State Fair

This time of year brings the Florida State Fair to life, held each year over in east Tampa not too far from the Seminole Hard Rock sits. Locals, remember when the Hard Rock was just a bingo hall?

I only went to the fair once in 1991 with my girlfriend at that time and her family. It was a couple of weeks after my dad died of cancer, so I guess they wanted to do something nice for me. 

Two things left quite an impression on me that day. One were the “carnies” who hustles those in attendance onto the rides and to play the various games. They’d do anything just short of kidnapping to get into this or that, and I wasn’t so sure about the kidnapping part. 

I was happy to be with my gal that day, but the mood quickly turned sour. Someone had insulted her outside of my earshot, and she was hopping MAD at me because I didn’t defend her. I explained to her that I didn’t hear what was said, and without hearing the tone of what was said, how could I?

Needless to say, my explanation fell on deaf ears. But even if I had heard it, what could I have done? You can’t spend life worrying about what other people think, you can never please those types of people anyway. 

Even if I had stood up for her, you never know what the other guy is capable of. The guy could have been four foot six, but he could have also had a switchblade in each pocket. Call me a coward, but I enjoy my body unpunctured. 

A few months later, we split up, and I always believed that incident was the turning point. Oh well. Some things in life are just destined to happen, and that seemed one of those times to me. 

Advertisements

Cosby

I don’t think I’ve talked about this blog about the ongoing maelstrom around comedian Bill Cosby. Over the past year, scores of women have come forward claiming that he has repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct, usually revolving around putting something in a drink to force these ladies into a state of unconsciousness.

I have a very dear friend who I’ve known since we were children, and this story has been our favorite topic recently. She can’t hide her disgust that a man that had that much “cred” could abuse all of these woman and get away with it this long. I point out that prior to 1991 and the Clarence Thomas hearings, the media really didn’t pay a heck of a lot of attention to sexual harassment issues, or so I felt, and that those hearings turned out to be a game changer.

But I often wonder what my friend wonders about. If Cosby was doing this for years (even joking about it on a long forgotten comedy album), people had to have known this was going on, and decided to either bury their heads in the sand, or be pressured on some level to keep quiet. Or, a combination of both scenarios would have had to have taken place.

At least now, Bill Cosby will have his day in court, as well as his numerous accusers. That’s the best place for the truth to be resolved, and for closure to be attained.

Proof Of (A Former) Life

About two and a half years ago, I had mentioned I was a board operator for a various radio stations from 1989 to 1996.

This weekend, a little bit of proof of that former life of mine came to light as Stan Major’s first show on SRN was posted on YouTube from October 1, 1991.

Just as I remembered a couple of years ago, I had to pot down the phone numbers that first night because the numbers mentioned were incorrect, and Stan mentions that I should rip off the label on the cart in question! Listening to these first few moments once again for the first time in a couple of decades, I realized either I had him on the wrong microphone, or he had the wrong one on, and it took me a few moments to grasp this.

You could tell right away, even from my board operator’s perch, that Stan was in his own league in terms of the level of skill he brought to the table. I didn’t know much about him at the time (though I’ve learned a great deal afterwards), but I left work that early morning thinking he’d bring stability to my employers, as long as we kept him. He’d wind up at Sonny Bloch’s old Independent Broadcasters Network a year later, which wound up being of the first few nails in Sun’s coffin, as SRN folded on October 31, 1995.

A caller from San Diego (the first of many women to call Stan’s show) ironically asks what happened to Jim Bakker. I say ironically because I wound up meeting him in Charlotte in eight years later.

Thanks to the Neil Rogers YouTube channel for posting in, and Stan Major himself for preserving this piece of tape.

Root, Root, Root For The Road Team

I heard Joe Maddon got all bent out of shape over the weekend about how fans attending the Saturday Rays-Yankees fans cheered raucously when Derek Jeter got a game-winning hit to secure a 3-2 New York win.

His frustrations are certainly understandable, but it’s not a new problem for the team, nor this sports market.

I remember going to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Chicago Bears as a birthday present (I had just turned 20 two days prior) back on September 8, 1991. Back then, the Bucs were terrible, a few years away from turning their franchise around, and this was also back when the Bears would play a game here in Tampa every year with both teams playing in the old NFC Central division. Made up of mostly midwestern teams, the Bucs were the bastard child of the group.

Sitting in the broiling sun, the Bucs fell 21-20 to the more capable Bears. But being in the crowd that day, you’d think it was a Chicago home game. True, the Bears had a national following at the time having been a few years removed from a Super Bowl championship back in 1986, but I left Tampa Stadium that afternoon wondering where all the Bucs fans were.

Our market loves winners. If our teams aren’t winning, this is an area will the fans will find other things to do. That’s the way it’s always been here, and probably will be, sorry to say.

Casey Reaches The Stars

The irony of Casey Kasem passing away on Father’s Day and on a Sunday morning didn’t escape me. On our local station here in Tampa Bay, Casey was heard on Q-105 from 10am to 2pm on Sundays for what seemed to be years on end.

I once nearly had a chance to speak with Casey, if you can believe that.

In early 1991, I was working at the Sun Radio Network, producing for Howard Hewes/Joel Vincent, Chuck Harder, and Sonny Bloch on an early week 12pm to 6pm shift. This was a little over three years before I worked with Chuck at People’s Radio Network up the road in White Springs, Florida. I’m working at Sun’s studios in eastern Clearwater, with Chuck at a studio in Cedar Key hooked up to us via a Comrex device.

One day, Chuck asks me to get a hold of Casey Kasem out in his offices in California. I guess Chuck was trying to get him to pop in for his “For The People” national broadcast, but it would wind up being a game of telephone tag. Knowing of Kasem’s work, I would have immediately recognized the voice, that’s for sure.

It was a shame that his life ended with squabbling and arguing, but everyone but the immediate family were mere spectators in that battle. Hopefully now, he can rest in peace.

A Soundtrack Of Sports

Pat Summerall and Jack Buck get ready to call Super Bowl IV for CBS, January of 1970.
Pat Summerall and Jack Buck get ready to call Super Bowl IV for CBS, January of 1970.

Wish I had some better news to blog about, as it’s been a pretty morbid week so far.  But the passing of George Allen “Pat” Summerall is worth mentioning.

Last July, I had called Summerall “the voice of God” because I always envisioned if God wanted to call a football game, he’d probably use Pat’s voice.  His record as a broadcaster is well documented, especially his work calling pro and occasionally college football games which stretched over six decades and began in JFK’s administration and ended in President Obama’s.  He called events in at least six different sports (football, basketball, golf, tennis, boxing, and filled in for Harry Caray on a Cubs game back in the 80’s), and I’m probably unaware of one or two others that he’s done.

Of course, many of you younger than me probably have fond memories of Pat working on the Madden video games from the turn of the century.  But to me, he’s the soundtrack of many of my Sundays, where he was doing the Masters in April, the US Open tennis tournament in early September, or many of those great NFL games in the fall and the winter.

My favorite Pat Summerall call?  Too many of them to pick out just one.  But the last Super Bowl he worked with John Madden (between the Patriots and Rams) wasn’t too darn bad.  For a non-football game, his call of the Jimmy Connors match at the US Open against Aaron Krickstein on Labor Day in 1991 would be my choice.  The crowd was squarely behind Connors and his legendary comeback run, and Summerall and partners Tony Trabert and Mary Carillo just laid back and let Jimmy’s rabid fans and the pictures do the talking in a final set tiebreak to determine the winner of the match.

May he rest in peace.