Friday, April 13, 2012

Top 5 Worst Sports-Talk Radio Hosts

Ever find yourself driving home from work, just wanting to relax and put the day behind you, only to spend your return commute screaming at the radio because the host is an idiot?  If so, there's a good chance you were listening to bad sports-talk radio; maybe even one of these knuckleheads:

5: Mike Francesa - One of the pioneers of sports-talk radio with his (and Chris Russo's)  "Mike and the Mad Dog Radio Program," he spent almost two decades as the smart and reasonable half of a moderately entertaining show.  When his sidekick left in 2008, he stayed in the same spot with his boring, vanilla opinions.  The worst thing about him--and the reason he's on the list--is that he can't get through a statement without repeating himself about a dozen times, forcing me to scream: "just make your point!"  You get two clips of this guy--the first is just him repeating himself.  The second is him making the point that Cliff Lee is fungible, by which he means that Lee is unique, only he learns at some point that fungible means the opposite of that, so he backtracks and tries to cover his mistake rather than fess up.  Moron (not because he didn't know what "fungible" means, but because he couldn't just admit he used it wrong).

4: "Mad Dog" Chris Russo - Mad Dog was the other, more annoying half of the former "Mike and the Mad Dog Radio Program."  Russo left WFAN for Sirius radio in 2008, and nobody cared.  I personally missed hearing Don Imus make fun of Russo's constant slip-ups, misstatements, and awkward shouting matches with Francesa, but I'm over it.  I've heard that he hasn't done great on Sirius.  I wouldn't know since I'm part of the 99% of the country who either doesn't have Sirius/XM, or has it but only for Stern.

3: Steve Somers - There was a time when Somers had the overnight show ("late night, under the covers, schmoozing til the best of Imus..."), which suited his laid-back style and mellow voice perfectly.  Unfortunately, he got moved around during the day, and landed in the late afternoon/early evening spot where he developed a whole schtick routine.  Now he's all schtick, and he brings nothing to the table.

2: Jim Rome - Rome has some decent analysis and good interviews.  The problem is that he became some kind of superstar, and in the process, he let it go to his head.  He began to think he was bigger than the athletes he covered, but he isn't.  His radio show became a parody of sports-talk radio, with "clones" lining up to have a "take"--a long, rambling, pointless, pre-written and poorly delivered speech about some obscure topic using the phony "hip" lingo exclusive to Rome's show. ("Hey Rome, thanks for the vine...")  Frank Caliendo's spoof is so on-point, it serves as the best example of why you can't listen to Rome--he's the exact same, only he's serious.

1: Stephen A. Smith - There may be an audience for a guy who sits around screaming and making pointless points in a quasi-urban patois about sports with which he has just more than a passing knowledge, save basketball, but I haven't found it.  Just about everyone I've ever heard on the topic either can't stand listening to the guy, or listens to make fun of him.  The clip above is a perfect example of his lousy analysis and his grating, annoying delivery.  He's just the worst.

This is necessarily NY-centric, since a lot of sports talk radio is local or regional, so feel free to share the worst of your local hosts in the comments.  And of course, feel free to defend any of these guys...

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  1. No Michael Kay?  I don't disagree with many of these though... Steven A. Smith is the worst of the worst for sure.

  2. As a die hard knicks fan myself, I could honestly say that Stephen A Smith absolutely disgusts me with his little to no knowledge about what goes on in the Knicks locker room. It irritates me that this guy even has time on the radio

  3. I actually like Kay.  I'm  Yankee fan, so I don't get bothered by his Yankee-centric focus, plus I don't mind his shameless self-promotion.  I think he's funny.  BUT, were I anything but a Yankees fan, I might just hate him.

  4. And that's the one sport he knows about!  I just don't want to get yelled at when I'm driving home from work, yet that's all he does...

    ...and how about those Knicks last night?!?!

  5. #1 hands down is Steve Hartman.  Sure, the guy knows about stats, but he is the single most jaded and negative individual in radio history.  Like listening to chalk on a nailboard.

  6. I don't know him, but I can imagine.  It's amazing how many bad talk show hosts are out there--I guess the talent moves up and these folks just end up wallowing in their own mediocrity.

  7. Steven A. Smith should be in all five slots...The absolute worst....

  8. Hard to disagree--he is just so bad.  

  9. JT The Brick
    Mike and Mike
    Colin Cowherd

    just to name three that should be up there. JT should be number 1 without a doubt

  10. I actually like Colin Cowherd.

    Mike and Mike I can take or leave. I used to like them a lot more than I do now.

    Yeah, JT The Brick could be up here.