Archive for the ‘Radio’ Category

Tears at 10-0

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

As the clock ticked down to 0:00 on a cold, gray Saturday afternoon, I tried to describe the scene at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium in Arkadelphia to those who were listening to the broadcast of the 88th Battle of the Ravine.

For the previous 30 minutes — since it had become likely that Ouachita Baptist University would beat Henderson State University to go to 10-0 for the first time in school history — the messages had been flooding my phone. They came from Ouachita graduates across the country who were listening online.

I attempted to paint a verbal picture as the packed Ouachita stands emptied, students and even some adults storming the field in the wake of one of the most historic victories in the rich annals of a football program that dates back to 1895. Henderson had become the giant among NCAA Division II football programs in the state, going undefeated during the regular season in 2012 and 2013 and winning the four previous Battles of the Ravine. The Reddies were 30-1 in regular-season games since the start of the 2012 season, having only lost to a talented Harding squad in the final minute earlier this season.

Ouachita was ranked No. 9, and Henderson was ranked No. 14 in Division II coming into Saturday’s game.  Despite Ouachita’s higher ranking, 100 percent of those who picked the game on the Great American Conference message board had gone with Henderson.

No doubt, the Reddies were Goliath.

As I drove from my home in Little Rock to Arkadelphia on Saturday morning, the clouds thickened. The day reminded me of the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1975 when Ouachita and Henderson met in another classic at the same stadium. The two schools held a joint homecoming for a few years in the 1970s with the game played each season at Henderson’s newer and larger stadium. Even though the 1975 contest was at Henderson, it was technically Ouachita’s home game and Ouachita sports information director Mac Sisson was on the public address system that day.

Mac would always give the weather before the game, and I can still remember his words in that distinctive baritone: “Winds out of the north at 10 to 15 miles per hour with a temperature of 29 degrees.”

A bit of personal history: I grew up a block from Ouachita’s football stadium, the son of a former Ouachita quarterback and a former Ouachitonian beauty (I still have the yearbook in which my mother was featured as such). I’ve bled purple since birth.

The football series between Ouachita and Henderson was suspended following the 1951 game due to excessive vandalism and was not resumed until 1963. I would have been 4 years old in 1963, and I would have been at the Battle of the Ravine. I’ve been at every Battle of the Ravine since 1963, in fact, with the exception of the 1986-87 games when I was working for the Arkansas Democrat in Washington, D.C. It is, to put it simply, a part of who I am.

Like most boys who grew up in Arkansas, I rooted for the Razorbacks. Unlike most boys, Arkansas was not my main team. Ouachita was.

We didn’t often go to Hog games in Fayetteville or Little Rock. We were too busy following Ouachita. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of trips back from places like Searcy, Conway, Russellville, Magnolia and Monticello in the back of my father’s big Oldsmobile.

From about age 6 through high school, I walked the Ouachita sidelines during games. Legendary Coach Buddy Benson was like an uncle to me, and he welcomed a group of boys — Tab Turner, Neal Turner, Mike Balay, Richard Balay and others — to work as ball boys and water boys.

I was in the 10th grade when that 1975 game occurred. I played high school football on Friday nights but spent my Saturdays watching Ouachita. On the morning of the game, I accompanied the team’s head manager, Wesley Kluck, to my father’s downtown sporting goods store to borrow Coleman stoves, which we put along the sideline so the players could warm their hands on the frigid afternoon.

Henderson was 9-0. Ouachita was 8-1, having lost to Southern Arkansas in Magnolia three weeks earlier. Both teams were ranked nationally.

I love those November games that begin in the daylight and end under the lights. The lights were on and darkness had descended on Arkadelphia. Ouachita trailed 20-14 and faced a fourth-and-25 with time running out.

One last chance.

Quarterback Bill Vining Jr., who had grown up just down the street from me in the Ouachita Hills neighborhood, passed to Gary Reese across the middle. Out came the chains.

The stadium was packed but dead quiet as those chains were stretched. The referee went to a knee for a better look. Then, he came up and signaled that Ouachita had made a first down by inches.

New life.

Two plays later, Vining passed to Ken Stuckey for a touchdown. Russell Daniel kicked the extra point.

Ouachita 21, Henderson 20.

I’ve had the good fortune in my career of covering Super Bowls, Sugar Bowls, Cotton Bowls and more. That still rates as the greatest football game I ever attended.

I still have a photo of the players carrying Coach Benson off the field. It was among the most memorable days of my life.

I thought about that day as I pulled into the parking lot of Henderson’s Carpenter-Haygood at noon last Saturday.

Same stadium. Same weather. Same big stakes.

At age 55, I find myself becoming more nostalgic.

I sat in my car for several minutes before walking to the press box and thought about the past.

I thought about how I wish my dad, who died in March 2011, could be here. Oh, how he would have enjoyed the atmosphere that electrified Arkadelphia.

Dad had been raised poor during the Great Depression in Benton. Following his high school graduation in 1942, he took a job with the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., which was building the aluminum plant in Saline County. The United States had entered World War II in December 1941, and there was a rush to get the plant finished so it could contribute to the war effort. Dad was paid union wages and found himself making more than his father had ever made. He told his parents that he would stay with the company rather than going to college.

He had been offered a football scholarship to Ouachita, and my grandmother was insistent that he go to college, something neither she nor my grandfather had done. She called the Ouachita head coach, Bill Walton, and ordered him not to let my father come home once he reached campus for a visit.

The 1942 Ouachita team went 9-1, losing only to Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Dad joined the Army Air Corps the following spring and served for two years. He returned to Ouachita after the war to obtain a degree and played on the 1945, 1946 and 1947 teams. He met a pretty young lady named Carolyn Caskey from Des Arc and married her prior to graduation in the spring of 1948.

My sister was recently cleaning out the house we grew up in and found the program from the Battle of the Ravine on Thanksgiving Day 1947. My father is listed as the starting quarterback. She gave me the program, which I now consider to be among my most cherished possessions.

As I sat in my car Saturday, I also thought of Coach Benson, who was my childhood hero along with my father and Coach Bill Vining Sr. This would have been his type of game. Buddy Benson had been among the nation’s most highly recruited high school players coming out of high school at De Queen. He signed with Oklahoma, a powerhouse in those days, but later transferred to Arkansas, where he threw the famous Powder River pass to beat nationally ranked Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in 1954.

