DOWNEY – If you don’t know the name Brian S. Arrington, allow me to introduce him.
Since 2012, this on-air radio personality has brought something to the Inland Empire that sparsely existed before: local sports talk programming.
After noticing the void of quality sports talk radio, 40-year-old Arrington, also known as “Coach B,” launched IE Sports Net, a weekly show dedicated to the Inland Empire sports base.
“We’re technically in the L.A. radio/TV market, but there was nothing dedicated to this area,” said Arrington. “My goal was to make IE Sports Net the sports center of San Bernardino County, but growth has exploded in the Inland Empire. We have an opportunity to ride that wave.”
Arrington’s show, which he co-hosts with Eddie Talbert, recently signed with Fox Sports Radio and now has the potential to become the staple sports talk show in the entire Southern California market.
However, before broadcasting and San Bernardino sports, Arrington was known for something else altogether: local Downey journalism.
“Everything I do in this business is because of Downey,” said Arrington, who traces his start back to the corridors of Downey High School.
While a student at Downey High, Arrington recalls his former English teacher Lisa Lucke highlighting his work and suggesting he pursue journalism.
“She said, ‘You have talent as a writer,’ and that sparked something in me,” said Arrington.
He soon began writing for the Downey High School newspaper, formerly the Norseman, as both the sports and entertainment editor. From there, he freelanced for the Downey Eagle and the Downey Herald-American newspapers in the early 90s.
“During my junior year, I hosted a public access TV show on Downey’s Continental CableVision and I was a member of the Teen Advisory Panel for the Long Beach Press-Telegram so I wrote articles for them too,” Arrington said.
By the year 2000, Arrington’s interest in radio began to rise and after he won a Power 106 Rock the Mic contest, he was sold on becoming an on-air radio host.
“I never wanted to do sports,” he said with a laugh. “I wanted to do entertainment and commercial radio because I don’t care for the music of today.”
With a career in commercial music radio off the table, Arrington decided to go back to his bread and butter -- sports reporting.
A resident of Fontana, Arrington convinced NBC News affiliate KCAA 1050 AM to test run a 13-week locally-produced sports show. With Talbert’s help, the show grew to become one of the top-rated shows on KCAA, giving local Inland Empire sports a home on major commercial radio station.
However, things changed for Arrington last August when Fox Sports radio opened up shop in Riverside.
“I sent them our stuff,” he said. “We want to be on multiple Fox stations and dominate the San Bernardino market.”
Fox Sports Radio signed a deal with IE Sports Net to bring Arrington’s show under the Fox umbrella. It now airs on Fox Sports Radio 1350 AM on Saturdays at 8 a.m.
“In a matter of time, we’ll be the experts out here. Folks will come to us when they want to know about Inland Empire,” he said.
Arrington, who admitted the show makes little profit right now, hopes to place his radio show on TV like other popular on-air personalities. Currently, the radio show airs on KVMD-TV Ch 23 Los Angeles at 5 a.m. on Sundays. With his Fox connection, he believes a TV deal could happen in the future.
For Arrington, there’s potential in the expansion of the Inland Empire and that translates into a larger audience. However, the show’s influence is already spilling outside of the airwaves as IE Sports Net also helped re-launch the Inland Empire All-Star Classic games, which bring together the best high school athletes to compete regionally.
In April, Arrington and the Daily Bulletin newspaper hosted the first all-star game in five years, drawing nearly 2,200 people to watch the basketball teams play. However, Arrington said none of what he’s accomplished could have happened without his inspiring upbringing in Downey.
“Everything I’ve got is because of that city,” he said. “Now 20-plus years later, I have never forgot how it all started for me, back in Downey. All I can say is, ‘Go Vikings!’”