Matt Jones (radio host)

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Matt Jones
Matt Jones 2016.png
Jones in 2016
Personal details
Born (1978-08-28) August 28, 1978 (age 40)
Middlesboro, Kentucky
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materTransylvania University (BA)
Duke University (JD)
OccupationAttorney, Business owner, Radio host
Known forFounding Kentucky Sports Radio

Matthew Harper Jones (born August 28, 1978) is an American attorney, businessman, radio host, and the owner and founder of Kentucky Sports Radio in Lexington, Kentucky.

Early life and education[edit]

Jones was born and raised in Middlesboro, Kentucky; his mother practiced law in nearby Pineville, serving as the Commonwealth Attorney for Bell County. Jones attended Transylvania University on a full scholarship before receiving a scholarship to Duke Law School, where he graduated second in his class.[1] After graduation from Duke, Jones returned to Louisville to practice law and began Kentucky Sports Radio.

Career[edit]

After graduating from Duke Law School, Jones returned to Kentucky to practice law before founding Kentucky Sports Radio (colloquially known by its initials "KSR"), a website and radio show dedicated to sports coverage involving the University of Kentucky Wildcats, in 2005. Jones bounced around several smaller radio shows before then launching KSR as a radio show in 2011.[1] According to KSR's LinkedIn page, the show garners 180,000 listeners daily.[2] The radio show's flagship stations are WKJK in Louisville and WLAP in Lexington and is syndicated to 50 radio stations in 37 markets in Kentucky and surrounding states[3]. From September 2016 until July 2019, Jones also hosted "Hey Kentucky!", a nightly sports and news recap program on WLEX-TV in Lexington, since also syndicated to WBNA in Louisville.[4] On "Hey Kentucky!", Jones was joined nightly by rotating co-hosts, with some overlap with the KSR radio show. Jones and KSR also oversee a small network of podcasts based on the KSR brand and featuring personalities from both the KSR website and radio show.

Since founding Kentucky Sports Radio, Jones has used his media platform to discuss both sports and politics. In 2014, he hosted live one-on-one conversations with both incumbent then-Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and his challenger Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.[5] The conversation with Grimes on September 25 lasted 20 minutes and was called by The Daily Beast as "perhaps her most substantive interview."[6] Unlike Grimes, whose interview was in-studio, McConnell's interview was a spur-of-the-moment, unannounced phone call to the program 2 weeks later that was described as "emotional and combative."[6]

The next year, Jones hosted a Republican gubernatorial primary debate between the four candidates vying to win the Republican nomination for Kentucky Governor. Jones has stated that he thinks this debate, three weeks before the primary election, contributed to Matt Bevin's 86 vote primary victory. Jones was also selected as the emcee for the annual Fancy Farm political picnic in August 2015[7].

These forays into politics have led many to speculate that Jones might one day run for office.[8][9] He was courted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run for the 6th district U.S. House seat occupied by Representative Andy Barr in 2016 but ultimately declined to run.[10] He has also considered running for the U.S. Senate seat held by McConnell in 2020.[8][9] This public flirtation with the 2020 U.S. Senate race caused WLEX to temporarily remove him from his role as host of "Hey Kentucky!" until Jones made a decision on whether or not to run.[11] On August 15, Jones announced that he had been approached to write a book and had accepted. The book, tentatively titled "Mitch, Please!", would take him around all of Kentucky's 120 counties in order to make his case that Sen. McConnell had failed the citizens of Kentucky.[12] In response, the next day, Jones announced that WLEX had permanently ended his run as host of "Hey Kentucky!"[13]

In addition to the radio show, website, and televised program, Jones also started a sports bar in Lexington that is modeled after the KSR brand called Kentucky Sports Bar & Grille, colloquially known as "KSBar". [14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "This Liberal Sports Radio Host Thinks He Can Take Down Mitch McConnell". POLITICO Magazine. March 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Kentucky Sports Radio". LinkedIn.
  3. ^ Thompson, Mrs Tyler (2019-04-05). "KSR Show Thread 4/5: What Final Four?". Kentucky Sports Radio. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  4. ^ "Home". HeyKentucky.com. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  5. ^ Thompson, Mrs Tyler (2014-09-25). "Listen to Alison Lundergan Grimes on Kentucky Sports Radio". Kentucky Sports Radio. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  6. ^ a b Miller, Jonathan (2014-10-13). "Meet the Sports Host Who Could Decide the McConnell-Grimes Matchup". Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  7. ^ KET - Kentucky Educational Television (2015-08-01), Emcee Matt Jones | Fancy Farm 2015 | KET, retrieved 2019-06-15
  8. ^ a b "Is Matt Jones in for a 'rude awakening' if he challenges Mitch McConnell for Senate?". The Courier-Journal.
  9. ^ a b "Jones and Jennings show how partisan politics can be fair, entertaining". The Courier-Journal.
  10. ^ Lopez, Ashley (2015-10-01). "How A Sports Radio Show Became A Must Stop For Kentucky Politics". 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. Retrieved 2019-06-15.
  11. ^ WDRB, 'Matt Jones off Kentucky TV show while he mulls Senate race,' Jul 17, 2019 https://www.wdrb.com/news/matt-jones-off-kentucky-tv-show-while-he-mulls-senate/article_7fc68663-d7dd-5c32-ab00-5412f124cd62.html
  12. ^ Strauss, Ben (August 15, 2019). "Kentucky sports radio host plans book-length rebuke of Mitch McConnell". Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Jones, Matt [@KySportsRadio] (2019-08-16). "Today WLEX made the decision to end my time as host of @hey_kentucky due my decision to write the "Mitch, Please" book. I disagree strongly with this decision but it is what it is. I will continue to pursue my passions and beliefs, regardless of the result" (Tweet). Retrieved 2019-08-16 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ "Kentucky Sports Radio is opening a sports bar in Lexington called ... KSBar and Grille". The Courier-Journal.
  15. ^ "Home". KSBar and Grille. Retrieved 2019-06-15.

External links[edit]