Coach Benson was the head coach at Ouachita for an amazing 31 seasons, winning more than he lost while playing much larger state schools with bigger athletic budgets. He passed away on Good Friday in that terrible spring of 2011, just weeks after I had lost my dad.

I also thought of the aforementioned Mac Sisson, my college mentor who gave me the chance as an untested freshman in 1978 to begin broadcasting Ouachita games, something I’m still doing all these years later. Mac and I spent fall Saturdays for years traveling through Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and other states for Ouachita games. I miss him every day.

I thought of family friends like Ike Sharp and his son Paul, also gone. They had both played at Ouachita and personified what my alma mater’s football program is all about.

To be fair, I thought of men who had been among my mentors who were on the Henderson side and are also gone, coaches with names like Wells, Sawyer and Reese. They were giants to me. They also would have enjoyed this big-game atmosphere.

Ouachita trailed 17-7 in the first quarter of Saturday’s game, and it appeared the Reddies were poised to blow the Tigers out.

I didn’t say it on the radio, but I thought at that point in the game about something Coach Benson would tell his team before every game: “If at first the game or breaks go against you, don’t get shook or rattled. Put on more steam.”

You see, it’s a 60-minute game.

Coach Benson had played for Bowden Wyatt at Arkansas. Wyatt had played for Gen. Robert Neyland at Tennessee. Wyatt would repeat Neyland’s pregame maxims before each game. Buddy Benson would continue that tradition at Ouachita.

Ouachita indeed put on more steam, outscoring the powerful Reddies 34-3 the rest of the way.

I counted down the final seconds on the radio and looked at the Ouachita fans pouring from the stands. That’s when the tears came.

Silly, you say, for a 55-year-old man to cry at the end of an athletic contest. It’s only a game, you say.

I’m sorry, but it’s more than a game to me. Ouachita football has been one of my passions since birth.

My wish for my sons and for you as we near Thanksgiving is that you have one or more great passions. It might be a passion for music. It might be a passion for acting. It might be a passion for writing. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with sports. It has to do with finding something you care about deeply throughout your life. It’s even more special if you’ve suffered defeats so you more fully appreciate the high points.

I know defeat.

So does Ouachita’s head coach, Todd Knight. I was on the committee that was appointed to search for a head coach following the resignation of Red Parker at Ouachita after the 1998 season. We ended up offering the job to Knight, a former Ouachita player, who had led the Delta State in Mississippi to its first Gulf South Conference title. Delta is bigger, richer and had things rolling.

Todd turned down our offer. He turned it down multiple times. The then-Ouachita president, Andy Westmoreland, wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept telling Todd to pray about it. Shortly before Christmas, Todd decided to come to Ouachita despite having recruited players to Delta who would win the Division II national championship in 2000.

His 1999 team started 3-1 but, lacking depth, finished 3-7. When you’re a small school like Ouachita, you welcome anyone who wants to jump aboard the bandwagon. Yet I suspect this year’s undefeated season is even more special for those of us who were in Tahlequah, Okla., on the afternoon of Oct. 16, 1999, as Northeastern State beat Ouachita by a score of 57-0. Or those of us who were there for the last game that season as Harding beat Ouachita by a score of 41-7.

Seven of Todd Knight’s first nine seasons at Ouachita, one of the smallest schools in the country to play the sport at the Division II level, were losing campaigns. Most schools wouldn’t have stuck with a coach that long. Ouachita stuck with Todd Knight, and Todd Knight stuck with Ouachita.

Patience paid off.

Ouachita is now the only college football program in the state — at any level — with seven consecutive winning seasons.

So as the students stormed the field and the tears rolled down my cheeks at about 6 p.m. Saturday, my mind wandered.

I thought about Dad, Coach Benson, Ike Sharp, Paul Sharp, Mac Sisson and other men who bled purple who were watching from above.

I thought about Coach Knight and that day in Tahlequah when I had struggled to broadcast the end of a 57-0 blowout.

I thought about how happy I was for the students, the faculty, the staff, the alumni and the other good people associated with this school that has been so much a part of my life.

I thought about my wife and son sitting in the cold across the way, no doubt also enjoying the moment.

I thought of past Ouachita presidents like Dan Grant and Ben Elrod, Arkansas leaders who know how difficult it is for a little school like Ouachita to make it to 10-0.

And I thought about how happy I was to share it all with what I call my “Saturday family,” the men with whom I share the broadcast booth.

My childhood friend Jeff Root, who grew up a few houses down Carter Road from my house, has been in the broadcast booth with me for more than a quarter of a century. Jeff, who is now the dean of the School of Humanities at Ouachita, and I have a special bond. Jeff also was on the committee that hired Coach Knight. Saturday was the culmination of all we had hoped for 16 years ago.

I also was glad to have Richard Atkinson and Patrick Fleming, who have been in the booth for eight years, there. It’s hard to explain to those who aren’t broadcasters, but you really do become like family.

I continued to broadcast — after all, there was still work to do on the postgame show– as the tears ran down my cheeks. I’m not really sure what I said, though. On this cold November day, I had been transported back in time.

I was a kid again, marveling at my good fortune; the good fortune of one who grew up in a small town in the South and attended a small school where people call you by your name and care about you. A place where people give you opportunities. After all, who has ever heard of a 19-year-old college play-by-play man?

Once again, I was in the back seat of the Oldsmobile, fighting to keep my eyes open as Dad drove us through the autumn Arkansas night, home from a Ouachita victory.

Once again, Buddy Benson was on the sideline in his starched shirt and tie, and Mac Sisson was in the press box.

Once again, my beloved Tigers were on top and the future was limitless.

I’m blessed; blessed beyond description as we enter another Thanksgiving season.

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Tales from the South: Randy Tardy

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

There was no way I was going to say “no” to this request.

Walter B. Walker was born and raised at Helena. He moved to Little Rock in 1962 and worked for the Darragh Co., the Mountaire Corp. and Orbit Valve Co. before retiring in 1993.

Walter has been friends with fellow Helena native Randy Tardy since the first grade.

“I don’t think a week has gone by since 1939 that we haven’t talked at least once,” Walter told me.

