RE: Sports Monster
What's this with talk show hosts just being "entertainers?"
Yes, talk shows have an entertainment value to them. So do editorials in the New York Times.
This has been something that has been said of Rush Limbaugh- and it's accurate. But a host being "entertaining" should not be a put down- it should be praise!
That said- I know Meade's show better than anyone but himself and maybe even better than that because I can look at it objectively since I'm not hosting it. I was the first regular caller he ever had.
Went up against him and lost!
Meade is, and this is high praise I'm about to level out, the Myron Cope of the Tri-Cities. Or the Mike Francessa. Or the Pete Franklin. Or the Ken Beatrice.
We can discuss the factors why, but he is not only the best sports talk show host in the history of the market, but the greatest radio talk show host in the history of the market.
That said- your criticisms are spot on.
Meade has never embraced talking about the Bucs, at least since the early days of his show. Even when the Bucs were nationally ranked, his commentary wasn't so much "Let's try to see if we can't build a program here in Johnson City" but "This will be fun while it lasts, but don't expect it to last."
The thing is, had the conversation been "What can we do to see to it this program can continue to grow," things might have been different.
So much of what I hate about sports in this area comes from Sportsline. The overabundance of high school basketball attention. The shilling for the Vols. High School Basketball.
His show is now a relic. Okay- we got it. Bud Selig can't crack your favorite billion people list- nevermind the players' union (!). We need a playoff in college football. Phil Fulmer is a great coach.
And you have absolutely NO influence on those things.
What he does have influence on is what happens here in the Tri-Cities. And since Meade was the only talk show host in town for years and years that was worth mentioning- his influence was huge.
Kev lists that the attendance for Bucs games was 8,000 in the early '90s. By the time Ed DeChellis was here it was half that at best.
Part of that was the losing, but also part of it was the fact this was on WJCW high school basketball was preempting ETSU. Only a couple of years removed from national glory, the Bucs' own flagship was putting ETSU on tape delay behind the high school games they carried.
That's why Keener Fry took the games to WGOC in 1997 (which at the time was not owned by Citadel).
And after that, there was a divide between the Bucs and Meade. His buddy George Pitts didn't get an interview.
Fry, who was championed as the AD who was going to bring the Bucs back outside to Roosevelt Memorial Stadium (or Memorial Stadium, as they always inaccurately called the place) by Meade (remember that campaign?), suddenly was in the doghouse on Meade's show. ETSU football was catching on at 10-3 and then 7-4. I was talking about them A LOT (which is how I started caring about ETSU) on my show. A LOT!
This was a football team that could have led the program to bigger and better things- and instead we heard about Heisman Conspiracy Theories.
A sports talk show can be so influential. When the Browns were about to leave Cleveland, Mike Trivisonno up there organized marches, hired a private eye to investigate the Browns, even hung Art Modell in effigy in front of thousands of people.
When ETSU announced the football team was in trouble in 1998, what did Meade do? Have Pop call in and say that Jeff Gordon was his stepson, Brandon Stewart got a raw deal, and "BLESS YOU?"
Meade could have been the ETSU play-by-play announcer numerous times in his career. He would rather do King.
The problem is, the other hosts in town are largely just echoing what he says. If anything, Ron Bliss is a bigger homer for UT than Meade is. You think Scott Gray is going to talk ETSU? HE LEADS WITH HIS SON'S LITTLE LEAGUE FOOTBALL GAME FOR GOD'S SAKE!
And Bobby Rader was clearly hired for the station's content to be more Volcentric.
I don't buy Meade is rude. I don't buy he's unintelligent.
I do buy his show is past its prime. The format, largely based on Limbaugh's show (host and callers- no guests or co-host), is now de-emphasized in modern sports talk radio.
The overall ratings of the station are at their lowest since they changed the format.
I was tuned in myself- I'm a sports talk junkie- and remember him very early on saying "Next weekend is my favorite time of year!" because of the major college basketball tournaments.
Even in that, it was a slight towards ETSU.
This man was once their PBP guy, for crying out loud! Would it have killed him to have said "This whole week or 10 days- conference basketball tournament time- is my favorite time of year?"
But, then again, I can't bash him too much. At least he was being honest . . .
This market desperately needs me as a sports talk host. You can say this is my half-hearted attempt to be Sean Young trying out to be Catwoman, but frankly, it does.