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Is Sports Radio Ready To Change More Team Names?

“I hate the name stuff. For me, it’s just doing my job and what we should be talking. But it’s horrible radio. It’s people listing the same awful names, over and over.”

Tyler McComas



If you’re seeking to bring out passion from your listeners, there’s few things that work better than telling them why their favorite team should change its name. That passion is being brought out right now in cities such as Atlanta, Cleveland, Kansas City and Washington D.C., as the Braves, Indians, Chiefs and the team that used to be named the Redskins are at the forefront of the Native American imagery discussion. 

I asked hosts from those cities just how much of a hot-button topic it has become in their respective markets. 


Tyler McComas: The Braves have announced they’re keeping the name, but how much of a conversation was it on your show before that decision was made? 

John Kincade – 680 The Fan: There were a lot of people speculating in the last few weeks that there could potentially be pressure on the Braves. What the Braves did, is they took the proactive approach. They’ve had ties with the Native American community for years. They’ve been proactive in the past, so they knew they’d have the support of the Native American community when the decision was made to keep the Braves name.

John Kincade (@JohnKincade) | Twitter

TM: These are topics that fans are passionate about, so you have to talk about them on the show. But do you necessarily like doing it?

JK: The ‘chop dilemma’ is one we’ve gotten into deep again today. I am of the belief, the Braves can stop playing it on the organ, and they can stop playing it on the Jumbotron, but the fan base is going to continue to do it and do it louder than ever. The minute that it’s taken away from them they’re going to do it louder. I think the Braves fan base will keep it alive, it’s just a matter if the Braves are going to ride along with them, or not.


TM: How much are you hearing from fans about the Indians potentially changing their name? 

Emmett Golden – ESPN Cleveland: A lot. It’s a huge topic. Most people just want to call in and give us an idea for a new name, which is much different than when they talked about wanting to remove Chief Wahoo. Everybody was mad and upset. There are some people that are upset about this, but most of the talk on our show is really what the new name should be.

Emmett golden - Co-Host - ESPN Cleveland | LinkedIn

TM: Are there any names that have stood out? 

EG: The Guardians is one of them. There’s a bridge in Cleveland that has massive structures of the guardians of the city. So Guardians is one of them. A lot of the other names have just been funny, like the Cleveland Walleye. I can never see that one happening, but Lake Erie has a lot of walleye. It’s been everything, including people saying to call them The Cleveland Baseball Club. I heard so many ideas, most of them terrible. (Laughs.) It’s definitely the talk of the town.

TM: It’s definitely a hot-button topic now. But has it been that way in the past? 

EG: It’s been a conversation that’s been going on longer than I’ve been alive. Over 40 years, because on Opening Day in the 70s there was a big party in Cleveland in the ballpark sold out. There was a protest from Native Americans, which actually happens every Opening Day. It’s something that gets attention that day and then it’s not talked about much after. It’s a little different now but it actually seems like they’re really serious this time around.

TM: What are you hearing from fans on your show about the Indians changing its name? 

Adam the Bull- 92.3 The Fan: It’s definitely a mixed opinion. It’s a tough subject, like everything else we’re talking about right now. A lot of the stuff is on a political divide, which is something that shouldn’t even be, like the Coronavirus or social justice or even this, right?

Adam 'The Bull' | 92.3 The Fan

The people that want to keep the name feel strongly about it. The people that think the name should be changed, feel strongly about it. I think it’s just time at this point. We’ve actually not spent that much time talking about it, we’ve spent more time talking about what they should change it to, rather than if they should change it.

TM: If you’re really not talking much about it now, has it really ever been that big of a conversation? 

AB: Not really. The Chief Wahoo logo has been the bigger conversation. I’m dead set against the Chief Wahoo logo. I think it’s clearly inappropriate and I was saying for years that it should’ve been gone. They finally did it but that reaction was also mixed.

For me personally, I was never sure about Indians. I was not positive. I spent so much time trying to research online and trying to find what the Native American population thinks about the name. It was really hard to find information on that. The more we learn over the years, it does seem like it’s time to move on from that name. I think it’s going to happen, because I don’t think the organization would’ve brought it up, because nobody was talking about the Indians when the Redskins were brought up. At least initially. It makes me think it’s definitely going to happen. Maybe not this year but I assume it’s going to happen in the next couple years.

