It’s not enough just to stand outside the fire…

Nashville. It has become like a second home to me.
I’ve always enjoyed visiting, as I have family there, so we went there a lot when I was growing up.

Now that I have even more friends there, it’s the perfect getaway for a long weekend.

So when I saw the legendary Garth Brooks announced a show at Nissan Stadium for April 16, I HAD to find a way to go.

Continue reading “It’s not enough just to stand outside the fire…”

I joined a virtual elementary classroom for 15 minutes….here’s what I learned…..

Virtual learning is difficult.
Virtual teaching might be more difficult.

I learned that much and more when I surprised a third grade reading class and joined their virtual classroom recently.

I had worked with their teacher to surprise them and join them while I was live on air during my radio show.

When I first joined the room, there was the madness of 15+ kids screaming and laughing.

I told them we were on-air and they gasped and had a bunch of questions that they all wanted to shout out at once.

So many screens full of little faces were popping up across my monitor, I had no idea where to look.

After I got off the air, I stayed on the call for about 10 more minutes to talk to the kids and answer their questions.

It got a little more organized then as they were instructed to raise their hands and mute their mics when they weren’t speaking.

I got questions asking me if I knew someone who worked at the radio station or if I remembered the time when one of the kids came to the station with his mother. Of course, some of them couldn’t believe I was really at the radio station so I hit a button and let them listen to the song that was playing at that very moment.

All in all, I had a wonderful time interacting with the students and maybe making their Friday a little better.

HOWEVER, what I did learn was that…..teachers are not human.

I was only on the call for 15 minutes and I was WORN OUT. There was so much going on on the screen. From kids having questions to one kid just talking with his mic turned wayyyyyyy up, it was just organized chaos.

I have no idea how elementary school teachers have the patience to teach these virtual classes.

And I don’t say that meaning that the kids are bad. They aren’t. They are just full of energy and having them all sit in front of a  different screen, trying to teach them reading, spelling, math, or some other lesson they need to know….is a tough sell.

I could NOT sit still when I was that age. I imagine not many of us could.
I would have been TERRIBLE at virtual learning. I was a very hands-on learner. I could soak everything up in class and not have to study. It was just the way I learned.

I’m not writing this as an endorsement or an indictment of virtual learning.
School administrators have a tough job deciding what is best for their students and none of them take that responsibility lightly.

There is no COVID handbook for administrators, students, parents, or any of us.

I didn’t think I could hold teachers in any higher regard than I already did, but after my experience in the virtual classroom, I do.

Say thank you to the teachers in your life….and if you are a praying person….say a prayer for them too.


Radio Personality of the Year: Why it’s more than just talking on the radio

Well, now that it’s had a little time to sink in, I figured I’d try to put into words what it means to me to be named Radio Personality of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters.

You may have seen me post or have heard me mention how this was a big one for me. And about how this is the award I’ve wanted since I got into radio.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was honored to be the Associated Press Radio Newsperson of the Year for 2016 and also the AP’s Best Radio Reporter in Mississippi/Louisiana for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Those awards are all special to me as well, but this one was different.

The reason for that I guess is the term personality.

To me , Radio Personality of the Year encompasses more than just being the person that makes corny dad jokes on the radio every morning.

For me, radio personality is being the person that embodies the radio station and the community that he/she represents.

He or she is the one that is out there in the community, speaking to clubs, dressing like an idiot to go read to students during Dr. Seuss week, students,  putting on a Halloween costume and doing a Facebook live broadcast around the square trick-or treating, or broadcasting in a straight jacket from an abandoned jail while helping raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

When I was first nominated for the award, someone asked me if I thought I had a chance and if I thought I deserved it.

My response was that there may be others around the state who are better on-air than me or those that have more radio and music knowledge than me.

But when it comes to being a “radio personality,” I don’t think there is anyone in the state that does it quite like I do.

And I am grateful to that the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters thought so as well.

Below is the audio reel that won me the Radio Personality of the Year award.


Why a College World Series title means so much to this MS State fan

After the Mississippi State Bulldogs captured the program’s, and the university’s, first NCAA National Championship Wednesday night, sportswriters, radio hosts, and others that follow collegiate sports started to  realize just how much it meant to Mississippi State fans.

