Friday, February 23, 2007

Ex-Girlfriend Sports Radio

Here in this corner of the region of the corridor of the sector of the Mid-Atlantic Region, we've completed Week 2 of the 4 p.m.-7 p.m. turf war between WTEM 980's "The Sports Reporters" (starring Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin) and ESPN 1300's "The Anita Marks Show."

Interestingly, the highlight of the second of these two weeks HAD to be the moment yesterday (Thurs.) between 5:28 and 5:34 when Anita was informed that her next guest, University of Maryland men's basketball radio color-commentator Chris Knoche, would not be on the show because, blah blah blah, Chris said something to somebody, apparently, about "another meeting."
If by "another meeting," you mean being on the air at that very moment with Czabe and Andy, well ... okay.

It kinda reminded the listener of the times when our headtrip/psycho girlfriend would phone when our casual mess-around gal was over at the apartment.
"Whatcha doin'?"
"Ummmmm ... nuthin'."
"Well, if you're doin' nuthin', can I come over?"
"Ummmmm ... no. I'm kinda busy."
"You just said you weren't doing anything."
(You, to yourself: "Well, nuthin' that involves you.")

Good times.
But, we're not here to review courtship values (or lack thereof) from yesteryear. What's important is that Czabe and Andy are back in the saddle during what Arbitron calls "drive time."
Thank God.
When you live in the corridor of the sector of the region of the wastelands of the netherworld between B'More (Baltimore) and The District (Wash. D.C.), you get mighty fussy about what's on the airwaves when you're in the car, drivin' 'round the corridor of the sector of the region of the wastelands in the netherworld.

While there is always an XM/Sirius satellite alternative, those are shows which feature a national scope.
Since some of us cannot spend the shortly-before-noon and a-little-after-noon hours either downloading local radio (via "streaming audio" or a "podcast" -- whatever those are) or picking through the amusing on-line offerings of Deadspin, it's refreshing to re-connect with that 3-D rectangle with knobs and dials which features something known as "local radio."

To perform a comprehensive Czabe/'Nita format breakdown, it might involve too many apples-to-oranges comparisons.
D.C. radio will always serve its pro-sports master (Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, Capitals) while B'More will blanket the Orioles, Ravens, lacrosse (pro and college) and indoor soccer.
Both formats attempt to give the Terps their props ... tossing a bone to the Ralpfrigerator and Garyland.

Neither radio enterprise, though, seems all that interested in Maryland's women's hoops, which, by the way, won the NCAA title in '06.
Maybe it involves what Arbitron likes to call a "male, age 18-52 demographic" and something known as "market share" -- or because (shhhhhhhh!) there might be matters of sexuality ... and that doesn't fit into a testosterone-driven paradigm.

If ya wanna complicate the equation further, toss WNST (1570 AM) into the mix.
Nester Aparicio gets a lot of kudos for his pioneering spirit by startin' his own station last year or the year before or whenever it was.
On the other hand, by 5 o'clock each evening, WNST's signal is so weak (somehow falling short of the 40,000 watts needed to navigate the state of Maryland's hills n' valleys) that it's basically un-listen-to-able.
And, with Nestor acting behind the scenes instead of behind the mike, the drive-time voice we hear (provided "drive time" in this case occurs before sundown) adds to the un-listen-to-ability.
That guy knows who he is.
Maybe he should try a lozenge to reduce some of the sandpaper qualities in his voice.

Let's face it, though ... it's "the voice" which ropes us in.

It always is.
Czabe and Andy have it ... smooth, un-fingers-draggin'-across-the-chalkboard professional.
They're smoother than your favorite bourbon.
Wait ... scratch that.
Bourbon sucks.
Let's use "gin" in that expression of three sentences ago.

Since Anita Marks has that distinct, ex-girlfriend voice, Baltimore's ESPN 1300 (they don't even use the WJFK call-letters anymore, it seems) has pushed fervently to sell Marks' looks and gender.
Other selling points are the fact that she can play QB (supposedly) and the fact that she once posed for Playboy (who hasn't?).

