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Randy Galloway – Farewell to a Legend

And the airwaves in North Texas got a little more silent.

No longer will we hear the bombastic Texas twang of one who helped pioneer sports talk in the Chicken Fried Nation with his wimp-free attitude.

Randy Galloway stepped away from the microphone for the last time Monday evening, ending a 28-year radio career at WBAP and ESPN 103.3.

An era is over. No longer will we get to hear criticism of everyone in town who thinks they’re “Football Einsteins.” No more ridicule of the Botox and Implant crowds at either the Boss Hogg Bowl or the ADD. We sadly didn’t even get to hear one more time about how the fans of Zero-U must stop at the dip station to clean up before they arrive to cheer against the Whiny Orange at the Cotton Bowl.

Amazing that when Galloway started on the DFW airwaves, the Rangers were still in Arlington Stadium and had yet to draw two million in attendance. Tom Landry was still patrolling the sidelines and the Cows had a real general manager. The Stars were in Minnesota, the Mavericks wore green and the Southwest Conference was still in existence. Randy Galloway truly has seen it all.

But it appears that Galloway will be leaving the airwaves without the complete respect that he deserves. Oh, no doubt the likes of Chuck Cooperstein, Mac and Jennifer Engel, Matt Moseley, Brian Estridge and many others that got to work with Randy will give him his due.

But sadly, many others – mainly, those most die-hard “P1” supporters of Galloway’s number one competition for years, the hosts of Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket – will blow their party favors and say “good riddance to Grandpa Urine,” even if those hosts on their beloved station secretly do harbor respect for the man while refusing to say so on the air.

That more than anything has helped contribute to my own hesitation toward becoming a full-time listener to The Ticket – the arrogance of certain listeners and the lack of respect they have for the elder statesmen. There might not be a Ticket if not for people like Galloway (and Norm Hitzges, who supposedly gets ridicule from people associated with The Ticket also even though he works for them). Of course, there are other reasons Galloway gets such disdain, likely due to him having the coconuts to say what many don’t want to hear.

It almost certainly is partly to do with Galloway not being afraid to admit what the Dallas Cowboys have become in the last 18 years – a complete joke of a franchise that may never have a chance of reaching the mountaintop ever again. Galloway and Dale Hansen have been the only two still around in North Texas willing to constantly say that, as long as Jerry Jones is running things, the Cows will always be a mess with no real hope of reaching the Super Bowl again. And that’s just not something the millions wearing the rose-colored glasses for their team – the “Cow Sheep,” as he loved to call them – want to hear.

But that is just the type of attitude that made Galloway a legend in this town before the likes of Ben and Skin were even first trying to coddle up to pro athletes. Galloway has never shied away from the unpopular opinion. Never been afraid to call out anyone, be it Tom Hicks or the Jon Daniels that everyone else worships.

How? How could he possibly side with the old world-has-passed-him-by Nolan Ryan over the infallible genius that single-handedly built the Rangers to the World Series? Because he remembers that the Rangers were nothing before Nolan saddled up into town for the first time in 1989? And that maybe it’s easier to find a general manager immersed in those newfangled sabermetrics to pick talent than someone that can convince said talent that pitching in the “blast furnace” of the Ballpark should not be a hindrance?

Yes, there were definitely people who did not like Galloway because he would not follow the crowd. But for someone who could never be a part of that crowd either, it was what earned him my respect.

It’s because of Galloway that I know to not rely too much on stats and “watch the damn games.” And while I still curse at what 105.3 The Fan did to Richie Whitt, Jasmine Sadry and others recently, I am glad to see a legend got to walk away on his terms.

Galloway will continue to spout his opinions in written form, still contributing his columns in the Star-Telegram. I’ll expect to hear people whine about his opinions, yet they will still read them. Just know he had hot sports opinions before “HSOs” were cool.

For now, Happy Trails, Randy Galloway. Tom Hicks was wrong; few had more credibility than you.

