SportsTalk’s Top 10 — Part 2

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As part of the 15-year anniversary of the RCN SportsTalk program we are celebrating this month, I started compiling a list of the top 10 shows that come to mind when looking back at the show’s history (see our previous blog for entries #1-#5).

Here are entries #6-#10, in no particular order:

6) Joe Craig, Gary Laubach & Dick Tracy – the pilot show

You never forget your first show…although, it seemed if you blinked, this one was over in a flashAlthough a lot has evolved since that first program, one of the first — and biggest — changes since the first few shows was that the program was only 30 minutes long back then.  With these three legendary sports personalities on for just a half hour, this program seemed to end shortly after we started.  Subsequent weeks revealed that, because of the outstanding talent we have as guests each week, the show had to expand to a 60-minute format, which we have continued to this day. Unlike most television shows now-a-days that are reducing their shows’ length to try to improve their pacing to meet people’s shortening attention spans, I’m proud to say that when our hour is up, guests and viewers alike always say, “Hey, I wish we had another hour to talk more.” 

7) Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs

I’m cheating here as we have been honored to have this international star on a few times over the years. She has discussed everything from her time in the Olympics to raising her daughter, Talitha, to topical social issues, to her story with her dad’s career, on which the movie “Lean On Me” was based. If I find out in advance that Keith Groller will not be with us and we’re discussing a topic I know she feels strongly about, she’s the first person I call to see if she’s available to fill in as a co-host.  Joetta is always a joy to speak with about all of her areas of expertise.

8) The Lumberjack Show at the Fair

SportsTalk Executive Producer Rick Geho has had some very good suggestions for me and the show over the years. One idea that I didn’t think was so great at the time involved one of our shows from the Allentown Fair. We were sharing the Farmerama Stage with a gentleman from Minnesota who performed a lumberjack show and Rick suggested that we have him on as a guest.

A lumberjack show…really?

But not only did this gentleman produce some wonderful stories and made for an entertaining show, but he bid me — live on the air — to participate in some of his show activities.  This included me throwing an axe over my head to try to hit a target 40 feet away.  Without any practice, I hit the target – a feat Mr. Craig and our RCN crew members still say to this day was one of the most shocking things they’ve seen in their careers (I tried to think of that as a compliment from them, but I’m not so sure).

9) The Dick Tracy “surprise” tribute show

This is actually the first show that came to mind when I sat down to do this … and will probably be one of the greatest SportsTalk episodes that I will ever be a part of. Coach Tracy was a mentor to me – I looked up to him as a kid watching Whitehall HS basketball games, he was my journalism and yearbook teacher as a high school student and a colleague and the most helpful person to me when I started announcing games in the Lehigh Valley as a radio announcer. Then later I had the honor to announce games with him for RCN-TV. When Coach “retired” from broadcasting I remembered a conversation from years earlier in which I asked him: if there was one day in which he could relive any of the great experiences in his life, what would it be?  His response was that he would actually enjoy a couple hours sitting around with his state championship Zephyr basketball team and just shoot the breeze with them.  I contacted everyone on that team along with some other special people in Dick’s life who came in and surprised him live on the air. Coach HATED tributes and the fact that we were able to bring his entire team back and keep this a secret from him while pulling off a successful show on LIVE TV is truly one of the most amazing accomplishments I will ever have achieved as producer of this program.

10) ???

Now I’m really taking an easy way out. Probably even if I had the rundown of all of our shows in front of me I couldn’t name a final entry in this list.  I’ve been blessed to have so many wonderful people volunteer their time to come in and share their stories and opinions with us. I’d like to think every show is a little unique from the previous ones so I am just going to keep the spot open for now and call it a tie between practically every other show we’ve done.

Thanks to all for the memories!!!





Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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