Fans of the show (or my production work) for any length of time will understand that I’m pretty blunt. Often brutally so. With that in mind, the short version is this; we got fired.
I know that’s not enough of an explanation, so here’s the more in-depth answer. As some of you know, I got into internet radio as a producer for the Hooter and Greenway show. I started doing “previously on” intros for them back in 2008. I’ll be honest, it never felt like work. I listened religiously and I was lucky enough to become friends with Josh, Andy and Tom. Ok, and Matt I guess. Like all friendships, there were good times and bad. Their show ended on a very sour note.
First and foremost, I did not end the HnG show. If you ask Hooter now, he’ll admit that his drug abuse ended the HnG show.
What did happen was that the RCMP got a call from Hooter’s phone number claiming that I was physically abusing my wife and daughter. The cops showed up on my doorstep when my wife was out shopping with her mother and after waking up my daughter and checking her for bruising, they made their apologies and left.
At that point I needed to vent to friends that would understand the history. So I sent a message to Royce, Mersh and Greenway. By the time Royce and Mersh called me back, I had cooled off a bit. They asked me what I wanted to do about it and I said “nothing”. It was then that they revealed to me that they were going to release the HnG show from MLR. I told them that it wasn’t my intention to get the lads fired. The phone number could have been spoofed, Hooter could have thought it was a funny prank, any number of things could have happened.
Royce and Mersh told me that HnG was already on the chopping block and this wasn’t the final straw.
Shortly afterwards, I came up with the concept of Mark Out Radio and pitched it to Tom. He was excited about it and we recorded a demo for review by the MLR owners. Our first official show was a pre-WrestleMania episode where we discussed the card, made predictions and marked out for our favorite Mania moments.
Days after HnG was released, The Red Show debuted in their slot. Even to this day, I hold them to HnG standards and crossed the line with them more than a few times. I really crossed the line with Footer and then apologized to him on the Cousin Joe show the next night. I’m not sure if anyone really accepted the apology, but I stopped tuning in live to their show live because I didn’t want to repeat my behavior again.
I probably just never got over being a mark for HnG.
After a couple months, baseball season started and Big T asked for a couple months off because he follows the Yankee’s religiously. I gave him the time and proceeded to do the show solo. In early August 2013, I had an on-air tryout for Jim E. Later that month Punchy and Greenway joined the show. Big T officially resigned the next month. With the new cast though, the show got better and I got more excited to do it every week because each of us has such different opinions about the industry.
Sometime around then, I joined the Lust N Love show as a third mic and producer. After a few months, on their own, Maryanne and Kitty decided that the show needed a rebranding and held a contest to rename the show. The result of this contest was “Back Talk Radio”.
Months later, in February of this year, Uncle Eddie was warned numerous times that his simulcast of the Ham Radio show was an infringement on his exclusive contract with MLR. After a few warnings, MLR released him. That Friday, on a secret show, Royce and Maryanne roasted Eddie on the air. Word got back to Uncle Eddie and he cut a promo on Royce and Maryanne on his show on his new network.
Before I had joined Lust N Love, Hammy had been third mic and producer on the show.
Maryanne was angry with Hammy (who produces Eddie’s show) for not speaking up in her defense while Eddie said some pretty horrible things. He was angry. Not that it absolves him from what he said, it’s just a reason. Anyway, she made her anger very public, both in an exclusively MLR chat area and then on twitter with her supporters lending a hand.
When the blowout first started, I tried to get everyone to calm down and get Maryanne and Hammy to discuss the problem privately. I even went so far as to defend Hammy, because I really don’t believe Hammy would ever do something consciously to hurt Maryanne. I ended up in the crosshairs and because I never apologized for sticking up for Hammy, the background politicking began.
MLR management put a stop to the twitter battle because it made the station look unprofessional. Instead of stopping though, the participants just stopped mentioning people with @ or #.
I resigned from Back Talk Radio because I didn’t want to be in the next target. Ironically, this made me a target anyway.
This is when doing Mark Out Radio started to become more work than fun.
For weeks on end, Texy and Scrambler would show up in the chat room while we were on the air, berate Mark Out Radio and attack me personally with information I only told Maryanne and Kitty in private. Eventually they clued in that I wasn’t even paying attention to chat anymore and stopped.
In late May this year, we interview Barri Griffiths (Mason Ryan). After the interview, Texy took to twitter and buried the show and got on Barri’s nerves. Barri sent me an email apologizing for having to block the show on twitter and Texy as a result. Short Sleeve Sampson had been scheduled to appear on the next episode and he cancelled the interview.