Kansas City 

TM: How would Kansas City react if the Chiefs change its name? 

Bob Fescoe – 610 Sports: There’s a couple of ways to look at it. One, if they have to change their name, then they have to change their name. We’ve kind of discussed it little bit on the show and if they have to change their name, that’s fine. They’re still playing in Kansas City, right? Ultimately, that’s all we want. Plus, it’ll give fans the chance to form a new identity with a new team. But I don’t know if there’s going to be pressure, so to speak, to change their name, because the name ‘chief’ comes from the old mayor of Kansas City, Harold Bartle, who, at the time, was nicknamed chief. He was in the Boy Scouts and had a big role with them. He was the mayor that recruited the Dallas Texans to come to Kansas City. That’s where the name chief comes from. But there’s a couple of things like the tomahawk chop and the banging of the drum, things like that, which may be looked at. I would be totally fine with if they had to make those adjustments. 

For Kansas City radio host, staying 'on' is key to success ...

TM: How much has the conversation of the name change driven the show? 

BF: Hasn’t even been brought up, to be honest with you. There’s been so much going on with us trying to figure out what’s going on in baseball, like how the Royals are going to approach the season. Obviously the Patrick Mahomes contract was signed on Monday and that’s dominated the entire week.

Quite honestly, I think it came up briefly when we brought up the Redskins and we suggested if the Chiefs would be next. I think we’re moving towards a time where insensitive names are not acceptable anymore.

Washington D.C.

TM: The changing of the name Redskins has been a topic for a lot of shows outside the DC market. How much has the past couple of weeks been centered on that conversation? 

Chad Dukes – 106.7 The Fan: Most of it. This past week, that topic was the full week of shows. I’d say roughly 75% of everything I discussed had to do with the name. The Patrick Mahomes contract came up, which was nice, because it gave us another topic. I hate the name stuff. For me, it’s just doing my job and what we should be talking. But it’s horrible radio. It’s people listing the same awful names, over and over. Nobody is really changing their mind about anything. I enjoy doing 99% of the job but this is the one percent you have to gut out.

TM: Is there a name that would appease the majority of the fan base? 

CD: I don’t know. Online is so much different from the real world. People are so obsessed with keeping the name red and I just think it’s like going out on a date with a new girl and you want her to wear the dress that your ex-girlfriend wore.

Like, what are we doing? Do you want to keep HTTR, “Hail to the Redskins”? But it’s not Redskins? You can fight it, you can decide we’re keeping the name and screw everybody and all the people that are loyal to that cause will rally around it. Or change the name and don’t call them the Natives or the Warriors or any other Native American imagery. Why would you call the team the Red Wolves? Call the team the Wolves. People online are just handling It very differently than people in the real world

Chad Dukes Vs. The World - A D.C. Sports Show & Podcast | 106.7 ...

TM: When the conversation happens, does it always end up being just a way to bash Dan Snyder? 

CD: People that want the name changed, they’ll never give him any credit for changing it because they’ll say he only did it because the Fed ex Or Amazon. He’s actually become more of a sympathetic figure to long time Redskins fans, because I don’t think they want the name changed. I don’t think they’re as vocal about it because you get attacked and called horrible things, if you just see it as a name for football team.

His record is his record, you can look at what the team has done. But I think there’s a large group of people that feel little a bit better about Dan Snyder because they view him as a guy that’s trying to keep this tradition alive, while cancel culture is raining down all around him.

BSM Writers

Adam Hawk Knew Life Outside Radio Was Possible

The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Meaning, your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time.

Tyler McComas



Waking up at a normal time the day after the Super Bowl was another pleasant reminder to Adam Hawk that his life wasn’t consumed by the grind of radio. For the previous 15 years, watching the Super Bowl meant the stress of constantly taking notes, and trying to create content for everything that was happening, all while facing the inevitability of waking up at 4 a.m. the next day to prep for the biggest The Jim Rome Show of the year. 

But not this year. Instead, Hawk spent the night with family and friends and even indulged in a few drinks, all while watching a classic finish between the Rams and Bengals. It was his first Super Bowl in several years where he wasn’t an executive producer of a nationally syndicated radio show. And he loved the change of pace.

