Wednesday, July 14, 2010



Written by: Craig Shelton
Date Posted: 07-14-2010

In 2003 when I began listening to sports talk radio on a daily basis, the "soup of the day" was the John & Lance (J&L) morning show on Sports Radio 610. Outside of the obvious fact that J&L are no longer with CBS Radio, nothing has changed much in regard to the racial makeup of Sports Radio 610 (S/R 610). Back in the J&L days at S/R 610, their show was caller-intensive with the makeup of the callers diversity being representative of the city's makeup. Believe it or not, but back in those days, I never called their show for my first six months or so. I was one of those listeners that felt callers were losers looking for attention and I would never degrade myself by calling a radio show. I know what you're thinking: "ain't that the pot calling the kettle black?"


Over time I became a huge fan of the John & Lance morning show on Sports Radio 610. At the time, I was in the embryonic stages of my personal lovefest with sports talk radio. At the same time I was having said lovefest, I was also becoming more and more irritated by some glaring inconsistencies.

Often issues related to race would come up on sports talk shows and what you would always hear from the host and non-Black callers was that: "sure racism exists, but this particular incident wasn't racial". I sat in my office day after day; week after week; and eventually month after month, listening to these comments.

Then one morning the conversation centered around a young black man who was shot and killed by an HPD officer on the south side of Houston. That's when I heard something that forever changed my view regarding calling a radio station.

Jeremy "J Fiz" Foster, who at the time was the morning show "sports flash" guy, got into the conversation. J Fizz (who I love) made a critical remark toward Brother Quanell X, who was investigating the incident. Even though I love my man, J Fizz, I was aggravated by his comments. J Fizz wasn't mean spirited in his comments, but his comments wern't to be associated with the current incident. You see, I knew the details of the incident as well as being a childhood friend of Quanell X. What my man J Fizz didn't realize was that Brother Quanell had acknowledged publicly that the incident was in fact a "suicide by cop". That statement from Quanell cleared the officer of any wrong doing in the minds of the African-American community.


After J Fizz made his comments, and even though his comments had no aggressive or disrespectful content, the callers began calling in and bashing Quanell.

By this time, I had heard enough, so I made my initial call to the John & Lance morning show dialing those infamous numbers:
713 572-4610 (I later had that # tattooed on my back, you know?).

Once I was on the air, I asked J Fizz if he knew Quanell X personally, to which J Fizz acknowledged that he did not. I then shared the details of the case and a couple of facts about the type of man and father Quanell is. I then posed the question rather or not they had ever been aware of any actual incidents they viewed as racist during their tenure in media? My point was a general point, not directed at J&L exclusively, but at the callers and all hosts across the board: if the media is always discrediting the validity of callers alleging racism, but in the same sentence acknowledging racism exists, well, give me an example of a racist incident that they were aware of?

If on-air hosts are going to continue to condescendingly claim callers aren't intelligent enough to know when they're observing a clear racial incident, well teach me the clear-cut signs of a racist incident, if I'm not intelligent enough to identify it for myself?

For the record, the guys did answer my question and gave an example that was some of the treatment ex-Houston Oiler Warren Moon received in Houston. I then attempted a follow up question, but I was mysteriously cut off. That never happens right? Lol!


Here's a thought, who would know more about "kicking"? If soccer balls could talk, what would they tell us? Who could tell us the most about being kicked, the soccer player kicking the ball or the soccer ball that's being kicked? If you're life depended on it, whose opinion would you value most?

Perhaps when minorities get upset over what they view as racially-biased treatment of minority athletes, entertainers, and politicians in the media, said minorities should rethink things. When a non-minority sports talk radio host tells you that you have no idea of what you're talking about the next time you cry "racism", maybe you should just shut up and listen?

