Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Morning Fracas: The Kansas City Chiefs and Sports Talk Radio

Let's make no bones about the obvious here: Every town has (at least) two sports-talk radio stations competing for an audience and ratings. If you're familiar with Kansas City's sports-talk scene, you know that it's KCSP 610 AM in the one corner, WHB 810 AM in the other. I've come to the conclusion -- and this ain't no rocket surgery -- that the former tends to draw the more blue-collar, liberal sort of listener, while the latter pulls from the right. I don't have any demographical studies in front of me to support this theory, but the on-air personalities on both stations' schedules, coupled with the majority of the callers to each, suggests that I might be right. And I, for a number of years now, have tried to stand up for KCSP, and convince dedicated WHB listeners to at least consider the advantages of listening to 610. Until this week.

In the past, my only beef with the station was their continued employment of one Rhonda Moss.

As you can see, based on the microphone and professional attire, that Moss was at one time a 610 employee, and she at one time attempted to interview Brodie Bangs. In addition to her self/colleague-proclaimed title of reporter that always "asks the hard questions," she embodies every quarter-ounce of fuel a guy like Old No. 7 needs to ignite the midwesterner-bashing coals. But this is not a personal attack. It's business. Her stay at KCSP was so lengthy, that when she was finally let go, I'd reached the point of assuming that she would be a lifer. Near the end of her employment, the lineup went something like this:

5:30-9 A.M.: "The D.A. Show"
9:00-11 A.M: Tim Grunhard
11-12:00 P.M: "The Jim Rome Show" feed
2-6:00 P.M.: "The Dog House (or something) with Neal Jones & Marty Wall"
6-9:00 P.M.: "Chris & Cowboy"

The best thing that ever happened to 610 was D.A., or Damon Amendolara. They canned him. Big freaking mistake. Insert "The Morning Sports Drive with Roger Twibell" in his slot. Grunny went to coach Bishop Miege High School football; it's possible he was canned as well, or maybe he was just too busy to do both. Chris & Cowboy take that slot, and in comes Nick Wright, who is, bar none, the biggest doofus on Planet TalkRadio -- but more on that later -- to C & C's former place. Shortly thereafter, Wall gets canned, leaving Jones to do the four-hour slot by himself. To his credit, he did a pretty decent job. On Monday, they unveiled a new schedule again, one that features Nick Wright in Chris & Cowboy's place, who took Jones' slot, making him the most recent casualty. And from six-nine, there's some other national feed.

The problems I have with this are many. It took me a while to get used to Twibell, but his show's pretty solid, he has great guests, and I figured it was a ploy on 610's management end, to get some of the more sophisticated listeners to tune in on the way to work, and if that was the gig, it made sense that they axed D.A., even though I still don't agree with it. But I hung with them, and even caught significant portions of Chris & Cowboy when they switched to mornings. In the past, I would always tune into 810 or listen to music after 11 'cause Rome drove me nuts. Now, I'm tuning in to Rome rather frequently, as he's one of the best things to listen to on the K.C. airwaves, simply by default. My guess is that it won't be long before the station folds completely, and here's why:

Not one single original, non-feed program they have on the air after Roger Twibell in the morning is worth two squirts of piss (Editor's Note: This is, perhaps, my favorite Cecilism of all time.) in a dead hooker's mouth. Nick Wright, as I mentioned, is a complete bonehead, and the fact that he's gainfully employed in this industry is baffling. I've only voiced a few literal droplets of my opinion on him before here in the House. I've been tempted to offer more, but that would imply that I do, in fact, still listen to him, and that is inaccurate. We do have, however, thanks to KC Confidential some other takes on the new morning host, but before I share them, know that there is some positive feedback, too. I'm just choosing not to share it.

From listener Gavin:

"The good news is that now I won’t have to listen to adenoidally challenged Nick Wright who clearly knows everything, just ask him. The bad news is that he is being replaced by those meatheads Chris and Cowboy who get by on appealing to the lowest common denominator and making jokes about looking at other dudes’ junk in the mensroom."

listener SM:

"And Nick Wright is a train wreck. The most inept, unprepared host I’ve ever heard in KC. I can’t imagine who will chose him over Petro."

Mike chimed in:

"I listened to Nick Wright when he did evenings before the Royals started the season. I did like him at first but he got annoying quickly after he harped about Ponson getting the start on the opening day from the K on April 10th. He went nonstop. It felt like he was the kid screaming the loudest for attention and it was something not many even cared about. Point is he annoys me. Petro and company will crush him."

Okay, here's some mild complimenting from Connie:

"I sort of like Nick Wright, but he does tend to run stuff into the ground also and I prefer Chris and Cowboy over Neal 100%."

So the Train Wreck gets done at 11 A.M., Rome's on for three hours, and then it's Chris and Cowboy. I'm not gonna lie: I don't hate them. I appreciate them because they are a potential source of information. But obnoxious would be akin to saying George W. Bush was mildly aloof. They are complete buffoons. I think that for some time, I'd managed to tone out all of their jawjacking, but recently, a co-worker pointed out to me that they just jabber back and forth at each other a lot. And he's right. In fact, that's pretty much all they do. Come to think of it, they do manage to squeeze in the occasional piece of sports news in and around their three hours and 40 minutes of dick jokes, boozing/hangover commentaries, creepy lechery tendencies, and overall arrogant approach. Frankly, their voices don't do them any favors, either. Chris sounds like a big, dumb idiot, and Cowboy is cocky beyond belief for reasons I can scarcely comprehend.

