Ironic that I’d take my Saturday morning – one of my two non-commute days – to discuss what has become one of my favorite pastimes; listening to sportstalk radio.
My daily jaunt from Sherman Oaks to El Segundo (26.2 miles, a LITERAL marathon) would be downright unbearable were it not for the glorious splendors of my XM Radio. Being the hip hop junkie I am, I knew my commute would necessitate the small fiduciary investment – otherwise my sanity would be at risk. Turns out, I’ve listened to much more yap and much less rap – thus, today’s column:
A Terse Critique of SportsRadio Hosts begins here:
Jim Rome: Perhaps the most controversial of the Talking Heads, Rome has a unique style that has quite literally been cloned by thousands of followers, and dozens of would-be hosts. Insightful, unique & an excellent interviewer, Rome is able to sustain a high-octane show five days a week. . .when he’s not on vacation. His camraderie with guests is nearly unparalleled, as his legendary preparation (arrives at 5am for 9am PST show) ensures that he is always knowledgeable and ready for a good interview. That said, he is quite grating and does tend to go Off the Grid regularly (The Rex Streak? Cmon, Rome). I will admit that he is an acquired taste, as it is a bit obnoxious that he pretty much only allows Clones to call-in, and frankly – I’d rather listen to the ‘Real Thing’ than a knockoff, but that’s a small price to pay for actual sports insight minus the kowtowing.
Dan Patrick: Since his days at CNN and subsequently ‘The Mothership,’ this ex-athlete (D-I hoops at Dayton) has lent credibility to his clever snarkiness. Though accused often of tangential diatribes (movie talk, actor interviews, placing himself in the story), his focus is making the listener comfortable. He really enjoys the medium, and that comes through in each show. Even the ‘Danettes’ actually add to the Show, whereas the majority of sidekicks generally lend a Morning Zoo feel to their respective programming. Patrick is matched only by Jim Rome in his interviewing acumen, always making the guest feel comfortable and thusly opening up for insight. Great program, great personality.
Colin Cowherd: Ahh, ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd.’ Once upon a time, Colin used to be THE up-and-coming SportsTalk ‘guy.’ Funny, West Coast-oriented talk (focusing on college football, then the NFL, then ‘all other sports) was a nice, lighthearted break from the more well-rounded shows, and good during commercial breaks on the main two programs. For a certain point, I used to even push aside the Big Two to hear Colin’s football predications, analysis and insight. . .then, the show changed. Went Hollywood. He started incorporating his sidekicks a bit too vigorously, adding games & ‘wacky sounds’ and creating a Morning Zoo vibe – the exact same he used to rail against in his prime. Also has a TV Show and is now known for arriving in the studio just before he goes on the air. Preparation? Nil. About the same as the value of his current insights. Come back to us, Colin – I know it’s still inside you. . .
The B-Team (Bruce Murray & Bill Pidto): Cut-to-the-chase excellence in Talk Radio eminating straight outta New York. Part of Chris Russo’s Mad Dog Radio, ‘The B-Team’ has a decidedly New York-centric view on the sports universe, but both hosts do very well with objectivity. Baseball is a main focus of the program – as it should be in the shadow of Yankee Stadium – but they cover football, hoops, pro & college with NYC-esque intelligence and straight-forwardness. Without a doubt the most evocative morning show, I find myself screaming (or calling?) about three out of five mornings per week. Skyrocketing up the list, and on my dial.
PMS (Petros Papadopolous & Matt ‘Money’ Smith): Petros Papadakis (real spelling), is probably the biggest blowhard, loudmouth, in-your-face-uncomfortably non-right wing talk show host alive. . .yet he knows EXACTLY of which he speaks, and more importantly – he has a good heart and a paradoxical charm. You can basically feel the spittle on your face as he yells into the mic (even through the car radio), but come Monday you realize his weekend predictions were close to correct, and his thoughts burrow their way into your subconscious. Money, on the other hand, is smooth & laid-back, providing the perfect Yang to Petros’s Ying. Smith, originally of Chicago, is a very intelligent man with extremely deep sports knowledge. In short, this duo is the ideal sports talk collabo to just hang out and get hammered.
GAC (Galloway & Company): Another XM radio jewel of a Show, don’t let the Texas Twang fool you. This slow-talking, country-sounding Texan & his crew can light up the airwaves with a passion and knowledge rivaling any of us Coastal Elites. A significant focus on Dallas sports somehow tends to have a national feel. Really homey, somehow comforting show.
More analysis to come later, I didn’t want to deluge y’all this early. . .
**Also, Thanks Tom Hoffarth of The Daily News for his shout in the Further Off the Wall column – always a great writer, and I look forward to his Its Out of the Question column in the physical version of the paperevery Saturday.**