Talk radio’s off season

Finebaum Needs Callers…So Rumors Swirl
by intheknow72

Ah, tis the dead period of the football year. Recruiting, conditioning news and spring practice are behind us, and the long summer before the 2009 college football season lies ahead. It’s the time of year that individuals and outlets depending on our state’s biggest commodity have to hunker down and actually work to earn their paycheck. Reminiscent of the Apollo space voyages’ journeys around the dark side of the moon, the period between spring practice and freshmen reporting in early August is a dark period for those who make their living off of the interest in Alabama and Auburn football. And with that period comes the predictable fodder one might expect.

The largest and most guilty party to such behavior is one Paul Finebaum. Voted one of the best at what he does in America, Paul’s show is one of the most entertaining programs in the sports entertainment market. He’s not alone, as other shows (mostly operated by the same company throughout the day in Birmingham) put their own spin on things. But it’s this period of the year that any innuendo, comment or rumor can find itself front, center, on the air and in the minds of those listening to the program. But like a bank accepting a bail out from the Federal Government, Paul is not about to resist accepting any fresh meat he is offered, in turn tossing it into the public forum between late April and early August. After all, if you had to fill four hours a day, yielding 20 hours a week of radio content, wouldn’t you?

Some years it comes easy during this time. Paul, and those in his business, must have thought Christmas had come early in 2003. It was late April of that year when rumors began floating that then Tide coach Mike Price was caught with his pants down (literally). What ensued was a gravy train of callers, opinions, takes and airtime devoted to the subject until well-after the deer in headlights (known as Mike Shula) took the podium. And then the train kept rolling with the speculation about Sylvester Croom, why he was passed over, and what power he would bring to Alabama’s SEC West rival Mississippi State. Another easy “off season” came in the late spring/early summer of 1999, when Mike Dubose apparently played footsies with his secretary then denied it. Nothing fills 20 hours a week like a denied rumor, where half your listeners want to believe it and the other half are terrified by the thought of it being true. But these “easy streets” don’t come often.

The split listener/fan base scenario is what drives speculation thrown into the arena of public opinion on a program like Paul’s, especially in this state. And the latest soup du jour revolves around Nick Saban’s words concerning fan response to the Alabama football program. Was Nick Saban trying to send a message? If the fans don’t behave next season, will he split? And what was he really saying from the podium after the Sugar Bowl, throughout spring practice and after the A-day game? These are great questions, perfect for every Aubie or Bammer with a radio and phone to debate…or filibuster. On the air. Brewing interest. Creating callers. Ensuring listeners. Selling advertising. Moving business. In a down economy.

And I’ll say it again, who can blame him…and those in his business? As long as we’re willing to listen, radio pontificators are willing to dish it out. But taking what you hear with a grain of salt would be an incredible piece of advice. Just before you pick up the phone to call and react, be sure to glance at the calendar first. After all, in April, May June and July, Paul Finebaum is a hungry man starving for sustenance.

16 Comments

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  1. 1
    capstonereport

    I have to admit that this time of year is often one of my favorite times because the storylines are often much more interesting than what we talk about during the season.

    Last year was a dream come true for blogs. Arrests, chatter over the Auburn spread experiment, along with much analysis of Nick Saban’s second Alabama Crimson Tide.

    I’ve tried to get excited about this year, but Gene Chizik doesn’t inspire as much copy as Tommy Tuberville. Chizik is largely boring. Lane Kiffin is good for commentary, but to be honest, I’m already bored with him—with Fulmer and Tuberville we had smart guys who would often say things or do things that were interesting, whereas, Kiffin just does stupid things. Kind of boring.

    Oh well, something will happen soon to get things fired up.

  2. 2
    Pluto

    Well the problem on Paul’s Show is that too many callers want to be a “character”. This usually means moronic talk and behavior. This is running away intelligent conversation. The times that I am in town and hear morons like Charles – shit – I can find something else really quick . This is not me bitching. I hear people talking about how the conversation has declined on the show. I say that the answer is obvious.

    The fault is squarely with Paul. He can easily elevate the conversation. Can Alex screen callers better ? You decide.
    I miss WERC when I hear this moronic shit. It was the golden age for Paul’s Show.

