I’ve got a few basic principals of sports radio. One of them is “say what you believe, not what you think your listeners believe”. WFAN morning host Gregg Giannotti put that on display last week.
Much has been made about Kyrie Irving’s mind-numbingly stupid decision to tweet out a link to an anti-Semitic film on Amazon Prime Video, and the lack of responsibility he took for his actions, and the lack of discipline from the NBA.
Giannotti went on a rant Wednesday about the situation, reaching the point of shouting several times as his co-host, Boomer Esiason, sat quietly to take in his partner’s thoughts, even stifling laughs at times because of Giannotti’s comments.
“Nobody’s doing anything about it!,” Giannotti shouted. “What world are we living in?! Honestly! There was the Sacramento Kings play-by-play guy that tweeted out ‘All Lives Matter’ and was fired in 10 seconds! 10 seconds his ass was on the street! Kyrie Irving is posting about a video that says the Holocaust didn’t happen and he’s dodging the media, and playing in NBA games! And getting paid a gazillion dollars! Where are the rational people?! Where did you go?! Where are the people with guts?! Where are you?! Why are we afraid of this a-hole?! Why are we afraid of him?!”
This isn’t to say that the Giannotti’s take on the situation was the best I saw last week. Nick Wright had a fantastic opinion on why Irving’s sentiments and reactions were inappropriate and wrong, as did 670 The Score host Dan Bernstein. But the reason Giannotti’s opinion on the matter stood out to me, and maybe it’s just easier to pull off in New York — a market known for its vitriol to it’s own players — is because that’s the home market for Irving.
Not to be hyperbolic, but damn near anyone can get on the radio and defend the players on their market’s team. To borrow a phrase from the political sphere, there are a lot of radio hosts “playing to their base” these days. Playing defense of “your” players and coaches is easy. Going on the offense and being critical and pointing out the absurdity of the situation takes guts.
I worked in a market dominated by interest in Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns. When it was clear in 2018 that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was knowledgeable that one of his assistants was guilty of domestic violence, it wasn’t popular to say he deserved to face repercussions for his actions, but it was right. When the Cleveland Browns traded for an accused sexual predator, it wasn’t popular to say that might not be the world’s greatest decision, but it was right. It’s easy to look past things that make our favorite teams and players look bad. It’s difficult to confront them.
So to see Giannotti not only take on Kyrie Irving’s idiotic take, his childish nature, and call out what is wrong, but slam the franchise and the league as whole, was refreshing. To hear a host shout “It’s obvious what you do. You do the right thing!” about a player in his own market shouldn’t be the outlier. It should be the rule. And it gave me hope that some day others will see that being more than just PR for the players and franchises in your market, is a great way to operate.
Gregg Giannotti took the difficult route. Believe me, I understand the allure of feeling as popular as Taylor Swift while she says “What’s going on, New York!” from the stage as the audience roars in approval because “Yes! That’s where I’m from and am currently located!”, but having a conscience is a whole lot cooler.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.
Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open
“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.
In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”
The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.
“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Mike Conti: ‘Appaling’ That ‘Some Creep’ Posted Bob Rathbun Video Online
“He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”
Bob Rathbun, the television voice of the Atlanta Hawks, suffered a scary medical emergency on Monday night and it was captured on live television. The video then spread across the internet thanks to Twitter.
Mike Conti, the program director at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, is part of the station’s coverage of the Hawks. He admitted that when he saw the video, he had trouble getting in the right headspace to do the game.
“Bob’s a friend to all of us,” he said Tuesday morning as he talked to John & Hugh, the station’s morning show. “He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”
Conti noted that he was not watching TV when the incident happened. He saw the video on social media and is not happy about that.
“Some creep decided to post the video online, which I thought was appalling, but I could not avoid the video. It came up on my Twitter.”
The video is indeed disturbing. Awful Announcing posted the video on Twitter Monday night, but deleted it after backlash from members of the Atlanta media.
Bally Sports Southeast issued a statement after the game saying that Bob Rathbun was treated for dehydration. Conti reported that he had spoken to Rathbun, who is expected to fully recover.
“He’s good. He’s okay,” Conti said. “I don’t want to say too much just to respect Bob’s privacy, but I think Bob would be okay with me saying Bob is okay.”
WEEI Producer Begins Campaign To Get Greg Hill into Radio Hall of Fame
“He has been around for a long time in the Boston radio scene and raised a lot of money for charity and done a lot of good things and a lot of good radio.”
Greg Hill already has a Marconi, but that honor isn’t enough according to one of his producers.
Jackson, who hosts The Greg Hill Show’s after-show podcast, revealed on Monday that he is ready to make the case to the Radio Hall of Fame for the WEEI morning man to be included in next year’s induction ceremony.
He said that Hill treats the Marconi Award he won for Major Market Personality of the Year like it belongs to everyone. Hill credits not just the current cast he works with on WEEI, but partners from his days at active rocker WAAF as well, with helping him take home that award. Jackson wants to see Hill get an honor that is just for him.
“The Radio Hall of Fame would be very much Greg only, and I think he needs that solo recognition. Not for his ego, but for posterity and for his legend because he is legendary,” Jackson said. “He has been around for a long time in the Boston radio scene and raised a lot of money for charity and done a lot of good things and a lot of good radio.”
This year, the Radio Hall of Fame included a trio of WFAN legends in its induction class with found Jeff Smulyan, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and Suzyn Waldman all being honored.
Jackson says he is taking it upon himself to make the case for Greg Hill getting in, but he encouraged listeners to find out what they can do and then do it. While he made it clear that Hill deserves the honor, Jackson acknowledged that the recognition would make him feel pretty good too.
“That would be cool because then I would be working for a Radio Hall-of-Famer and in the circle of trust of a Radio Hall-of-Famer perhaps.”