If you read my blog frequently or follow my Twitter account, you know that I am a big fan of sports talk radio. I listen to it getting ready in the morning, I listen to it in the car, I listen to it at work. I love the dialogue and I love the opinions.
Today, an exchange happened on the Zakk & Jack show that made me sick. Before I divulge into the exchange, let me just give the basic information on Zakk & Jack: Dominic Zaccagnini (Zakk) and Jack Trudeau (Jack) host their show on Fox Sports radio on the weekday mornings…1340 AM if you live in Missoula. I sometimes listen to them going to work but that is only in the instance when Mike & Mike is at a commercial and there is nothing good playing on the FM dial. Zakk is a former FM radio personality who knows nothing about sports and Jack is a former college and NFL quarterback. When they are not talking over each other at the same time, dialogue about sports sometimes comes out. In my opinion, it is just not a very good show.
This morning they had Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson on the show. Before they started his interview they eased into it by playing the Indiana fight song in a very mocking way. Jack talked about how he never heard the Indiana fight song when he played football at Illinois because they were always beating them so bad. Of course he laughed at his own “joke” and you really have to listen to the clip to hear how arrogant and annoying this guy’s laugh is. He went on to say that Indiana football has “had a tough go” over the years. They then decided to invite Coach Wilson onto the show.
You know, it is not just a principle for radio guests but it is a principle for all guests in general: You warmly welcome them and you treat them with respect. If I went over to someone’s house and I was on their doorstep waiting to be let in and they were mocking my family so I could hear, I would not take too kindly to that person once he opened his door and said “Oh hey Brent ol’ buddy! How are you?”
This is exactly what happened this morning. After they trashed Indiana’s program, Zakk tried to act as if the past couple minutes did not exist and started the interview with Wilson. Of course, Wilson was not in a very good mood by this time. The coach offered some short answers that took shots at how the hosts were joking about his football program. But honestly, what do you expect? Do you really think any other head football coach in the country would have acted differently? I know our head coach here at Montana would not have stood for that garbage. Well after a couple of short answers, the hosts start twisting the knife again by asking questions that dealt directly with Indiana’s losing tradition. Jones fielded those questions but then Jack went on the attack. Jack starts telling Jones that he has an “attitude” and that Jones ought to understand that the program is not very good and that they are just trying to help it out by joking about it. Come again? Even though Jack says this, Wilson actually seems to calm down a little bit and gives the hosts a legitimate answer, ending it with saying that he just takes offense when people crack jokes at the expense of the program. After Coach Wilson said this, Zakk and Jack completely cut him off, saying that he had an “attitude” and they were “shocked” by how he was acting. They then ended the interview there.
Now I hate it when radio show hosts don’t treat their callers with respect but I get enraged when they do not treat their guests with respect. It is even more maddening when they interrupt their guests or are not classy enough to give them the last word. It is the ultimate sign of disrespect when you hang up on your guest.
It is really not necessary for me to analyze Jack Trudeau’s tirade after they had hung up on Coach Wilson. Really no reason to dig deep into Zakk’s feeble attempts to get a word in to agree with Jack while he was on his soapbox. I will simply just call it what it was: Straight up BUSH LEAGUE. There is absolutely no excuse for radio show hosts to rip apart a guest before and after an interview, especially when the interview was completely unfair. I think Jack’s rant after the interview will go down as the golden example of how NOT to act when hosting a radio show. The most laughable part of Jack’s meltdown? He said he expected Coach Wilson to apologize.
I feel sports talk radio hosts should be held to certain standards of decency, especially national sports talk radio hosts. Look, these guys are paid to have strong, controversial opinions…I get that. It is one of the reasons why I am so drawn to it. But some of these guys think their gigs give them the license to be jerks. It does not.
Like I said earlier, I do not listen to the Zakk & Jack Show, it just so happened that they created considerable controversy today so I was drawn into it. So I will continue to listen to the good shows that are out there and hope that the Zakk & Jack Show stops giving sports talk radio a bad name. Remember, always treat your guests with respect. Don’t Blink.