However, that feeling is in no way indicative of what his time on The Jim Rome Show was like. It’s just the opposite. Hawk left the show in late July of 2021 because he wanted a different lifestyle than what radio could offer. He was always passionate about creating the best show possible daily and doing it with a group of coworkers he calls close friends, but he wanted a less demanding lifestyle. 

“I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes since leaving The Jim Rome Show and radio in general,” said Hawk. “It’s just been a completely different lifestyle. I’ve been super busy with my own business, working another job for a golf association, and then two kids. I filled up my schedule and I felt a sense of freedom that I hadn’t felt in a long time before. That’s not necessarily indicative of The Jim Rome Show, that’s just radio. You’re always chasing content and glued to your phone and TV. Just to have that away from me, it’s felt like five years, in a good way, not a bad way.”

The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time. If you’re used to waking up at 4 a.m. like Hawk was every weekday, you’re bound to find yourself waking up at the same time for several days after. 

“The two things I couldn’t shake right away were, my body clock was still waking me up at 4 in the morning,” laughed Hawk. “The show started at 9 a.m. but we were showing up at 5 a.m. I also couldn’t shake the feeling of whenever I would see sports on television, the idea that I needed to form an opinion about what I’m seeing and then turn it into content. When it sunk in that I didn’t have to do that anymore, it was a massive relief.”

Deleting Twitter has also been a massive relief for Hawk. Like so many others in radio, it used to consume his everyday life. It never allowed him to leave work at his actual workplace. Work was always on the screen of his iPhone even at home. So when he decided to leave radio, he couldn’t wait to delete Twitter. Sure, it was odd at first, but he swears by a lifestyle that isn’t controlled by an app. 

July 25th marked one year since leaving the radio business. On that day, some reflection likely happened with Hawk on his decision. Though he’s still happy with the way he decided to take his professional career, you can bet there was a moment when he looked back at the great times he had on The Jim Rome Show. Those good memories that popped into his mind were the camaraderie he had with the rest of the staff. The days were everyone pulled together to accomplish something great. That happened a lot as an executive producer and those are the days he looks most fondly at over his 15-year career.

“I’ve also missed the invitation to be creative every day,” Hawk said. “Radio affords you the opportunity to be creative because every day you have to build a sandcastle, a wave is going to knock it down and you start all over again. The content changes and you have to start over every single day. There aren’t a lot of jobs where you start from zero every day.”

Hawk will always have a special legacy with The Jim Rome Show, seeing as he was the executive producer at the time Rome was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 2019. Not only was he there at the time of the highest honor in show history, but he pushed to make it happen. Hawk was even mentioned in Rome’s speech, which was one of the most surreal moments of his entire career. 

“Jim had to stump for votes, which was kind of demeaning for a guy of his skill set, talent, and importance to the industry,” said Hawk. “But I can see how the Hall of Fame, in order to get some buzz going, would want to have these hosts ask their listeners to vote for them because at the very least it gets the hosts talking about it. We had to ask our listeners to vote and find a way to entice them to do so. We created this thing called The Box of Chaos, where we threw a bunch of things into this box, like, we’re going to do these things if we beat the hosts we were up against.”

“We were up against some conservative talk radio guys, where we had no shot, because they had this built-in fan base that’s so much bigger than even Jim Rome’s, but we ended up thanking the listeners and pulling some of that stuff out because they went so hard for us. The box of chaos was super, super fun and it ended with my good friend James Kelly, who works on the show, reading mean tweets about the size of his forehead and it was one of the funniest payoffs and one of the most fun couple of weeks. I got to work really hard on something I really believed in, which was Jim getting into The Hall of Fame. Ultimately it didn’t work, but he got in the next year on his own merit. I got name-checked by Jim Rome in his hall of fame speech which, as a kid, that’s something I would have never imagined. Radio was some of the best times of my life.”

There’s also the thrill and excitement of producing Smack-Off which is one of the most well-known sports radio features the business has ever seen. It’s a huge time for the show and likely a stressful time, as well. 

“Every Smack-Off was a proud moment because there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes in terms of producing that show,” said Hawk. “That show, in my opinion, is still the most important radio show of the year for our genre, because it’s been around for 30 years and it trends on Twitter and people take it very seriously. It was always a proud moment to produce those.”