Maybe you should listen, because maybe they're correct and you're just wrong? I mean, think about it folks, who should know more about racism, the soccer ball being kicked or the kicker who is kicking the soccer ball? Maybe all of you Black and Hispanic callers claiming racism have it all wrong and the non-minority host whose ancestors perpetrated racism against your ancestors are the experts on the subject. When you think about it that way, it makes sense that they would be the experts on the subject.

I know what some of you are thinking: "Craig you're a racist" right? No, not really, actually I'm just a "loser caller looking for attention" and you're the experts on race.


Don't try and tell me that you know something exists, but you have never observed it. Folks, we're talking about a reality of life here, not Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster.

Sports talk format radio stations are imaged towards white males, ages 25 to 54, so if  "race" isn't an issue, why the community practice of a rating system that doesn't include minorities?

When Sports Radio 610 (S/R 610) mandated no hip hop or r&b bump music be used on their hows, why do you think they did so? Just take a listen to S/R 610 any day of the week, and all you will hear is "classic rock" music per the PD's instructions. It was mandated because S/R 610 has a core listener demo they image the station towards that is the aforementioned 25-54 age range of white males. "Did Spittle make a racial decision, or is he just doing prudent business?" Wake up and smell the coffee folks, everything has racial components to it in business. The question isn't why, but why do we constantly deny it in a intellectual society? That's silly!


Enter Dylan Gwinn to the Houston sports talk arena and his daily on-air entertaining, but respectfully submitted, verbal race wars, weekdays 10a- 12n on Sports Talk 790. Slowly but surely, Dylan is becoming the most compelling sports talk show in Houston. Dylan Gwinn appears to have good momentum in the market, and it appears that there's not much out there to stop his surge towards the top. While others are sitting back locked in "arrogance" mode, "The Mighty Gwinn" is burning up the mid-morning airways on Sports Talk 790.


While program directors; operation managers; and GMs alike stay the course of exclusion as opposed to inclusiveness, Gwinn is ca$hing in on the African-American and Hispanic listeners. Don't misunderstand, Gwinn isn't catering to Blacks or Hispanics by excuse-making for their athletes or their continued disappointing dealings in their personal and professional lives on and off the field. No, quite the opposite actually. Gwinn holds Black and Hispanic athletes to high standards of excellence on and off the field.

The fireworks start for Gwinn when the appearance comes off that he's far less abrasive when white athletes have troubles. Even then, when the angry calls start coming in, Gwinn, for the most part, faces the firing squad. I cant say that for many in this market. The guy isn't perfect, but he comes hard every day for the most part. What's good about Gwinn from the African-American stand point is, we know where he's coming from, and for the most part, we're cool with it. People can deal with anyone when their genuine. The drama ensues when you transparent "wankstaz" try and "zulu" a brother. (ahhhh...ok, "wankstaz" & "zulu", basically, I just insulted several of you jurassic katz)


HMW writer Lamont often comments on a daily basis while he and I listen to the Mighty Gwinn show that: "hear comes the money card". Gwinn often goes to Vince Young-related conversation to stir up tension among callers. Bring up Vince Young in Houston and mix in a personality like Gwinn and watch the race angle take off on any show. Well, now that Lebron James and Cleveland Cav's owner Dan Gilbert are in a war of words (mostly Gilbert doing the whining) and "Lights Camera Action" Jesse Jackson  has spoken, Gwinn has a couple of nice new "go-to" toys to play with when he needs a money card to play.
That's cool with me, as long as it's relevant and balanced in how things are managed. That can be tougher than you may think folks with the management of hot button topics and caller's emotions on display over public radio.


Signed: Rush Limbaugh; Michael Savage; Michael Berry; The "Mighty" Dylan Gwinn; and OJ.



With his fearlessness, Gwinn sets himself apart from every other host in Houston with the exception of radio legends Barry Warner of S/R 610 and Ralph Cooper of KCOH. Like Cooper, Gwinn takes on all callers (including yours truly) and stays the course. It makes for compelling radio when you get emotional radio.

