NYU is not well-known for its sports—so what else is new?
But contrary to this tired trope of the non-sports-worshipping NYU kid, sports lovers (fanatics, even) do exist here, underground. Actually, quite literally. You can find them in the basement of Weinstein from 7:30-8 pm every Monday evening, where a group of die-hard sports fans host an WNYU sports talk radio show called “The Cheap Seats.”
We had the chance to sit down with Johnny “Dallas” Dell’Isola, a senior in Stern and the sports director of The Cheap Seats, and his co-host “Smiling” Steven Chasin, to ask them all about the show.
So, what first got you into sports?
SC: We’ve been sports fans for our whole lives. While other kids got into fads or activities like soccer, we dedicated out passion to sports, like football.
Haha, okay then. On a normal day what types of sports discussions or debates do you usually have on the show? As co-hosts do you root for the same teams?
JD: The Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Darrelle Revis debate is where we first realized we had each met our match in NFL knowledge. It’s also partially responsible for our friendship blossoming- we really bonded over arguing back and forth over two of our favorite players. While I admit Revis is the superior player now, I still think Asomugha was the best during his years with the Raiders.
So your show is based on NY-centric sports: do you like NY sports teams, and if you had to choose one sports team- any sport…what would it be?
SC: I may be a die-hard Jets and Knicks fan, but I despise the Evil Empire Yankees. Go Cubs go! Someday we’ll go all the way…especially with Theo now calling the shots.
JD: If I had to choose one team, it’s easily the Dallas Cowboys. Even though I’m from DC, I’ve been a diehard fan of America’s team since watching them hoist the Super Bowl XXX trophy when I was a kid.
Do you have a favorite topic that you cover on your show?
JD: Yes, I love doing my NFL Draft shows. It’s my favorite sporting event of the year. Doing shows analyzing the sports drafts is really interesting.
Who are some of the most prominent people you’ve interviewed?
JD: Well, we interviewed DeMaurice Smith who is the Executive Director of the National Football League Player’s Association. He was really the key negotiator for the NFL players, and fans should thank him for playing his role in bringing us a football season on time this year. We also interviewed Hall of Fame New York Giant’s Linebacker Harry Carson and Brian Zoubek, the starting center for Duke’s 2010 National Championship team. One of the coolest interviews we’ve had was definitely Kenny Albert. He’s an incredibly talented broadcaster (the only one to cover all four major sports) and he was the Sports Director and host of the Cheap Seats when he was at NYU.
Do you get lots of callers on your show? And if so, who?
SC: We get callers about every other show…mainly about NY sports. They’re usually NYU students, but occasionally we get some random caller because the station broadcasts pretty far.
What events will you be featuring soon?
JD: Well, we’ll have one for the NFL Draft this year. We might liveblog it. I’ll let you know.
Sounds good. What are the rest of the shows like on WNYU?
JD: WNYU is a really cool station if you’re a big music fan. You’ll hear a lot you won’t hear anywhere else. If you’re looking to listen to top 40 music, it’s definitely not going to be your station–but people who really love music and are into the more underground scene will love it. We’ve got some really cool news programs, too, and even a radio drama. I’d highly recommend checking out the shows on wnyu.org if you don’t have a radio.
Before we wrap up, is there any important thing about your show that we haven’t covered?
JD: Our nicknames are a very important part of the show. We’ve got myself, Johnny “Dallas” Dell’Isola; my co-host, “Smiling” Steven Chasin; our all-star guest booker, “Rabbi” Dan Marcus; Brandon “DJ BJ on the 1′s and 2′s” Jaffe, “Joey Solo” (Joseph Solomita); Rachel “Ray Ray” Aranda; and self-proclaimed “Model” Julian Galano (the biggest Bobby Petrino and John Rocker fan you’ll ever meet).”
Be sure to tune into their radio show on Mondays at 7:30 pm. If you don’t have a radio, all of the past broadcasts are stored in the WNYU archives.