My Disappointment in the Media and Where I Want to Take Rowdy Sports

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I find myself frequently re-watching the ESPN-produced movie “Pony Exce$$” about the SMU scandal of the 80s, and what stood out most to me in that movie was the talk about the huge media war going on between the Dallas Morning News and now-defunct Dallas Times Herald at that time. The intense battle for readership was what drove those reporters to dig up one of the biggest scandals in the history of college sports.

Nowadays, I doubt any newspaper in the area would put much effort into unearthing any athletic wrongdoing at the University Park campus or the three other major colleges in North Texas.

Does the Morning News or Fort Worth Star-Telegram even have a beat writer covering SMU and/or the other local college programs individually? Maybe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. There are unfortunately too many sports and teams that get complete ignorance from the local papers, relegated to maybe three inches of copy on page six without even a byline, if that at all.

Back nearly three decades ago, Richie Whitt got his start in the news because the Star-Telegram was so needing a beat writer to cover a fledgling indoor soccer team called the Dallas Sidekicks that they took his GREATLY stretched claim (OK, maybe it was a lie) that he knew that game at face value. Nowadays, I don’t think the S-T even has a beat writer for the Stars.

You could blame the reduction in coverage and reporting on these publications cutting their budget and staff with each year and the supposed dying out of newspapers, which I’d love to just have a discussion one day with Richie or someone similar. But the fact is, the problems exist everywhere, not just with the newspapers.

Sports reporting, at least in this area, has grown grossly complacent. It doesn’t matter if it’s print, TV or radio, the expansion of media has sadly come with contraction of actual coverage.

Admittedly, this is not exclusive to sports journalism, as 24-hour news networks inundate us with constant reporting of just one or two supposedly “big stories” to the point that we’re sick of them.

Still, it’s frustrating that with new sports stations starting up, the internet providing instant information and multiple sports radio stations in one of the biggest media markets, nowadays coverage is exclusively on just the “major league” teams and everything else is completely ignored. And of course, the Cowboys get way more coverage than the other major teams.

When I studied journalism at UTA, one of the staples we were taught was that yes, we must cover the most popular issues in the area at the time, but it was also our job to inform the public of things they might not know about.

The media seems to be just ignoring the latter of those two tasks, and it’s especially true in sports. You can get four pages of Cowboys coverage, including a front page article every day, but you’ll be lucky to find where the Grand Prairie AirHogs story is printed.

The Ticket Ticker and Fan Flash reporters on the radio won’t even devote a few seconds to reporting a RoughRiders score, instead opting for spending half the report summarizing the same story about what happened in Cowboys practice that the talk hosts are just going to go into anyway.

And they always go back to the cheap, lazy excuse that they have to cover what the listeners want to get ratings. No one cares about those sports, so there’s no point in trying.

Why not? At one point in time, the Sidekicks could pack Reunion Arena, which had twice the capacity of the team’s current home in the Allen Event Center. The team was popular enough for star player (now owner/coach) Tatu to draw a six-figure salary. If you take the time to TELL someone about something they might not know is happening, maybe might get interested.

I’m not talking about the Hardline having to devote even a daily segment to soccer or minor league baseball. I’m saying, would it really kill Sean Bass to take five seconds to say FC Dallas is playing tonight?

That’s what I hope to do with Rowdy Time Sports; do whatever I can to inform you all of every possible sporting event as best I can.

It’s not easy, given that I’m one person with extremely limited resources trying to do this while working other jobs. At the moment, the best I can give you in addition to these columns are my “Rowdy Time Gameday” articles, giving you what games are taking place on this particular day and eventually updating them with the scores, in addition to providing you with what news stories I can manage on the individual pages or each team/sport.

