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Greg Gumbel: Sports Talk Radio Is the Most Ridiculous Thing on the Planet

Greg Gumbel did not mince words on a recent podcast when he discussed never taking a broadcasting course but leaned on the advice of his father when it comes to the medium.

Gumbel spoke to George Ofman on the podcast, Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, and said that he learned a lot of his broadcasting lessons on the job. He said his father had three tenants that the Gumbels would guide their broadcasting journey: think clearly, listen carefully, speak distinctively. Gumbel then would say that he sees a lot of people who talk down to their audience and that’s why he isn’t a fan of one genre.

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“I am not a big fan of sports talk radio,” Gumbel said, “because people who listen to sports talk radio strike me as being anxious to be told what to think. I certainly don’t need someone yelling at me, but I don’t need anyone trying to tell me what I should think about this pitcher for the California Angels whom I can watch for myself and make my own judgments.”

Gumbel allowed for there to be a big audience for sports talk radio, but he has never turned the radio on to listen to a sports talk show.

“There apparently is a huge audience for sports talk radio,” Gumbel allowed. “If you’re just tuning in to hear people argue and scream and shout, that’s fine. Good luck to you. Good luck in your early grave. Because I think it is the most ridiculous thing on the planet. I have not heard, in my lifetime, more than an hour’s worth of sports talk radio and most of it that I’ve heard is the lead-in or the lead-out from an interview that I might have done on the station.”

Ofman mentioned that Gumbel actually was a part of sports talk radio a long time ago at WFAN. That’s when Gumbel doubled-down on his dislike for the format.

“That’s when I learned to hate it,” said Gumbel. “I was WFAN‘s very first morning man when they first began the station. They asked me if I wanted to do the morning radio and I said ‘sure’… it was something new and different and I thought I would try it. About three or four months into a three-year contract I knew it wasn’t for me. Because I am not a guy who wants to sit there and argue and yet, that’s what the listening audience wants… I did not like it. I did not enjoy it.”

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