I’ve only been friends with Randy since 1981, when I went to work for the Arkansas Democrat as a sportswriter. Randy was a business writer at the newspaper for a quarter of a century, and a darn good one.

He’s also a great storyteller, especially stories of his early life when Helena was a prosperous port city on the Mississippi River. Randy is in hospice as I write this. It was Walter’s idea to contact Paula Morell, the talented executive producer and host of “Tales from the South.”

His plan was to have some friends of Randy read pieces Randy had written. They would be read during the weekly taping of the radio show at the Starving Artist Cafe in downtown North Little Rock.

Morell agreed to the idea, and so I found myself at the Starving Artist on Tuesday night reading stories along with Walter and Harvey Joe Sanner of Des Arc. A full house listened.

“Tales from the South,” which airs each Thursday at 7 p.m. on Little Rock station KUAR-FM, 89.1, is quite a phenomenon. It began as a single show seven years ago. It’s now syndicated by the World Radio Network, where it airs three times a week on WRN Europe, twice a week on WRN Asia and twice a week on WRN Africa.

The show also can be heard on numerous public radio stations across the country.

The weekly taping before a live audience features writers reading their stories. All stories must be true. Past participants have included people ranging from Judge Reinhold to Jill Conner Browne to David Pryor.

I only wish I could have read a story by Randy about the old second-floor newsroom at the Democrat. When I went to work there in 1981, it was still like something out of the 1931 movie “The Front Page.” There was trash on the floor and wires running everywhere. The air was thick with smoke, and ashtrays were overflowing. Finding a chair that wasn’t broken was a challenge.

Randy used to claim he was going to write a book titled “Ray 85.” Here’s the story behind that: The late Ray Hobbs was the city editor in those days, and the main number to the city desk was 378-3485. Clerks would answer the phone and then scream at the top of their lungs for the city editor to pick up on that line.

“Ray 85!”

Frank Fellone, in a column in Monday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, described that old newsroom as a place “so crowded, noisy and unkempt that reporter Randy Tardy once described it as being like Bhopal, India, at rush hour.”

Randy loved the newspaper business, and he loved every form of transportation. His idea of a day off was to go to the airport to watch planes take off and land, to the banks of the Arkansas River to watch the barges go by or to the train station to watch the trains as they passed.

I like Helena, I enjoy radio and I’m intrigued by the history of KFFA-AM. So I had no complaints Tuesday night when Walter asked me to read about those subjects.

Here’s part of what I read. The words are those of my friend of more than three decades, Randy Tardy:

“I worked at radio station KFFA-AM, 1360, in Helena from 1956 until July 1959. I set up locally prepared newscasts and delivered them, using information gathered from local sources, our Associated Press newswire, handouts and local interviews.

“As I recall, my live newscasts were weekdays at 8 a.m., noon, 5 p.m. and a 6:15 p.m. wrap-up of the day for 15 minutes. My noon program was unique. It immediately preceded the 12:15 p.m. broadcast of ‘King Biscuit Time,’ which had been on the air since around 1941 and is still going.

“The musicians stored their instruments in a corner of my newsroom. So did the janitor with his mops, brooms and bucket. I even had a vertical rack of glowing and buzzing radio tubes, which kept the station’s signal going out.

“During one noon show, I was talking about an explosion of some kind along the Gulf Coast when the King Biscuit drummer came in to get his instrument. He had trouble holding onto it. As I was reading the story, there was a ‘wham’ behind me. It was timed right with the word ‘explosion’ as I was reading the story. It was not a funny story, but the timing almost got to me. It was hard to get through the rest of the newscast.

“I looked at the drummer with my microphone still on. He said, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Randy, I didn’t go to do that.’ I knew he didn’t, but I remember that moment until this day. I believe that drum, with its red lettering, is still around and on display at the Delta Cultural Center.

“When I would come into the station from making my rounds of the police department, fire station and courts, I would park out front on York Street and put a nickel in the parking meter. Often, Dudlow, the King Biscuit piano player, would be standing there. This time he asked me if I could give him a dime to ‘get me some soda crackers and a little bologna.’

“That day I had a pocket filled with quarters because the gas station I had just stopped at was out of dollar bills. I had put five gallons of gas in my 1955 Pontiac and was expecting $4 in change. I got it, but not in bills. They gave me the change in quarters. They were out of bills.

“‘Here, Dudlow, here’s a quarter,’ I said. ‘Go have yourself a big lunch.’ He thanked me over and over. He looked at the quarter and said, ‘This will really help me tickle them ivories.’

“Those were interesting times. Little did I know that the broadcast would live on for decades and become the centerpiece of an internationally known blues festival. Sunshine Sonny Payne was at KFFA then. He’s still there as of this writing, a legend himself.

“When folks sometime refer to me as a pioneer radio broadcaster, I tell them that I never looked upon myself as a pioneer. But there weren’t too many of us around back then. One is my old friend H.R. ‘Herbie’ Byrd, who toiled for early news operations at several radio stations. I remember him best as the news voice of Little Rock station KLRA-AM, 1010, which has been off the air for years.

“Life goes on, but I wish news today were the real news we tried to deliver back then.”

Nice memories from Randy Tardy.

They’re holding the third annual Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival in Helena this weekend. The likes of the Kentucky Headhunters, Ben “Cooter” Jones, The Cate Brothers, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers and Wanda Jackson will be there.

Rockabilly got its start in the Memphis area in the 1950s. I wish Randy could be there for the festival. I have no doubt he would enjoy it, especially if he had a spot atop the levee where he could also see those barges moving up and down the Mighty Mississippi, the river that so defined his youth.

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Southern Fried on the radio

Monday, November 5th, 2012

I have some exciting news.

At least I hope it’s exciting.

There will now be a radio version of the Southern Fried blog.

Former Razorback basketball player Blake Eddins and I will host Weekly Fried each Monday from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Fresh Talk 93.3 FM in Little Rock.

We’ll cover a lot of the same topics as this blog — sports, politics, barbecue, Southern culture.

It will be fun. If we’re having fun, I figure the listeners are having fun. The debut show will be tonight.

Blake is an Alabama native who’s married to a Hot Springs girl. We like many of the same things.