Sure ... her energy is good, she seems to work hard and she acts sincere, blah blah blah, and she might have a more-taut inner thigh than Jenn Sterger at in a thigh-on-thigh tautness test blah blah blah, but those supposed "strengths" don't mitigate the ex-girlfriend traits.
Mostly the voice ... the one that's ready to tell us "You are SUCH a jerk!" after you call her out for flirting.
This radio gift from ESPN (which would never never never ever ever ever force-feed us style over substance) has offered quickie promos to encourage phone-activity, such as: "Score with Anita right now ... "
Let's ponder that for a moment. After all, would she find it relevant if we ass her about the spread in the Eagles game?
That's right ... the spread ... in the Eagles game.
The spread .. Eagles ...
Are the Areolas gonna contend in the A.L. East? A lot of the Areola fans at Areola Park at Camden Yards don't want another disappointment. Will you share your thoughts on the Areolas?
March Madness is almost here ... you like the Indiana Hooters? You like your Hooters this year? If the Hooters meet Longwood in the first round, ya gonna take the Hooters and give me Longwood? Exactly ... you've got the Hooters and you're giving me Longwood, right?
Is that straight-up? What about the over-under?
You've got the under?
Okay ... you've got the Hooters, you've giving me Longwood, and you're under.
Please please please, instead of asking "What?" or "Excuse me?" or "I beg your pardon," please please please say, "Come again?"

Of course, once drive time ends with the arrival in your own driveway, you can hustle inside and click on the TV -- and now that MASN (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) has been up n' running for a few months, we can catch Marks' show on Channel 44 for the simulcast.
Some viewers like to pretend she's topless.
There's nothing make-believe about us being pantsless.
That's because we were changing from dress slacks to sweat pants.
Some guys like to linger while pantsless ... others of us really don't give a crap if she has Cadillac Williams in her fantasy league this week because we've got a lawn to mow.

One of the most-memorable promos that ESPN 1300 aired (at various hours) was the B.S. session wherein two of the station's morning local co-hosts compared his own breast size of his own vs. Anita's.
Since you can't spell "penis" without an "E," an "S," a "P" and an "N," it was a little disturbing for us 11.5-inch, Alpha males to hear about the saggy ta-ta's of 528-lb. Damon Yaffe vis-a-vis Anita's real (or not) maracas.
That's playful radio.

Another actual promo: The Ralphfrigerator asks, "Do you look as good as you sound?" Listeners then abruptly interrupted the awkward pillow-talk by yelling at the radio: "Do you wear a 6XL windbreaker or a 7XL?" Oh, and what's the spread ... for the Eagles?
Right ... the spread ... Eagles!

Since "PENIS Spelled As ESPN caters to SkankTown, some of us simply wish that they'd opt to couple smarts with the smut.
Or, we just stick w/ Czabe and Andy instead of what's promo'ed as "the ultimate sports chick."

Again, that's where the hook ... fails to hook.

THE ultimate sports chick doesn't prattle on w/ THAT voice.
No ... the ultimate sports chick is sittin' quietly as she watches our softball games ... or she's (non-audibly) posing for a Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders calendar ... or she's NOT questioning the credit-card bill re: the "Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break" DVD purchase.

It's the phenomenon of "worlds colliding." If Relationship George walks through that door RIGHT NOW, he will KILL Independent George!
As per the "ultimate sports chick" in local media, it has to be Comcast's Carol Maloney, who is a regular w/ Czabe and Andy (at least, she was in the morning).
She's knowledgable, funny and doesn't allow herself to be objectified.

Ultimate sports chick?
Some of us married one ... one whose father pioneered sports-talk radio in another state nearly 50 years ago ... one who likes to tell the story of when that future NHL players attempted to cheat off her paper in grad school ... one who took a sports sociology course with a guy who would later coach Dwyane Wade ... one who likes to mock the college football players by holding aloft four fingers every time the third quarter ends in a game on TV ... one who can still look at a trading card of Mike Foligno in his Buffalo Sabres sweater and when you try to pull a fast one by asking, "Honey, is this Lee Fogolin?" she gives ya a glare and says, "Nice try" ('cuz she can differentiate between Foligno/Fogolin in their Sabre sweaters -- and because she remembers the NHL goalie who cheated with another player's wife, aside from the local QB hero who slept around on his wife ... and the soccer star who was a homewrecker ... and the bad memories of getting her wallet stolen at that party at Uwe Blab's apartment ... ).

