It was impassioned. It was pointed. And it sure seemed to be from the heart. But was Randy Karraker’s emotional speech Tuesday night — at the public forum the NFL held in St. Louis to address the team’s possible move back to Southern California — proper?
The session, at which he took shots at Rams owner Stan Kroenke and stuck up for St. Louis interests, was supposed to be for the general public — not members of the media. And Karraker is a prominent sports-talk show host at Rams flagship radio station WXOS (101.1 FM).
But Karraker, who has worked at other high-profile local stations over the years, doesn’t hide his St. Louis fandom on the air. And he said he took the microphone as a fan, not a sportscaster, saying he has been a season-ticket holder since the team arrived in town in 1995. And it was an emotional moment for him when he was called to speak.
“You can see the passion, I am a passionate football fan,” he told the committee members as he choked back tears and his voice cracked. He quickly gained his composure and went on to talk about Kroenke’s absence locally, how it has been nearly four years since Kroenke last addressed the team’s followers. He contrasted that to the public activities of Blues owner Tom Stillman and the Cardinals’ Bill DeWitt Jr.
“His detachment is a big reason … he’s trying to make it a bad football market,” Karraker said. “This is not a bad football market, it is a speculator football town.”
“If the market was so bad, why did he take a bad deal?” Karraker asked. “He’s a great businessman. … The market is less challenging now.”
Karraker also detailed some of the items in the NFL’s policy on teams moving and said the Rams “don’t meet 90 percent of relocation guidelines.”
His parting words were pointed:
“All we can ask for as fans is a chance and an opportunity from you, the league, because clearly we aren’t getting that from our owner.”
Karraker, in an interview, looked back at his night in the spotlight and said it was “complete luck” that he was called on to talk after he met a friend at the meeting, which was held at Peabody Opera House.
“Within minutes NFL people came to our section and asked if anyone wanted to speak,” Karraker said, adding he was surprised. “I went there with the idea I probably wouldn’t be able to speak. I was prepared for that, I was actually shocked when they came and made the offer.”
But was it right for him to accept? There’s a big difference between having an opinion on the air and becoming an activist, which could lead to listeners questioning his objectivity — and that of the station in general, which has a lot of its programming based around the Rams.
Karraker emphasized that he was speaking strictly as a fan.
“I made it a point to not even request (media) credentials,” he said. “If I didn’t get in as a fan, I wasn’t going to go. That’s why I introduced myself (at the podium) as a charter PSL holder. I went there with the idea that I wasn’t the guy who sits in the ‘Fast Lane’ chair every weekday from 3-7. I went there as the guy who sits in Section 413, Row A, Seats 10-11 every Sunday.”
On the air Wednesday, Karraker said he feels the fans’ frustrations.
“We are all in this same boat,” he said. “I’m glad they recognize I love them.”
But not everyone was impressed. KXFN (1380 AM) sports-talk host Kevin Slaten called Karraker a “crybaby” and unprofessional on the air. He added that it isn’t as if a relative had died, and belittled the entire tone of the event in which many fans spoke, some rambling. He said it made St. Louisans look like they were displaying a “hillbilly hoedown” atmosphere to the NFL.
Karraker, meanwhile, said the emotional start to his speech was a reaction to the energy in the room generated by Rams fans.
“The moment hit me,” he said in the interview. “I was thrilled at the response that Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz got. (They lead the movement to keep the NFL in St. Louis.) To feel the passion in that room, from those fans from so many different walks of life, it did hit me. Then when they started chanting my name — I’m not that big of a deal — that really hit me.”
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Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football
“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”
The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.
With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.
“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit.
Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about:
As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.
“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”
Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan
“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”
John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.
Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.
“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”
Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.
The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.
“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”
Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’
“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.
On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.
“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”
Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.
“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”
Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.
The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.
“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”