Those memories were undoubtedly on Hawk’s mind when he started to consider leaving radio in 2020. He didn’t leave the business until 2021, but the pandemic contributed heavily to his decision. Hawk watched as so many people around him transitioned into a work life from home, where they could set their hours. He was envious of their ability to work remotely and reconnect with family and friends on a different level. 

“I know people have Comrex setups and things like that, but you can’t do The Jim Rome Show from home,” Hawk said. “That’s not possible. I realized that I was in this business where it’s incredibly hard to get time off because content never stops. I think anyone in radio can attest to this. It’s stressful around Thanksgiving and Christmas to think about taking time off because everyone wants it but someone has to be on the air. There’s a lot of games during the holidays. It’s not a normal life. After 15 years of this, I finally thought, I want to trade this in for a normal life. Everyone is thinking, with us, this is the greatest gig in the world. And in some respects it is, but it’s not what the general public thinks. It’s not sitting courtside at Laker games. It’s not flying on private jets to the Super Bowl or being best friends with Odell Beckham Jr. it’s a lot of work and that content doesn’t produce itself.”

If Hawk was going to leave sports radio, he wanted to chase something he was passionate about. He found that in 2020 with a company that specializes in preserving the swanky style of a well-dressed golfer. Nation Golf is a clothing brand for golfers and a style that Hawk believes in wholeheartedly. He was immediately drawn to the business and knew it was a venture he wanted to chase.

“I’ve always been drawn to the timeless, aesthetic of yesteryear,” said Hawk. “You look at these old timers that are wearing these clean pressed shirts and slacks, you’re just like wow, they look as good today, as they did 50 or 60 years ago. It’s the pure definition of timeless. You turn on TV and watch the PGA Tour, nobody is dressing like that, they’re like NASCAR drivers covered in logos or clowns like Ricky Fowler in his bright Orange. There’s no style, charisma, or charm and I think when those guys see photos of themselves in 10 years they’re going to be embarrassed.

“I started looking immediately for vintage golf clothes and Zuckerberg is listening to everything you’re thinking so he put Nation Golf in front of me. I was like, holy s***, I can’t believe someone is doing this and I can buy it new, I don’t have to go to a thrift store. I can buy it new. I just got immediately sucked into it.”

Hawk noticed the Instagram following for Nation Golf was much lower than he thought it should be for a brand so cool. Something clicked for him at that moment. As the executive producer of a Hall of Fame radio show, he had confidence in his abilities to operate promotions and social media on a big-time level. He was curious if he could apply those skills and apply it to the business. He was out to see if he could do just that with Nation Golf so he reached out to founder and CEO Ryan Engle.

“I loved the logo, I loved the name, I loved the clothes and I ended up loving the guy,” Hawk said. “He told me he had taken it as far as it could possibly go on his own and it was the perfect time for me to come down and pitch him. He said, hey, Let’s play 18 holes together, if you’re not a serial killer, we can do this. And we did.”

Business for Nation Golf has gotten progressively better to the point it’s grown exponentially. But he never wanted to rely on The Jim Rome Show to help with the growth of the company, even when he was balancing both jobs daily. Rome was fully supportive of Hawk’s side hustle and only reminded him to ‘keep the main thing, the main thing.’

“I take a lot of pride in the fact I never used Jim’s platform to sell the company,” said Hawk. “I didn’t feed callers to him that were going to talk about it. I didn’t put emails in front of him that were going to talk about it. I tried to keep it as separate as possible. Even on my last day when Jim asked me on the air what was next, I did say ‘Hey, I don’t want to turn this into a commercial for what I’m doing next, but I am going to run my own business’. Didn’t even mention Nation Golf by name, because I felt like he had been sailing that giant yacht of a radio show for 30 years and I didn’t want to be the clown who’s about to jump off and pulling the parachute that has a giant logo of the company on it. That just wasn’t my thing.”

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Sports Talkers Podcast – Tim Kurkjian



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A Great Catchphrase Can Make a Baseball Broadcast Iconic

Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television.



Harry Caray

Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television. Some are clever and some are excellent.  A few have been made into t-shirts. Many of those phrases are delivered back to the announcers when fans see them in public. These catchphrases can be for any play during a game. A great defensive play, a walk-off win, but mainly you hear them during a home run call. That’s where a lot of the ones used today are featured.

For example. “See. You. Later!” from Nationals television voice Bob Carpenter. When a Washington player hits one out, Carpenter gets very deliberate and articulate with the three-word phrase.