Of course, the MS State fanbase is known to be one of the most supportive of its programs. The record crowds at Omaha throughout the CWS proved that.

And like any fanbase who has never had one of its teams win a National Championship, the celebration was as you’d expect.

However, I still think there’s something else. Some intangible factor that made it evident to those outside of the fanbase….that this championship means more to MSU fans….and to the state of Mississippi as a whole.

After pondering for most of the day, I’ve arrived at my conclusion: connection.

Mississippi is a small state.

I jokingly told a good friend of mine from Tennessee when he moved here that the state is one big high school.

And by that I mean, no matter where you go across the state…you’ll likely run into someone that you know. EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYONE.

Now this might be more true for my hometown, because Kosciusko people just seem to be everywhere.

But because of the small nature of the state, we all feel connected, especially to our college teams.

Think about bigger programs like Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State. etc. All bigger programs in bigger states with bigger fanbases. A lot of these schools also have their fair share of bandwagon fans that just attach themselves to a winning program.

And NO SANE person would ever be a bandwagon fan of a Mississippi program, unless they just loved having their heart broken.

However, in Mississippi, our programs literally are our family. Oh, and I’m paraphrasing Dak there…..not Dominic Toretto.

But back to the Mississippi Connection.

One of the things I love about our small state is that you probably know somebody who knows somebody from your hometown.

I like to pride in being that guy that probably knows someone you do, but my pal Steve Azar, the Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi, blows me out of the water in that respect.

He literally knows someone from every corner of the state. When I first met him and introduced myself and where I’m from, he said “Oh, Freddie George is my cousin.” Freddie was a former mayor here.

But it’s that connection that allows us to be close to our teams, because with the state being as small as it is, most fans probably have some sort of close connection to their team. Whether that be MS State, Ole Miss, USM, Jackson State, etc.

I can give three examples of connections I have to the MS State team that just won the National Championship:

  • Luke Hancock – The very first baseball games I broadcasted on the radio was a series between Kosciusko and Houston. Hancock was Houston’s starting catcher….in the 8th grade and he was already committed to MS State. And he had to have hit over .500 in that series because he was a wrecking ball against our guys.
  • Logan Tanner – His grandmother was my 10th grade English teacher.
  • Brayland Skinner – Skinner’s grandmother broadcasts a church service on one of our radio stations (WKOZ) every Sunday morning. She’s been coming in to record her program for close to 40 years. A few times, I’ve had to set her up and help her record. During those times, she and I have had a lot of fun conversations about wrestling. She’s a big fan of John Cena. She also read the lines in my palm and told me I was going to have 7 kids and that I better find a wife soon so I could get started.

It’s the little connections like this that you only get in smaller state like Mississippi.

“God, here I am… …spilling my guts… …to one of my archenemies. But the truth is… …you’re the closest thing to a friend I got.” Eddie Blake 

The above quote from the movie “Watchman” has been running through my mind today. It’s a scene where The Comedian, an aging vigilante “hero,” is having a mental breakdown, so he breaks into his arch nemesis’ home just to have someone to talk to.

That just embodies the MS State/Ole Miss rivalry to me.

It’s as heated of a rivalry as you can get. And probably has been the most heated rivalry over the past 5 years.

Yet once again, because our state is so small, in a weird way, the entire state can take pride in a championship, because you have good friends and family that are fans of the team that won.

For all the vitriol between MS State and Ole Miss fans, and there is PLENTY, I have seen way more Ole Miss fans congratulatory of MS State’s championship than the alternative.

I personally have had a number of Ole Miss fans text and message me, congratulating and being very gracious about the Bulldogs’ championship.

I think that speaks to the gracious nature of most Mississippians for one.

But also that the fanbases are connected, no matter how much they may try to prove otherwise.

Because for all the negative press (which is warranted at times) and stereotypes the entire state has to put up with, I think most of us are Mississippians first….and Bulldogs/Rebels/Golden Eagles second.

And it brings to mind another movie quote:

“I don’t want to kill you! What would I do without you?……You… you… complete… me.” -The Joker