UNA student hosts Fox Sports Shoals radio show

UNA alumna Jay Diggins, alumnus Ben Ray and senior Matt Suleski host “Matt and Ben in the Morning” on Fox Sports Shoals.

by Sports Editor Dustin Pollard

For many, there is not enough coffee in the world to motivate them to wake up for work at 4 a.m., five days a week.

Just a few cups of coffee — three to be exact — are plenty for senior Matt Suleski as he prepares to go on air. He is a sports radio co-host for Fox Shoals Sports with UNA alumnus Ben Ray.

“Matt and Ben in the Morning” airs on 97.9FM Monday through Friday 6-8 a.m.

“I don’t know a lot of people who get to say they go to work and do their dream job,” Suleski said. “And this is my dream job. I love my work, even in the mornings when I’m tired and I don’t want to get up at 4 a.m. so I’m able to get to the studio by 5 a.m. This job is really fulfilling to me.”

Although fresh on the radio scene, he already has big plans for the future of Fox Sports Shoals radio.

“Our biggest goal is to be a part of the community,” he said. “We want this to be the sports show for the Shoals. We want local coaches and writers on (as guests). We want to say what we have as a community is great. It’s a true local sports show.”

The main focuses of the show are the high school sports and UNA athletics, Suleski said.

“I know people care about the NBA, NFL and MLB, but we’re also here to talk about what’s going on right here in the area,” he said.

Suleski is a journalism multimedia major and is set to graduate this summer. When he graduates he will continue to do his show as a full-time job.

Suleski said the journalism courses he has taken have helped prepare him for his radio show, even though he is not necessarily in print journalism.

“To be honest, I was always more interested in broadcasting than writing,” he said. “I really didn’t know how to truly write a news story from top to bottom until I went to UNA. I actually write out my headlines of what I’m going to cover in a journalistic way. Thanks to my classes, I have learned the ethics of journalism.”

Suleski got his foot in the door doing sports radio when fellow UNA student Mike Ezekiel asked Suleski to be on his weekly high school football podcast.

“I really want to thank Mike for believing in me and giving me the opportunity because without him I probably wouldn’t be here,” Suleski said.

The podcasts were posted to Fox Sports Shoals website, and when Big River Broadcasting general manager Nick Martin heard Suleski on the podcast he wanted to bring him in as a guest on the Fox Sports Shoals high school football pregame show, Suleski said.

“When I first heard Matt I noticed how he just had a raw ability to communicate and was extremely knowledgeable,” Martin said. “He has a good personality too. Some people can communicate, but you have to have a personality to do radio.”

Martin said after having Suleski as a guest a couple of times he wanted to develop a plan for him.

“I think the show has been fantastic,” Martin said. “I’m just tickled to death right now. We’re gaining listeners and we’re just getting started with this plan.”

Suleski said he is grateful for the job he has and is taking it one day at a time.

“I think this is the job for me,” he said. “Sometimes you find a job and at the pit of your stomach you know that this is what you were born to do. If you work hard and chase your dreams anything can happen.”