Saturday, January 21, 2012

My morning runs are a lot more entertaining with Brad and Britt

Thanks to two daily running partners on the radio, my early-morning runs are a lot more entertaining.

Generally, I prefer listening to talk radio during my runs. When I lived in Newport News, Va., and usually ran around 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m., The Dan Patrick Show gave me an excellent option and Colin Cowherd (The Herd on ESPN Radio) was interesting many times.

Our move back to the Triangle in May 2010 shifted my work schedule, dictated that runs would start a little after 6 a.m., and I soon found a big problem: The options I knew about weren't very good.

There was Mike and Mike in the Morning on WCMC-FM (99.9 The Fan) and Mark and Mike on WDNC-AM (620 The Bull.) Both can be entertaining at times if they hit a subject that interests me or if they are interviewing somebody knowledgeable or interesting. But, for the most part, I'm bored -- and in the case of Mike and Mike irritated -- with those shows.

Mark Thomas and Mike Maniscalco have decent ACC discussions at times and Maniscalco does generate informative discussions about the Carolina Hurricanes. But those are the exceptions.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire provide compelling
and entertaining talk in the mornings for Triad
and Triangle listeners.
Without hearing about them from anybody or any source, I started looking around the FM dial and stumbled on the Brad and Britt show on WZTK (FM Talk 101.1). My runs have been much more entertaining since then, although it can be a challenge to run while laughing.

When I first started listening to Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire in 2010, I figured that they must be syndicated and was stunned that one radio station had them all to itself.

Their station has an interesting geographic base since it draws in listeners from the Triad and the Triangle, but that does mean hearing stories during news updates sometimes from Greensboro that I don't care about.

I love sports, but how much sports talk can you take, particularly when it often is inane and NFL heavy? Brad and Britt do talk sports at times, but they hit a wide range of topics. They can bring humor and insight to a variety of subjects.

I am a hopeless political junkie, and Brad and Britt know politics, bringing excellent analysis throughout the current presidential campaign and particularly the morning after each debate.

They'll hammer both sides of the political spectrum even though they obviously lean to the left and Britt is a Libertarian.

Britt does terrific impressions. The most common is of Dan Rather, which he does daily with "The Rather Report." He does excellent impressions of George W. Bush, Strom Thurmond and Rush Limbaugh (Lil' Rush), among others. Even Sarah Palin? You betcha!

I will flip around at the top of the 7 o'clock hour until the Rather Report. I'll also do that if there's a topic that doesn't interest me, or a commercial break or the Panthers Report (which thankfully is done for the season) is airing, but Mike and Mike are so irritating that I don't stay away from 101.1 very long.

From the start of each hour in which Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic inexplicably are asked to do SportsCenter updates (have these guys heard of the NHL?) to Greenberg declaring that they are "back and better than ever," they give me so many reasons to turn away.

Seemingly every person Greenberg interviews is "the best" and every hour is the best ever. Golic actually is more tolerable, but the NFL obsession is too much to take. When Greenberg starts an hour by telling you there will be plenty of NFL talk, it's like me declaring that I have no hair-parting options.

Mike and Mike do have excellent guests at times and when Jay Bilas or ESPN's many baseball analysts are on, that's radio I enjoy. Mark and Mike have decent guests, although most of the interviews seem to be taped the day before (and repeated from one hour to the next), but the questioning isn't as good as it is on Mike and Mike.

Another maddening part of Mike and Mike is that I don't think those guys are allowed to cough without it being sponsored. From every call being sponsored by a national sandwich chain to a sponsor for "what everybody's talking about," you would think it's a NASCAR race. That's thankfully not the case with Brad and Britt.

Don't get me started on the crazy songs they come up with for players and the completely stupid bit they do when picking NFL games. Maybe I'm just not the demographic they're targeting.

I also appreciate that Brad and Britt don't beat you over the head with teasers. Mike and Mike never go to a commercial without teasing you with some allegedly great information or tidbit they will give you when they come back. And "coming up next" could actually not happen for 15 minutes. Brad and Britt will tell you which guests they will welcome later in the show, but the way they do it isn't irritating at all.

On a regular basis, Brad and Britt bring on an impressive stable of ABC Radio reporters. My favorite is White House correspondent Ann Compton. They also welcome Sam Donaldson on a weekly basis, although he invariably doesn't come on until I'm at work. They have all sorts of national guests who make for compelling radio, and they aren't shy about asking tough questions.

I've listened to talk radio for years. Outside of the sports-radio realm, I remember listening to Larry Glick out of Boston, Perry Marshall out of Pittsburgh and Bob Lacey (Lacey Listens) out of Charlotte when I was a kid. All didn't have a political agenda and were entertaining. Such shows are really hard to find these days.

Brad and Britt belong on, if not at the top of, the list of the best radio talk shows I've heard. I'm glad they're part of my morning routine.


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