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Poker News | World Poker News

Buddy Dank Radio - Small radio station hits the flop hard with big opportunity

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The blogger Buddy Dank started his radio show as a way to live blog the Mookie, a weekly blogger tournament on Full Tilt Poker that usually draws more than 60 players.

Mookie would live blog the tournament on his site, and Buddy thought he could do it on the radio. He admits he was nervous about contacting Mookie about doing it on the air. Buddy, after all, was pretty new and didn't want to step on any toes.

But Mookie agreed, and so, in May 2007, Buddy launched his radio station. The first episode of Buddy Dank radio featured Buddy talking to himself.

It drew seven listeners.

He was thrilled.

"It was pretty much all my Internet connection could handle anyway," Dank said.

Dank, after all, didn't expect a whole lot from the show. It wasn't that he didn't know what he was doing. He got his start in radio with a two-hour time slot during the day on an Internet radio show run by his friends. He streamed his favorite jam bands and pre-recorded little introductions because he couldn't talk while he was at work. He got as many as five listeners for that show.

So it was his first time, and with the seven listeners, he already surpassed his average listening audience from his jams show. By two.

Dank always loved an audience. He grew up performing with his parents in a band called The Sunshine Family. The band consisted of five families and all their children. They would perform at nursing homes and even had an album (no word as to whether it was played on those AM Gold Stations).

He acted in school plays and Community Theater by junior high school and majored in theater in college. He then got a job testing software. Testing software, after all, pays better than theater.

So imagine just how thrilled he was when his audience increased almost immediately. Poker bloggers were curious about the show - a guy actually covered the tournaments like ESPN? - and they began to pimp it on their blogs.

One blogger, especially, took an interest, and pretty soon, Instant Tragedy wrote Buddy to offer his help. Tragedy was an actual radio DJ, but Buddy didn't know him. Buddy, excited at the prospect of having someone else to talk to besides himself, agreed, and the show took off.

"Our numbers doubled every week during our first few broadcasts together," Buddy said.

Instant Tragedy was taken by the show almost right away.

"The show encompasses the two things I love most, radio and poker," Tragedy said. "It takes the excitement and binds together a community. When people are doing good in a tourney, they let us know via IM, phone, e-mail. When we mention them it gives the player validation and often railbirds who will go and encourage them on a path to victory."

As the show expanded, it got easier for Dank to not only set up the show but make it more entertaining. He would initially have to go home straight from work just to have time to set everything up. But he eventually bought a computer just for the show and it's worked beautifully.

He also began to offer guest slots for other bloggers, and they began establishing themselves as regulars almost right away. He and Instant Tragedy continued to establish a rapport that you usually only find on morning shows.

"Actually, the hardest part now is trying to play and broadcast at the same time," Dank said. "My poker game has gone way downhill since starting this up."

Just last week, Dank, Instant Tragedy, and the bloggers Riggstad and Perticelli covered the Borgata 500K Guarantee. Dank and Instant Tragedy dubbed it "Live Poker Radio" and were on the air interviewing poker stars such as Allen Cunningham and covering the huge tournament itself. Riggstad had enough connections to get them off the ground, but Dank and Instant Tragedy had to come through, and everyone seemed to agree it was a professional broadcast.

Dank, in other words, did well on stage.

It was a lot of work.

Instant Tragedy disagrees. "Work is what you have to do to pay the bills," he said. "This is nowhere near work. Imagine the ability to come in and be able to communicate with poker players around the world and make them laugh, get angry or make them feel. That's not work. That's fun."

The gig made Buddy think about the future of his little station. Now dozens of listeners tune in every week. He seems to be getting more all the time. He has a staff of volunteers ready and willing to hop on the air at any time. And he has his cohort in crime, Instant Tragedy.

He's starting to think about traveling the world, covering poker tournaments all over the globe and maybe doing interviews with every card player out there.

"Until recently I didn't see much more happening with the station other than continuing coverage of online events," Dank said, "but now I have all sorts of hopes and dreams."

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