Whenever I listen to the radio, in the background in the office, in the car, etc., much of it is turned to sports radio. We all love to hear others spout off their opinions and then vehemently disagree with them; at least I do.
I’m constantly surprised at the drama that comes behind the scenes of these things. For years, I’ve listened to local station The Fan and their afternoon show RAGE. Richie Whitte and Greggo Williams were the headliners and, seemingly, buddies behind the show. Then one day, poof. It was gone. The show disappeared from the air and all hosts were fired. No one knew exactly why, but we all knew there was more to come on this story.
So, a couple of weeks ago, Whitt begins a five-part blog series on the breakup of the show. In a nutshell, Williams was an alcoholic, a drug addict and a liar, according to Whitt, and he tanked the show. Williams had a history of this type of behavior, getting fired from his wildly popular show on The Ticket years earlier and then getting canned from ESPN following.
Drama. We all love it. And I have to admit, it’s rare and even more interesting to get a look behind the scenes of what we see and hear in the media. I thought those guys were buddies — little did I know how wrong I was.
But we generally put too much faith in the things we see and hear on tv and radio. I get tired of hearing people lambast the media for all the wrongs in the world. Those of us in the media are a convenient whipping boy. However, sometimes we deserve the vitriol thrown our way. When papers and reporters and talking heads take a political stance things can and do go bad.
I can tell you that my two papers — The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader — stay completely neutral when it comes to politics. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but what I learned in journalism school was report it accurately and without bias. Switzerland has it right in this regard.
As a viewer and/or listener to these programs, you need to be aware of a few things. The people on television, for instance, whom you have grown to trust and place all your faith in, those people are sometimes not doing much of their due diligence in reporting their stories, especially local anchors and reporters. I remember writing a story on an emergency response problem in McKinney, having it posted online and listening to a tv reporter read my story word-for-word that night on the local telecast. I asked for, but did not get, an apology from the station.
Then there was the time I was covering the first death penatly case to come through Collin County in years. I sat through nearly two weeks, days and days, of trial only to have a well-known local tv reporter quiz me after I walked out of the courtroom. He had been covering the trial through my dailies and then showed up for the last day of trial to wrap up his brilliant coverage of it. Even though he literally did not sit through one minute of that trial he put his face on camera and appeared like the expert he was not.
Don’t be fooled by the glamour of those in front of a camera or behind a mic. They are regular people just like you and I, and half the time you may know more about what’s going on than they do. Be entertained with caution.