2 Live Stews reunite after 12 years with new video talk show

They left radio in 2012 after an 11-year run.
The 2 Live Stews, brothers Doug (left) and Ryan (right) Stewart, have reunited for a new YouTube/Facebook show called "The 2 Live Stews Experience." They were on 790/The Zone from 2001 to 2012. CONTRIBUTED



The 2 Live Stews, brothers Doug (left) and Ryan (right) Stewart, have reunited for a new YouTube/Facebook show called "The 2 Live Stews Experience." They were on 790/The Zone from 2001 to 2012. CONTRIBUTED

The 2 Live Stews, a once popular brother duo in Atlanta sports talk radio, are starting a new show for the first time in 12 years.

Several soft launch test shows of the “2 Live Stews Experience” are available on YouTube and Facebook with the official start date on Monday, March 11. The 90-minute show will air twice a week Mondays and Thursdays.

“We looked at what’s going on in the space with all these types of podcasts that took our formula and ran with it,” said Doug Stewart, 54, who is now working in wealth management. “Why not give it a run now in this space?”

The revamped show, he said, will be similar to what they did on 790/The Zone: an upbeat, high energy blend of sports and pop culture.

Ryan Stewart, 50, said when they lost their job at the Zone in 2012, he figured they’d get another radio gig. But it didn’t happen. So he decided to focus on being a full-time dad with his three children while his wife worked. But now that his kids (ages 8, 12 and 14) are older, he decided it was time to work with his brother again.

“I had opportunities to do solo shows or work with other people on the radio,” Ryan said. “I passed on those opportunities. But at the beginning of this year, I was asking God if it was time to get back into media. Then this opportunity popped up. I just felt it was the right thing to do and get out of the house.”

Coming back “has felt amazing,” Ryan added. “You never really miss a good thing until it’s gone.”

The brothers started at night in the early 2000s, given plenty of leeway to learn the craft of radio and build a loyal following. Playing off their fraternity Omega Psi Phi, they would affectionately call each other dogs. Soon, they began calling their regular callers the same. And since calling a female caller a dog sounded inadvertently harsh, the pair dubbed the ladies poodles.

They were given better time slots, bringing an urban sensibility to an often very white space. They were loud, proud and in your face. Every day sounded like a party.

By the late 2000s, they were able to leverage their popularity into radio syndication in 20 markets and regular commentary gigs with ESPN. They were featured in Sports Illustrated as a unique style of sports talk radio.

Not that everybody liked their style. But for a time, they brought the Zone oodles of attention and endorsements.

But for many listeners who provided feedback to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the early 2010s, the show had gotten stale. Some felt they weren’t doing enough show prep. Some local fans didn’t like the fact that in syndication, they delved more into national topics. Some listeners weren’t thrilled by their sympathies toward Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in 2007 during his dog fighting scandal. (Vick spent 21 months in prison.)

“I do believe we lost a lot of our white listeners over that story,” Doug said in 2014. “That issue was so polarizing. In retrospect, I may have stayed away from that topic. I never saw it as a race issue but others did. I believe he should have been punished but not to the degree he was.”

But what really hurt the Stews was an ownership change at the Zone in 2010. Original owners Steak Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman, after a disastrous investment in sports stations in St. Louis, were forced to sell the Zone to Lincoln Financial.

New management then began to neuter the Stews.

“They didn’t tell us they didn’t like us directly,” Ryan said in 2014. “But there was the way they chopped our show up. The way they asked us to stop doing certain things. Certain guests we weren’t allowed to have on.” (The music leading in and out of ads changed from hip-hop to pop. Their signature whoops and screams disappeared. Entertainment news about Usher and T.I. ceased.)

In 2011, they lost their Sporting News syndication deal when Sporting News shut down its syndication division. Their hours were cut. In 2012, ESPN ended its contract with the Stews. In the spring of 2012, they were moved from afternoons to middays and dubbed “The Red Zone” with other rotating hosts. By the time the Zone let them go in September of that year, they were not surprised.

What surprised them was the fact they could not find another employer. 92.9/The Game, the market’s first FM sports talk station which launched in 2012, never picked them up. The Fan, which is on 93.7 and 680AM, didn’t either. (The Zone, by the way, was dead by 2015.)

Doug did his own daily podcast for four years on YouTube but entered insurance and wealth management in 2018.

Over the past decade, Ryan, a former Detroit Lions safety for five seasons, did some sports commentary, raised his three kids and moved to Columbus in 2019 when his wife got a job as a school principal there.

“I got to do a lot of work on myself,” Ryan said. “I’ve had to deal with post-NFL injuries, a lot of rehab and figuring out the best way to deal with headaches and a bad back. I was able to use that down time to my advantage and be the best dad I could be.”

Ryan said what he has missed the most about 2 Live Stews was interacting with the fans, and plenty of them have heard the new show already.

“The response has been overwhelming,” he said. “The text messages, the calls, the shares. It’s been a blessing.”

Ryan said they’ve already started getting calls and emails and texts seeking sponsorship opportunities.

“We’re going to do a lot of our old bits,” he said. “We’ll do a live podcast with guests and listeners. We have plans to take the show on the road, too.”

Enough time has passed that neither Ryan nor Doug is particularly bitter about what happened a decade ago.

“I don’t question any of it,” Ryan said. “I don’t hold malice toward anybody. It worked out the way it was supposed to.”