Richie Whitt and Greg "Greggo" Williams have now had two months to reflect on CBS's unceremonious cancellation of The Rage, their drive-time sports talk show on 105.3 The Fan, and they've come to starkly different conclusions.
Greggo chalked it all up to ratings, which he says had dropped. Whitt, a former Observer columnist, has another theory: "I was the baby that got thrown out with Greggo's dirty bathwater."
Williams explained the show's decline to DFW.com last month. "The show got off to a good start," he said. "It was such a good start that even I was pleased with it, and I'm my own worst critic ... And then came, basically, the year of 2012, when ratings just plummeted."
Whitt, on the other hand, says ratings were fine and describes the show as "very profitable" when it was cancelled. "First of all at The Fan, we knew it was never realistic for us to beat The Ticket," he says. "It was in its 18th year, we're in our fourth. Our goal was to beat ESPN, and the ratings with ESPN went back and forth. If we played 10 games ... we won five, they won five."
The real reason, Whitt insists, was Greggo. "He got fired and he pulled me down with him," he tells Unfair Park.
Whitt recounts all this in painstaking detail on DFW Sportatorium, the website he rolled out this week. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say he is in the process of describing, since Part II of the five-part saga just dropped today. The whole thing is presented as a sequel to his 2008 cover story on Greggo. It's titled, in the best summer movie tradition, "The Hard Lie 2: Sh*t Hits the Fan."
The piece pulls no punches as it traces Greggo's pill-fueled spiral toward incoherence. Here's a sample from Part I ("Dead Men Talking"):
In the end, born of necessity, we all grew uncomfortably numb to Williams' B.S. The "affected" appearances were becoming more commonplace, but the lies had long been habitual.
Williams' fibs ranged from the mundane (he made up a story about his dogs getting loose as an excuse to get out of dinner plans with RAGE), to the maniacal (he boasted about being fast friends with Mark Wahlberg and Bradley Cooper), to the morbid (after first prematurely promising on the air that he'd be a pallbearer in Chris Kyle's funeral, he later claimed his scheduled speech at the Navy SEAL's memorial was canceled at the last minute, along with those of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and conservative online talk-show host Glenn Beck), and, finally, to the monstrosity (he fabricated a tale about a serious illness/injury to his live-in girlfriend, Jennifer Rosenbaum, all for the self-serving goal of missing two days of work.)
Truth? Williams is a compulsive, diabolical liar I neither trust, respect nor want to work alongside ever again.
Such an outcome wasn't -- or shouldn't have been -- a surprise for Whitt. Greggo's history of drug abuse and unreliability (he's now been fired from all of the sports talk stations in town) was already well-documented when Whitt wrote his cover story. But at The Ticket, the site of his most prominent meltdown, Greggo's partners kept their jobs. At The Fan, the axe fell on Whitt and his fiance, producer Sybil Summers, as well. That, he says, is why he's writing a epic tell-all blog.
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"In radio, you never get a chance to say goodbye. You never get a chance to explain your side," he says. "This is my attempt to clear my name."
Greggo's, meanwhile, will get dragged through the mud for a few days while Whitt ramps up Sportatorium, which he describes as a continuation of his work on the defunct Observer blog of the same name. It'll be a mix, he says, not just breaking sports news but also movie reviews, pictures of his bloody stubbed toe, and whatever else happens to be on his mind. He says enough advertisers have followed him to the web to earn a decent living from the site for the foreseeable future.
Greggo, we assume, remains unemployed, though Whitt isn't exactly sure.
"I haven't spoken to Greggo since the day he walked out of the office and we were fired," Whitt says. "He's reached out to me several times at some point I might reach back, but not right now."