By La'Trish Mack
I met DJ Formula in 2010 at East Carolina University's campus radio station. During the time he managed ESPN’s Streetball team and had the only college syndicated radio show. I was the general station manager, so when I saw Formula I introduced myself and gave him a tour of the station. Formula and his streetball team had a charity game that weekend in the area, which is what brought them to ECU’s campus.
Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Formula in an interview. The excitement in his voice was evident as he discussed how his college syndicated radio career started. Formula and Big Tigger worked together in 2008 for the same program director in radio, when Big Tigger suggested that Formula take a different route in radio. “If they’re not going to give you a regular syndicated show, why don’t you try to syndicate on college radio?” he asked Formula.
Although this direction was different and offered less money, taking this advice opened many doors for Formula; schools were more than willing to have his show on their college radio station and opportunities became a lot easier in this market.
Formula continued his college syndicated radio show for 9 years and will bring his show back to college syndication in September of 2022. “We’ve been on a hiatus for about 3 years,” said Formula. While creating radio shows for syndication he balanced his time managing a streetball team, which he still currently manages.
Formula knows the business well and is able to use his business savvy skills to help the players accomplish their dreams in basketball, by creating tours and opportunities for them to play basketball and get paid for it. “We all have dreams, my basketball dreams are dead now, due to an injury,” said Formula, therefore helping athletes is pivotal to him. “It can be difficult dealing with a lot of different egos and personalities at the same time but other than that, it is what it is,” said Formula.
The business side of sports had its challenges for Formula as well, because streetball started to become obsolete. According to Formula, streetball did not return to the public’s eye until the resurgence of new way players like Steph Curry. “That’s when things started to come back but it was really hard dealing with colleges and different organizations, nonprofits and all that because streetball was dying. Nobody wanted to do it anymore,” said Formula.
Formula further discussed that streetball stopped receiving notoriety when And 1 walked away, although it is still an art form and culture that we should acknowledge. It was difficult for Formula to explain this to people who did not understand streetball and its relevance.
One lesson that Formula learned along the way is that you can’t get to your destination if you stop walking, but as long as you keep moving you will have a chance at succeeding. Formula has defied the odds and created a safe space for basketball athletes to soar high. Life is not a fairytale, there will be times when you will have to make the conscious decision to not give up on your purpose.