And this is where the Chiefs part comes in. These chuckleheads spent a significant amount of their time on the air yesterday talking about Kansas City releasing Will Franklin. Here's how I would sum up that story: Big. Fucking. Deal. He was a local draft pick. The Chiefs have, for years, always tried to squeeze in that feel-good, hometown-guy pick, and guess what: It never pans out. Their big issue is that Chiefs Head Coach Todd Haley, who by the way, is trying, along with GM Scott Pioli, to put together a team that can win more than two games -- just sayin' -- allegedly called him into his office, sat him down and said, "You're a marked man. You're a Herm Edwards guy. I'm gonna ride you hard."

Know what I did when I heard that? A-fucking-pplauded. That's right. You don't spend a fourth-round pick on a receiver from the University of Missouri. Know what Franklin did for KC last year? Seven catches for 83 yards. And he wasn't taken deep in the fourth; he was the sixth pick of the freaking round. Allegedly, Franklin didn't wanna be rode hard, so he asked for his release, and it was granted.

Bye. See ya'. Enjoy your career as a Lion.

Here's the twist, though: Chris and Cowboy have their Bud Light-soaked britches in a bunch because this comes after a) the reputation Haley has as a militant prick, b) Brian Waters threw a hissy fit because they wouldn't make time for coffee and cake with him, and c) Haley claimed that everyone on the roster had a clean slate. So an NFL figure wasn't exactly 100 percent truthful with the media. Fucking. Shocker.

But it gets worse. Cowboy spent the rest of the afternoon, using enticing lines like "you're not gonna believe this," etc., telling his audience about the inside track they had on the story. Know what it was? A guy that he was texting who knows Will Franklin, and was texting him, too. And the secret-knock source reported that Franklin knew that Chris and Cowboy were reporting this over the air, and that he wasn't denying that any of it happened, which of course drummed the whole thing up enough that Haley was asked about it, and naturally responded.

You can click that link if you want, but there's nothing there, per se. What there was, was Cowboy droning on, over and over again about how Haley doesn't have the credentials, the glorious experience, the Super Bowl rings, to be conducting business in this fashion. Why? Because he'll lose the locker room. All of it, essentially, is one big simmering vile pot of weak sauce, since there's only one place that an angle like that works, and it's called print journalism.

You wanna beat the path, get your scoop, and in your 36-column-inch space, craft your story where one of your sources wants to remain anonymous? Fine. Do it. It's allowed. Your readers won't love it. Your editor doesn't prefer it. But you can do it there. What you can't do is take your anonymous source and plod along with it over the radio airwaves for four straight hours, because that's just plain bad broadcast journalism. Oh, no. I get it. It's radio. It's different. Your listeners are tuning in, tuning out, in and out of the car, distracted. It's crystal clear. That doesn't change the fact that it's downright lame.

The only thing that would make the situation worse would be, say, if you came on the air today and suggested that the Chiefs, with their third overall pick in the draft, take a wide receiver from Mizzou. No, no. I get that, too. Jeremy Maclin had 102 catches for 1260 yards and 13 touchdowns, which is way better than Franklin's final year at MU: 49 grabs for 709 yards and four scores. But to cry and whine about Franklin's release and then carry on about the should-bes of drafting another local wide out is outright absurdity at its best. It's Missouri, dude. The Big XII North. You should know. You cover it for a living.

Anyway, Scoob' and Shag wrap things up at six, and that's the day for 610's original material. In sum, you have:

1) pretty decent in the morning, except that it makes you seem like 810, which is a contrast to the rest of your day
2) Bozo the broadcast clown
3) Rome
4) Tweedle Meathead and Tweedle Ding-Dong,

and your broadcast day is history.

Christ. Just close up shop already. No sense goin' out making a caricature of yourself, because that's what's going to happen.


Cecil said...

I know much more about the state of KC talk radio than I did before. Congrats.

Although doesn't the treatment of Waters bother you just a *little*? I mean, that dude isn't a Cutlerian whinebag, he's a civic fixture, like all the fountains...

bankmeister said...

The only thing I can say is 2-14, bro. Two and 14. Imagine if your boys had just done that, and the Colonel and the Doogmeister wanted to get rid of one of your veteran guys -- a Tom Nalen (pretend he hadn't retired), if you will, for the same reasons.

I choose better than 2-14 over Brian Waters anyday. It's the same message that Xanders and McDaniels were sending: This is about team, not individuals, no matter who you are.

Yes. I love Brian Waters, and yes, I still want him on this roster, but relax, bro. Why do you need to have a chat with them? You'll get your chance.

Going to the media, whining about what happened, and demanding a trade is the same no matter which way you slice it. Whether you did it six weeks ago and people still mention it on occasion, or it was all people talked about for those six weeks straight, it's not doing anything positive for the team.

Just sayin'.

P-funkaholik said...

The new crew is cleanin house, washin that nasty taste of Herm outta everyone's mouth.