Sunday, January 30, 2011

Talk show callers are not celebrities

Some of the biggest local sports media news this month involved the changes at WKNR with Tony Rizzo getting an extra hour for his show and the first hour of Jim Rome's nationally syndicated program going to WKNR's sister station KNR2, a daytime-only signal.

I won't dare get in the middle of that controversy with an opinion, because quite frankly I never listen to Rizzo (working second shift wipes out that potential) and Rome's show is an acquired taste that left me a long time ago - I can't listen for extended periods to that show now without getting annoyed.

That said, I did happen to be in the car last week when frequent Rome caller "John in C-Town" called to voice his displeasure with WKNR owner Craig Karmazin's decision. Apparently from what little I picked up before getting annoyed, John lives in New Hampshire now but was flying into Cleveland for family reasons and along the way planned to meet with Karmazin and order him to reverse course.

I don't know Karmazin at all, but common sense tells me - if he even entertained the idea of meeting with this guy - this one guy's opinion based on the fact he's "John from C-Town" is not going to sway Karmazin into changing his mind.

I respect the fact he's an adamant Rome fan and like many who fit that bill are unhappy with the programming move, especially given how much loyalty Rome has in this market. Again, it's an acquired taste, and I respect it if people continue to enjoy his program while I don't anymore.

We've said this before, but let's emphasize again, shall we?

Just because you call a local or national sports talk radio show frequently does NOT, under any circumstance on the face of the earth, make you a celebrity.

Case in point: In 2007 at my wedding reception, the bartender happened to be a frequent local sports talk radio show caller. When he began to engage in a conversation with News-Herald sports editor Mark Podolski and Podolski told him what he did for a living, the bartender/noted caller responded, "Well, you should know who I am."

We should?!?!

If you think you're a celebrity based on your air time on a sports talk show, please do the world a favor and reign in your ego.

It shouldn't get you free drinks at the local bar or a meeting with Craig Karmazin over WKNR programming.

If you want to express an opinion, fine. But don't get silly.

- Chris Lillstrung


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