Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

June Sports Animal Host Power Ranking

It’s June, which means that it’s time to update our power rankings of Sports Animal hosts, which we’ve never done before. And what good is a web site that doesn’t include power rankings of some sort?

This is a particularly bad time to be a Sports Animal listener, as the only thing going is Major League Baseball, not exactly something this group of characters is well-versed in. So after the jump, here they are, ranked from least likely to most likely to make me turn my radio to NPR in disgust.

1. Mark Rodgers

This is a low totem pole, but Rodgers is on top of it, only partly because he was nice to a friend of mine at a poker table a few months back. He’s gotten better since taking over as sports director at KOCO, and is less likely to simply repeat the conventional wisdom of the day than most of these guys. Willingness to publicly disagree with callers, fellow hosts, and OU football coaches is a positive.

2. Mike Steely

Openly admits he doesn’t like or care about baseball, which is a negative in my book, but probably doesn’t hurt him too much in the eyes of most people in these parts. Steely doesn’t take himself too seriously — which is a big problem with the Sports Animal guys in general — and is occasionally slightly funny.

3. Curtis Fitzpatrick

Whatever. He’s fine.

4. Lump

Three Morning Animals in a row. These guys aren’t Rick and Brad, but for the most part, they’re harmless. Still, what’s the deal with having a guy on a sports radio station that so clearly doesn’t give a damn about sports? Also, why does he call himself Lump? I do think he reads The Lost Ogle, so that automatically puts him above a bunch of the other guys. We’re really easy to buy off.

5. Craig Humphreys

This is where the rankings take a major turn for the worse. Honestly, I am floored that the Hump man ranks this high. Have any of you ever tuned into the Animal on the weekends of major golf tournaments? It is some amazing radio. After the round is over — I am not making this up — Humphreys gets on the air and literally reads the scorecards of the top finishers. I cannot understand why the people in charge allow this to happen. It is possible the single most boring thing I have ever heard in my entire life.

Has anyone ever seen Humphreys in person or on television? I used to watch him on Mayor Mick’s old TV show, Totally Football, or whatever it was called, and I have noticed that Craig Humphreys is literally smiling 100% of the time. Seriously, the dude’s default face is a smile. That is not natural, and scares me quite a bit.

6. Jim Traber

My lord, it is astonishing that he’s this high.

Most people say that Jim Traber has a gigantic ego, but I actually don’t think that’s the case. I think he’s one of the most insecure people that I’ve come across in my entire life. There’s really no other conclusion to make, given the constant yelling over people and insistence on determining that he is right about every single thing he talks about.

If Jim Traber is reading this, I want him to know that I do not care about the following things:

Norman North football
Your golf game
Your gout
Your poker playing
Your wife
Really, come to think about it, anything having to do with your life. Talk sports, for crying out loud.

7. Al Eschbach

We’ve discussed Al quite a bit on this blog, so I’ll keep it short. The guy was apparently good at his job at one point, and essentially founded the format in the area. But it’s clearly obvious that he is mailing it in nowadays. I defy you to find one opinion of his that does not come from a pundit on the previous night’s Sportscenter, a columnist in one of that day’s newspapers, or an OU football coach. The man hasn’t had an original thought in his life.

8. Bob Barry, Jr.

Does BBJ even like sports? I get the feeling that outside of the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and Green Bay Packers, he doesn’t even pay attention to sports at all, which is not exactly the best trait in a sports talk show host or a sports director at a television station.

I don’t know if he still does this, as I don’t listen anymore since I’d rather gouge my eyes out than actually listen to his show, but he used to do this thing on the eve of every golf tournament that was the worst radio I have ever heard in my entire life. It was a “golfer giveaway,” where various callers would call in and say a number, and BBJ would look at this chart he made, and the golfer who had been given that number would then be that caller’s golfer for that week’s tournament. If the golfer won, then the caller would win dinner at Johnnie’s or some mediocre prize.

So for an entire hour, you heard conversations like this:

Caller: Hey, BBJ! I’ll take number 12.
BBJ: Ok, looks like that is Steve Elkington.
Caller: All right! Thanks, Junior!
BBJ: Next caller?

