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Steve Gorman

The Air Drummer

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Sports talk radio host Steve Gorman greets every caller with the same questions: “Favorite team? Favorite band?”

Callers can kiss up to the host by telling him their favorite band is The Black Crowes, which Gorman co-founded in 1989 and still drums for today. His scraggly brown locks and weathered face are badges of his decades on tour, but don’t let his thousand-yard stare fool you — this is a man who, at 47, is fully living a life built around his boyhood passions. “My brain, for as long as I remember, has just had two paths in it,” he says. “Records and games.”

So, not surprisingly, Gorman is a walking encyclopedia of jock ’n’ roll factoids, and the parallel histories of sports and rock music provide the cornerstone of Steve Gorman Sports!, which broadcasts out of Nashville from noon to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday on 102.5-FM The Game. When he’s touring with The Black Crowes, he does his radio gig remotely. “I spent 20 years on the road, talking sports all day and doing a show at night,” he says, “so it’s not really that different.”

He didn’t get his first drum kit until he was 21, but Gorman played his first arena by the time he was 25 — an experience he more closely relates to sports than music. “To walk into Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, or Madison Square Garden, every place we went, first and foremost on my mind was the highlights I’d seen from that building, all the championships won,” he recalls.

For Gorman, who grew up in Hopkinsville, Ky., and relocated from Los Angeles to Nashville in 2004, rock stardom was a bit of a detour; he majored in broadcasting at Western Kentucky University. “So as I was playing drums for the first time,” he says, “I was actually pursuing what I thought was gonna be a life as a sportscaster.”

Better late than never.

Gorman started fantasizing about hosting a show fusing sports and music history commentary when he first heard The Jim Rome Show in the mid-’90s. “I didn’t like it at all, and I thought he was an asshole,” Gorman says, “but the whole idea of it … I just had this thought of, ‘That’s me! Music and sports!’ ”

A few years after Gorman settled in Nashville, he befriended sports-talk personalities Willy Daunic and George Plaster, and started making guest appearances on Sports Night. “What I realized was, I’m in Nashville now. This is the perfect town if there was ever a place to try and get a show like this going,” he recalls. In 2010, he launched Steve Gorman Sports! as a podcast. The Game picked it up as for its weekday drive-time hour when the station changed formats last summer.

“This is me growing up and getting serious,” Gorman says, “talkin’ bullshit for an hour on the radio.”


The People:

The Model Citizen: Karen Elson
The Advocate: Paul Kuhn
The Cook: Tallu Schuyler Quinn
The Busker: Mike Slusser
The Cleaner: Sharon Reynolds
The Mobilizer: Remziya Suleyman
The Believer: Theron Denson
The Maker: Zoe Schlacter
The Animators: Magnetic Dreams
The Buyer: Kelly Anne Ross
The Arthouse Ambassador: Sarah Finklea
The Picker: Rory Hoffman
The Singer: Ruby Amanfu
The Educator: Ellen Gilbert
The Artist: Martin Cadieux
The Chef: Yayo Jiménez
The Futurist: Ken Gay
The Commissioner: Many-Bears Grinder

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