  3. 4
    finebammer

    spot on, pluto.

    this is why kurt cobain killed himself. his music was born of a hatred of the establishment. then he became the establishment.

    i started listening to paul in 1989. i remember lochamy 1. gambacurta. lochamy 2. roger from bessemer and beano. b. o. b. the fake dustin hoffman. tommy charles pistol whipping paul in the parking lot. mildred, o sweet mildred.

    i’ve met paul finebaum. been on his show. made a fool of myself for the entertainment of his audience.

    paul is a good guy. paul helped me open my eyes and think objectively. he not only helped me see the truth but look for it.

    but with the move to jox, paul sold out. he sold out for the money. i remember when paul wouldn’t do commercial spots. the appearance of impropriety and all that.

    now paul is still different than the other shows on jox. i can’t stomach listening to that morning garbage.

    (jay, i love ya buddy, but you suck on the radio)

    paul’s stuck with his policy of not screening callers. it’s allowed the rubes to take over.

    shane from centerpoint. (truly an idiot despite what some on this blog might believe)

    charles from reeltown.

    patsie.

    tammy. (i believe her to be a planted caller. one of the things many don’t know about paul’s show – and talk radio in general – is the practice of planting callers, getting someone to call to advance a storyline to generate interest. paul does it and has done it for years. i know this for a fact)

    for the first time since i started listening to paul, i’ve give him up this off-season. when there was a compelling topic, i could stomach the rednecks.

    now, not so much.

    maybe it’s my age.

    maybe there’s so much more important things going on in the world these days directly affecting me and mine.

    i’d like to think i’ve wised up a bit but there are so many examples of the fallacy of this ‘age for wisdom’ tradeoff that slap me in the face daily.

    fact is if i were smart enough to be in paul’s position, i’d probably sell out too.

    (money can’t buy love but it can damn sure buy a lot of other stuff that make this hell on earth a little more comfortable!)

    pluto, i think i know you. i think we’ve met. (i think you know where) i’ve enjoyed your commentary over the years.

    but i guess i won’t be hearing you too much anymore.

    this redneck’s moved on.

    ray from irondale.

    “have u every lived down in that ghetto?

    have u every heard felt that cold wind blow?

    if u don’t know what i mean, won’t u stand up and scream,

    “cause there’s things goin’ on u don’t know.”

    lynyrd skynyrd

  4. 5
    4Bama

    I made the switch to Dunnaway and Brown… It is not just the rumor starters that turns me off, but I am tired of the “country boy ass wuppins” day in and day out.

  5. 6
    CrimsonBlood81

    Ahh yes — the golden years of WERC 960AM when Paul’s show was the only “gem” shining in this town . I absolutely can’t stand WJOX’s format. They are running about 20 minutes of advertisement per hour and it drives you to the point of changing the dial. They do 3 hard breaks per hour and about 2 small ones per 30 min.

    Let’s start with the Opening Drive : 3 people with 3 different backgrounds all trying to talk over each other — The silly premise of having an Alabama, Auburn and UAB/Drunken Village Idiot guy is ridiculous in its own nature. They can only give their opinions in limited amounts of time and god help anyone who tries to call in that show and wait for literally 45 min. – 1 hr. to get their 1 minute of fame on air all to have it “cut off” for a commercial break. Notice callers are “conveniently placed in to their own agenda/topic at that moment.”

    Ok — now we have The Roundtable — Ian and Lance Taylor who’s program has only about 1 1/2 hr. of actual sports talk of the 4 hours alloted to them. They have a producer who knows nothing and does not care of sports — only to do bar gigs around town – pimping his own favorite stage at Cafe Lazio in Patton Creek — Rockstar. This radio show consists of celebrity gossip, quick weird news/notes and their own personal lives mostly talking about how much they can’t stand to be married to their wives. ex. : If I wasn’t married — I would bang her. This show ABSOLUTELY hates callers and DOES NOT want the public opinion — because most of them are negative and these guys do NOT want a negative phonecall about how much their show sucks. Even with the ridiculous amount of advertising time alloted each hour — they continue to pimp their sponsors WHILE ON THE AIR. Ian and Lance — how many times are we going to have to hear about the free food you got at Hamburger Heaven or Petrucelli’s on the air and not in a commerical slot. Jeez —

    And we got the ex gem of Alabama talk radio — The Paul Finebaum Radio Network — I still love the show but we all know what the problem is — Paul wanted the cash and he sold his soul to the devil at Citadel and the true callers back in the day — just callers in general with actual legit “call-in content” are gone because they are frustrated by the “characters” played out daily on the show and the horrendous amount of commercial time — we understand that you gotta pay the bills Paul — but when someone is trying to make a point on a “call-in based show” and you have to cut them off because of a commercial advertisement that we’ve heard all day long — that’s sad. Do the right thing Paul — take the loss — get back to AM with Vickers and bring the luster back to the “gem.”

