John Mallory says he was an active, loud and obnoxious kid. In other words, he was born to be a sports talk host. An STAA member, Mallory – also known as Johnny Ballgame — is the new co-host of “Idaho Sports Talk with (Mike) Prater and the Ballgame,” afternoons from 3 to 6 on 93.1 The Ticket in Boise, ID.
It’s a return to The Gem State for Mallory. “I had previously worked for ESPN Radio in Boise form 2013-2016 which gave me a familiarity in the market,” he smiles.
The KTIK opening was emailed to STAA members on July 15th, three weeks before Cumulus posted it publicly. Mallory, though, knew about it before all of that.
“I was contacted by [Cumulus Market Manager] Don Morin in regards to [the opening], Mallory recalls. “We had a great conversation. Don then had Pat Metzger, the Program Director, call me to discuss the potential position as well.”
Mallory is the third STAA member to advance his sports talk career in the past eight weeks. Last month, Dan Lucero joined Rocking M Radio in Colby, KS. In late July, Denton Day earned a new Saturday and Sunday evening show on SportsMap Radio Network
Mallory had other sports radio job options, but Boise was the right fit personally and professionally. “My girlfriend lives in Boise and we had been commuting 145 miles to see each other over the last few years, so yeah, I’d probably be single had I not taken the gig,” Mallory laughs. “All kidding aside, the opportunity to become a team member at Cumulus and work for a heritage show (Idaho Sports Talk) and sports talk station (KTIK) was too good to pass up.”
After leaving ESPN Boise in 2016, Mallory moved to La Grande, OR. He spent most of the past four years as a sports director and talk show host. COVID-19 made those duties especially challenging. “When sports basically entirely shut down in March of 2020, finding content daily in the sports talk industry was incredibly challenging,” Mallory laments. “I focused on interviews and tried to find subjects from all walks of sports life. I found the interview subjects were easier to book on my show because most people were home and not working. So it worked out ok for me.”
Born to talk sports
Mallory’s sports passion is rooted in his childhood. “As a kid I couldn’t sit still. I was always active, loud, obnoxious, etc. Sports always seemed to fit those characteristics for me,” he recalls.
Mallory has also always loved talking sports. “I’ve never wanted anything more than a sports talk radio gig, so I really pushed hard to make it happen and listened to people who were willing to teach me,” he says. “When I listened to other sports talk programs, I would always pay attention to what I felt worked and what didn’t. And heck, talking and entertaining folks luckily has never been a problem for me.”
Another thing that has never been a problem for Mallory is the personal relationships that have set the foundation for Mallory’s professional success. “I’ve had a super support system throughout my life — parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, friends and teachers.”
The active, loud, obnoxious kid those people loved and supported is now an active, loud and no longer obnoxious sports talk host. And he’s back in a market he loves.