That hour of radio caused a weekly spike in deaths related to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

9. James Hale

When James Hale opens his mouth, what you are actually hearing is Bob Stoops’ voice, although it sounds about fifty times as annoying. Seriously, you’ve heard the phrase “face made for radio?” James Hale has a “voice made for a convent.” His complete and utter inability to recognize even the most mundane negative thing about anything regarding the University of Oklahoma athletics department makes it fundamentally impossible to give him any credibility at all.

Seriously, when you stop being skeptical and stop actually verifying what you are being told, you cease being a journalist. Please stop calling yourself one.

They should call the time he is on the air, “The OU Football Press Release Show.”

Others receiving votes, but ineligible to be ranked due to the lack of airtime:

Doug Gottlieb: He’d be towards the top. Excellent when it comes to basketball, less so with other sports. Challenges the conventional wisdom, which is a good thing. On the other hand, he really likes the sound of his own voice and his constant interruptions and the fact that he won’t let others talk gets old pretty quickly.

Robert Allen: He’s OSU’s James Hale, complete with the terrible radio voice.

John Rohde: Why do they call him JohnOn? What is wrong with these people?

Fat Jack: Possibly the most annoying man on the planet.

UPDATED: I swear I proofread this thing before I hit “Publish.” Typos fixed, I think. Sorry ’bout that.


  1. So, I’m thinking next time we go bigger and include the hosts at 1340 and KREF. That way, we can make fun of the Jenni Carlson / Dave Garrett show.

  2. I swear this is true: I had no idea that show even existed. Wow. I will be tuning in for that.

  3. It’s obvious I didn’t get a vote, because Curtis Fitzpatrick would have been at the bottom, and Pork would have been at the top. Fitzpatrick drives me crazy by over dramatizing everything he says. Curtis, there is no drumroll before your “lock of the week” pick, so don’t pretend your listeners are on the edge of their seats waiting for you to speak.

  4. Fat Jack making a play for Lump’s spot!

    We also accept cash, which can bump you up to Curtis Fitzpatrick’s spot, and if the Lindsay woman on your show (I think that’s her name) is as hot as she sounds on the radio, we’re willing to escort her around town for an evening. We even promise not to make fun of her lack of sports knowledge. If that deal can somehow be worked out, you’ve got the top spot for the foreseeable future.

  5. Today Craig was giving a golf report
    on the U.S. Open-two days after the tournament finished!
    Is there anything we can do about the stranglehold Craig has on this station?

  6. Listening to James Hale announce that “the Good Lord has given me another day” EVERY single morning is nearly as unbearable as BBJ’s golfer giveaway. You get the impression that this guy literally thanks God for allowing him to wake up in the morning. And even if he does, we shouldn’t have to hear about it. It’s possibly the worst tagline ever uttered on radio.

    The real miracle is that the Good Lord gave him another day to speak on the radio; hopefully God will rethink that decision as soon as possible.

  7. The correct power rankings for the Morning Animals show are: Pork, Audra, Lump, Steely, and Curtis brings up the rear. Clark Matthews has got it right.

    Fitzpatrick seems to chafe at the fact the morning show is not a pure sports talk show. He would probably be better suited to a straight sports show than the variety format of the Morning Animals.

    Either way, he gets low marks for the friction he generates that’s usually directed at Pork. Where Fitzpatrick defers to Lump or Steely, he’ll argue with Pork and generally act put out if Pork says something he doesn’t like. That seems to conform to the perceived hierarchy on that show which goes Steely, Lump, Curtis, Pork, Audra.

    You get the feeling that Fitzpatrick wants the show to be something other that what it is, and his frustration is usually directed at Pork. If that’s the case, though, he really ought to be directing his concerns at Steely, who controls the content of that show.

    By the way, check out Lump’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/akalump

  8. Hey, let’s be fair. You should at least propose a way to fix thelostogle. If you can’t poke fun at yourself, then you can’t poke fun at anyone, right?

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