Baseball and the Media: How Fans Lose in Today's Coverage of the Game

By George Castle | Go to book overview

THIRTEEN
Sports-Talk Radio

I didn't feel as sleepy as I thought I would, rising at 4:25 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, 1992. Eyes mostly wide awake, I rushed to get ready and jumped into the car for the fifteen-minute drive on an uncharacteristically empty Edens Expressway to the cinder-block Chicago Northwest Side studios of all-sports wscR-Radio (The Score), on this day a daytime-only station operating at 820 on the AM band.

Months of badgering Score sports director Ron Gleason to let me do a fill-in weekend shift finally paid off. A cozy group of guys from smaller media outlets and others I frankly had never heard of had gotten the call in the six months since The Score had been on the air as Chicago's first regular sports-talk radio outlet. Maybe my number was called to get me off Gleason's back. I had contributed, for free, baseball analysis to The Score's Mike Murphy's early-evening and weekend program. So why not use such access for a long-form deal like a four-hour program?

That's exactly what I was assigned on Independence Day in the lastyear of the Bush I presidency. I would team with Daily Southtown sportswriter Paul Ladewski, who already had done some fill-in work, to handle the 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. shift signing on the station.

In the ten days before airdate I worked as my own producer. I lined up a nice guest list for the program: a wakeup call to alltime Chicago sportscaster Jack Brickhouse, Cubs outfielder Dwight Smith from his Atlanta home, and several veterans of the AllAmerica Women's Baseball League in the 1940s. The latter's presence was timely since A League of Their Own was out in theaters.

I would not depend on the callers as a crutch to carry the program or a bevy of seven-dollar-an-hour, fuzzy-cheeked producers to book guests.

-210-

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