By God Art, it’s been one helluva ……

Rising Into The Sunset
August14/ 2015

“MBC” had a barbecue sandwich. I had a cheeseburger w/ a fried egg. We shared a plate of sweet potato fries. We were at Champps @ Southpoint to commemorate the official passing of WCHL’s The Good Sports – RIP. MBC being, of course, My Buddy Chansky.

Good Sports

A coupla crusty provocateurs riding off into the sunset….. Yeeee HA!

Was it coincidence that we …. turned out the lights. The party’s over….  the same week that Frank Gifford dies? Is it ever coincidence when historically significant passings are noted?  “Mr Kathie Lee” served as ringmaster for Howard Cosell and Dandy Don in the halcyon hey days of MNF (Monday Night Football)…. and Dandy Don’s classic sign-off involving the lights and the party. …. and Howard’s “look at the little monkey run”!

I go back further to the baseball broadcasting duo of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese and “he slud into second with a stand-up double” and “frozen ropes”.

Will “is Carol Folt a midget or a dwarf?” and “once you go black, you never go back” have to wait the customary five years before being etched into the “Did they actually say THAT” wall at The Radio Hall of Fame?

A buddy of ours in the “local radio community” once described The Good Sports as “a weekly train wreck” which we took as a compliment.  My favorite was:

 “Those two SOBs promoting Carolina Sports is akin to Satan delivering the Christmas Blessing at The Vatican.”

Heck, I thought that was a compliment too.

As noted in BLS’ reader’s Allen Smothers recent comment, an event of somewhat epoch proportion occurred last week over yonder in Chapel Hill a/k/a “Inside The Bubble”.   Amid the lofty pines in The Southern Part of Heaven where history is written on an Etch-A-Sketch for quicker revision to fit “how we want it to be”.

That event was a bankruptcy trustee prying ownership of WCHL / from legendary broadcasting mogul Jim Heavner. …. and handing it over to Colorado / Napa Valley billionaire (or darn close) Leslie Rudd.

WallaceEXecution…. The Heavner Era of broadcasting dominance along legendary Franklin Street is over…. or so 99.99% would appear.  Knowing “Heavy” for over twenty years, I will not count out the crafty curmudgeon so easily.  Unlike Braveheart, Jim’s body has not been drawn & quartered and sent to the four corners of Orange County.  Not yet.

The Rudd Era begins on Weaver Dairy Road. As Mr Rudd contemplates his format revisions to restore WCHL to its “license to print money” Glory Days of the 60s-80s; it has been mutually agreed by all concerned that now is the ideal moment in history to indeed “turn out the lights….. the party’s over” for The Good Sports w/ Art & BobLee. Carolina Football games will simply have to get started each Saturday without our astute pre-game insights and smart-alecky repartee.

When Jim Heavner and “MBC” asked me to co-smart-aleck a football pre-game show three years ago, I immediately compared such a programming risk to ESPN asking Rush to be a regular on its NFL Pre-Game Show 7-8 years ago. At that time I bet RL $5 that he would not last three weeks. I lost that sawbuck. He lasted four…. before he made some innocuous observation that Donovan McNabb was black and therefore “treated differently” by “the media”…. and all hell broke loose.

NOTE: Can one imagine El Rushbo even being considered by current ESPN PC Poobah John Skipper (UNC’75). Skipper is soooo PC–obsessed he makes the ACLU seem like The Deltas of Faber College.  Thats an Animal House reference Albert.

Giving moi a live mic on a Chapel Hill community radio station was leagues beyond simply “a bold programming risk”. It was RuRussian Roulettessian Roulette with five out of six cylinders loaded with hollow-points. OK, having AgentPierce on woulda been a far greater risk, but only by degrees.

That The Good Sports lasted three freakin’ seasons without either the FCC or a local lynch mob o’ loonies ripping down the tower was a feat.  We did the show on remote location with emphasis on “remote” to confuse both the FCC and the loonie mini-mobs.