I can’t promise this will be perfect; only that I will try my best. It’s thanks to my on-the-job learning of WordPress format that I’m now able to create tables and columns for line scores and the like, which has allowed me to post these articles in hopefully a more professional looking manner. This is in addition to only using one sidebar for ads and the other for scores/summaries to try and make the ads as un-intrusive as possible (compared to the DMN and ST sites, whose ads take up a third of the space).

I want his to be as much of an online newspaper as I can make it, putting the games and scores, even the ones you might not have know of but might draw interest in when seen, up front for you to easily find them rather than bury them under small links off to the side.

Is this going to change the way sports are covered in this area? I can’t make a bold guarantee like that. But someone has to start.

Anyone can be lazy and just focus on the big boys. And maybe that’s what needs to change in a world where Wal-Mart shuts down the neighborhood store, CNN cherry picks its coverage and the Cowboys get all the headlines and talk.

For Me, The Fan Was About the People

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If there’s one thing that I believe has caused me to be so intrigued and engrossed about this huge flip-flop at 105.3 The Fan, it would be the people I met as my time as a Fan fan. At a time when I had trouble being able to interact with other people due to multiple reasons, the hosts and others at 105.3, many of which remembered me for my antics in the bleachers over all these years, welcomed me into their world and made me feel almost like one of them, whether this was try or not. Otherwise, yes, this probably wouldn’t have become so personal. With that, I feel I should now give you some of the key participants in these past few months and my take on them:

Gavin Spittle – He is a buffoon and an ass as far as I’m concerned. He is one of two (technically three) entrants on this list I haven’t met in person, but I have heard enough about him to come to that conclusion. Just about everyone I’ve talked to who knew of him and isn’t currently on CBS Radio’s payroll has little respect for him, and I’ve talked to people outside this small circle I’m mentioning here. The problem I have with him isn’t the bottom line of RAGE getting canned – it was how everything was handled. His defenders and RAGE’s haters keep repeating, “he got rid of a show that was failing in the ratings, end of story.” But my problem is that Spittle lied to both men about Ben & Skin replacing them when anyone with half a brain knew what was coming. And if ratings were the reason, why bring back a duo that has failed to draw ratings everywhere they go? Again, he replaces them with The K&C Masterpiece full time, I could take a breath and accept that. And I don’t care how the radio business normally does it; you up and drop your radio hosts and then tell everyone else to clam up about it (which is NOT how it used to be done at The Fan), you are insulting the intelligence of the listeners to just say the equivalent of “Duh, we don’t know no Richy or Gregow, these are our afternoon hosts now listen to them.” Ultimately, Spittle in my view is a moron who doesn’t care or at least know about boosting The Fan’s ratings; he just wanted to get his buds Ben and Skin back on the stain, insulting the intelligence of everyone to do it. And he’s probably just a corporate shill for the higher ups at CBS Radio.

Richie Whitt – I’ve called him an idol of mine and I mean it. He was one of the first sportswriters I regularly read. He is the guy I wish I could have become: Successful career writing in his hometown market, beautiful girl beside him. He was the first big reason I became a Fan fan, and the fact that he always has both kind and honest words for me mean a lot, even when we don’t agree. I think he gets a bad rap from a lot of people. They say he’s too cranky and talks down to people; how is that different from 75 percent of the people on the air? People complained about “Dead and Gone” being mean-spirited; how was it that much worse than Bob and Dan’s “Gay or Not Gay,” which is homophobic, elitist and tantamount to bullying? Few if any worked harder FOR The Fan. The fact that at least four of his blog’s sponsors were with 105.3 tells me he was the reason they were with The Fan at first. I hope the Sportatorium takes off and he becomes successful on his own to stick it to corporate media, and I will be at Pizza Buzz’s opening on July 1 in support of him.

