Some time around 2001 I realized I’d heard every song the radio was going to play and I switched over to the AM side. This is when I grew fascinated with talk radio, specifically sports talk radio. Yes, I know I could just have silence as I drive. But instead of using my drive time to seek inner peace, to pay attention to the road, or to figure out where exactly my life went wrong, I listen to these wanks and blowhards wax passionately about athletics. The more serious they take the sports the better.
My favorite host is JT The Brick. JT’s politics veer some where to the right of Darth Vader’s, but he brings the intensity of an exploding sun. He’s grown a bit mellower now that he’s on in the graveyard shift of 1-5 AM on the East Coast. But when he was on at a time when he could be choosy about his callers, if you didn’t “bring it” he would hang up on you faster than the girl you wronged. If America cared about anything half as much as JT The Brick cared about New York Jets wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, getting a DUI there would not be a major motion picture about Facebook coming out.
If JT the Brick is the apex of sports talk radio, Los Angeles radio station 570 AM just introduced usto the cellar. They have a lunch time show called Loose Cannons which the last few years has starred Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, and a rotating third member. Steve Hartman has the requisite loud mouthed obnoxiousness to keep you glued in. Vic “The Brick” Jacobs (who as far as I know is not related to JT The Brick) never says a bad word about anyone, but his Zen Hippy Jew schtick and enthusiasm leaves him in my good graces. It is their third and newest member who makes me sick. You might be familiar with him. The schmuck’s name is Pat O’Brien.
O’Brien was once the host of Access Hollywood and The Insider. He also earned some fame for leaving drunken messages on a woman’s voice mail that were leaked on to to the internet. For some reason these two claims to fame make him think people listen to sports talk radio to hear about Pat O’Brien. Whenever there’s an interview he reminds the guest, “Hi, this is Pat O’Brien.” Whenever they go to a commercial or come back from one he reminds us, “This is Pat O’Brien.” But his most annoying quality is a segment can not go by where he doesn’t tell some celebrity anecdote involving himself.
“Well, George Clooney told me he couldn’t understand why people were staring at him at the pizza shop. I had to remind him he was famous.”
” One time I got pulled over by a police car . The truck was filled with empty beer bottles and my passenger and good friend Brent Musburger said he’d take care of it. He went outside with the cop. He came back and I asked, ‘Are we in trouble?’ he said, ‘No, but the cop wants your autograph too, Pat.”
I suppose there is an audience who enjoys hearing about the rich and famous, and how Pat O’Brien is friends with them all. But unless those rich and famous can dribble, pass, punt, or punch listeners of sports talk radio don’t give a damn about them. We want to hear indignation about a referee’s blown call. We want analysis of why a team should trade a lazy player. What we don’t need is to hear about the last time Pat O’Brien hugged his “good friend” Alice Cooper.