPN Radio and Westwood One. In early June, it was announced he would begin to appear on the show for two hours daily. He eventually returned to his standard schedule of three hours daily (3p-6p).

Other work[edit]

Plaster served as the color analyst, opposite Bob Jamison, for the Nashville Sounds baseball club in the 1980s. He was also the play-by-play voice for Memphis State and Vanderbilt athletics as well as the Nashville Kats Arena Football League franchise. Additionally, he did play-by-play on local television broadcasts of Georgia Tech football and Western Kentucky basketball games. In the mid-1990s, Plaster served as co-host of a television show entitled Sports Talk on WNAB-TV.[3]

Plaster was featured on Mark Wills' 2003 single "And the Crowd Goes Wild", from his album of the same name.[4]

Honors[edit]

In 2006, Plaster was named to the inaugural Talkers Magazine "Talkers 250" list, highlighting the 250 most influential talk radio hosts in America.[5] He remained on the list in 2007 and 2008.

Personal life[edit]

Plaster graduated from Battle Ground Academy in 1977.[6] He was inducted into the Distinguished Alumnus Hall of Fame in June 2008. He also graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1981..[7]

Plaster is a Nashville native. He has never married. His late father was a close friend of the late former Nashville Vols, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Bulldogs announcer Larry Munson. He is proud of his Greek-American heritage and makes frequent reference to it, being one of two Greek-Americans prominent in Nashville broadcasting, the other being WSMV news anchor Demetria Kaledemos.

Bobblehead George[edit]

In June 2008, the Nashville Sounds baseball team gave away George Plaster bobblehead dolls as a game promotion. Nashvillian Jim Reams began posting photos on a website showing "Bobblehead George" dolls in diverse places around the world. After the website was listed ranked 74th the WordPress list of "top 100 fastest growing blogs", Reams decided to put the website to use as a fundraiser, and dedicated all revenues to an advocacy organization for hereditary angioedema patients.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Organ, Mike. "George Plaster hired as Belmont associate athletic director". The Tennessean. Gannett Company. Retrieved 6 December 2016. 
  2. ^ McClain, John (September 20, 1996). "Nashville radio show has local flavor all its own", Houston Chronicle, p. 9.
  3. ^ Spain, Kevin (January 11, 1996). "Mixed Media: WNAB debuting sports talk show Jan. 29", Nashville Banner, p. E8.
  4. ^ And the Crowd Goes Wild (CD liner notes). Mark Wills. Mercury Records. 2003. 000101202. 
  5. ^ http://www.talkers.com/main/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=44
  6. ^ Pogue, Greg (August 24, 1995). "Calling Commodore games a job George Plaster was destined to do", Nashville Banner, p. F13.
  7. ^ Pogue, Greg (July 13, 1995). "A hard sell", Nashville Banner, p. E1.
  8. ^ What is Where’s Bobblehead George All About?, Where's Bobblehead George website, accessed July 7, 2009

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