By Paul Arnett

Friday, January 9, 1998

UH missed the boat with its radio deal

HEY, Mr. Hugh Yoshida! What gives, my man?

I just heard you awarded the radio contract to KCCN for another five years. What's up with that?

I thought we had a deal, dude. I get the broadcast rights to be the first to shock local jocks, and in return, I promise never to let Jeff Portnoy pontificate on the air waves again. Remember? How much more can I give you?

OK, OK. So KCCN raised the ante to a cool million bucks, made you a long-term offer you couldn't refuse. And yeah, yeah, the station has more listeners than I'm able to reach with the special CB-shortwave setup stashed in the back of my garage.

But what about some of my ideas to freshen the format? Maybe turn that afternoon talk show into a real Rainbows rap session.

Instead of some lamebrained trivia contest designed for geeks, how about we throw out a topic and let the telephone calls take it from there?

"Everybody out there who believes the UH football team is a Division II program dressed up in Division I uniforms, give me a call. The ones who don't, don't bother."

That should stir a few souls. After all, people who listen to the radio are a different breed of cat. They like to interact with a host willing to be controversial, not some rah-rah guy spewing out the party line of, "Not only are these guys great on the court, they're a great group off it."

Let's be honest, Hugh baby. That isn't talk radio.

NOW once we got that show into shape, we were supposed to turn our attention to the actual broadcast of the games.

First, we agreed there would be no more drop-in ads such as, "Charles Tharp's 25-yard touchdown run is brought to you by Bank of Skedaddle. Ever so carefully, pocketing your money."

Second, the broadcasters can say whatever they want. No more Homer Simpsons. The next time UH offensive coordinator Wally English calls for a pass on second and short when a running play better serves the situation, the announcer can go off like the Fabulous Sports Babe dressing down another unfortunate caller.

"What in the world are you doing, Wally? Were you speaking English, Wally, when you sent in that play? Forget that hitch screen. Charles is in charge. Give him the ball. And if he doesn't get a first down on that carry, heck, give it to him again."

Of course, the coaches may object to this brand of objectivity, but they'd get used to it. Heck, everyone else second-guesses them, why stop with radio?

Remember that broadcast money you owe the coaches? Well, you could pay them off with a real coach's show, complete with members of the local media firing the tough questions to get things moving in the right direction.

THEN, once it reached a fevered pitch, you ask the listeners if they want to join in the fray. The switchboard would light up with crazed callers looking for a piece of the action. Instant ratings, my man. Numbers that would make even Perry and Price stand up and take notice.

But hey, I guess it's too late for that. The deal is done. Round up the usual suspects and give it to them, even if it means the same old, same old.

Unlike a lot of radio broadcasters, I didn't give up my day job. I'll still be here, raining on Riley Wallace's parade whenever the notion strikes and thinking about what might have been had I landed that radio gig.

It would have been fun, Hugh. You could have been my opening act. My first question would have been, "Why would anyone want to be the athletic director at the University of Hawaii?" People would turn up the volume for that show, Hugh, no doubt about it.

So if you're still around in five years when the next radio contract comes due, tune me in. I probably won't have any more money in the coffers, but my offer to keep Portnoy off the air will be solid gold.

Paul Arnett has been covering sports
for the Star-Bulletin since 1990.

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