Jasmine Sadry – I’ve said it before and will say it until my dying day: You may not meet a more wonderful human being in your life. And of everyone I’m mentioning here, this is the one person that pretty much no one who knows her has a bad thing to say about. She endured a format change from Live 105.3 and then saw all her morning teammates with Jagger let go, and she still carried on. I don’t give a flying you-know-what about what company policy is, she deserved better. The Fan’s previous management let deposed talent say goodbye on the air, and now Spittle treats one of his station’s hardest workers like a Death Row inmate just minutes after what would be her last shift. I’ve had people poke fun at her saying she was a stupid chick who knew nothing about sports; those people didn’t know her, and I wanted to punch them in the throat when they said that. The woman wanted to stab another woman with a nacho fork for saying “How many points do the Rangers have?” – tell me that’s a woman who doesn’t love her sports! She deserves to get back on the air in DFW; maybe co-host a show with Emily Jones, if the chauvinist pricks in this area can handle it.

Stephanie Blumenthal – You may not know her, and consider yourself lucky if that is so. Stephanie is one of CBS Radio’s sales reps, and unlike Jasmine, I am hard-pressed to find a person with something good to say about her. When I started going scorched-earth on The Fan and declaring on Facebook and Twitter I definitely would not tune in to RAGE’s replacement when it was finally announced, she went into spin control to try to change me around. Then when I said regardless of the reason, I felt 1053 had done wrong in how they handled people I considered to be friends, she dropped the bomb: “You need to re-think who you consider as friends – They never supported you.” It was the biggest steaming load of bull honkey anyone had ever tried to force feed me. It started a massive FB fight with her as we traded personal message blows, and I do regret falling into that trap. That still doesn’t change what she is though. Everyone I talked to (I will keep names private to protect the innocent) pretty much had the same thing to say about her: She’s a manipulative, back-stabbing Grade A bitch-bag – and it takes a LOT for me to say that about anyone. I can’t even attend Fan remotes anymore just to say hi to the people on the air there I still like out of the chance we may run into each other, because things will get ugly if that happens.

Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – I honestly don’t know about these guys. I really want to hate them. I disliked them ever since they moved to 103.3, and when it looked like they might be returning to The Fan, even months before RAGE’s end, the thing going through my head was “Oh goodnight, no.” Back in 2009, I distinctly remember the 105.3 afternoon hosts of the time saying of the Rangers’ season, “Just entertain us until football training camp starts and then go away.” For a long time, I associated that verbal assault on B&S, making me despise them. Lately, though, my memory seems to suggest that it may have been their immediate replacements – which I think were Barskey and Gregg Henson – saying it. I do know it was B&S on 103.3 asking Mark Cuban if he would tear down the Ballpark and move the Rangers into JerryWorld if he owned that team, which was almost as infuriating. What I can say, though, is that it looks like most people who are in the business or want to get back into it have only good things to say about them, while people who know for sure they’re out of it for good either flat out agree with Greggo’s take on them or at least read his writing and say “Yeah, that’s possible.” To me, they still come off as arrogant and full of themselves without the skins to back it up. Oh, and hours before my scheduled posting of this article? They insulted Norm Hitzges on Twitter – the one person on The Ticket I always respected. Classy. Doubt I’ll ever tune into them.

Greg Williams – Well, it’s time for the big one. After hearing both sides of the broken up team that was RAGE, where do I now stand with this guy?
I’ve said for a while now that if Richie is the guy I hoped to become, Greggo is like the person I think I have become – someone who looks at himself as an entertainer rather than a journalist, and someone who is more than a little off-kilter. And to hear these things said about him from people I have to trust, it breaks my heart. I wonder if Greggo perhaps is afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome, the form of autism I have been diagnosed with; it’s just a theory of mine. And that’s why I worry about whether or not I may go down a similar path. People around me are concerned about me recently showing depression symptoms, and I can’t really argue with them. That’s why I can’t just hate Greggo. When he started the Gigantic Blog and Cafe, I helped him edit a few articles. Even though people advised me against it, I don’t regret doing it; I had nothing to lose at the time. And it honestly was lack of availability that led me to parting with him, but after having people say I shouldn’t associate with him (before AND after I left), it makes me wonder how many other relationships I would have fractured had I stayed. If what they say is true, I can understand why not only Richie but also Mike Rhyner have elected to cut themselves off from them. Personally, I still think he’s a good person at heart, just one with some very big demons.
In the original novel “The Black Cauldron” (which is a lot better than the Disney film based on it), a longtime champion of the royal house turns evil near the end; after he’s killed, the crown prince declares he shall still remember that person for who he had been before. That’s how I’d like to remember Greggo: A fun, personable guy who I hope doesn’t one day get completely destroyed by the demons inside.

