The Bucknuts Radio Hour has been a source of both pleasure and pain for me over the past six years or so. The pleasure? Talking Buckeye football with the best guests on the planet, for those past six years. The pain? Talking about anything for six years!
Every week since January, 2001, Kirk Larrabee and I have strapped on the headsets and tackled an hour's worth of Buckeye news, whimsy, interviews, features and musical nonsense. The only week we ever missed? We took a week off in deference to the terrorism on September 11. The biggest break we ever got? Jim Tressel was hired during our first week. And we have had good things to talk about ever since!
Those good things involved interviews with every Ohio State coach including three shows with ex-Coach Cooper. We have talked with rival coaches, players, ex-players, recruiting gurus and nearly 300 recruiting prospects. That's right – 300. Kids from all over the country with all kinds of, er…personalities. And speaking of personalities, Kirk Larrabee has rarely missed a chance to express his. And Jerry Rudzinski has co-hosted almost 90% of the shows. Duane Long has appeared on dozens of programs. And Steve Helwagen has become the "virtual host", taking over much of the interviewing duties.
And now, in our sixth year, we are making some changes in the radio network aspect of the show. At one point, we had cobbled together 20 stations from around the state to carry the Radio Hour. They ran the program anywhere from Wednesday early to Saturday late (tough after the game had already been played…). It ran in all the big cities (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, and Dayton). And it ran in numerous small towns (Findlay, Marysville, Piqua, etc.). We could never quite crack one of the two big warring Columbus sports stations, for political reasons. We did have a deal momentarily on 1230, but then they changed formats.
We had to package a recorded show and send it out by satellite, internet and overnight delivery to an array of stations that force-fit the Radio Hour once a week into their regular schedule. That responsibility fell upon the capable shoulders of producer Ed Douglas, who for sixteen years had produced the Ohio State football network. We also had to sell ads, which seemed to fall on no ones shoulders for long interim periods of time.
The Bucknuts Radio Hour began in the humble studios of Dayton's WING (ESPN 1410), home of the other legendary Kirkie (Steve Kirk of early rock fame: "Hi kids. Kirkie here!"). We had numerous fat-fingered intern producers and innumerable technological (and talent) problems. We did remote shows in bars. We ran the show live for years (there's a whole book of anecdotes there…) and we had impossible timelines and commute problems (Jerry drove in from Columbus every week) and many missed opportunities.
We now have two full studios – a large one at our Lane Avenue office in Columbus where the regular staff meets, and a smaller one at the intergalactic headquarters in Dayton. We paste together tapes and music and back-and-forth into a frothy mix of (hopefully) entertaining Buckeye stuff.
The radio network of all those stations (what with their inevitable ninnies and nabobs) was a heavy load. Radio itself is going through an enormous sea change. The current inflexibility and narrow focus on expenses at these dying stations has created a milieu about which we finally said: "Forget it". Like a lot of other people have deduced, it has simply become easier and more technologically relevant to focus on delivering our "radio" show over the internet.
So, as of this week, you can catch the Bucknuts Radio Hour from Tuesday afternoon on. You can rewind, fast forward, play it in pieces, or play it to death. There are no commercial interruptions and even more of our, well…unique taste in music.
Let us know what you think of the whole idea and the newly re-formatted show. All of our research indicated that this is what you want and in the form that you want.
Hey – and we are here to serve!
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Quit picking on the Little Tuna…I know this seems counter-intuitive for Bucknuts, the site whose many mottos include "Too much is never enough", but I am appealing to the decency in all of you to lay off the lampooning (I almost said "harpooning"…) of Charlie Weis, the self-admitted greatest coach of his generation. We have had nothing but name-calling on our message boards when we mention Coach Weis and those confused Irish fans that lurk on our boards are getting pretty steamed. Admittedly, Weis makes himself an easy target – if nothing else, by his size and shape - but we have probably gone a bit overboard on someone who has yet to, well…really do anything.
I am reminded of Lincoln's description that "He can compress more words into smaller ideas than any man I ever met". In Charlie's case, he has compressed fewer wins (9) into the greatest contract of any coach we have ever met. Yes, he did serve as an assistant coach for a number of great men in another league and I suppose that 9-3 season has him on the precipice of breaking many of the Notre Dame storied career marks. Plus, there is that one-in-a-row great recruiting class he has under his belt (insert punch line here…).