I sent a message to Royce and P-Rock (one of the Red Show hosts) to put a stop to Texy’s twitter barrage.
It continued for three days and included some fairly repugnant threats to me and my family.
I threatened to quit if they didn’t put a stop to Texy, I believe the exact wordage was “him or me”.
I was then told on the air by Dutch (another owner) that MLR doesn’t do that. They encourage radio wars. Except that this wasn’t a radio war. That would be one show against another, not a producer lashing out at a show host who largely ignores his cries for attention…until he involved guests and family.
Footer called into the show to confront me. I had to repeat myself so many times that even Greenway had to weigh in to support me. We opened the floor to anyone else who wanted to call in, but no one had the courage to. Meanwhile, Texy and Gary Cantrell from “The Shoot” took over chat and lashed out at everyone, including wrestlers who had tuned in live after a commentating gig I worked for a local indy promotion.
A few weeks, and several emails later, Short Sleeve Sampson agreed to be on the show and we talked with him for 45 minutes in a pre-recorded interview. When it aired, Texy, Scrambler and Kitty were in chat and took over with the usual recycled attacks.
This is the point when doing Mark Out Radio became a chore.
According to download stats, the show continued to do well. Even so, after the debacle in chat, our live audience participation pretty much ended. Understandably so, this isn’t and never has been a shock radio show. It’s pro wrestling. Any actual heat is a work. Or least that’s what I always thought.
When JJ Stoner asked me if we could swap time slots, I agreed after discussing it with Punchy and Greenway.
Live participation stopped entirely.
In the last few weeks it has begun to feel like three people talking to themselves. The download stats remain good, but without a live audience there’s really no point to doing the show live. However, it was still enjoyable to mark out like a kid with Punchy and Greenway, so I continued to do the show.
Now, at some point a few months ago, Texy’s father passed away and some asshole on twitter decided to create the @texysucks twitter account and put up a picture of Texy’s father and call him/herself “Texy’s Dead Dad”. Now, I’ve stated numerous times that this isn’t me. It falls on deaf ears, but it isn’t. It isn’t even my style of horrible things said, despite the “proof” that I use hashtags.
Who invented hashtags.
It’s so prevalent there are even late night talk show bits about it, but apparently I’m the trendsetter I never knew I was. Go figure.
First of all, I lost my own father on Christmas Eve in 1998. I don’t find “dead daddy” humor very amusing.
Secondly, if I have something to say about a person…I say it. Otherwise, I ignore you.
Finally, Texy doesn’t matter to me. He just doesn’t. He’s a producer on another show and that’s all I know about the guy. Now, he’s volunteered information to me which turned out to be mostly lies, but it never made me actually give a shit about the guy. Sorry if that’s rude, but he’s just some random online dude.
My issues with Texy start and stop with him attacking former guests and threatening the physical safety of my family. The former annoys me because I’ve never been a very good interviewer and I was just starting to enjoy it. The latter is a felony. Even in Canada. His threats to my own personal safety really don’t bother me, because he wouldn’t have the balls to follow-up on idle threats anyway.
Felonies or otherwise though, MLR management has made it clear that they don’t care about this. This is an odd turn from a station that fired the HnG show last year over very similar behavior. But, I don’t run the station. I have no impact on their programming or their policies. In fact, other than this instance, I really have nothing negative to say about MLR.
However, this whole thing has soured me on internet radio in general. I know “radio wars” are part of radio, but that isn’t the kind of show I want to do. We give opinions on a staged sport. The entire premise of the show is ridiculous. Men in their 30’s are talking about something that largely appeals to teenagers. But I had fun doing it.
The drama, politics, death threats and vindictive antics have taken that fun away. Before it affects content, I thought it would be a good idea to take a break. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do a goodbye show on the network, we got fired before we could. I have no hard feelings about it, they’re trying to protect their brand and assumed that I wanted to go on the air and cut a promo on the station or people there. Which was never the intention, but trust has been broken and this is the result.
Perhaps in a few months, Mark Out Radio will return as a podcast or on another network. I’m just not sure right now.
What I am sure about is that the fans and my co-hosts made doing Mark Out Radio an amazing time for me while it lasted. Hopefully with a little time off I’ll feel differently about doing the show and get back in front of a mic. For now though, I need some time off to unwind and cool off.
MLR has some great shows and no matter what they say about me personally, it’s a solid network with some great content and talented people. Period.
Thanks for listening to the show and for reading this long-winded diatribe.