So basically, everyone that The Fan got rid of – one way or another, I hope things work out for them. And I know there are certain people behind the scenes at 105.3 that don’t wish that, at which to them I give them one double middle finger salute and one loud “screw you to hell.”

Confessions of a Former Fan Fan

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So I guess the first question is: Why did I choose to start listening to 105.3 The Fan?

Well, it basically comes down to this: I wanted something other than SportsRadio 1310.

I’m not going to deny that for years, I had a beef with The Ticket and refused to listen. Even those reading this that know me as “the Hardline Nerd” should know my vendetta against them was even during that time and I only did that one appearance to appease a friend. I should elaborate on more details later.

But for now, back in 2009, I was needing something else. I was listening to 103.3, but outside of Galloway by that time, there was very little local stuff on there. And while I tried to deny it to my Ticket-listening friends, it was a problem. (Even though “local talk” in DFW still means 99.99 percent Cowboys, which isn’t much better for me…) So when I discovered 105.3 was converting into becoming a third sports station for North Texas, I was definitely intrigued.

Nothing really sparked my interest for the first few months – until Sean Salisbury was replaced with Richie Whitt as Newy Scruggs’ new on-air partner. Here was a name I knew. Richie’s Mavericks articles in the Star-Telegram had been must-read action for me as a kid, and I was honored to discover that my choice of college was the same as his. Here was a show I could listen to.

A year later, while Newy had to take some days off, Richie sprung a surprise guest host. It was Greggo, getting a third chance after getting bounced from the other two sports stations. I’ll admit – at the time I didn’t like Greggo; guilt by association from my issues with The Ticket. But as I continued to tune in, especially after Greggo eventually replaced Newy full time, I grew to like him and began to think other factors made me hate The Ticket instead of him. (Trust me, Ticket fans, I WILL let you in on those issues eventually.)

I was a dedicated “Fan fan,” not just tuning in regularly but attending their remote broadcasts and promo events with regularity. And it wasn’t just RAGE – I turned out for the G-Bags, Elf & Slater and the few times New School had promos. I wore their shirts whenever I could. I liked the hosts as people, even when I disagreed with them, and I could tell they were genuine. Pretty much everything about The Fan helped get me through some difficult times.

When did it start going south?

In a way, maybe the seeds were planted all the way back in early 2011, when the Rangers up and left The Fan, but more on that at a later date. At that point, it was awkward being a dedicated listener to just the flagship station of my most disliked team (well they were also the station for TMS, but still). But the people on the air were still ones I liked, and I assumed they weren’t going to just be shills for Jerry just because the games were on their station (yet another topic I’ll get to later).

I knew The Fan’s ratings were not good, but I didn’t care. I’ve supported soccer and UTA sports; I don’t follow anything just because it’s popular. This was my station, and as far as I was concerned, nothing would change that.

But then came March of 2013 when the first bomb was hit – in the form of a Facebook post from a Miss Jasmine Sadry saying The Fan was not renewing her contract. I had known Jas for just about a year, and to know the type of person and worker she was, it was infuriating to hear that just like that, she was gone. No one at the station was allowed to even talk about her departure, just make it seem like she never existed in the first place. It was a cold 180-degree turn from how the station had handled departures before. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to New School again, just out of principle. It didn’t matter how much I liked Shan and RJ, management was essentially telling me as a listener, “forget about that stupid chick, she was nothing, just listen to who’s left.” It was condescending to me, and I couldn’t stand for it.

