Bulldog Now Barking On WNST
By Dave Hughes
Sports radio veteran Damon "The Bulldog" Yaffe is embarking on a new chapter in his career.
For 15 years, he has been a regular fixture on CBS Radio's sports stations in Baltimore.
Now he's joining feisty, locally owned independent sports talker WNST, 1570 AM, with a new show.
"Catch The Buzz" debuted April 9 and is heard weekdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. WNST station owner Nestor Aparicio called Yaffe a "longtime Baltimore sports talk lightning rod and football expert."
Yaffe's friends Paul Mittermeier and Greg Marsh will join him on the show. Yaffe said the show would feature eclectic sports talk, in addition to wnst.net blogs, YouTube video features, and Facebook and Twitter posts.
The new show will focus on all Baltimore sports, with fun conversation, guests and plenty of banter about the state of the local sporting universe, including the Orioles, Ravens, Terps and local lacrosse.
In some respects, it's back to the beginning for Yaffe, now 43. Working for CBS Radio from 1996 to 2010 gave him a solid sports foundation in the market.
Born and raised in Owings Mills, Yaffe went to Boys' Latin before attending Johns Hopkins University and Towson University, where he majored in sports management and administration, and minored in sports communications and the principles of coaching.
After spending five years coaching youth-level football, basketball and lacrosse at Roland Park Middle School, he joined the coaching staff at Baltimore Polytechnic, where he coached high school varsity football and lacrosse from 1996-99.
Yaffe then moved on to his high school alma mater, Boys' Latin, to coach football and lacrosse for 11 seasons, from 2000-10. He also interned for the Ravens during the late 1990s.
In 2011, Yaffee joined the football staff at Towson University, as an assistant under coach Rob Ambrose.
Yaffe's radio career dates back to 1994, when he was an intern for Stan "The Fan" Charles (now publisher of PressBox) and his old WWLG radio show, where Yaffe was a call screener, among other things.
Two years later, Yaffe joined CBS Radio's WJFK-AM (now ESPN 1300, WJZ-AM), where he was a jack of all trades, doing promotions, producing, engineering and reporting, as well as being an on-air talent. He was part of the first Ravens Radio Network crew, gradually getting more airtime.
By 2001, he was producing Ravens pregame, halftime and postgame shows, and was performing as Ravens analyst and co-host, moving on to co-host and produce "Gameday Uncensored."
In 2005, Yaffe paired with Channel 13/WJZ sports anchor Mark Viviano with the launch of "The Mark Viviano Show." He also co-hosted "Football Talk" with Marty Bass on Channel 13/WJZ after Ravens games.
The radio show moved over to 105.7 The Fan, WJZ-FM, after the sports talker's launch in 2009, and lasted until June 2011.
With the Ravens no longer on CBS Radio's Baltimore stations, having moved to Hearst's WBAL-AM and 98 Rock, Yaffe went off 105.7's airwaves, but remained under contract to CBS until early 2012. But CBS and Yaffe couldn't agree to a new deal, even after his working for the network for 15 years.
"They wanted me to do certain things I didn't want to do," Yaffe said.
A free agent, Yaffe had three local sports radio choices among a handful of outlets.
One option was to go back to CBS.
"No," he said. "I knew them. I didn't want to return."
Option two was to head to Hearst's WBAL-AM and 98 Rock, which now carry both the Ravens and Orioles.
"I think the folks at Hearst are amazing at what they do," Yaffe said. "I have tremendous respect for them. The staff there are top-notch pros."
But neither of Hearst's stations is a sports talker, and they simply didn't have room for the type of freewheeling show Yaffe wanted to do, he said.
Then came the third option -- Aparicio's WNST.
Yaffe said the Towson-based sports talker and wnst.net were gems in Baltimore.
"Nestor built something pretty important in our town," Yaffe said. "I want to help grow it, keep it alive and healthy."
Jumping to WNST, Yaffe said, allows him "to work with the people I want to work with, gives me creative control, and will be fun. We're going to create radio from scratch."
Issue 172: April 2012