Small market radio, like small market newspapers, will likely be joining telephone booths, floppy disks and corfam shoes in the Museum of Used-to-bes before much longer. Millennials view “radio” like us Baby Boomers view “growing up in the Depression” stories.  Enough already.

A few brontosauruses still bellow as they sink into the tar pit of media obsolescence. WCHL is such a little media brontosaurus. Does it have another 3-5-8 years of ever-dwindling ad revenues? Leslie Rudd and The Franklin Street Friends of Ron Stutts think so.

I recall our very first show on location at Southern Season back in September 2012. We were 20 minutes into our hour when the serial callers began.   Allowing that My Buddy Chansky has his own hearty band of detractors, his don’t match mine in overall toxicity.

There is one particular little tribe of TruBlu Board Monkeys who live to despise yours truly. It is only a few dozen truly sad souls but they are in “it” for the long term. They are offshoots of the Dave Huxtable Must Die gang that sprang up during the Bunting Era. 20 minutes into our first show and their first wave of incoming threats to “boycott all your sponsors” began.

Barry Leffler was Heavy’s business partner back then. I will never forget Barry’s classic line…..

I guess that proves SOMEBODY is listening”.

I miss Barry.

Once we passed that fourth week I told Barry I would gladly step aside if my presence was in any way detrimental to his station. Once I “lasted longer than Rush did” I had succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. That we went on to do three full seasons is quite remarkable.

Then, of course, there was the blowback in Year Two from the local chapter of Dwarfs & Midgets ‘R Us who took offense being bundled with Chancellor Chihuahua.

Kicking off Year Three, there was some brouhaha afoot in Chapel Hill about sexual abuse. I truly cannot recall the specific situation.

Brouhahas “afoot” in Chapel Hill occur with the frequency of wild fires in Malibu. They occur so often that they oughta name’em like they do hurricanes.  Maybe they could use roman numerals like Super Bowls. …. “Remember Brouhaha XXVII.  That one was a lallapalooza with bonfires AND cops in riot gear.”

Usually when one says something on-air that might be an “uh oh” everyone involved in the broadcast immediately knows it. “Forehead slaps” all around and the production engineer reaches for the wall plug. Whatever I said did not register.

Monday morning Interim GM Jan Bolick a/k/a “Mrs MBC” gets a two page single-spaced letter from “an irate listener”. …… He was driving to the game listening to our show when I said “_______________”.  It so infuriated him that he turned around, went home and composed his lengthy “irate listener” letter (ILL)….. I had, according to him, advocated support for sexual predators. Huh? He “knows (insert name of local realtor who was an advertiser)” and was going to tell her to pull all her ads because “this guy BobLee supports sexual predators”. Huh, again.

This wasn’t my first “irate listener rodeo”. I told Jan I would write a humbling response to the guy assuring him I do not support sexual predators and would also assure “the real estate diva” that I do not. ….. OR, I would simply ride off into the sunset since, again, I had long since “passed Rush’s record”. Jan decided “an actual letter from BobLee” would do it.

Yadda yadda…. the guy finally sorta kinda admitted maybe he misunderstood whatever it was I supposedly said and was glad to know that I do NOT advocate sexual predatoring. Really, I don’t.

Comparing “irate listener letters” (ILLs) is a favorite sport among provocative radio talkers. For whatever reason almost all ILLs are single-spaced and more than one page. Wonder why that is?

With the Rudd Era beginning at WCHL and with both MBC and me in “free agency” status, and with Anthony The Engineer having “oh, he’s gone” months ago; it just seemed right to “turn out the lights”. So we have done so.

The Fighting Fedorians Plus Gene Chizik will head to Charlotte to battle TeamSpurrier and then tackle the 2015 season sans The Good Sports.

If ever t’was appropriate to insert Texas Ranger Gus McCrae’s death bed pronouncement in Lonesome Dove, now be it….

“By God Woodrow, it’s sure been one helluva party!”




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