We’ll do it all with a sense of humor as we discuss great restaurants, classic football games we’ve seen, the best tailgate parties, duck hunting, crappie fishing, the Slovak Oyster Supper, the Gillett Coon Supper, you name it.

And we’ll have interesting guests each week.

As Charles Osgood of CBS says, I’ll see you on the radio.

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KAAY — The Mighty 1090

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I can’t remember when I’ve had as much fun as I had last week attending the 50th anniversary party for the radio station that was such a key part of my youth — KAAY-AM, the Mighty 1090.

Thank you, Barry McCorkindale, for including me.

As I pointed out in a newspaper column earlier in the week, there’s still a Little Rock radio station with the call letters KAAY. And it’s still at 1090. But the Mighty 1090 has been gone for more than a quarter of a century, having died on April 3, 1985, when the station switched from its mix of Top 40 music, news and Razorback sports to paid religious programming.

We were in the side room of the Little Rock Oyster Bar for the anniversary party. The Oyster Bar long has been among my favorite dives, and it was probably fitting that we were in a room with cheap wood paneling from the 1970s and a sagging roof. That’s because the memories that came rushing back that night were from the 1960s and 1970s.

Bob Robbins, who went on to become one of the nation’s top country DJs at KSSN-FM, first came to Arkansas because of KAAY. Born in Florida in 1944, Bob was the youngest of 13 children. He was living in Americus, Ga., when the job offer came from the 50,000-watt Little Rock station.

“I drove through the night from Georgia, and I listened to KAAY the entire way,” he said. “I never lost the signal. Somehow, I found out where the studio was. I remember thinking, ‘My gosh, what is this place?’ Jonnie King was on the air as I pulled up.”

King would go on to a long radio career in the St. Louis market.

Sharing the stage with Robbins at the anniversary party was Sonny Martin, who handled the morning-drive shift for many years with legendary newsman George J. Jennings.

Bob and Sonny talked about heavily promoted events during KAAY’s heyday that would draw thousands of people — the cow chip throwing contest, the skunk festival, etc.

The late Pat Walsh, who was the station’s general manager in those days, was a marketing genius. He also was able to mold a group of eclectic characters into a team.

“The way we lived back then, it’s amazing that any of us got to this age,” Robbins said. “We cared for each other. We were a family. Radio has changed in so many ways. I wish I could live long enough to see radio stations be like they were back then.”

In an age of massive corporations, satellite programming and an eye only on the bottom line, it’s unlikely there will ever be anything again like the Mighty 1090.

It was an interesting mix. There was Top 40 music during the day. There was “Beaker Street” and its so-called underground music late at night. There was a solid local news operation. There were Razorback football games. There were the Marvin Vines farm reports early in the morning and during the noon hour.

Vines had started at KAAY’s predecessor, KTHS, in 1953.

“He was one of the few people and the only on-the-air person to make the change to KAAY in 1962,” wrote A.J. Lindsey, whose on-air name was Doc Holiday. “Marvin’s talent was not so much on the air as it was driving 64,000 miles a year and speaking everywhere he could.

“My memory of Marvin was his terrible coffee. He arrived at the station early — like 4 a.m. — to prepare his show. The all-night jock wasn’t interested in making coffee, so the first pot of the day was made by Marvin, and it was terrible.

“I arrived at 6 a.m. as Marvin was doing the farm reports. By then, the coffee was old. But Marvin was always in a good mood.”

Vines was killed in May 1978 in a tractor accident on his farm. Lindsey, a Little Rock native, died in May 2009.

Speaking of KTHS, the station signed on in 1924 with studios in the Arlington Hotel at Hot Springs.

“KTHS began broadcasting on Dec. 20, 1924, at 8:30 p.m. with an inaugural program originating from the ballroom,” Bud Stacey writes for the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. “On Jan. 1, 1925, the Arlington opened for hotel guests. KTHS programs consisted mainly of live big band music from the ballrooms. … In August 1928, the Arlington Hotel presented KTHS to the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce as a gift; the station was shut down during the week of Aug. 13 to move its facilities to the Chamber of Commerce building at 135 Benton St.”

It was in April 1931 that Lum and Abner were invited to perform on KTHS for a flood relief benefit, helping launch what would be remarkable broadcast (and movie) careers.

An email from Scott Lauck arrived after this week’s newspaper column was published.

“My grandfather was Chet Lauck, and he played Lum,” Scott said. “He told me about those first broadcasts that he and Tuffy Goff (who played Abner) made on KTHS before the show was quickly picked up by NBC and moved to Chicago. Those were the golden years of radio, and they had so much fun doing that show for 25 years. They also made six movies for RKO.”

KTHS was granted permission by the Federal Communications Commission in 1951 to move from Hot Springs to Little Rock. A new transmitter was set up at Wrightsville.

Randy Tardy, with whom I once worked at the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, remembers that last day before KTHS became KAAY in 1962.

“I was news director for KTHV, Channel 11, whose companion radio station was KTHS,” Tardy says. “I had somehow inherited the night news reporter’s job for radio since their man was out sick or on vacation. It was Labor Day weekend 1962. I had wrapped up preparing the 10 p.m. news for the television side and put together some wire copy and local stuff for the 10 p.m. radio news on KTHS. As I entered the booth a few minutes before the top of the hour, the engineer in the control room said: ‘You know, this is the last KTHS 10 p.m. newscast. Next time around it will be the new folks.’

“I was anxious to leave Eighth and Izard, where the studios were, so that the secretary to the program director, Miss Elizabeth Timmel, and I could drive all night in my 1955 Pontiac to Kentucky Lake near Murray, Ky., to meet her mom and dad. She had prepared sandwiches for us to nibble on overnight as we made our way east on U.S. 70. Interstate 40 was a few years in the future.

“I wrapped up the final newscast, and off we went. While at Kentucky Lake with her parents, I proposed to her on their lake dock. Fortunately for me, she said ‘yes.’ So as the Mighty 1090 celebrates its 50th anniversary, Elizabeth T. Tardy and I are approaching our 50th anniversary on Oct. 12. We were married on Oct. 12, 1962, in the chapel of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. We had the weekend off but were both back at work on Monday at the television station.”

KTHS had been purchased by the LIN Broadcasting Corp. and changed its call letters to KAAY on Sept. 3, 1962 (the day after my third birthday).