But let's let this thing play out without any more adolescent behavior, shall we? Bucknuts closed off the threads of name-calling and I propose an overall moratorium on Charlie-bashing, at least until next season when he gives us more opportunities. If you really can't hold off, though, I direct you to the site: http://www.cancharlie.com/. It's worth checking out for those readers amongst you who's only thing that can't be resisted is temptation itself…
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Probation nation…Added to the exhaustive list of " The Many Things I Don't Understand About the NCAA", Mr. Bucknuts has often wondered about the penalty phase of punishments meted out to universities whose coaches have broken the rules. In many cases, those coaches are already off somewhere else with new multi-million contracts in hand. Their successors are penalized (!) and the kids that play their sports are made to suffer for sins they didn't commit, in years in which they weren't in attendance. Only in the parallel universe of the NCAA does this make sense, as they deploy the French philosophy that "I know it works in the real world but can I make it work in theory?".
So our beloved Buckeyes under already-legendary Coach Thad Matta are made to suffer for the sins of Coach O'Brien (who has been "cleared" by the courts) for transgressions committed prior to his arrival that have nothing to do with the current players asked to play under those clouds. You still with me? Then there is the sanctimonious penalty of coughing up $800,000 (an asterisk on a footnote of a budget line in the $80,000,000 athletic budget) and serving the embarrassing sentence of a three year probation. Just how awful is it being a college on probation?
Good question. According to the NCAA itself, there are now 41 universities across the nation that are on probation. Maybe the list of who isn't on probation would be easier to print. Just in the Big Ten, four other schools are currently on probation (Illinois until October 23 for football, Michigan until November 6 for basketball, Minnesota until October 22 for basketball and Wisconsin until September 30 for basketball and football). Somehow, in the eyes of fans (let's exclude the yellow journalists at ESPiN for this example), that certainly doesn't diminish the feats of our Big Ten Champion football, men's basketball and women's basketball teams, who have had nothing to do with all these off-the-field hi-jinks.
Now, about the coaches getting what they deserve. We will have to see how this continues to play out for currently unemployed Coach O'Brien and Coach Biancardi. But that's another story…
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Expert predictions of things that we will never see…I rounded up a few quotes I have come across to put into some perspective the ability for those long-term forecasters amongst us to predict the future:
"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances" Dr. Lee Deforest, inventor of television.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM
"640K of memory ought to be enough for anybody" Bill Gates 1981
"Ohio State will always be a football school and basketball can't generate any enthusiasm" Message boards, circa 2003
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau" Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale, 1929
"We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out" Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles in 1962
"Coach Tressel can't recruit like Coach Cooper and he has trouble closing" Sentiment expressed prior to the 2006 recruiting class.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?" David Sarnoff's critics when he tried to introduce the radio in the 1920's
"Charlie Weis will bring back Notre Dame football to its former grandeur and win multiple national titles" Irish Mike and a bunch of St. Patrick imbibers
"This recruiting class doesn't have much speed" Coach Bill Conley in a chat, assessing the prospects in the 2006 class.
"Everything that can be invented, has been invented" Charles Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899
"Bucknuts? With that name, it could never succeed. Who would come to a website named "Bucknuts"?" Virtually everyone not on Bucknuts already, circa 1999
As the Sundance Kid used to say (circa 1975), "You just keep thinking, Butch. That's what you're good at…"
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Finally…It's Friday March 17 and I am living in a bit of an irony (a small rustic town just outside of Springboro). I am a UD Flyer basketball fan and attend most of their games. We didn't have a sterling season despite a great young coach (Brian Gregory) and the return of four quality freshmen from last year. So, about that irony? The University of Dayton ticket office "made us" buy tickets a year ago if we wanted to see the usual mish-most of Southwest Missouri State taking on the Oshkosh Bumblers in the first round of this year's NCAA tournament hosted here at UD Arena. Except, here come those Buckeyes! The #2 seed! #6 in the country! Playing a nooner against Davidson, five minutes from my house!
So while all the rest of you bombard me with e-mails about getting tickets and the such (and also about my mis-spellings and poor phrasings), I am sitting at lovely UD Arena watching my Buckeyes and not even pretending to work for a living.
I take Edgar Berman's admonition to heart: "Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"
Hey – it really is a great time to be a Buckeye!
If you want to e-mail Mr. Bucknuts about anything (other than his Sunday tickets in Dayton), feel free to contact him at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com. If you want to ask him a question for the radio show, call 614- 837-8122.