How To Fix The Sports Animal
3:47 PM EDT on October 11, 2007
With their ouster by the far superior Cleveland Indians, fans and media outlets across the country have being offering their opinions as to what the New York Yankees should do to fix the problems that they have. Naturally, the next question everyone is also wondering is how The Sports Animal should fix the problems they have. At least that's the next question an Ogle has.
Here, for the folks in charge over at Citadel Broadcasting, is a nice, handy ten-step guide to upgrading the Sports Animal from a colossal failure all the way to a mediocre radio station.
#1: Trade Bob Barry Jr. and a Broadcaster To Be Named Later to KREF for Toby Rowland
This moves comes at a price, obviously. There is a good chance that the BTBNL might be a real talent (though, based on past history, probably not), and chances are WWLS will have to absorb some of BBJ's salary, but it gets you the best sports radio host in town and comes with the added benefit of not having to have Bob Barry Jr. on your station.
#2: Move Craig Humphreys to the 6:30 AM-7 AM time slot
I first became aware of the Hump Man years ago on the old WWLS, when he was on from 6:30-7 AM with Dan Lutz. I couldn't figure out who this guy was, or why there were never any commercials when he was on. It was only later that I realized he was just a guy who had bought up 30 minutes of airtime so that he could let the world know his opinions on sports.
Humphreys would be comfortable in the 6:30 AM time slot, and since all he really does is read excerpts from USA Today, I would have someone to read me the paper over my morning coffee.
#3: Replace Humphreys with Carey Murdock
I actually rather like Mark Rodgers, and a tandem of Rodgers and Carey Murdock seems like it would be a pretty good one.
However, I must point something out here: I was watching the ALDS between the aforementioned Yankees and Indians, and while listening to the horrible Chip Carey and his sidekicks it occurred to me that Tony Gwynn's voice sounds exactly like Carey Murdock's. It's almost freakish, actually.
#4: Add more commercials
There definitely aren't enough commercials on the Sports Animal. I can hardly go four minutes without hearing one. Since they are, actually, the best things on the station, this must change.
#5: Release Jim Traber. Claim Stephen A. Smith off waivers.
I know what you're thinking. Hear me out. This will take a minute.
Yesterday I was listening to Traber make a point about how the OU and OSU basketball programs are down this year, and how he didn't think there had been a year in the history of the Big 12 that neither school had a player in the first or second team pre-season All-Conference squad. A fair point, and he had his producer look up the previous All-Big 12 teams. While obsessing over who was on each year's team, it came to Traber's attention that Nate Erdmann was on OU's squad a certain year, and suddenly, out of nowhere, Traber screams "NATE ERDMANN WAS DEFINITELY ON THE SECOND TEAM!" It wasn't a scream of anger -- no one was arguing with him, or to get himself heard when others are talking. It's just the way this man communicates. The way he talks about things like Nate freaking Erdmann, a subject I'm quite certain no one else on the planet, save Erdmann's parents, could get that worked up about. And I can't take it any longer.
Screamin' A. Smith is quite possibly (probably?) worse than Traber in this regard, but at least he would bring some good guests to local radio, and he's a minority voice, not exactly something we have in droves on local radio.
#6: Retire Al Eschbach's jersey, Buy Out Rusty Olson from his KREF contract
Thirty-plus years is long enough, Al. He should be replaced by his former producer, Rusty.
Now, Rusty Olson is not a particularly wonderful sports radio host. He's the kind of guy who says things like "Sometimes it's better to not be drafted at all instead of being drafted in the 7th round, since you can pick the team you sign with," and then pauses as if he's said something dramatic. It's true enough, yes, but not particularly insightful or thoughtful since everyone in the world utters the same platitude after every NFL draft.
As many of you are probably thinking, there is the fact that his voice does indeed cause glass to break. This problem can be solved by requesting that all listeners roll down their windows before Rusty comes on the air. This would help conserve the energy people would usually use on air-conditioning. That's just me, saving the world one radio host at a time.
#7: Give Dean Blevins his own 1-hour show
This is only a tentative idea.
No one has been harder on Deano than me, but I want to give him a bit of credit. It actually seems like he's getting a little bit better. His smugness has been dialed down quite a bit lately, and it's been replaced by a passive-aggressive bitterness that is positively delightful. It's not exactly news that Blevins and Traber haven't always gotten along perfectly well, but lately Dean seems more annoyed at him than usual. Every time Jim interrupts him -- which is often -- I can feel the veins bulging in Deano's head through the radio, as he responds through obviously clenched teeth.
It's clear to me that one of these days, Dean is going to snap and that repressed anger is going to be unleashed on the world. I want that moment caught on the air, and that's why he should have a show on The Sports Animal 2.0 (which is what I'm calling it, because I'm awesome like that).
#8: Add more content involving listener interaction
There is nothing greater than trite features like BBJ's old golfer giveaway and Traber's "Jimmy's Egg On Your Face." Who doesn't love to hear Jim Traber say "Jimmy's Egg on Your Face" thirteen times in a five minute span and then hear callers trash whoever SportsCenter has told them to that week? True, this is not actually good radio, but ESPN has many similar features, and look how successful they are!
By copying horrible features like "Who's Now" and the "Coors Light Six Pack," The Sports Animal can go national. I suggest the "Earl's Rib Palace Belch," where listeners call in and give their best imitation of the belch on the Earl's Rib Palace commercial, and the winner gets a free meal.
#9: Move Curtis Fitzpatrick somewhere, anywhere else
I don't dislike Curtis as much as some people on this site do, but it does seem to me he just doesn't fit in on a morning show. Have you ever noticed that Curtis is never the one saying the funny thing? That's not an insult, really, it's just not his shtick. It's not his fault the powers that be put him in that time slot. He's inoffensive enough as a straight sports talk host, so put him somewhere else. Maybe he and Pork should have their own show together.
#10: Invent this: The James Hale/Greg Swaim Oklahoma Hoops Show
I am actually more of an OU basketball fan than I am OU football, which makes me something of an outcast among Sooner fans (I have been severely beaten numerous times). The lack of coverage of NCAA hoops bothers me, so I think a Hale/Swaim pairing covering the sport would be good for two reasons. First, despite (or probably because of) their horrible homerism, they both do sometimes have good information. Second, there is a good chance they will come to blows and render each other incapacitated and unable to do radio any longer. Win/Win situation!
And there you have it. A surefire way to improve the Sports Animal. I expect Citadel to call me any day to offer me a consulting job.