Anyone that has known me for more than a few weeks can pretty much tell you that I listen to sports radio from time to time. Those that have known me for the past 11 years, will tell you that I may be a bit on the obsessive side.
The tale of my sports radio nerdery begins back in the days of yore… or, actually, back in my high school days. My best friend at the time, would listen to Sports Radio 610 in the mornings in his truck. He would get there early, and just sit around in his truck as he was driving to school in his dad’s old truck. Being that we were both huge sports fanatics, I would go hop in his truck for 10-15 minutes, listen to whatever the topic was, and then have something to argue about the rest of the day. This was my introduction to John Granato and Lance Zierlein, nearly 11 years ago, back in 1999. These two knuckleheads sent me into a spiral of what would eventually become a passionate interest of mine.
The main part of the sports radio nerdery, of course, is the sports. I’ve watched one sport or another for as long as I can remember. Bulls vs Lakers. Cowboys vs Bills, these are the early side of sports that I remember, I know I watched games before that, but those stand out as the first championships I ever remember witnessing. Since then, sports have been a large part of my life. Playing basketball in the driveway, playing 1 vs 1 w/ an All Time QB running routes and playing DB with 2 cousins of mine, playing JV baseball in high school, collecting basketball cards, and going to countless sporting events in my life. It was inevitable, that once I came across sports radio, I’d be hooked instantly.
It started with the morning show. I would then go to school, and then repeat the cycle again the next morning. One day I discovered, there’s a night show too…! Wow, and the guy focuses mostly on basketball (at least when I would listen in). Matt Jackson, who would later be joined, then rejoined, with co-host Adam Wexler. I didn’t care much for the afternoon show, as one guy didn’t really know much, and the other guy knew enough for the both of ‘em. The show wasn’t a disaster, but not my cup of tea. Charlie Palillo and Rich Lord. Charlie’s obviously the guy that sounds a lot taller on the radio than he really is.
If I could go on a slight tangent for a moment, around this time, I had also started reading, and registered for a website named Clutchcity.net. A Rockets fansite, it was one of the best places to get any new info, reactions to games, as well as other off topic nonsense. Dave Hardisty, the man behind the bear mask (not really, but his nickname is Clutch), created, and still runs, by far the best single team fan site in the history of the NBA, and is rivaled only by the likes of Sons of Sam Horn in terms of overall sports. It’s here that I came across the man that would eventually become essentially my sports radio “supplier.”
Known by his Jedi name, Chance McClain probably has done more harm to my life than anyone could have ever imagined. How else could I describe a man that made it seem like as a listener, you were as big a part of the show as the guys on air. Ok, not quite, but at least that’s what he lead you to believe. While his hands may have been tied for a lot of things he’d have wanted to do, Chance was still able to get some creative events off, and help get listeners to feel like they were a part of everything. Slapfest? Where two brothers slap each other? While 50, 100, 500+ drunks cheer them on. How is this sports relat…WOW HE SLAPPED HIM…what was I saying? This is amazing.
So there we go, that takes me through about 2003. In 2003, I no longer go to school during the hours of 11am to 2pm. I have early classes at UH on M/W, and late classes on T/Th, so I’m either driving to or from school, while listening to The Jim Rome Show. His show motto is, have a take, don’t suck. What the hell is a take? I start listening in and quickly start dying laughing at some of the content of the show. Nancy Kerrigan screaming “WHYYYYY”, Tonya Harding’s 911 call (separate incidents), Carl Lewis failing miserably at the National Anthem, among other great sound clips. Rome as an interview normally will just kiss the guy’s ass, but occasionally he has some good stuff. Nowadays, really the only good day to listen in, is the Smack Off.
The Smack Off is a day Rome will set aside and allow all his top callers to call in, rip on other callers, rip on other teams, players, and the world in general, for the luxury of being “Smack Off Champion”. This is where we come across Seanie, the Cablinasian. Sean, in his Rome show career, won the Smack Off five, yes, you heard right, FIVE times. Better yet, he was a local guy. He was good friends with the morning show guys, as well as Chance, and yearly they’d have Jim Rome listening parties, to root on a guy calling in to a radio station to talk smack about others. Yep, yet another successful sports radio event in the books. This is around the time I started poking my head around to see what else was on, nationally.
At the time, I really never slept, I would tune in at night to listen to ESPN radio. Once Matt Jackson was off the air, I was normally working on something, whether it was homework, or whatever web project I was working on, or just playing PS2, I normally had my radio on all the time. The more I listened, the more I started to enjoy the show that was on. All Night with Todd Wright, on ESPN Radio. This guy was the reason I started writing this post tonight. He always had a nice panel of people on, had entertaining segments, and presented his show a bit differently than the run of the mill shows like Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd, and Van Earl Wright (worst radio host ever). Todd Wright, on the other hand, was sheer brilliance. He now resides on Sporting News Radio, in the same time slot, and I try to listen a few times a week now. Hopefully eventually he’ll get moved to the 9a-12p SNR spot.
This essentially fills out my pre-1560 radio listening habits, and except for not listening to Rome any more, I generally listen to everyone else mentioned in this post. I could go on, but this is a good point to stop for now. It gives the people that only met me 2 years ago to see the reason behind the madness.