Brant's Rant: ESPNRadio - It's Craptastic!

October 25, 2006 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

If you scour the Internet, you can probably find about 20 blogs or websites that decry the state of ESPN. We would like to be added to that list. But instead of ranting about the proliferation of television channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN News, ESPN Alternative Lifestyles), I'd like to discuss ESPNRadio. When I first began actively listening about six years ago, we were blessed with the likes of Mike & Mike in the Morning (before they sold their souls), followed by Tony Kornheiser, and capped off by The Dan Patrick Show. Now the schedules would vary by region, with local programming squeezed into the mix across the country, but this was our lineup in the Los Angeles market. Then, seemingly overnight, Mike & Mike went metrosexual, Tony left the radio booth, and Dan lost his sidekick, the incomparable Rob Dibble. The joy of ESPN Radio began spiraling down the toilet.

Fast forward to 2004. ESPN decides to bring in some schmuck named Colin Cowherd to take Tony Kornheiser's prime timeslot in the morning. My disdain for Mr. Cowherd is well documented, as you can read in the two-week Colin Cowherd Project in the left sidebar. Mike & Mike were pushed to an ungodly time, something along the lines of 3am-6am, when only meth addicts and minutemen might be spinning the dials. Dan Patrick got serious on his show, then tried to hide his graying hair with a hideous dye-job that's so comical, he may be eligible for a Redhead of the Week. Each of these shows were consumed in the sports media blitz of creating controversy and bashing it into the skulls of listeners. Non-sensical arguments were consistently repeated, with every angle of every non-story sucked what little blood it could offer. The Terrell Owens non-suicide attempt and the Kenny Rogers incident are only the most recent examples. Yes, give me my sports news, but don't start swatting my ass with it like it's a yardstick, or put it out on my arm like dad's cigarettes. I want my news, I want a rational debate about it, and then I want to move on to the next topic. I don't want to go home and feel like I've been yelled at for doing something wrong.

That being said, I'm not championing for ESPNRadio to become too lighthearted or anything. In fact, it's this sportsertainment hybrid horseshit that probably set off my rant. My local market guys on ESPN Radio (I'll get to them shortly) said that there was going to be a major announcement on the Mike & Mike show Tuesday morning at 5:05am PST. Now, I certainly wasn't going to wake up and listen at that time, but I was curious enough to check out what the "big" announcement was later in the day. What was it? Mike & Mike were going to be on Letterman that night. Well fuck you. That's the "big" news that they even had our local radio hosts pimping? That the two Mikes were so full of themselves, so above the news, so much the news, that ESPN got them scheduled in on Letterman??? You, Michael and Michael, are paid to tell me the sports stories of the day. You are not paid to be the story. ESPN has inflated you to Hollywood status. Temper your egos good sirs. Temper them.

Now I'm going to move on to my local ESPN Radio affiliate, 710 AM in the Los Angeles area. The crapfest of the aforementioned shows is only the beginning of our day. After Dan signs off, we are treated to two hours of rehashed arguments and awkward silences presented by Gary Miller and D'Marco Farr. You may remember Gary Miller when he was a prominent face on the ESPN network. You know, before the peeing incident. Is there a new and hip analogy for banging one's head against a wall? Because that's what I feel like doing when I listen to these two ass-clowns. However, I'm usually in a car when I hear them, so I end up honking and flipping people off.

Our workday concludes with another local show featuring Steve Mason and John Ireland, the two who told me about the fantastic revelation on the Mike & Mike show. Ireland is a reporter that travels with the Lakers. He probably thinks Kobe likes him. I'm not sure what Mason really "does" although I gather that he owns movie theaters and is fairly wealthy. This show isn't as bad as it could be, though I find Ireland nearly as insufferable as Cowherd. Not in the same manner though. It probably has to do with Ireland being Republican. But I digress.

ESPN 710 is also the home of the Anaheim Angels (not the LA Angels), Clippers basketball, and USC football. Thank Christ they finally ditched the LA Kings (this would be a hockey franchise). They also broadcast most major MLB games. Basically, once it hits 5pm, you have no idea what you're going to be listening to on your commute home. This September, 710 had to bump the Saturday Angel games to a different station so they could air an entire day of USC pregame ass-pat festivities leading to their evening games. Apparently they think they can offer us everything. It really just ends up being a clusterfuck of programming.

All of which brings me to my larger point (if I really have one). At some point, the powers that be at ESPN need to slow the fuck down and reevaluate their plan of sportsersodomytainment dominance. I, for one, am sick of it. I'm seeking alternative sports news sources, and staying away from the "argument for argument's sake" attitude and the self-aggrandizing of not only ESPN television, but their radio networks and talk show hosts.

ESPN had a host out here in LA for a number of years and canned him last fall. His name is Joe McDonnell. I don't always like him. He talks about boxing and wrestling way too much, and he likes hip-hop. But now he's on a rival station, and he knows a shitload more about the local sports scene than any of the local ESPN radio schmucks. The other night I heard him refer to ESPN as the "perpetually self-promoting" network. On this I will agree. ESPN radio hosts do not speak for me. And they sure as hell do not deserve a place on Letterman.

Good Day.