Best and Worst Local Sports Media

Tony Mercurio: Worst Broadcaster in the State of Virginia

Michael ShibleySenior Analyst IMay 4, 2009

During the majority of the work week, ESPN Radio 1310, WGH-AM in Hampton Roads Virginia (Virginia Beach, Norfolk, etc) is a regular ESPN Radio affiliate.  Sports fans get to listen to great programming such as Mike & Mike, the Herd, and Tirico and Van Pelt.

However, that all changes from 3-7 pm when the Tony Mercurio Show is on the air. Once the "Blastman" hits the airwaves, the sports IQ drops to around Forrest Gumplevels.

Mercurio has hosted his show for the past 23 years, which is 20 years too long.  The station loves to mention that he has one the sportscaster of the year award for the area 14 times, glossing over the fact that there is no other local sports show.

His show has been dull and bland for years now, and his guests are the same every week: Former Virginia Governor and Senator George "Macaca" Allen, Boxing Historian Burt Sugar, the head coach for whatever sport is in season for Old Dominion University and James Madison University, football guru Phil Steele, and the father of local MLB stars BJ and Justin Upton.

From that list, only Phil Steele is relevant and interesting.  Allen only talks about the Redskins, Sugar is only relevant when their is a big fight that weekend, and Papa Upton will only talk about his sons and his sons' teams.  He doesn't know much about the rest of the baseball world.

When he doesn't have one of his "great" guests on the line, he has opinions on topics that either have no relevance to sports or are factually flawed.

Two years ago, Mercurio had the events coordinator of Chrysler Hall (a local theatre) on the show to talk about comedian Ron White appearing there that weekend.  They spent a whole hour of the show talking about Ron White and nothing about sports on a SPORTS TALK SHOW!

The best happened last year when he stated that because baseball pay-per-view numbers were up, baseball was back as America's favorite sport. 

Mercurio ignored the fact that the NFL numbers were still destroying the baseball ratings, and if he had done some research, he would know that most of the people who bought the pay-per-view package wanted to watch the Yankees and Red Sox instead of teams like the Royals, Orioles, and Nationals in their local area.

So, if you are ever in the Hampton Roads area and want to hear some local sports radio, don't even bother.  The "Blastman" Tony Mercurio will just leave you banging your head against the wall. 

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