Talking sports in Chicago is as much a part of the city as stuffed-crust pizza. Sports fans are serious about their teams and have opinions on just about everything.
Here at Columbia, a forum for fans to speak their minds takes place every Tuesday night on WCRX 88.1 FM. “Sports Underground” is a sports talk show hosted and produced by Columbia students. The show includes sports updates every ten minutes, interviews with sports personalities and listener call-ins. During the football season, callers can take part in “Pick the Pros,” a contest in which they try to pick out winners chosen by members of the staff for prizes.
Producer Cary S. Patton, who is also a senior correspondent for the Chronicle, wants “Sports Underground” to be different from all other sports talk shows in Chicago.
“I would like to accomplish the best show in Chicago as well as in the state of Illinois,” said Patton. “Being a producer is a full-time job, day in and day out. From setting up guests to actually producing the show, I’m always busy.”
While sitting in recently, I witnessed exactly what goes on during an hour-long broadcast. From the beginning the energy ran high. The hot topic of the night was the Cubs’ chances in the playoffs. Most of the crew believed that the Cubs could challenge the Atlanta Braves.
The lone White Sox fan of the crew was Jason Johnson, who showed his displeasure with the Cubs on his face as well as through the microphone.
During the discussion about the Cubs, the New York Yankees were taking on the Texas Rangers. Thanks to the updates, listeners would be able to keep up with score of that game.
Besides Patton and Johnson, the crew includes Brent Connett and Wyatt McKinksy.
Connett said of his co-workers, “We have four capable guys who know what they’re talking about. Only one person can do so much, all four of us take part in the show. It has a real chance to be a top-quality program.”
Jason Johnson added, “We all have different personalties, but we all intertwine. Everyone has their own opinion, but nothing becomes personal.”
The show has attracted numerous guests from Chicago and around the country including such sports personalties as Charlie Spoonhauser (head basketball coach at St. Louis University), members of the 1998 US men’s basketball team, former University of Illinois star Kiwane Garris, and former University of Michigan star Jimmy King.
The show was also able to book members of the new Chicago women’s basketball team, the Condors, who are set to play in 1998.