  6. 7
    capstonereport

    I’ve been critical of Jay Barker on the Opening Drive; however, the last few times I’ve heard the program he sounded much better. He was more confrontational and interesting. Maybe marriage agrees with him?

    As for Finebaum’s show, it is still the best in the state—but I do miss the days of talk radio when Tommy Charles was on WERC. I even miss Bob Lochamy…or however you spell his name as Finebaum’s sidekick. I disliked Vickers. I prefer Finebaum without a sidekick to a bad sidekick.

    The Roundtable is misogynistic. It often offends me how they objectify women—and I like to objectify women. I’m not talking about about the chick bracket, which is kind of clever. I’m talking about the seventh grade attitude toward the opposite sex. I’d love to see the demographics of that show and compare it to the demographics of the Opening Drive and Finebaum’s show.

  7. 9
    intheknow72

    Hands down, Dunaway and Brown from 2-6 PM on AM 960 is THE class of sports talk radio in Birmingham. Right now they’re probably making 1/4 of what Finebaum is hauling in, but people are slowing getting tired of the circus sideshow Finebaum’s program has become and are making the switch. I hear of new people literally every week who quit listening to Paul for them. It’ll only be a matter of time before D & B net the pay day they have coming to them.

  8. 10
    CrimsonBlood81

    Capstonereport…

    I agree that Jay is the best of the 3 in the mornings — maybe his new marriage has got him settled in somewhat so he can carry on a decent conversation. Al DelGreco is horrible — he sounds like he’s reading off a cue-card all the time and Tony Kurre comes off as loud an obnoxious with his commentary often cutting of Jay and/or Al when they are trying to make a point or are in the middle of something.

    For The Roundtable — the chick bracket thing doesn’t bother me — at least they put it in a sports format unlike the rest of their show — but I agree — as far as objectifying women — it doesn’t bother me — but I got to say that Ian — if you know what he looks like — he really doesn’t have a whole helluva lot of room to talk about who’s hot and who’s not — I’m just tired of hearing about “what they would gamble on” everyday and what free food some restaurant sent them for free for lunch at the studio to get their product out. Reiterating — their producer is a 28 year old geek who know NOTHING about sports and doesn’t care about sports in general — he also takes cheap shots at people. Also the constant complaining about how they are married and life is just so bad now is worn out too — Lance — put out a resume’ — Ian — go back to Dallas, TX — you know you liked it better there anyways (we’ve heard how many times you’ve said “…only in Alabama…”)

    This subject is like beating a dead horse and I’ve said all I could possibly say about talk radio in this town — but it won’t change unless we ink in the Arbitron ratings book — The Arbitron ratings book decides the fate of these clowns on the airwaves.

  9. 11
    capstonereport

    I’ve listened to Finebaum for years. I think the first time was when he was on WAPI? I remember listening to Herb and Ben and even Eli Gold on Calling All Sports.

    The show goes up and down based on what is happening in the world of sports. I listen to Finebaum not for the callers, but for Finebaum’s opinions—that is what makes the show.

    I like Al Del Greco because he is reading from a script—he is the voice of the Auburn family. So when he says something, it is like hearing it from the state newspapers. That can be useful to putting the pieces together on what is really happening.

  10. 12
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Paul is a jackass……..He has NO moral center and ZERO credibility. Karma will come back to bite him in the butt one day. He runs people down like they arent even human beings. Messes with peoples livelihood. All around jerk IMO. I dont listen to him any more.

  11. 13
    BamaBrando

    You either love him or hate him, depending on which fanbase he is trying to stir up. He had fun stirring up the Bama fans for awhile, and Auburn people loved it. Not so much these days though. But PF has been doing the same ol thing for a long time, and obviously a lot of people listen to his show. I will give him credit for what he has accomplished. But I am not really crazy about his show. The articles that he writes are pretty good sometimes, and I do think he has a serious side and he does make good thought provoking points. He has great guests on his show sometimes that are worth listening for, but not the callers. I wish that he had more interviews with important people from Bama and Auburn (or other SEC schools) than taking calls. He seems to get guests that you won’t hear anywhere else. But he must be good at what he does or he wouldn’t have made it for this long.

  12. 14
    Auburnisajoke formerly the fan known as Ballplay Indian.

    Indeed Brando. His formula definatly works to perfection……He plays rednecks like a fiddle. Believe it or not, I wuit listening to him back when he was bashing Shula…….Yes SShula wasnt a great coach, but hes still a human being. Paul went off on the guys wife , and other things. Plus I remember him going off on Rich Rods wife as well. Just a dooshbag IMO.

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