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Friday, May 14, 2010

McNabb Interview Symbolic of Slipping 97.5 The Fanatic

I just heard quite possibly the worst sports interview ever.

Donovan McNabb was on the Vai and Gonzo Show on 97.5 The Fanatic just after 10 AM, and literally said next to nothing about football or his departure from the Eagles. The late morning show is hosted by NBC 10’s Vai Sikahema and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Gonzalez. The interview was symbolic of a show that is quickly headed downhill after a strong beginning.

McNabb clearly did the interview to promote his charitable initiative to combat high blood pressure. Fine. Athletes do that all the time. The deal is that interviewers mention the charitable effort maybe once in the middle of the interview and then give the athlete time at the end to give his spiel. It’s not supposed to dominate the interview. It’s supposed to be squeezed in between sports related questions and answers.

Instead, the charity was the first thing mentioned by Gonzalez, who seems to have emerged as the lead of the show to its detriment. Then throughout the interview McNabb was simply allowed to return to the charity whenever he felt like it. Sure, he gave his usual corporate speak offering well wishes to the Eagles and his successor at quarterback, Kevin Kolb, and saying that he’s moved on from Philadelphia. But there was nothing new in that. At one point the former Eagles quarterback dodged a question by saying, “Let’s get back to the task at hand,” and went back to talking about high blood pressure.

The task at hand was a football interview. I’ve done interviews via e-mail for a non-profit that were more substantive than what Gonzalez and Sikahema got from McNabb. Sikahema, usually the stronger presence of the show, gave some effort to reign in McNabb, but had basically zero impact.

I realize McNabb never says anything worthwhile, which brings into question why the station even had him on in the first place at this point. The hype about the trade has died down until the Eagles open training camp. If the station is going to take advantage of getting access to him because of the charity and advertise it for a day or two, they owed it to the fans to do a real interview. This was weak.

Gonzalez and Sikahema essentially admitted it was a bad interview, but they doesn’t get them off the hook. “Gonzo” has become increasingly obnoxious since being on the air, frequently getting so entrenched on a particular side of an issue that he childishly blows off even his co-host’s view point. If that sounds familiar, it should. That’s the attitude that finally helped end 610 WIP’s reign of arrogance.

Hopefully, this is a blip on the radar for 97.5. I’ve been a fan since the station hit the AM frequency. But it’s time for them to be more than an alternative to WIP. Coupled with the heralded Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes having too much of the “wacky morning show” feel for noon to 2 PM, Gonzalez’s punkish style is quickly getting old and creating a potential midday hole for the station.

At the very least, the station should leave the big interviews to station headliner Mike Missanelli. When McNabb or any interview subject is dictating what “that task at hand” is, there’s a problem. He needed to be informed that a sports interview was the top priority, even if it had ended the interview. Missanelli would have handled it better.

The Fanatic needs to handle some things better if they want to truly and finally supplant its rival.


• NBA playoffs: After sweeping Round 1, I went a disappointing 2-2 in Round 2 and dropped to +24.75 points. I’ll probably re-post my Conference Finals picks on Sunday, but I would double-down right now on the Los Angeles Lakers for 100 points to win 150. That brings me to 200 points to win 325. I’ll also take the Boston Celtics over Orlando in the series for 20 points to win 42. The Lakers aren’t worth it at -340 to beat Phoenix, but I certainly pick L.A. to win. However, stay tuned for picks on individual games.

• The fact that Jason Werth has suddenly become the player that the Phillies must sign is classic Philadelphia. We just can’t be satisfied. Ryan Howard is signed long term, so now we have to have a guy to fret over losing when a team is doing well. Stop. Werth is a nice complimentary player on a championship team. He doesn’t make or break anything. Going crazy to sign him would be stupid based on the way the Phillies do business. Keeping Werth at the expense of Shane Victorino plus another solid player doesn’t make sense.

• I may have to actually watch a Flyers game tonight. Coming back from 0-3 to force a Game 7 isn’t too shabby. That said, isn’t this a 6 vs. 7 seed with the 8 seed waiting in the wings? I’m just saying . . .

• Can you hear that sucking sound from Cleveland? Like it or not, the Cavaliers and Lebron James were either over rated or CHOKED for the second straight year. The incessant chatter on ESPN about where, oh where, is Lebron going to go this summer as a free agent is mind numbing. I couldn’t stand Michael Jordan because I was a Sixers fan, but James doesn’t compare to him at all. He basically quit on the Cavaliers. And where’s he going? New York? He’ll be on a mediocre team his whole life, and for what? A ridiculous, outdated notion that he needs to be in New York to capitalize on commercials and business ventures. It’s 2010. Physically being in New York is meaningless for a guy like James. If he goes to New York he’ll be a perfect example of modern athletes who don’t give a damn about winning, which the so-called “King” has never done.


Anonymous said...


Just catching up with some of your stuff. I really cannot take Gonzo. He was a bad hire. I always liked Don Mckee and thought he got screwed by IP. He would be much better in that slot.

I like Bruno and Harry although Bruno's act can get a little schlmatzy at times. Mikey Miss is the best thing going on that station. I have even warmed up to Marks.

Anonymous said...

MDefl on the last post.