Sunday, May 28, 2000

SPORTS ON TV-RADIO


Dibble-Furman: Nasty feud brewing

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Nothing like a little talk radio feud to perk up the local airwavers, and we've got a beauty on hands.

        In one corner, you have Andy Furman, noted talker on WLW-AM (700). In the other corner, you have Rob Dibble, former Nasty Boy and current ESPN broadcaster.

        Like most feuds, this one started innocently enough. About a week ago, Dibble said on Baseball Tonight that the Reds relief pitchers were “overworked.”

        Those comments were relayed to Reds manager Jack McKeon. And like the old game of “telephone,” they were slightly altered in the relay.

        All this happened before the final game of the last homestand. After the game, McKeon tweaked Dibble by saying: “E-Mail Rob Dibble and tell him I used my bullpen again and we hung up another win.”

        Some of the local media used the comment. Vin Scully, the Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster, mentioned the Dibble-McKeon tiff during a Reds-Dodgers broadcast.

        Notice that to this point Furman was not involved. But, as the story gained steam, Dibble says he never mentioned McKeon — which he didn't.

        That's were Furman comes in.

        “I was doing my job,” Furman said. “I wanted to get his side.”

        He called to try to get Dibble on his show. Furman says he called ESPN and tried to leave voice mail for Dibble, but Dibble's voice mail box was full. So Furman called Dibble's producer and left a message.

        “He verbally abused my producer's secretary,” Dibble said. “He used profanity.”

        Dibble says that's what prompted the voice mail that will play in infamy. (Dibble says he left an earlier voice mail that was not so contentious.)

        “I never intended to put down Cincinnati, the voice mail was between me and a disrespectful person. I loved playing in Cincinnati.”

        If you listened to WLW or WCKY-AM (1360), you've heard it. If you haven't here's what it said: “I guess you're not understanding my message. You're buggin' my people at work. You're buggin's my producer. I don't know what you're problem is. You were an idiot when I played in Cincinnati. You don't get that I'm on the biggest network in the world — 84 million on TV, 200 (radio) stations nationwide. You're a small-time idiot. If you want to talk smack behind my back, fine — but don't bug me at work.”

        Add a lot of arrogance in his voice and you get the picture.

        I've got to side with Furman here. He was doing his job. Dibble has every right not to come on the show. But Dibble's voice mail was condescending. Furman is not small-time in talk radio, and Baseball Tonight will get 84 million viewers when it shows the Super Bowl.

        Furman has taken it too far, but that's Furman. Dibble also went on WBOB-AM (1160) and apologized to Cincinnati because we have to listen to Furman.

        ESPN has tried to get WLW to quit playing the voice mail. That's not going to happen.

        “I was on conference call with him and his producer,” Furman said. “He said it's personal. Well, I'm going to get personal too.”

        “It's unfortunate that this turned into a publicity stunt,” Dibble said.

        That's the whole point of sports talk.

        HOARD TO RADIO: Dan Hoard, Channel 19's weekend sports anchor and television play-by-play man for UC basketball, is the top choice to do UC games on WLW radio.

        If a contract can be worked out, Hoard will get the gig. His goal is to do major-league baseball on radio, so this job may give him a clearer career path.

        Hoard would be an excellent choice. He works hard. He knows UC. And he simply calls games well.

        TV PETE: Reds pitcher Pete Harnisch sat in with George Grande and Chris Welsh on Fox Sports Net during a Reds-Dodgers game last week. Based on a couple of innings, if Harnisch wants a TV or radio gig after his career, he'll get one. He had excellent observations and he mixed in a little humor. Plus, you've got to like the Jersey accent.

        SEG "SHUR' HAPPY: Bill “Seg” Dennison is delighted to announce that his Shur-Good Racing Report, which runs Sundays on WLW-AM, has been expanded one hour (now 7-9 p.m.) starting tonight.

       



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