Greg Williams talks about exit from ‘The Fan'

Posted 7:15am on Saturday, May. 04, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about RAGE Radio, the show hosted by Richie Whitt and Greg “Greggo” Williams (with Sybil Summers) on sports-talk KRLD/105.3 FM “The Fan,” getting the ax. Williams announced the firing via Twitter, saying that he and his castmates were never given a reason for their dismissal, although since then “poor ratings” has come up.

“The show got off to a good start,” Williams says of the early days of RAGE in 2010 . “It was such a good start that even I was pleased with it, and I’m my own worst critic.” Ratings continued to improve, he says, “And then came, basically, the year of 2012, when ratings just plummeted. And it was the ratings for the whole station.”

As longtime DFW sports-radio fans know, Williams has also worked for sports stations KTCK/1310 AM “The Ticket” and KESN/103.3 FM “ESPN Radio” -- and as he noted on Twitter, was fired from both those stations as well (Williams has been candid about a past drug problem that led to his exit from the Ticket).

According to Williams, Whitt -- a former Star-Telegram and Dallas Observer writer who profiled Williams for the Observer in 2008 -- had been doing a weekend show at 105.3 when he suggested hiring Williams. The idea initially met with resistance, but when Tom Bigby (who has since left) came aboard as program director, he offered Williams -- after assurances that he was clean and sober -- the gig.

“Was I ready?” says Williams, who had been off the air for two years since getting cut from ESPN. “I don’t know if I was or not. I know I was ready to get off the damn couch. I know I was certainly ready for a new income. So I gave it a shot.”

The Fan, which launched in late 2008, has been through a number of changes through the years, including changes in program directors. After Bigby left, Bruce Gilbert -- who was one of the architects of the success of “The Ticket,” where he earned Williams’ deep respect -- came aboard in 2010 to oversee programming at CBS Radio Dallas’ news/talk/sports stations, including the Fan.

Gilbert left in early 2013 to take a post with Clear Channel Entertainment and Media, and Gavin Spittle -- who had previously overseen programming at CBS Radio Dallas’ news/talk/sports stations (including “Fan” predecessor, hot-talk station KLLI/105.3 FM) -- returned to Dallas in the same position. It was Spittle, Williams says, who was initially resistant to hiring him. Williams says that any program director would have a challenge with the Fan, which was the third entry in the DFW sports-talk race after the highly regarded Ticket and later ESPN Radio (which the Fan managed to beat a few times in the race for sports-talk second place), but he reserves his harshest criticism for Spittle, whom he says is in over his head. (Spittle declined to comment.)

“I told people I was fired, and no doubt, that’s what I was,” Williams says. “I wasn’t ‘released,’ I didn’t have my contract not renewed -- I had my ass fired. That’s just the way it is. Whenever [you’re fired] and you talk about things that were wrong or were done a certain way, you’re labeled as a disgruntled employee. ... But I’m not one of those guys. I’m just one of those guys who wants to tell the truth.”

Being fired from all three sports stations might seem to wrap it up for Williams on DFW sports radio, but never underestimate a media personality’s ability to bounce back. Williams says he would work for the Ticket again, but he doesn’t think that’s going to happen; he doesn’t want to return to ESPN Radio, where he says he was too edited and censored.

One of the reasons he’s launching Greggo's Gigantic Blog and Cafe is because he won’t be too edited and censored, other than the (very) limited self-censorship he talks about in the blog’s mission statement.

Greggo begins his mission statement/rules of engagement by saying that the blog is “an idea I've had for some time now. But while on radio, I didn't want to tip my hand juggling two media outlets. Those who do that are fools, and often times rip off their readers or listeners. So I stayed away from blogging, and especially podcasts. Well, now is the time. A perfect moment since I had my ass fired anyway. Don't worry bout that.” As you might infer from that, the blog will include podcasts as well.

“I’m thought of as a sports guy,” Williams says, “so that immediately diminishes a lot of chances you have. But I want to be something else. I’ve done the sports thing; I’ve had tremendous success. But I’d like to move on to a newspaper mentality, where you have your front-page news, you’ve got your current events, you’ve got your local, you’ve got entertainment and you’ve got your sports.”

The blog’s rules are pretty simple: If you don’t like the blog, or a post, or Williams, you have to say why, otherwise your post will be deleted; and cussing is OK, within limits. Certain words are out. Those are words I can’t say here, and wouldn’t anyway, but to get an idea of what will fly and what won’t, click on the blog link above.

The first post, which was supposed to be up by noon Central, had yet to arrive by 3:15 p.m.; on Twitter, Williams blames technical difficulties for that (and considering that I had hoped to have this update posted much earlier, I’m sympathetic). But Williams won’t be the only contributor; one of the other bloggers will be Blake Novacek, 15-year-old son of former Dallas Cowboys star Jay Novacek.

For quick updates, here’s a link to his Twitter feed.

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