Jock Radio: No-Call List

What sports talk can do without

The sports-talk radio world thrives on repetition — the audience is constantly churning (a listener who stays tuned for 30 minutes is considered gold), there's a limited amount of subjects, there are callers who somehow think they have something new to say about a subject that's been discussed ad nauseam.

If ever there was a Commissioner of Houston Sports-Talk Radio, he would issue a fiat immediately banning the following:

1. "How you guys doin'?"

Sports-talk hosts are, apparently, the single most frail and vulnerable group on the planet. Their physical or mental health appears to be a constant, pressing concern among their listeners, because every single goddamn caller into a show feels the need to inquire as to how the hosts are possibly coping in this vale of tears. "On the one hand, you sometimes want to scream by the end of the show that 'I am fine, for crying out loud,'" says one host. "On the other, it's just people being polite."

2. The guy with the impossible trade.

He doesn't care that there are salary caps in the NBA or the NFL. He's not bothered by the fact that it takes two teams to make a trade, and the Yankees might just not be interested in giving up A-Rod for Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett. He's got a solution to his team's problem, and if those in power would just listen to him everything would be fine. "The 'How about if we pile up all our crap and trade it for their All-Star' call is an occupational hazard, but still annoying," says a host.

3. Vince Young, Vince Young, Vince Young.

Let the word go forth from this time and place, as JFK said in his inaugural address: We, meaning sports-talk listeners in Houston, are aware of the existence of a quarterback who played for UT, who could have been drafted by the Texans and who had a pretty good rookie season. We are aware that Texans QB David Carr failed to win games that Vince Young apparently would have dominated like Joe Montana playing against Beeville High School. We believe the subject has been thoroughly discussed, and we await with dread the 2007 NFL season if VY starts hot and Matt Schaub starts cold. You, caller, do not have a new take on the situation.

4. Why don't you cover the University of Houston more?

Because — and this may be hard to understand — No One Cares. Yes, we know they just had a great season and can play some entertaining ball. And that there are a lot of UH alumni in town. But UH is to UT, in terms of football interest, what Basic Instinct 2 is to Pirates of the Caribbean in terms of movie interest. So if you want to call in and talk UH football, fine, but don't include a whining complaint that no one ever talks about UH football on the air. Even if that is apparently a mandated part of every call about UH football.

5. Howard from Memorial.

Anyone who listens to local sports-talk radio has heard "Howard from Memorial," a doctor with a lot of free time on his hands. In a nasal Noo Yawk accent, he compares every current Houston team, unfavorably, to a legendary New York team from the past. If you want to hear how Jeff Bagwell is no Gil Hodges, Howard from Memorial is your go-to guy. He cycles through shows so he eventually shows up everywhere. Which means you get to hear a whole lot of different hosts try to suppress that certain sigh in their voice as they give in and announce, "Up next, Howard from Memorial." It's a Houston thing, but that doesn't make it a good Houston thing.

 
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