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AOL Launches Live, Interactive Sports Radio Program

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America Online today announced the launch of a live, interactive daily sports radio program hosted by former NFL kicker, Jess Atkinson.

Called The Show, the program features well-known guests and regular segments on topical issues in sports. In an interactive environment found only on the AOL service, members can ask live questions through instant messages, email or by calling the program directly. The Show is available on demand for 24 hours so members can listen if they miss the daily 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. ET broadcast.

Today, Inside the NFL host Bob Costas will share his views on the new football season and Baseball Hall of Fame member Tommy Lasorda will talk about the pennant races. Thursday features NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, who will discuss his recently announced retirement, and team owner Richard Childress.

“The Show is a very exciting initiative for us and further differentiates AOL(R) Sports from other online sports destinations,” said Carlos Silva, Senior Vice President for News and Sports. “This is a fun, engaging and entertaining program for our fans, and we could not have found a better host than Jess Atkinson. In addition, with the types of guests on The Show this week, we expect Jess will have a big following very quickly.”

In addition to marquee guests, The Show has regularly scheduled segments on a wide range of topics. AOL Sports and Denver Post columnist Jim Armstrong joins Jess every Monday to recap the weekend sports events and every Friday to discuss the upcoming weekend sports highlights. Wednesday features an “Inside the NFL” commentator and Thursday’s program has a NASCAR Insider segment hosted by Richard Childress driver Jeff Burton. Friday includes a fantasy segment, with inside tips from experts on popular fantasy sports.

“This is a great opportunity for me to interact with the largest online audience and offer sports fans the chance to connect with some of the biggest names in sports,” Jess Atkinson said. “I am thrilled to be the host of The Show and offer AOL members a unique opportunity to discuss and argue the hottest topics in the world of sports.”

Jess Atkinson has established a career by making the most of his opportunities. A walk-on at the University of Maryland, Jess set the Maryland and ACC all-time career scoring records during his college career, records that stood for 20 years. His four year NFL career included a Super Bowl ring with the 1988 Washington Redskins and he is only one of two place-kickers to score a touchdown in the last 25 years. In addition to the Redskins, Jess also played for the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. For thirteen years after he retired, Jess was an Emmy Award winning journalist, both as a sports and news reporter on TV and radio. Jess now serves as founder and CEO of Atkinson & Co, a media company that creates and leverages video content through production, distribution and consulting.

The launch of The Show follows the recent success of Radio KOL, the first-ever live online daily radio show for kids that debuted on the AOL service last fall. Radio KOL, hosted by Rick Adams, now has 1 million kids listening each week. Kids can communicate directly with Rick though e-mail, instant messaging and phone calls, to have their requests and shout-outs on air instantaneously, and ask live questions of their favorite celebrities.

The Show expands AOL’s growing list of comprehensive sports content available to its members. AOL Sports provides sports enthusiasts with access to a wealth of on-demand programming, Webcasts, highlights, stats, news and extensive features on all five major sports franchises, professional and college levels as well. Enhancements to AOL Sports include a dynamic welcome screen with embedded video welcoming fans, a customizable scoreboard, a programmable area for AOL for Broadband fans to customize their sports page to receive news from their favorite pro teams and a fantasy sports initiative that allows AOL members to play for free or to become a league manager for a significantly lower price than comparable offerings.

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AOL Launches Live, Interactive Sports Radio Program
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