During the week, ol' Edgycater usually has on political talk radio while driving or doing stuff around the house. But, on weekends, ESPN radio is the background noise of choice. I'll occasionally listen to "Mike and Mike" during the week, but not a whole lot else. However, over the years I have listened to most of the major players in sports talk radio. Long story short, I feel I know enough to have an intelligent opinion.
I have never liked female sportscasters. Call me a sexist, but that is just the way it is. Even women who have backgrounds in sports do not discuss the game in the same way men do. When they try to emulate the style of the fellas it gets even worse. Maybe younger folks who are exposed to more femcasters will feel differently. I love women--just not describing a football or baseball game.
ESPN Radio Amy Lawrence is on every Saturday afternoon so I usually hear her show. She has been with ESPN a few years and has popped up in different time slots. She has kind of a scratchy voice and seems a little overly excited at times. I'll admit I didn't like her at first, but I have to admit I've become a fan. What makes her different from some of the other radio sports announcers is that she sounds like she is having fun, she is adequately knowledgeable, and comes off like a regular person.
On a lark, I did a Google to look for a bio about her and, wow, the stuff I found. No, nothing perverted. Well, at least not in the typical way. I stumbled onto several blogs and message boards where people treated her as if she had waterboarded a puppy. The entries ran at least 75-25 against Lawrence and the content was more hateful than analytic.
Now, do I think I think she would have a snowballs chance of stumping the Schwab? Not a chance. Many of the commenters seemed to think Ms. Lawrence lacks sports knowledge. She knows enough to host a radio show. I think many are applying a different standard to her than they apply to the guys. Does Jim Rome possess incredible sports knowledge? Not particularly. He is opinionated and rude in a way that would make him a hit in the junior high locker room. That passes for clever, I guess. Doug Gottlieb? Yes, I know he played college basketball, but he doesn't blow me away with perspective about other sports. Tony Kornheiser? Puh-leez!
Some also complain about Amy Lawrence's voice. I'll admit it ain't the style that is trained in broadcasting school. But, geez, have you ever heard Chris "Mad Dog" Russo? This guy has his own channel on Sirius and he is terrible! Ditto his former sidekick, Mike Francesa. Now, I know they are in the Big Apple so they are OBVIOUSLY better than anyone out there in flyover country. The first time I heard "Mad Dog" was years ago on the Imus show. I had no idea he was a top-rated broadcaster--I thought he was some guy from the office with a speech impediment.
The worst characteristic that permeates most of sports radio is arrogance. Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick, Doug Gottlieb, Scott Van Pelt, John Kincade all come off as the smart ass know-it-all kid who would run and hide behind the teacher when you finally decided to thump him. I think some listeners mistake attitude for intellect. One thing I like about Amy Lawrence, as well as Mike and Mike, Freddie Coleman and Eric Kuselias is that they seem to be having fun and don't talk down to their audience. They love sports and appreciate making a living talking about it. The former group seems to believe the games are merely played so that folks will have the opportunity to hear their latest clever insult.
So, screech on, Amy Lawrence! Harry Caray... Bob Dylan... Bruce Springsteen...a unique voice is not an impediment. Keep having fun and keep contrasting yourself from the egomaniacs who occupy most of the sports radio's airtime.
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