“Labor Day weekend listeners were teased by a new, temporary format: that of radio announcers reading names and addresses out of the Little Rock phone book and welcoming them to The Friendly Giant over Henry Mancini’s ‘Baby Elephant Walk,’” Stacey writes.

Tardy remembers listening to that on the way back from Kentucky with his new finacee.

“The only thing that sounded the same was Marvin Vines, whose format did not change,” he says. “In fact, I think he still said KTHS rather than the new call letters. The newscasts were delivered by George J. Jennings and B. Bruce Jenkins, two pretty darned good radio newsmen.

“It was a good time to be where I was, especially watching and listening to Howard Watson and others prepare for ‘Ear on Arkansas’ as I watched Bob Hicks, Evelyn Elman and Steve Stephens do ‘Eye on Arkansas’ on KTHV.”

“Eye on Arkansas” was a true magazine-style television show.

“Ear on Arkansas” was satire and comedy, far ahead of its time.

On-air names were taken from the real names of LIN board members.

“As DJs left for other markets, their air names were dropped to the bottom of a list and the next new announcer would pick up the air name at the top of the list,” Stacey writes. “These names were trademarked by the station so that they could not be taken to competitors’ stations. In some cases, a former announcer would be hired again by KAAY while his original air name was being utilized, so he used his real name. This happened with Wayne Moss in later years since a ‘Sonny Martin’ was on the air at the time.”

The “Sonny Martin” at last week’s event is really Matt White. He runs the Pot O’ Gold Restaurant at Lindsey’s Rainbow Resort on the Little Red River near Heber Springs and has a show on KWCK-FM, 99.9, in Searcy. White was the last Sonny Martin from 1966-77.

KAAY stories often revolve around the Funmobile, the trailer used for remote broadcasts.

David B. Treadway, a familiar voice in Arkansas radio, once wrote of White: “The Funmobile was parked in a huge field some miles south of Little Rock for a big music festival headlined by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. We were all doing our shows live from the event that day, and it was well after dark when Sonny showed up demanding my belt and KAAY buckle. Yes, he had been there all day.

“A fan had admired Sonny’s buckle, so naturally he had given it to her, belt and all. He was due onstage to introduce the Dirt Band in a couple of minutes, and his jeans were in danger of going south. Reluctantly, I gave him my belt and, of course, never saw it again. But that’s how we did it back in the day — everything for the station, all glory to the call letters.”

I hear there’s a book in the works on the Mighty 1090.

I hope so.

There are enough stories out there to fill several volumes.

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Jack Cristil calls it a career

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

I loved to listen to the great Southern college play-by-play men on the radio when I was growing up.

There was Larry Munson at Georgia.

There was John Ferguson at LSU.

There was Cawood Ledford at Kentucky.

There was John Ward at Tennessee.

Mississippi State’s Jack Cristil outlasted them all.

When the Bulldogs take on the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on Wednesday night, Cristil won’t be behind the microphone.

For listeners across Mississippi and other parts of the South, it just won’t be the same.

“We knew Jack Cristil couldn’t go on forever,” Rick Cleveland of The Clarion-Ledger at Jackson wrote last week. “Here lately, he has sounded tired, worn out — certainly not himself. So maybe Wednesday’s news that Cristil is stepping down after 58 years as the voice of Mississippi State University’s football team and 54 years calling basketball wasn’t totally unexpected. Still, we don’t have to like it.”

Cristil called his final game in Knoxville on Saturday as the Bulldogs beat Tennessee.

Prior to that broadcast, Cleveland wrote: “For many of us, it will be like listening to Sinatra sing his last song. For three generations of Mississippians, our introduction to the Deep South’s regional pastime of college football often has been Cristil’s gravelly, baritone voice telling us about a 6-tall, 180-pound halfback from Amory or Ackerman or Moss Point.

“Doesn’t matter which university you pulled for, you listened to Cristil. You listened because he put you there in the stadium. He described the weather and the setting. Told you which team was going which way. He gave you the uniform colors and the context of whatever game he was describing.

“His voice was so distinct, you could almost taste the cigarettes he was smoking.”

Yes, it took many packs of cigarettes through decades to get a voice like Jack Cristil’s.

Cristil will require four hours of kidney dialysis three times a week and will no longer be able to travel.

Here’s how Ole Miss play-by-play man David Kellum reacted to the news of Cristil’s retirement: “It sort of left me with an empty feeling, to be honest. That’s a weird feeling to even think that Jack Cristil’s not going to be at Mississippi State. He has been extremely good to me. I know that people like to place us in the rivalry and all that, but he has been a really good friend to me.”

Kellum called Cristil “probably the best technician I’ve ever heard.”

He was that and more. You always knew what was going on when listening to Cristil.

“He gave you down, distance, score and how much time was remaining,” Cleveland wrote. “He did it regularly.”

In my 30 years of broadcasting college football on the radio, I’ve tried to use the lessons I learned by listening to Cristil. People tend to tune in and out on the radio. You need to give the score a lot. You need to give the time on the clock a lot. You need to tell what direction the team with the ball is headed so listeners can picture the game in their minds.

Far too few announcers these days remember to do those things.

I was on the broadcast level of the press box at War Memorial Stadium when Mississippi State played Arkansas in football in November 2009. I stood next to the Bulldog broadcast booth and watched through the window as Cristil worked (during the longer timeouts, he would light up a cigarette).

Jim Ellis, who will handle the play-by-play duties in Fayetteville on Wednesday night, worked with Cristil for 32 years.

“You could tell he was a Mississippi State guy, and maybe a little more now, but he was always right down the middle,” Ellis said. “If the other team was doing something good, he would talk about it. If Mississippi State wasn’t playing very good, he would talk about it. … He has always sort of told the story like it was. That’s one thing that endeared him because I hear so many people from other universities say they like to listen to Jack because he’s not so biased like a lot of today’s announcers are.”

Cristil was hired at Mississippi State in August 1952 by Dudy Noble.

Cristil, the son of immigrants from Russia and Latvia, grew up in Memphis and remembers listening to the radio at age 6.

