As we established a couple weeks ago with my preposterously exhaustive research on the history of sports radio in Oklahoma City, I grew up listening sports radio in this town. Morning, news, and night. When other kids were learning to play the piano or play soccer or develop social skills or do anything, really, that would benefit their lives at some point down the road, that is what I would do.
A sports radio junkie doesn’t just listen to the hosts; you also get to know the callers almost as well as the hosts. Today I thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and rank some of the best callers in sports radio history. I consulted with Patrick, who has lived a similarly sad existence, and we came up with this list of the top 20 OKC sports radio callers in history. Part one is below the jump, and part two will be posted later today.
Steve Lackmeyer is a regular punching bag around these parts, but the truth is he’s a pretty nice guy. You probably know him best from his popular Twitter account, his well-publicized love affair with tall buildings, and his NewsOK blog, OKC Pangloss. But did you know that in his former life, he was also a movie critic? Not just a movie critic, actually, but a DVD (and before that, VHS) critic. I guess he was the critic for people too lazy to actually go see movies in the theater.
I have to confess I didn’t remember his stint in this role until I accidentally stumbled on one of his old reviews while looking for something else in the Oklahoman’s archives. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of his old columns to find out if he was better at judging movies than Dino Lalli.
If you’re anything like me, you spent a good part of your formative years listening to Bob Barry help people pick golfers in the morning, Jim Traber scream at people in the afternoons, and Al Eschbach play Stump The Chump in the evenings. If the concept of any of this seems insane to you, then congratulations on having had a normal, well-adjusted adolescence, and carry on with your life. This post probably isn’t for you.
For those of you still here, I thought the recent launch of The Franchise would be a good excuse to take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the high- and low-points of the history of sports radio in the Oklahoma City market. Because I have this subscription to The Oklahoman sitting around, I decided to get my money’s worth and dive into their archives. This is the result.
We begin with the man they refer to as The Legend of Sports Talk radio in Oklahoma City — Al Eschbach — which kinda tells you something about the quality of sports talk radio in Oklahoma city. Eschbach began his radio career on KTOK in the 70’s and by 1984 had established himself as a force in the market:
So, does anyone know of anything interesting that happened last week?
The internet was set afire with a five-part series from Sports Illustrated written by George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans. I thought that today I’d write a little bit about the reactions to it. I want to be clear here that I have no interest in defending SI’s story. Even if every single allegation in the story is true, I don’t really care. The NCAA’s rules are dumb, and dinging OSU for breaking dumb rules strikes me as a waste of time, except to the extent that it gives me ammunition to needle my OSU fan friends.
Unfortunately for Sports Illustrated, their series was pretty sloppy, and most bafflingly they devoted half of what has been published so far to marijuana use and sex, both of which strike me more as telltale signs of everyday college life than of an out-of control football program.
Conceding that the SI report was really weak, though, I also didn’t think the local media totally covered themselves in glory.
Before the story even dropped — before we had any idea what would be in it — KFOR, for instance, was already circling the wagons. Here’s Channel 4’s long-time news anchor Linda Cavanaugh:
That inexplicably shirtless gentleman above is TJ Hamilton, a former OU football walk-on and current country music singer. The reason he looks so forlorn is probably that he’s facing lawsuits from three different people claiming he ripped them off to the tune of nearly a million bucks.
Here’s Tulsa’s News on 6:
A former OU football player is accused of scamming people out of nearly a million dollars.
He’s facing three lawsuits that claim he lied to investors about athletic apparel, then blew the money on his music career and lavish lifestyle.
Two Tulsa lawsuits and a third in Oklahoma City say TJ Hamilton used his football status to dupe people into investing in a bogus invention.
According to the lawsuits, Hamilton had an idea for nutritional products and innovative sports apparel, like antibacterial chin straps.
Hamilton was on the OU roster at the same time as star players Sam Bradford and Ryan Broyles. The lawsuits say Hamilton sold his ideas, by claiming he had the endorsement of his big-name teammates.
Once he had $840,000 from investors, the lawsuits say Hamilton and his parents spent the money on lavish trips to Las Vegas, airline tickets, hotels, clothing, meals, shoes and electronics.
Anti-bacterial chinstraps? Can’t believe that one didn’t pay off immediately.
The great thing about this story is not that TJ is a former OU football player who never sniffed the field. That’s just a sub-plot. What makes this story really awesome is that he’s also an aspiring country music star. We found this amazing video for the track “I Hate That Song” on YouTube. Everything about it screams artistic masterpiece void of any clichés.
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