REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK 

REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

* * In the story, I use an anecdote about Tommy West and Lex Ward to illustrate a couple of points. The first is that coaches DO listen to talk radio. The second is that talk radio is full of misinformation. I did NOT mean to imply (1) that Lex Ward is one of those (regardless of his background) who makes a habit of putting out misinformation. Ward does as much preparation for his show as anyone and I respect the work he does on SportsCall 790. And (2) I did not mean to imply that what Ward said about the offensive coordinator job was necessarily false. I don’t think anyone knows what Tommy West is going to do with the job, including West himself. * * I asked John “Rainman” Rainey, a professional sports handicapper, if he had ever had trouble getting media credentials to college games due to the NCAA’s worries about gambling. He said he had not. “From the first day that I was on the radio, I never used the University of Memphis in any of the plays that we put out. Never. I don’t tell people to bet on them or against them, either way. I have access to the coaches through the radio show and that would obviously be a no-no with the NCAA.” * * I asked Jeff Weinberger to comment on the fact that people accuse him of making outlandish statements for the sole purpose of getting listeners to call in. Here is his response: “I swear on my grandmother’s grave, I do not just say things to get people to call. I don’t know if this speaks good of me, but I really believe everything I say.” * * I talked to both Greg Gaston, who does play-by-play for the University of Memphis on TV and Dave Woloshin, who is the radio voice of the Tigers, about people calling them “homers.” “We walk a fine line,” Gaston said. “We won’t duck an issue, but I won’t use the radio format to ruffle feathers just to cause controversy. That’s not the type of person I am. Especially being involved with the Tigers, I’m not going to bring up anything just to cause a stir if it is not a legitimate story.” “I don’t think they listen to the whole show. I don’t think they are listening objectively,” Woloshin said of his critics. “When I’m doing a game, the same way as when Jack Buck is doing a game, he’s for the Cardinals, I’m for the Tigers. I think if somebody is calling me a homer they are either fans of the opposition team or they are Tiger fan who doesn’t think I am a homer enough for us.” * * The Jim Rome Show is sometimes criticized by callers to Sports 56. New WHBQ-AM program director Bill Grafeman says he has no intention of canceling the syndicated program, even though he realizes that Rome is not popular with many in the Mid-South. The show’s ratings in the Memphis market are “no better or no worse” than most of the other sports talk shows, Grafeman said. “I have a feeling that Jim Rome being from Southern California tends to stay away from the South for some reason. I don’t know why that is,” Grafeman said. “He comes across as very arrogant. He’s one of those people who you either love him or hate him.” * * Interestingly, Rainey attributes a job in his past with helping him with the host role on talk radio. “One of the things that may have helped me was playing in a couple of rock and roll bands back in the Sixties,” he said. “I learned a lot of timing from that. A lot of radio is an innate sense of timing.”

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