In a fashion much like Barry Warner, Gwinn is rarely moved to back down of his opinion no matter how twisted his opinions may appear to some. Gwinn takes on all callers and that's an admirable quality when much  of his constituency typically turns and runs like cowards when race issues arise.

Ralph Cooper, Barry Warner, and Dylan Gwinn have little else in common from a birds eye view, but I'd love to be a fly on any wall of the room that these three occupy simultaneously.

John Lopez and Josh Innes of Sports Radio 610 are two others that are fearless regarding racial issues in sports. Both will hold their own when the conversation turns towards racial issues. I find this particularly notable in the case of Josh Innes being an under 25- year-old white male. I say that because you have notable names in Houston's sports talk market that are minority hosts that appear to stay as far away from the racial issues as possible. One of which even claims he "never considered himself a minority growing up", which I personally find laughable.

Carl Dukes of  ESPN 97 5 The Ticket is often criticized openly by callers to the Ralph Cooper show just as Andre Ware was during his S/R 610 days as "not black enough" (whatever that means).

When I hosted the Sunday Block Party along with Bobby Z, on S/R 610, I was never accused of  being "not black enough". I did have an occasion that when I appeared on a Friday with noted media "douchebag", Adam Clanton, where a former NFL player whom I was friends with at the time, called my cell phone while I was on air. He accused me of, as he put it: "taking up for that white boy." The amazing thing about it is, all I stated was that it was too early to write off Matt Schaub as a good NFL QB. We're no longer friends, as I was offended by his attempting to define my blackness by rather or not I'm willing to unfairly criticize a player based on the color of his skin.


Listen folks, should we allow racial issues to consume our daily lives? Hell no! But, when issues of race come up on the air, it's like crack, "you need just one more hit" everytime man!

When issues of race come up, I believe that host should take it on, head on, and identify his position and stay his course, no mateer who it pisses off.

Why Craig, you may ask? Why should the host on sports talk stations do as you're suggesting and talk racial issues when a legitimate reason arises on the air, why black race guy?

Lol...Hey, I'm just a radio slut as a listener folks, and proud of it mind you; I don't have all the answers. What I do know is that; I love my STRC aka Sports Talk Radio Crack!


Craig "cRacK BaBy" Shelton


robnemar said...

I agree whole heartedly. It is hard to convey this message without getting emotional about it. I think you did a pretty decent job. I do believe there is a strong disconnect between the minority and non-minority points of view in this market and across the board. I will say that although there are some hosts in the city that aren't afraid to talk about the issue of race, their point of view can still be flawed and full of biases. I think Mighty Gwinn is the most difficult in that regard. Not solely in regard to race so much but for everything I guess. Once he has an opinion, you can't reason with him. What really needs to change is the emergence of more minority voices in this market. At least just to provide a balance. One thing you don't want is an overwhelming slant in the opposite direction though. We don't want or need all minority radio. We just need a balance and a real attempt from the hosts to understand what this issue really means to people. No matter what the opinions of the hosts might be, the opinions or perspectives held by the callers and texters and e-mailers can be the truth and not just an opinion.

Kelvin said...

Craig, as much as I like your show, and this blog, its seems that lately there are a lot of race card, and racism entries. You do make some good points though. I know quite a few folks that feel the same way, and have stopped visiting the blog. You guys do a hell of a job, but the race related content has gotten a bit too often man. Peace out Lesbo.

Earlis said...

I do not want to personalize this remark...i am responding to the analogy robmar used..I find robmar's commentary respectful, insightful, and pretty my argument is not really about him but i found the quote worthy of getting a opposite response...but still that is out of context...and for the sake of argument I use my man's statement.. peace be upon him.

"What really needs to change is the emergence of more minority voices in this market. At least just to provide a balance. One thing you don't want is an overwhelming slant in the opposite direction though. We don't want or need all minority radio. We just need a balance and a real attempt from the hosts to understand what this issue really means to people."
All minority radio Rob?...I think that may be a moot point..that is the chances of commercal radio being dominated by voices from people of color is remote at best..