“Here I was in Memphis, and I was absolutely enthralled with the idea that a man could be sitting in some stadium in New York or Chicago or Boston, telling me about a game,” he once said. “It was like magic. I was enchanted by it. It captured my imagination to the extent that I knew right then and there that’s what I was going to do. I was 6 years old, but I knew what I was going to do for a living, and I never changed my mind.”

Archie Manning is an Ole Miss icon, of course,

Heck, that son of Drew, Miss., in the Delta is a Southern icon.

This is what Archie has to say about the voice of the Bulldogs: “Some of my fondest childhood memories are of sitting at the kitchen table with my daddy, listening to Jack Cristil describe Mississippi State football games. He made the games come alive for me. I loved his voice and the way he described the games. It was like he put you in the stadium. He was, in many ways, my introduction to college football. And, still, when I hear his voice, I think about those afternoons with my daddy. Jack Cristil’s voice, to me, is college football.”

Cristil was living in Clarksdale at the time he applied for the Mississippi State job. He asked for directions to Starkville and headed east in his 1948 Plymouth.

This is how Cristil remembered it when Rick Cleveland paid him a visit back in 2002: “I had envisioned a young, energetic, business-type person in a trim suit and a neat hairdo,” Cristil said. “But Dudy Noble was a big man, over 6 feet tall and quite hefty. He was attired in an old cotton flannel shirt and baggy britches. He had an unruly shock of gray hair that stuck out.

“He said, ‘Boy, I understand you want to do these football games,’ and I said, ‘Yessir, I surely do,’ and he said, ‘Well, we’ve decided we’re going to give you an opportunity. I’ll tell you what I want you to do,’ and I thought to myself, ‘Here come words of wisdom.’

“He said, ‘You tell that radio audience what the score is and who’s got the ball and how much time is left, and you cut out the bull.’ I was aghast, but it turned out to be the best advice I ever got. But that’s all the people want. They want the score, who’s got the ball and how much time is left. They don’t want the bull.”’

Cristil’s father died when the boy was 12.

“What I know about my daddy is that he was strict,” Cristil told Cleveland. “We were Jewish. Both my parents spoke Hebrew and Yiddish as well as Russian. But my father wouldn’t allow anything to be spoken in the house except for English.”

As a boy, Cristil would broadcast imaginary baseball and football games.

“I had a rubber ball, and I would be out in the street bouncing the ball off the house and telling about imaginary games,” he said. “I can’t begin to tell you how many games I must have broadcast like that, but I will tell you this: My high school football coach lived across the street from us, and I’ll never forget how he almost killed me the first day of practice in the ninth grade. He later said he was just paying me back for all those years of having to listen to me out in the street broadcasting those imaginary games.”

Cristil called 636 Mississippi State football games and 1,538 Bulldog basketball games. He lasted through 12 football coaches and eight basketball coaches at the school.

Cristil has a wit that Cleveland describes this way: “As dry as the Sahara.”

One year, there was the sponsored Sonic Drive of the Game as one of the postgame show features. The Mississippi State offense hadn’t had a decent drive that day. So Cristil said on the postgame show that the drive of the game would be “my drive back home to Tupelo.”

He described the weather at the 1963 Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia as “colder than a pawnbroker’s heart.”

One year, a Bear Bryant-coached Alabama team was whipping the Bulldogs. Bob Hope was attending the game at Tuscaloosa, but Cristil didn’t know it.

A man walked into the radio booth and said, “Hope is available at halftime if you want him.”

Cristil replied: “Fellow, I need some hope right now.”

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Dinner with Brett and George

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

During the four years I worked for the Delta Regional Authority, I spent a lot of time driving around the Arkansas Delta, the Mississippi Delta, the Missouri Bootheel and west Tennessee.

Much of that time in the car was spent listening to WHBQ-AM, 560, in Memphis, a famous old radio station that has had an all-sports format for a number of years.

In the 1950s, though, WHBQ was famous for its music. It was owned by RKO General, and one of its disc jockeys was Dewey Phillips, who had a show each night known as “Red, Hot and Blue.” In 1954, Phillips played a recording by a young man named Elvis Presley. It was the first Elvis song ever played on the radio.

Phillips, who often went by Daddy-O, was a Tennessee native who began working at WHBQ in 1949 when he was just 23. He became legendary for his frantic delivery and his propensity for showcasing the music of both black and white artists.

Memphis was booming in those days, and musicians flocked there from rural towns in Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Phillips introduced many of them to the listening audience. He wasn’t afraid to mix it up on his show, playing not only rhythm and blues but also country music and even jazz.

The station let Phillips go in late 1958 when it adopted a Top 40 format. He died in 1968 at the age of just 42 following years of alcohol and drug abuse.

WHBQ was a bit of a farm club for the bigger RKO stations. DJs such as Rick Dees and Wink Martindale would pass through on the way to the company’s stations in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Boston.

RKO sold WHBQ to Flinn Broadcasting in 1988.

During those years I spent driving through the flat Delta cotton fields and listening to the sports talk on WHBQ, I felt as if I knew all of the station’s on-air personalities.

Fortunately, I actually do know some of them. Those of you who listen to my Sunday morning appearances with Bill Vickery on KABZ-FM, 103.7, in Little Rock know that a frequent guest on Bill’s show is Arkansan Brett “Stats” Norsworthy.

Brett began working on the air in Memphis with George Lapides in 1992 and has become a Mid-South radio fixture during the past two decades. He’s making the trip to Little Rock on Saturday to watch UALR’s 3 p.m. basketball game against Middle Tennessee State. We’ll then have an early dinner at Doe’s.

It will be great fun since Brett and I share the same interests — sports, politics, Southern culture and good food.

What could be better than eating tamales followed by a steak at Doe’s, discussing politics and maybe even telling some old Paul “Bear” Bryant stories?

That’s another thing we have in common: Coach Bryant was a childhood hero for both of us.

Even though he lives in Forrest City, Brett helps host the pregame and postgame shows on the Ole Miss football radio network. Nobody knows Southeastern Conference football better. If you’re headed east, you can hear him each Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on 560 AM.

I mentioned George Lapides, who’s indeed a Mid-South legend. Back in the fall, my friend Keith Ingram of West Memphis invited George and me to speak to a meeting of the West Memphis Chamber of Commerce. George talked about sports. I talked about politics.

