State of the Hogs: SportsRap

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It's going to be another week or so, but things should return to normal for the listeners in the western part of the state for SportsRap with Chuck Barrett. We'll be back on the air on KFAY 1030 am (Fayetteville) and ESPN Sports Radio KTTG 96.3 fm (Ft. Smith and many points beyond) shortly.

Chuck, Dudley Dawson, Otis Kirk and myself have been off the air for the better part of two weeks as the program shuffles the deck so to speak, but things will start to settle down soon. I'm looking forward to it.

I am not going into all the juicy details here. Mainly, it's not my business. It's Chuck's show (as he so often reminds me) and when he's ready to discuss it, I guess he'll do it.

What I can tell you is that the four of us are excited at the prospects and plans. It's going to be fun.

Since I can't talk about the details of the future, I'll cover some of the past. I will try to keep from getting mushy, but it's going to be tough.

I'm like a lot of you guys, I think a lot of Chuck. I've been doing radio with him since 1995. Many didn't discover us until we went statewide in 2000, but the show was already a familiar part of many lives in Northwest Arkansas well before then.

Chuck and I have been like brothers. We've shared our personal ups and downs (mostly ups) on a constant basis for the last 12 years. There's a lot of room for those kinds of discussions during three-minute commercial breaks. Of course, some of those discussions have been on the air. It's tough to sit at a microphone and have people tell you how much they miss your father just after you've buried him. Chuck made all of that easier for me.

First, Chuck is the best in the business. He's the best radio play-by-play man around. I'm not just talking about Razorback baseball. He's the best period. I sat in with him last spring when he did the UA football spring game for a local station. He did football better than he did baseball. I'm sure he'd be a slam dunk on basketball, too.

He's the best radio man I know. I say that because that's what he is, plain and simple, a radio man. He started out as a DJ spinning records in Ft. Smith and doing news. He knows radio, he knows sports and he's the perfect fit to do talk radio. He's also one of the most read person I know. Don't try to bluff your way through a conversation on any number of subjects. You'll be found out in a hurry.

I have missed doing radio the last few weeks. It gets in your blood. It used to scare me. I'd sit there like a knot on a log. Now, I just go in and talk to Chuck like it's just me and him. That is dangerous at times. You need to remember that your wife might be listening, but other than that it's a comfortable setting.

Chuck is more intense in the studio than I am. There are times that he scolds me and says, "You need to bring a little more game than you've brought so far tonight. You need to raise your level." That always fires me up, but usually not the way Chuck intends. I want to say, "Chuck, it's your show. You raise your level. I'm just going to continue to be Clay." But I don't say that. I raise my level, or try.

Doing radio with Chuck is usually fun. There can be spirited debate between the two of us, but it's not something that carries on after the final segment. And, it could be that it wasn't real anyway, just radio banter.

I had a hard time convincing someone not too long ago that Chuck and I really weren't in a fight over cranberry sauce. It was Thanksgiving and I noted that the yearly feast is not complete unless there is cranberry. Chuck blasted me, noting that cranberry sauce will never be on his plate and is pure fluff.

The puzzled lady asked, "If you guys weren't really fighting, then why did you tell Chuck to ‘Bite Me!' and get after him the way you did?" She did not accept that we were just "doing radio." I understand. But that's the best answer I could give her.

I have to thank Chuck. He helped make Hawgs Illustrated what it is. There was a time in the early ‘90s when our ad salesman would have to spend the first 30 minutes of a call explaining that there really was a Hawgs Illustrated. After about one year of doing radio with Chuck, that stopped. Everyone knew HI, thanks to Chuck and his show.

More and more, I can walk into a room and someone I've never met will turn at the sound of my voice and introduce themselves. I don't know them, but they know me. They'll ask about my killer tomatoes, my fly fishing, my daughters or about Dudley, Chuck or Otis.

It was a few years back that I was at the post office, in a long line waiting to buy stamps. A man I knew a couple of spots back asked about the previous day's football practice. After a couple of minutes a beautiful woman in front of me, striking in every way, turned to say, "I know your voice and I hate you and your radio show."

Taken back, I asked her what I'd done to cause that. She explained that no matter what she was wearing (if anything), no matter how she prepared herself, no matter what she tried to do to entice her husband, when he came home every evening, he went straight to the entertainment center to turn on our radio show.

"If I turn down the lights, prepare a candlelight dinner, and sit down across from him with nothing on, he's got to listen to you and Chuck on the (bleep) radio," she said. "I hate you."

Well, all I've got to say to that lady, you had your chance this month. We'll be back soon.




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