July 22, 2015

‘Conference Call’ Sports Radio Prepares for National Programs

By Jane Aldinger
– Memphis Business Journal –

Division One Sports, Inc., the company that produces and broadcasts the sports-talk radio show “Conference Call,” is expanding in preparation for a nation-wide splash in the sports radio industry.

The Southeastern Conference has historically been the focus of the popular Conference Call show, but the company launched a new version focusing on the Atlantic Coast Conference in June. President and CEO Steve Signaigo says plans are set to add the Big 10 Conference this fall, the Big 12 Conference in summer 2005 and the Pacific-10 Conference in fall 2005. All of the shows would be broadcast from Memphis.

“Our final objective is to create five radio programs specific to the needs of the region that we will broadcast in,” Signaigo says. “In doing so, we will create a national footprint for our company, and then be allowed to enjoy the stream that we believe will come from advertisers who advertise only on a national basis.”

D1 Sports has leased nearly 7,000 square feet for its new office in Moriah Woods office park, owned by Boyle Investment Co. and located at Mount Moriah and I-240. Signaigo says he currently employs a staff of about 15, but with the new lease, is prepared for a staff of up to 40.

Conference Call was originally created in 1997; Signaigo was bought out of the business in 2000. The investors that purchased the program planned to take it from radio to television, but Signaigo says contractual complications prevented hosts Terry Bowden and Tim Brando from participating in the national television show.

The company that managed Conference Call after Signaigo’s departure, United Sports Talk Network, says it pulled the plug on the show because of an economic slump after Sept. 11, 2001.

Signaigo got his show back, though, and launched Conference Call for the second time on Dec. 1. Hosted by Pete Cordelli and Ken Kincaid, the SEC show has about 35 regional affiliates. It is not currently on the air in Memphis, but Signaigo expects to have a local affiliate in the next few weeks.

The ACC Conference Call show was launched in June and currently has about 15 affiliates in the Atlantic Coast area.

With the same intentions of building the show up and selling it for a profit in about five years, Signaigo has high hopes the show will catch on as it is localized in college sports markets throughout the country. He says the fact that he’s built it successfully once before was attractive to the investors he recruited, and the knowledge he earned as a stock broker while away from the radio show has only helped him be a better businessman.

“Our investors recognize that I’ve been down this road before and know what pitfalls to avoid,” he says. “98% of what I had done the last time was the right way of doing it even though I was doing it by feel. This time here I hope I’ve done a 100% great job. I really believe it’s going to be a huge success.”

Mark Halperin executive vice president of Boyle, says D1 Sports fits the tenant profile Boyle was seeking when the company purchased the 155,000 square-foot office park in August 2003.

“I think it’s just a good example of the kind of tenant that is going to go in the building, a good strong local tenant,” Halperin says.

Signaigo is a native Memphian who graduated from Christian Brothers High School and played college football at the University of Mississippi alongside Archie Manning. Promoting Memphis nationally as a good place to do business is another goal o his.

“I’d sure like to be one of those things that hallmarks Memphis as a great place to have a company,” he says.