Thursday, August 16, 2012

WNSP boots Pat Greenwood from Sports Drive

image Frankly, I believe that the cheese done slid off of Tim Camp’s cracker. The WNSP General Manager had the perfect mix. The Press-Register’s Mark Heim was riding side-saddle with Lee Shirvanian on the Morning Sports Center. Local15’s Pat Greenwood shared the afternoon Sports Drive with Press-Register Sports Editor Randy Kennedy. Those two radio prime time shows made WNSP not only the best local programming in Mobile, but arguably the best sports radio station in the state of Alabama.

But WNSP has decided to mess with success “go in a different direction.” They’ve hired Chip Ramsey as program director and as long-time JOX listeners know, Chip likes to talk.

Chip hails from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Let that settle in for a second, SEC fans. Sheboygan.

Chip now shares the morning show with Lee. Mark moves to second chair with Randy, and Pat no longer has an afternoon radio gig. I don’t know Chip. I’m sure that he’s a great guy and is probably knowledgeable about sports in general, but…

WNSP is an Alabama sports radio station. The local shows are caller-driven and listeners have long appreciated the station’s attention to the Iron Bowl rivalry. Even in the dog days of the offseason, if the subject matter of a segment strays away from that all important subject the callers will shove gently steer the show back on topic.

Let’s get something straight, sports fans: Alabama is a Crimson Red state and everyone else is just living in it. Like it or not, everything people in this state hear or read is filtered through the sieve of fanaticism. You’re either for us, our you’re again’ us.

Lee gets that. Mark does. Randy does. Pat does. Wisconsite Chip is not going to get that, and it doesn’t matter that he’s had gigs in Birmingham and Nashville. You can’t study that rivalry and attempt to understand it. You have to have lived it, 364 days a year.

Alabama fans in the listening audience will remember Mark’s previous stint on Sports Drive, wherein he rode side-saddle with Princess Neal McCready, former Press-Register reporter and columnist. As many long-time listeners will remember, McCready famously said that he didn’t watch any football game he wasn’t paid to watch, and he was openly contemptuous of Alabama fans. Callers were viciously mocked because they didn’t agree that Alabama had been passed. Mark didn’t share that contempt, but he yukked it up with McCready until advertisers had the Princess yanked from the air and banished to a website in Mississippi. Mark was just doing his job but fair or not, he is tied to that episode and fans won’t forget it.

Following the Princess’ dethroning, Sports Drive took a long hiatus. It was replaced by the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and didn’t return until Greenwood and Kennedy resurrected it. That resurrection promptly booted Finebaum out of the coveted 4:00-6:00 pm spot in the second largest media market in the state and largest media market on the eastern Gulf Coast.

Why mess with success?

If Ramsey wants to get on the air, why not let him have Tim Brando’s spot? Brando understands the SEC and its rivalries, but his blowhardiness rankles listeners and his “love” for Alabama fans rivals only that of Princess Neal. Honestly, fans and listeners would probably rather hear about the NHL and Chicago White Sox baseball than hear Brando’s huffin’ and puffin’ from the Chateau.

Welcome to Mobile, Chip. You’ve got a lot of work to do. And here’s hoping that Camp gets his mind back between his ears and finds another spot for Pat Greenwood.

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