Let Me Ask to Speak with the Sportatorium

Back when I was just a punk - okay a younger punk - there was this show on Channel 8. Best I can remember, it came on Saturday nights at 6:30 and featured station manager Mike Shapiro answering viewers' questions about programming choices, etc. It was decades ahead of its time in yanking back the curtain.

It was called, I think, Let Me Speak to the Manager. As a boy already fixated on delivering the news in some form, I was riveted.

Then when I was an older punk - okay, just a couple years ago - there was this show on The Ticket. Best I can remember, it came on sporadically and featured hosts Mike Rhyner and Greg Williams answering listeners' questions about everything from professional content to personal preferences. It broke ground in whispering the answers to taboo radio questions.

It was called, I'm damn certain, Ask the Hardline. As a P1 consumed not with just what's done but how it's done, I was riveted.

So here we are. With a borrowed stolen idea for a new feature that may flop or fly. That all depends on you.

During my fleeting 1-year anniversary bash I received lots of suggestions, feedback and questions. So now I'll do some honest-to-goodness answering

That's the format. Short, simple and potentially sweet. One week you ask; the next week I'll answer.

Got it?

Q: Are you still friends with Greggo?

A: Yes. Though our relationship is probably more friendly than friend. I've never been out with him socially one-on-one. Been to his house just the once. Honestly, I communicate - via text, email and phone call - more regularly with his former Ticket partner. But considering the recent passing of his father and the declining health of his mother and his imminent career news, I am concerned about him. Absolutely.

Q: Do you think Ben and Skin have anything?

A: As a radio consumer who liked them before the birth of 105.3 The Fan, yes, I do. I find them remarkably witty, quick on their mental feet. Generally, the folks who don't like them are the same folks who can't keep up.

Q: What's the truth about you and Plus-1 with the Hardline?

A: Mike Rhyner approached me after it became clear that Greggo was going to be leaving The Hardline for a long time, possibly forever. I certainly wasn't the only candidate, but I was flattered to be considered. I sat in with those boys on three shows. Enjoyed myself immensely and thought I did an okay job. Nothing was promised. Nothing was assumed. I never made a penny. When The Ticket decided to simply promote Corby into Williams' chair I was disappointed, but hardly devastated. No grudges.

Q: What kind of person is Randy Galloway sober?

A: I've never seen him drunk. He will munch some paper - like a cow chewing a cud - on deadline, but I've never had more than a couple beers with him. I will admit that the first time I hung out with him, I hopped in his big Caddy rental before an early-90s Cowboys-Giants in New York. As he honked and yelled at the yankees with his mustache and his bravado while making a U-turn smack dab in the middle of Times Square, I looked at the co-passenger in the back seat and remarked, "He is McCloud!"

Q: Who's your favorite local sportscaster?

A: On TV, Dale Hansen's commentary - agree or disagree - is the best thing going in this or any market. On radio. Chuck Cooperstein's delivery is uniquely precise and passionate.

Q: What's going with the ghosts in your house?

A: Have never figured out the loud "slam!" that awoke me couple months ago. Who knows, maybe it was the squirrels? As for the mysterious pots rattling together? I'll sheepishly admit that it turned out to be the air-conditioning vents, angled just right and forcefully blowing air into the rack. Yeah, I know.

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