And, we haven't said a thing about her ultimateness of every single sports-related injury mere moments after it occurs or the way that she saves local athletes' elbows, spines, feet, necks ...
So, this ultimate sports chick doesn't have time for chicks who hype their shoulder impingements and shattered sesmoids -- and she's not sittin' in a WJFK studio B.S.'ing with either the station's in-house, 300-lb.ers or giggling at the non-funny eggheads from the journalistic weakling known as the Baltimore Sun.

If PENIS Spelled As ESPN 1300 had an ounce of creativity, the promo would be: "She's Anita ... local sports which starts with an "A-N-I-" and ends with some 'T' and 'A.' "
Again ... it's sad when we have to tell programmers how to program.

FYI: 1300's best sports hours are on Saturdays when Phil Wood and Tom Davis converse about the Areolas, errrr ... the Orioles and baseball in general.
That duo has such vast knowledge .. always a treat to listen to.

Not that Czabe is the new messiah -- after all, he's been a little off lately during "The '80s Rejoin" segment with Scott Lynn in the morning.
Czabe's missed some gimmes.
Yes, that is the two-fold goodness that is this mini-Czabe craze. We listeners get a double dose ... not only during the 4-7 p.m. slot, but during the 6-10 a.m. slot opposite ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg and his metrosexuality.

On WTEM every morning, Czabe and co-pilot Lynn join forces in FOX Sports Radio's national broadcast of "The First Team."
"Mike & Mike In The Morning" is okay, but OK is OK, okay?

While Czabe has his (admitted) sexist moments, it's relatively mild -- and not as overt as the packaging of sports-talk radio served on an inner thigh.
Moreover, Czabe is good for at least three or four chuckles during each show. His sense of humor serves him well -- and having an array of Homer Simpson references/sound bytes only adds to the goodness.

The chemistry between Czabe and Andy is what makes the late afternoon solid. Andy was the perfect ringmaster when he was teamed with the often-whiny Kornheiser and Andy doesn't miss many steps with Czabe.

A keen sense of history is Andy's strength. He has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to dredging up names of 'Skins/Caps/Bullets past and bringing a smile to diehards who make a mental note of, "Yeah ... Diron Talbert and Brig Owens were underrated" or "Kevin Duckworth? Now, there's a name we haven't heard in a while."

The regular, in-studio guests dwarf the offering from "PENIS Spelled As ESPN." Czabe and Andy regularly kibitz with Knoche, Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, Mike Wise of the Washington Post, Larry Wiseman of USA Today and Dave Feldman from FOX 5 in D.C.
The chemistry is very good -- and the exchange of information (and barbs) definitely works.
One could call it "info-tainment."

Again, Marks seems earnest and semi-competent, but as an immigrant from Miami, she has too much catching up to do. She's never going to knock anyone's socks off with a reference to Calvin Pickering or Stoney Case, so it's a matter of asking #52 Ray Lew, "What time is it?" ("Game time, woof woof woof!!!") "What time is it?!" ("Game time, woof woof woof!!!")

If they're REALLY interested in genitalia, maybe PENIS Radio can order Marks to march over to M&T Bank Stadium and conduct a weeklong show re: "Why was a statue of Johnny Unitas sculpted wherein a mighty bulge exists atop the crotch?"
What's with Unitas' unit?
Who would ERECT such a joke?

Ray Lew ... what time it is?. "Time to lose to the Colts, 15-6, woof woof woof!" ...

That's how it is with your ex-girlfriend ... one day, she's goin' with the limp-n'-straight hairdo on a Thursday and then the kinked-out look on Friday ... in case she goes clubbin' and meets a guy who isn't her boyfriend.

Remember ... anybody can score with her.

Czabe and Andy, unlike our Ex, ain't gonna threaten our manhood for no reason other than to threaten it. Instead, maybe we'll go to the e-mailbag -- as they did during evening drive time before the show was switched to the morning last May -- with an intro of George Constanza telling Jerry, "I've got just the thing to cheer you up. A computer! You can check porn ... and stock quotes!"

Uh-oh ... the 980 AM signal is growing weak and the station overlap, amusingly, has Petula Clark singing "Downtown."

You're right ... "Don't Sleep In The Subway" by Pet is a better song.

Well, we're not switchin' back to 1300 because all there is to discuss there is the spead ... the Eagles!

And the Hooters affecting Longwood.


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