George could just as easily have talked about politics. He’s highly opinionated, well read, articulate and funny. We shared a delighful dinner afterward, which leads me to perhaps my most important point — George loves to eat out and knows the best restaurants across the South and in other major U.S. cities.

We each choose Galatoire’s in New Orleans as our favorite restaurant in the country.

Go to the website www.georgelapides.com. Ignore the fact that parts of the site haven’t been updated in years. Click on “Places To Eat” and enjoy yourself. You can find George’s opinion on restaurants in Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fayetteville, Houston, Kansas City, Knoxville, Little Rock, Louisville, Mobile, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City (which George describes as a terrible restaurant city), Orlando, Oxford (the one in Mississippi, of course), Phoenix-Scottsdale, St. Louis (George shares my love for eating Italian food on The Hill), San Antonio, Shreveport and Tuscaloosa

The best part of listening to George from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. on WHBQ is hearing him do live ads for various Memphis restaurants. I’m always hungry when I turn off the radio.

Be advised that a few of the restaurants listed on the website are no longer in business.

In his Fayetteville listing, George says his favorite is Herman’s Ribhouse. When it comes to Fayetteville itself, I agree with him. Give me a single rib for an appetizer, a gear salad and a New York strip with hashbrowns at Herman’s. But as far as northwest Arkansas as a region, I’ll usually make the trip to Venesian Inn in Tontitown for fried chicken and spaghetti or to the Monte Ne Inn near Rogers for fried chicken.

When the Memphis Tigers came to North Little Rock to play in the 2008 NCAA basketball tournament, George became a fan of Capeo in downtown Argenta. We agree on that. He called it a “don’t-miss place.”

On the Little Rock side of the river, George likes Ferneau, Brave New Restaurant and Ashley’s.

Here’s how the WHBQ website describes him: “When you think Memphis and sports, you instantly think of George Lapides. George is a native Memphian, his parents were Memphians, their parents were Memphians and his great-grandparents were raised in the Mid-South. In fact, George was part of the first-ever graduating class at White Station High School. George attended the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis. There aren’t too many people who have the firsthand knowledge of the history of this area that George does.

“George has spent nearly 50 years in the sports business , whether as sports editor of the Memphis Press Scimitar or sports director at WREG-TV. … He is in his 40th consecutive year of doing sports talk on radio. It’s the longest-running sports talk show in the country and, according to some, the second longest-running radio show of any kind.”

Though the Press Scimitar is long gone, I still cherish my copy of the afternoon newspaper that came out the day of Bear Bryant’s final game as head coach at Alabama in the 1982 Liberty Bowl. George’s column ran on the front page that day.

In 2006, George donated his sports memorabilia collection to the University of Memphis

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to do something to which I first aspired when I was in the fifth grade at Vollentine School — that is, work in journalism,” George said at the time.

Here’s a sample of the kind of history George remembers. He was asked about his memories of Russwood Park on Madison Avenue in Memphis, which was destroyed by fire in 1960. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Stan Musial had all played there at one time or another.

“It smelled,” George told The Commericial Appeal last year. “The minute you walked into the guts of the entry plaza, you could smell the hog dogs and the popcorn. I have two strong memories, and that’s one of them.

“The other memory is the unbelievable noise because everything was wood and when people started clapping for a rally, they also stomped their feet on the wood, and it was just unbelievably loud when they did that. They’d do this rhythmic clapping and stomp their feet.”

Good memories. Good stories. Brett and George — two Memphis radio personalities who make fine dining companions.

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Remembering Hap Glaudi, Buddy D and WWL

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

I’ve always enjoyed listening to 50,000-watt, clear channel AM radio stations at night.

Since childhood, I’ve tuned those stations in once the skies go dark over Arkansas. They allowed me to escape my bedroom in Arkadelphia and travel in a figurative sense to what seemed like exotic places.

I would, of course, listen to Harry Caray and Jack Buck broadcast Cardinal baseball games on KMOX (thank goodness the Cards are moving back to their old home at 1120 AM next season after five seasons over at KTRS, 550 AM; the Cardinals had called KMOX home from 1954-2005).

I would listen to Larry Munson call Georgia football games on WSB, 750 AM, from Atlanta.

I would listen to the great Cawood Ledford (with Ralph Hacker at his side) call Kentucky basketball games on WHAS, 840 AM, in Louisville.

Late on fall Saturday nights, as I returned home from Ouachita football games, I would listen to the Iowa Hawkeye replays on WHO, 1040 AM, in Des Moines (“Dutch” Reagan’s old station).

I would listen to various programs on the famous Chicago AM stations — WGN, WBBM, WLS.

And there’s WOIA, 1200 AM in San Antonio, “the sports leader for the great Southwest.”

But, in my opinion, the greatest radio station of them all is WWL-AM, the Big 870 from New Orleans. No station better reflects its city, its state and its region.

I would listen to John Ferguson broadcast the Saturday night LSU games (“Hi everybody from deep in the bayou country”). For a time, Ferguson broadcast both the Tigers on Saturday and the Saints on Sunday. When it turns dark and the Saints are playing, I still turn down the television sound to hear Jim Henderson on WWL.

When my father and I would head duck hunting before dawn on a Saturday, I would tune into WWL to hear Frank Davis (and later Don Dubuc) talk about hunting and fishing.

I wrote in an earlier post about that late 1979 trip to New Orleans to see the Razorbacks take on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1980 (Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide won a second consecutive national championship that day). One of the thrills of the week leading up to the game was calling into WWL and talking to a man I’d been listening to for years, Hap Glaudi.

I’ll never forget making that call from my room at the Marriott on Canal.

“Hello to Rex, the king of Carnival,” Hap said as he went to my call.

Glaudi had started his career in the newspaper business at the old New Orleans Item and reluctantly moved to television when WWL-TV was in its infancy. He later added radio to the mix. The voice of this Jesuit High graduate just dripped with that old Nawlins sound.

When WWL-TV aired a program to celebrate its 50th anniversary a few years ago, morning anchor Sally-Ann Roberts remembered Hap this way: “I remember an old car. That’s what I remember of Hap. Hap was a person who didn’t have to put on any pretensions. He was exactly what he appeared to be on the air. He had a very common touch. … He drove that car, and I think that said a lot about him. He didn’t need to put on airs or try to keep up appearances. He was just naturally New Orleans.”

