D.A. rules at the top of the Hub

Posted in Golf Writers Column, Molori Unplugged by on June 12th, 2012

Damon Amendolara is the brightest star to hit the Boston sports radio waves in decades. His up tempo, contemporary style is a huge reason why 98.5 The Sports Hub has supplanted WEEI as the top rated sports radio station in the region. Amendolara’s “D.A. Show” (weekdays, 6-11pm) is a refreshing upgrade from the tired, old Boston sports radio fare.

Amendolara attended Syracuse University (class of 2001) and has worked in Florida, Kansas City and the Big Apple. Boston is known for devouring media outsiders, but Amendolara, a New York native, jumped in head first.

“I always wanted to work in Boston,” says the 33 year-old evening host. “My cousin went to BU and my brother went to Emerson, so I had been to the Garden and Fenway many times. I worked in Miami, and people really didn’t care about sports. When I had the chance to come here in 2009, I asked CBS Radio if they were OK with me being an outsider. I told them if they trusted in me, I would love to give it a shot. The fans here never have turned on me. It has never been antagonistic.”———

Amendolara says that he was impressed with The Sports Hub immediately. “They really had a plan. It wasn’t about WEEI being exposed or anything like that. I mean, how can you not like working in a city where every major sports team is expected to win a championship every year? I’m a special teams gunner on a 15-1 team. It’s like I won the freaking lottery.”

This zest for the media business is what led Amendolara to golf. He relates, “When I first started working in Fort Myers, I knew I had to learn the game. That was my first job out of college, and golf was the thing to do. Of course, in Florida, you can play year-round.

“If you are in sports media, you have to hack. At first, I had fun with golf, but then developed a real love for the game. I don’t have a handicap, but I wanted to get to the point where I wouldn’t embarrass myself.”

Amendolara’s golf game has benefitted from his media gig. He explains, “The great thing is that, in this business, you get to know a lot of golf pros and golf shops. We did a remote at Golf Town in Natick, and I ended up spending the money I made from the broadcast on new clubs. I love it.”

As for local courses, Amendolara lists his favorites. “I like Woodland in Newton and Putterham in Brookline. Veterans Memorial in Springfield is a good value, and the course is well kept. It’s also a good meeting point for my golf buddies who live in Albany and Connecticut.”

Amendolara’s list of golf buddies is growing by the day, along with his popularity. “Golf is a great ice breaker,” he relates. “At 98.5 The Sports Hub, there is always an event of some kind with the Bruins, Patriots, radio executives, advertisers, or listeners. If you don’t play golf, you are on the outside looking in. It is such a great bridge to build relationships.”

It is also a great source for philanthropy, namely, Amendolara’s “Team D.A.” charity, which has raised thousands of dollars for numerous youth-related charities.

“I find that golf is the most subversive way possible to get donations from people,” says Amendolara, whose original career goal was to play pro soccer. “Guys have no problem dropping $200 if they can get out on the course, miss work, and have a good time golfing. It’s the best money they can spend.”

Amendolara has worked at WFAN in New York and WQAM Miami. He is the sideline reporter for New England Revolution soccer on Comcast SportsNet and is a frequent contributor to NFL Network. Even with this packed schedule, he is finding more time for his golf passion. “I will get out and play maybe a couple of times a month,” he relates. “I’ve already been out five or six times this year, so it’s shaping up as a real summer of hacking.”

Columnist John Molori writes for numerous publications and is a contributor to several radio stations. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.

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