Greg Lucas: On Today’s Sports Talk Radio

The commentary response by veteran sports broadcaster Greg Lucas to yesterday’s Pecan Park Eagle column, “It’s Finally Baseball Season for Local ‘Experts’ “ was simply too eloquent to be left in the shadows of our featured piece. That being said, Greg’s thoughts stand alone today on their own legs as our featured follow-up column on this subject.

And just to think of how this all was set in motion is interesting. It started because 790 AM sports talk radio host Matt Thomas in Houston distracted me long enough once I got in my car yesterday morning to keep me from changing the radio dial to Sirius Satellite and music from the big band era. That’s when I heard Thomas express this now paraphrased thought:

“The Astros are doing a little better this year. The question here is – now that the Rockets season is finally over – are the Astros going to be good enough to hold our attention until the Texans begin their training camp for the next NFL season?”

The commentary material reaction from Greg Lucas to my published thoughts now follows this link to yesterday’s column:


Reflections on Today’s Sports Talk Radio

By Greg Lucas, Former Broadcaster for FOX, the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers and Numerous Other Radio and TV Assignments Covering Baseball, Football, and Basketball, Sports Talk Radio, and authorship of one book, so far, plus his numerous articles and Internet commentaries on sports. Greg Lucas also is a media member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.

Greg Lucas Texas baseball Hall of Fame Media Member

Greg Lucas
Texas Baseball Hall of Fame
Media Member

Although it has been a number of years since I hosted sports talk radio the philosophy was far different than today. The object then was to lead the direction into what was significant NOT just what callers wanted to talk about. That was before 24 hour sports talk existed and four or five stations competing with each other. However, the only way that worked was for the host to work very hard and become knowledgeable (and interested) about all the sports of the day. He needed to be far more than just a casual fan with far more insight and knowledge than the casual fan. The majority of hosts in Houston are perceived to be less than fully interested or knowledgeable about little other than football. Since the majority of callers are in the same boat that is what has resulted.

In the olden days when I worked radio sports talk caller totals were not important. Putting on good shows were. In fact, it was believed at the time that a good show would actually restrict callers since they would be so interested in what was being said (by the host and/or guests) they would be reluctant to try and interrupt. Success of the shows was not by caller counts but by ratings and sales numbers.

Of course in those days sportscasters, like newscasters, to keep their credibility in part had no role in reading live commercials or doing commercials. They were separate. This also kept the hosts from earning extra money, but also kept them “above the fray” of being required to endorse services or products they may have little real confidence. The point was to keep those “voices” as that of authority and knowledge and not pitch men.

The shows were on a far more intelligent and almost “teaching” level. The hosts didn’t talk down to the listeners or callers but tried to inform BECAUSE they had the depth of knowledge to do just that. The DID know more than the average caller. They were professionals who had worked their way up in both broadcasting, but also in their sports expertise. Opinions were based on real fact and experience, not something that just popped into their head.

In Houston right now the one announcer who would have fit in that mold is Charlie Pallilo. He was well trained in college and during his early years in Houston at KTRH. I suspect he would love to be a sports talk host as his local mentors like Jerry Trupiano once were and the voices he heard growing up in the NY area. Things are just different now. Charlie almost apologizes when he mentions the Astros or local college sports or anything of national note. He shouldn’t. He should tell his listeners what they need to know and not pander to the lowest common denominator for easy caller numbers. But so should everyone else and I suspect those days are long gone around here.

NEXT: A question whether the teams themselves care at all about who/how the pre/post games shows surrounding their games are handled.


One Response to “Greg Lucas: On Today’s Sports Talk Radio”

  1. Wayne Roberts Says:

    Excellent observation and another sign the apocalypse is upon us. I stopped listening to all talk radio years ago. I have enough to contribute to my stomach ulcer.

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