After Saints games, Hap would host a call-in show called “Hap’s Fifth Quarter.”

After Hap died in 1989, the station continued to call the show — now hosted by Buddy Diliberto — “Hap’s Fifth Quarter” for a time.

Then, the man they knew as Buddy D became a legend in his own right.

“Though Italian, Buddy D must have had some Cajun blood blended in there, too,” longtime New Orleans sportswriter Bill Bumgarner wrote on his blog earlier this year. “Much like our imports from Acadiana, Buddy loved to laugh at himself. As any Cajun will tell you, the best Cajun jokes come courtesy of fellow Cajuns. Buddy D was no fan of political correctness. Buddy was to proper English what Bernard Madoff was to trust, what FEMA was to governmental efficiency. … Hap and Buddy lived during the era when professional boxing and horse racing thrived, and each loved them both.”

Bumgarner went on to write about returning to New Orleans after covering Saturday night LSU football games in Baton Rouge: “Following player interviews and a postgame chat with LSU’s late coach, Charles McClendon (an Arkansas native from Lewisville), the return home usually got us back to Metairie about 1 a.m., a perfect time to stop by Buddy D’s sports lounge near Clearview and Veterans. A first timer might expect to see the engaging Buddy D greeting and chatting with the fans. Some nights, yes, but not on Saturday.

“More times than not, Buddy D would be perched on the bar, his headed sandwiched between two large transistor radios, with a third radio sporting an earplug. Meanwhile, thanks to one of the area’s first satellite dishes, Buddy would also watch as many as two West Coast games. It was nothing to see him attempt to monitor five games at once. Perhaps — just perhaps — Buddy had some greenbacks riding on those games.”

Buddy D’s full name was Bernard Saverio Diliberto. He was born in August 1931 and died in January 2005. He began working as a Times-Picayune sportswriter in 1950 while attending Loyola and moved to WVUE-TV in 1966. In 1980, he moved over to WDSU-TV.

After he started hosting radio talk shows on WWL, Buddy became known for referring to callers as “squirrels” and having regular callers who went by names such as Abdul D. Tentmakur and Dr. Kevorkian. When the Saints went 1-15 in 1980, it was Buddy who began calling them the Aints and came up with the idea of fans wearing paper bags over their heads during games in the Superdome.

He said: “When you go to heaven after you die, tell St. Peter you’re a Saints fan. He’ll say, ‘Come on in. I don’t care what else you’ve done, you’ve suffered enough.’”

Buddy D vowed to wear a dress and walk down Bourbon Street if the Saints ever made it to the Super Bowl.

When the Saints did indeed make it the Super Bowl last season, the Times-Picayune ran as altered photograph of Buddy D in a dress. On Jan. 31, thousands of men in dresses, led by his WWL successor and former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, paraded from the Superdome to Bourbon Street.

Hap Glaudi and Buddy D were indeed two WWL legends. It’s too bad they weren’t around to enjoy the Saints winning the Super Bowl.

Ron Brocato, another veteran New Orleans sportswriter, had this to say about Hap on his blog: “Glaudi was a Jesuit man. He earned his tuition betting on a winning longshot at the Fair Grounds given to him by a bookie. I should have been as insightful when I had to attend a local public school because my family couldn’t afford the $13 a month tuition at St. Aloysius. Glaudi was no marginal student. He worked his way through Jesuit and Loyola. Before becoming sports editor of the Item, Hap was the featured prep writer.”

As for WWL, the station began on the Loyola campus as a laboratory for wireless technology. Before the Jesuits at the school could operate a radio station, they had to receive permission from the Vatican.

WWL-AM began broadcasting as a 10-watt station from Marquette Hall on the campus on March 31, 1922. A piano recital was the first program to air. By 1924, the station had 100 watts of power. It was up to 500 watts by 1927 and 5,000 watts by 1929.

The station reached 10,000 watts in 1932 and 50,000 watts in 1937. WWL has been affiliated with the CBS Radio Network since 1935 and has been at 870 on the dial since 1946. Loyola sold the station in 1989 in order to build up its endowment. Entercom Communications has owned WWL since 1999.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, WWL became the tie back to the entire Gulf Coast for hundreds of thousands of people who had fled the area. It gave them the information they needed to stay connected.

The station never went off the air. When announcer Garland Robinette was showered with glass after the windows blew out in the studio, he kept talking from a closet. WWL went to 24-hour coverage of the hurricane’s aftermath for weeks in what I consider one of the finest performances ever by an American radio station.

You should tune into 870 AM if you’re driving to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl and keep it on when you’re in the city.

It’s truly one of the world’s great radio stations.

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The King’s English and Little Rock talk radio

Monday, August 17th, 2009

In listening to talk radio in Little Rock and noticing how callers (and sometimes even the hosts) abuse the English language, I don’t know whether to:

a. Laugh and thoroughly enjoy what I’m hearing for its entertainment value

b. Despair over the English education folks in this state are getting in school (or at least the education they received when these callers were young. We can only hope it has improved.)

Last week, I was listening to a news talk station when a caller said about health care reform: “Even if Congress passes something decent, the aristocrats in government will mess it up.”

Do you figure that caller meant “bureaucrats?”

Of course, having lived in Washington, I can assure you that a lot of bureaucrats act like aristocrats. So perhaps we should let that one pass.

On Friday afternoon, meanwhile, there was a fellow on a Little Rock sports talk station who played for a short time in the NFL. He was trying to defend Michael Vick. He said: “You know, in a lot of other countries, dogs and cats are considered delicatessens.”

OK.

So in New York, we have the Stage Deli and the Carnegie Deli.

Abroad, it might be the Beagle Deli and the Siamese Cat Deli.

I wish I had written down more of these radio moments. They come at us hot and heavy each day in this market on the locally produced shows.

In a recent sports discussion, a man was complaining that the outcome of a game was changed when the referee blew an “inverted whistle.”

The hosts never tried to correct him. Maybe they thought he was correct.

I could only assume an “inverted whistle” is one with the little ball on the outside.

What are some of the more interesting uses of the English language you’ve heard on talk radio? I would love to hear your best stories.

I’ll hang up and listen.

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