An Open Letter to Jim Rome

With Game and Prize at the End

By Published on .

Dear Jim,

I am an idiot.

Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I'm not really an idiot in an Eric Wynalda soccer-idiot kind of way (though I did play for a year in college and still knock the pill around a few times a week for exercise), but rather in a snobby, arrogant, thought-I-knew-better kind of way. See, I am a Colin Cowherd elitist. He's from the Pacific Northwest. You are from California. By geographic happenstance, I am supposed to hate you. Plus, your show preempts the last hour of Colin's show here in Portland. All of the patchouli-laden, overrated Pac 10 football team chips were theoretically stacked against you.

To make matters worse, I used to work at a radio group. I would walk the halls sneering like a petulant child about how I was missing Colin's last hour. I'm not terribly clear why I would do that. I was too busy to even listen to the radio from 9 to 10 anyway. I was "that guy" -- the sad sack who played the victim and would complain to anyone who would listen. I'm not sure where the venom came from, but the last time I checked, the Pacific Northwest angst-train pulled away from Gate Clove Smoke at Bitter Existential Station around 1993.

Quite frankly, I don't know why I didn't like you. Maybe I was jealous that I couldn't grow a proper goatee. Perhaps I was taking the California/Oregon rivalry too far. I resisted for a long time. I even took my lame, exhausting soliloquy to one of your biggest fans -- a guy named "Chad in Portland." He was a co-worker of mine, and I consider him a friend. One morning, I invaded his space and went off about how much I disliked you. After a couple of minutes, I ended up winded and glassy-eyed, like I had just eaten seven 4x4s (In and Out burgers, not Toyota Tundras) Chad just smiled and laughed at me. He wasn't laughing WITH me; that was clear. Then, he stopped abruptly, turned all Miyagi on me and said, simply, quietly: "Just listen, man. You'll get it."

Whaaaaaaaa? "Just listen, man. You'll get it??!!!!!"

I bit my tongue, "sminced" (a combination of smiled and winced) and walked out the door. Then, begrudgingly, I listened to The Jungle. It began like a 500-pound man starting a running regimen: a block on the first day, a little longer the next until I realized I was eventually doing a daily full-on Jim Rome marathon. I now wake up looking forward to listening to you. Fact is, I dig the show. And it all started because one of the "Clones" told me to take a breath and "just listen, man." I'm not quite ready to take the leap and call in -- because I am terrified of being physically punched through the phone by J-Stew -- but give it time, I will be there.

So please accept my apology for talking mad smack about you behind your back. I didn't quite pull a Wynalda, but it was jacked-up nonetheless. I'll always be a big-time Colin fan, but there is plenty of room at the buffet, my man. I suppose the moral of the story is that I shouldn't be so quick to judge without really taking a closer look, and an even closer listen.

The other moral is that word-of-mouth advertising really works. Now I get it.

Sincerely, Zanger in Portland

Quick Hits

Have you ever been quick to judge something without a real reason? Were you turned around or did your disgust continue to fester?

Do you listen to sports talk radio? If so, what do you like? What don't you like?

Have you stopped buying/supporting a product because the company advertises on a station that has programming/views that you find objectionable?

Would all of you like a game and a prize every week?

This Week's Game: "Misogyneopardy"
Rules: Complete the phrase/statement below. Best response gets $25 gift card to Red Lobster.* Deadline is Friday, April 13th at 5 p.m. PDT. You can either post publicly, or email response to me at dzanger@mac.com.**

Don Imus is _________________________________________________.

(*US/Canada winners only. International winners get $25 gift card to something else...like Sizzler or Pret a Manger. Advertising Age and Crain Communications staff...especially Jonah Bloom, Ken Wheaton and Bob Garfield...are ineligible.)

(**Profanity is perfectly acceptable. EDITOR'S NOTE: Said profanity should be included in e-mails to Doug. Because we're still somewhat old-fashioned at Ad Age, profanity-laced Imus hatred -- no matter how justified -- will be scrubbed from the comments)

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