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?"
OK, YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION!
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.
MY FIRST CALL
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?
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!
IF SOCCER BALLS COULD TALK?
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?
THE "MIGHTY" TRUTH!
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.
BRING IT ON!
THE MONEY CARD
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.
"IT'S SIMPLE TO ME FOLKS: TALKING RACE IN ANY RADIO FORMAT, BE IT SPORTS OR OTHERWISE, IS JUST PLAIN OLD GOOD ENTERTAINING RADIO IF CULTIVATED PROPERLY."
Signed: Rush Limbaugh; Michael Savage; Michael Berry; The "Mighty" Dylan Gwinn; and OJ.
KEeP KIcKIn' ASS MIgHTy!
FEARLESS LEGENDS IN THE GAME
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.
WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO...
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.
Craig "cRacK BaBy" Shelton