But it wouldn’t be the last blow.

It was April 2013 – the Monday following Race Weekend at TMS. I tuned into 105.3 a few minutes late – and heard Kevin and Cory from the K&C Masterpiece. Hmm, RAGE had to take the day off, I first thought. But when they came back from first break and didn’t say they were filling in for RAGE, I got that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I immediately went to The Fan’s website, and sure enough – no mention of RAGE on it whatsoever. Minutes later, the posts came on Facebook from Richie – RAGE, Dead and Gone.

And with that my status as a Fan fan: Dead and Gone.

I didn’t listen to another minute of K&C’s afternoon run, even though I kind of liked their show. No need to; I knew they wouldn’t last. Anyone with half of a sea monkey’s brain knew who was coming in, and that wasn’t going to keep me around.

The bridge burning began for me – at least for the people behind the scenes at 105.3. A very long and intensely heated war of words with one B-bag of a sales rep who obviously thought I was loyal to the brand and not the people. She was dead wrong, and let’s just say we should never meet face to face again. I’ll tell you more later.

You can say all you want about The Fan doing what it has to do to make more noise in the ratings battle; I don’t care. Clearly, trying to do better in the ratings means catering to people who aren’t like me. Fine, I’ve been there too many times before. I don’t follow the popular crowd; I make my own decisions. But when you kick away the people I was loyal to and you treat me like a sheep by essentially saying, “forget those other guys, watch our new guys,” don’t expect me to acquiesce.

Am I wasting space on the unlimited World Wide Web saying this, coming off like a whiny fanboy? Well, I can’t blame you for thinking that. All I can say is, it’s therapeutic for me to get this out in saying how a station’s management gave the shaft to friends of mine that I think deserved better. And if you don’t think I’m wasting your time, feel free to stay tuned.

The End of RAGE and a Fan Fan: Prologue

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And with that, both sides have come out. Or at least the two differing ends on the side that got tossed out.

After weeks of wondering and speculating, in one week-long, five-part exposé, Richie Whitt laid out his details on what led to the demise of the Richie and Greggo Extravaganza on 105.3 The Fan.

Hopefully, you’ve read it by now, and if not, you can always check out the link above, but here’s the Cliff Notes version. Basically, Greggo was never really clean or sober, according to Richie. He missed way too many days for reasons never given, he bailed out on his co-workers and he alienated sponsors. Richie tried to take the high road while hoping management would change things and save the rest of them. And then Gavin Spittle took over and cut the rug out from everyone.

So how do I feel, as someone who Richie called RAGE’s biggest fan and who helped Greggo briefly as an editor to his blog?

Sad. Definitely sad to read how not just a show, but a friendship, was destroyed.

While I’d love to find a way to believe both sides, Richie is the one I have to trust the most. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but I can see he’s genuine. And hey, I know a lot of people don’t like me because of my views and opinions, so maybe that’s why I can gravitate to him.

I feel I should be more angry at Greggo than I am, but I’m not. Maybe it’s a result of knowing the guy enough to have liked him, so I don’t want to think anything bad of him, but not being close enough to have the full feeling of betrayal. All I have is the feeling that I wish this hadn’t happened with anger directed at other people that I still think do deserve it. Because I feel even without Greggo’s indiscretions, RAGE was doomed and not for the right reasons.

It’s a complicated issue, more complicated than I ever thought something like this would be. The only thing I think I can do is lay it out in my own words, how not just a show but a station got undercut in my opinion and good people I came to know, like and admire got screwed. Maybe you’ll want to read it, maybe not, but I think getting it out will be therapeutic for me.

So strap in and get ready, my Rowdy friends. You’ve heard the side of the people behind the microphone. Now, over the next week, it’s time for a loyal listener to give his take on when something he was loyal to was taken away.