People in general have trouble walkin in the shoe's of others..i.e. people who are not like it people of another country..race..religion...sensitivity like is hard to bring to the forefront in the average joe...the dominate culture in America i.e. "White folk" have a heck of a time with that..."other" people are "demonized" to justify..exploitation "them" and or being folk being shot at...and as soon as the practice question someone screams racecard....or why don't you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps...well er you need boots for one thing...
really I am not speaking to you Rob but is just funny to the example you gave...again the most segregated place in America..11am sunday morning baby...and black people live with it is what it is...boom keep it moving..but "white folk" don't what you bringing up the day issues's people of color deal solely based on them not being is like "I know i have my foot on your neck (with my boot on)..but please stop whining about it "negro" it makes me uncomfortable..
The reality is the better you hide your feelings about race as a black person the better "you get along"...financially socially in takes a lotta balls to stand up in this world and speak loud about injustice because there is a pay a price...from what I see Craig has accepted there are times black individuals or other non-white individuals scream about race and race is not the issue at all and it happens all the time..thats life..
I would like to think we will make a lot of progress in this area in the coming years but America has some tough days ahead...politicians and news pundits will find it difficult not to scape-goat...lie or exploit race issue's or play to stereo-types to entertain and bamboozle their white is a easy thing to do and you can get paid well to do it..

Earlis said...

my bad i am referring above to
robnemar I misstated his name.
rumors of my genius
good be slightly over stated..

robnemar said...

I appreciate the commentary Earlis. I know we have a long way to go on the home front as far as all of this making sense goes. All of this being the racial divisions and cultural disconnections that don't allow for the society as a whole to see things clearly or well rounded and going about fixing said problems..... There is actually a good Newsweek article that was featured a couple of years ago discussing the way relationships are formed between the different ethnic groups and what is still missing in the present day environment that still keeps social progression relatively stagnant. The key ingredient that was missing according to the article was honesty. Honesty of the fact that their is a problem. I will look for the link and pass it on if I can. It was mainly about how the different groups raise their children and how that translates once kids reach school age in who they gravitate towards and why they gravitate towards them, and how it carries over into adulthood. It is an interesting read. It puts things into perspective at least a little bit as to why things are the way that they are. The point I was making though about the all black radio was that to me,it doesn't equal balance. I don't think Craig's intention is to turn Houston radio into all minority 610 or Sports negro 790 you know? I think when some read the blog, they misunderstand the point of the blog and the potential of the blog because they are reading and surveying topics and comments on the blog while they are trapped in their social limitations. Ironically, the same limitations that are discussed on the blog. That was my point. I agree with what you said in all minority radio being a very remote possibility. But I don't think that is what is needed for balance. Time will tell though. Think about it like this if I may use a political analogy regarding President Obama. I remember when I went to vote in November 2008, I really had to struggle before I voted because I knew I was going to vote for Mr. Obama. What I didn't really know though was why. Was I voting his politics or for his color? I would like to think I voted for his politics and not his color, but for me as a black man, his color was an issue because I didn't want to be that guy that was voting for him just to prove a point and tell all of the other 42 former presidents to take that and hope that George Washington and company were turning over in their graves at every tally at the poll that was a positive tally for Mr. Obama. That doesn't equate to balance if my only motivation is "revenge" considering this revenge to be equal to balance. But I was very proud to see a black man have a chance to be president with that said. To this day I am still not sure why I voted if I am just going to be honest..... The point is, I figure if we get into that revenge type of mind set and call it balance, then it will be the same biases and same disconnections, but just from a different group of administrators. We need something better than that. Something in which everyone can respect and not feel excluded. Currently though, we are not at that point. But with that said, I love Craig and his crew having the influence that they do and having the a forum that balances that works to balance the scale. HMW or KCOH 1430, it is all good to me........ The dialogue is great though man. I will look for the link and see if I can post in regard to the Newsweek article I mentioned.