Hall of Famer Eric Nadel in Texas exclaims, “That ball is history!” when a Rangers player goes yard.

Michael Kay on the YES Network says, “Going back, at the track, at the wall… SSSEEYA!”, really drawing out the “s” sound.

A jubilant Tom Hamilton on Guardians radio, belts out, “Swing and a drive, deep to left, a “waaaaaay” back and it is gone!”, and the fans eat it up.

Pat Hughes on Cubs’ radio, “that ball has a chaaaance gone!”, building in an ‘out’ if you will incase the ball falls short of the fence. One of the more unique ones these days is from Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown, “Clear the deck! Cannonball coming (to the Allegheny)”, a very team centric phrase. Also, after a win, he “raises the Jolly Rodger!”

There are others, but it would take several columns to go through all of them. Growing up in Chicago, I was treated to many great announcers calling games. I remember some of their better home run calls. For Jack Brickhouse it was punctuated with a “HEY HEY!” on a Cubs home run. Harry Caray said, “it might be, it could be, it is! A home run! Holy Cow!”.

One of my favorite announcers as a kid was Vince Lloyd who paired with Lou Boudreau in the Cubs radio booth. Lloyd was known for “Holy mackerel!” He morphed into adding “It’s a bell-ringer!” after a fan sent the guys a cowbell to ring when a Cubs’ player hit a home run. That might have been a bit excessive, but I was a kid and loved it. 

Fans throughout the years have been treated to some great phrases by equally great announcers. Here are a few of them, again knowing I left many of out. Many.

Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners – “Get out the rye bread and mustard, grandma, it is grand salami time!”, that was his signature call for a Mariners’ grand slam. His normal home run call was pretty good as well. “That ball is belted, deep to left field…and it will fly away!”, a great visual aid for those at home picturing the ball leaving the park. 

Ernie Harwell, Detroit Tigers – “Called out for excessive window shopping.”, that was one of his calls for a strikeout. I like this one better though, “He stood there like a house on the side of the road.” How Midwest is that? Iconic. 

Mel Allen, New York Yankees – “How about that!”, pretty simple, but relatable. That legend lived on thanks to “This Week in Baseball” back in the day. 

Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, Chicago White Sox – “You can put it on the booooooard…. Yes.”

There was no greater “homer” as in hometown guy, than the Hawk. That was just his home run call. There was also “Can of Corn” for a routine catch, “Duck Snort” for a bloop hit and a long drive that went foul, “Right size, wrong shape”. Throw in “stretch!” and “Mercy!” Pretty good and natural sounding stuff. 

Red Barber, Brooklyn Dodgers  – His signature was just “Oh, doctor!” Simple yet effective.

Vin Scully, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers – Vin didn’t have a catchphrase. He didn’t need one. Vin was the quintessential wordsmith and his use of the English language was better than any catchy saying. Setting the mood, the drama and the moment was what Vin did best. An amazingly talented broadcaster that was able to span generations and the country.

That’s a good spot to pick up. One of the best broadcasters in any sport anywhere, really didn’t have a catchphrase. There are many big-league announcers that don’t have one either. It’s not something to me, that’s a mandatory thing. I remember one well known announcer asking me when I first started with the Padres if I had a catchphrase. My answer was no. I thought he would tell me how important it was, but instead he said ‘good’. I asked why? He said a couple of things to me that I haven’t forgotten. 

First this very talented announcer said something to the effect, it’s more important for you to establish yourself as a great game caller. He stressed this a couple of times. The meaning behind it, be good at what you were hired to do and worry about the rest of the flare later. 

He also said if you have a signature home run call, it’s strange sometimes, because a homer in the first inning is different than a meaningful homer late in the game. I think the first point holds more water than the second. I mean if you’re not a good game caller, what’s the point of even having a catchphrase, right?

Like I said at the beginning, I don’t begrudge those that have their own phrases. Those that have made it to the upper echelons of the profession are already excellent game callers, so why not have one to use. I’ve got nothing against them, in fact, I got jealous of a few, wishing I was the one that came up with it! 

I don’t think it’s imperative for up-and-coming broadcasters to have one just yet either. Instead, I would advise them to concentrate on doing a good broadcast first and foremost. That’s how you get noticed for the right reasons. 

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