I am a big time fan of sports radio. I have been listening to WSCR (The Score) since they went on the air back in 1992. besides the years I lived in Russia from December of 1992 to December of 1994 and South Carolina from 1995 to 1997 I have been a regular listener to sports radio in Chicago, primarily WSCR as they did the WKRP theme thing and moved up and down the dial until finally landing on 670 where WMAQ had promised to make me rich when I was a kid.
As a Christian, I try to watch what words I listen to and what things I say. To that end, I could never get behind show titles like S&M in the morning (The initials referring to show hosts Tom Shaer and Jim Memelo) nor could I participate in the signature segment on the show based on an Old Mike Ditka rant. The segment has nothing to do with the c-list swear word for producing feces but has everything to do with tagging someone out when you find them off base. Still, I could never bring myself to call up and say a word on the radio that I wouldn’t say in public.
My point in all this is to say that there were some goings on at WSCR that I didn’t want to listen to and when they came on like the commercials for strip clubs, I just turned them off, sometimes for days and weeks at a time. I did this because sometimes not listening is the beset way to speak up.
Over the years some of the hosts I really liked and some I did not much care for. I liked all the Dan’s (McNeil, Jiggets and later Bernstein) I was 50/50 on the Mikes, Loved Murphy, didn’t care much for North.
I didn’t care much for North’s shtick. The whole who needs High school, self made man thing never’ really resonated me. But it wasn’t until September 12, 2001 that he really got under my skin. As you may recall, September 11th 2001, was kind of a big deal, and even the day after, sports radio was not talking about sports. When I got into my car after work that day, Secretary of State Colin Powell was making a speech about U.S. response to the tragedy. Half way through the speech, North turns off the feed and starts discounting what Powell was saying and giving his own “insight” to what had to be done. Now this was nearly 14 years ago, so I don’t remember the particulars, but that was the last time I listened to Mike North. I just had it with him. Had it with how on one hand, he could brag about being a high school drop out and then on the other, have enough hubris in the wake of a national tragedy, to purport that he knew more about global politics than a decorated general and current secretary of state.
At the time, North was the face of the score, he was on 1/2 the commercials, even when not in his time slot. Anytime since 9-12-01 that his voice came on the score, I switched the channel. Now was I being petty or vindictive? I don’t think so. This is the first time in nearly 14 years I am going public with it. I only do so to illustrate a need to turn a score personality off again.
I mentioned earlier that I liked Dan Bernstein. He is the host of the afternoon show at WSCR. He and his partner Terry Boers also run the segment, I referred to earlier. I remember when Bernstein was first starting at the score covering things like the NBA draft. Over the last 15 years Bernstein, has become as Lawrence Holmes said recently, the face of the score. I have found Bernstein to be very insightful and analytical over his run at WSCR. I have also found him at times boorish, sophomoric and ill tempered. There are days that he shows a real disdain for the opinions and thoughts for the callers on his show. Still in all, he hadn’t done anything to make me pull the plug on him. That is until this week.
In 1992 and even in 2001 Social media was essentially non existent. So disdain for an on air personality came usually from what they said or from a column they would put in a newspaper or website. Twitter , Facebook and the like have changed that in a big way.
Bernstein tweeted this week in a very unprofessional manner about a female journalist. After publicly and correctly standing up for women this week who have been abused by men, Bernstein objectified women by using a crass word, to describe part if the female journalists anatomy. So it’s channel switching time for me again at WSCR. Stopping listening to North was a personality thing. I couldn’t stand his personality. For Bernstein it’s simply a matter of not wanting to listen to someone who defends women and objectifies them within the course of a week.
I will still listen to the White Sox and to Lawrence Holmes. as he is a class act and in my opinion should be the face of WSCR. But when Bernstein comes on the air to sell wine, or promote the tournament of bad, or just to do his show, I will have switched channels, because sometime not listening is the best way to speak up.