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Hogging the channels

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Opinion

I have a lot of my grandparents in me. I’m cheap.

I also love the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to radio, television, and an Arkansas game. I grew up listening to free radio and watching free television. So, the idea of paying money to listen to or watch an Arkansas Razorbacks game is foreign to me.

I’m not doing it.

Located in southwest Arkansas, Ashdown was and still is in a good geographic location to pick up games on the radio. Stations roll in from Texarkana, Dallas, Little Rock, Shreveport, and sometimes Houston.

The television stations we received were all in Shreveport, so Razorback, Cowboys, and sometimes Saints games might also be broadcast on TV.

Television antennas were as plentiful as chimneys. Every house had an antenna. They were attached to a galvanized pole that towered above your home so that the signals could be grabbed from the air and sent down a ribbon-shaped wire to the TV.

It was how we watched everything, including our beloved Razorbacks.

Arkansas didn’t have a professional sports team (still doesn’t), so the Hogs playing was a not-to-be-missed event.

Game time was a significant moment each week. No one planned anything other than watching Arkansas play. Anyone who did was looked at with a raised eyebrow and were secretly questioned as possibly being a communist.

People also took Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys to heart. Even the preacher could find himself in perilous territory if his sermon ran past the kickoff of a noon Sunday Cowboys game.

There was something special about listening to and watching college and professional sports back then. The broadcast teams who called the games felt like family.

Pat Summerall called many of the Cowboys games on CBS. My broadcasting career brought me in contact with many celebrities, including Mr. Summerall. I was paired with him in a golf tournament back in the 90s. He was extremely nice and sounded just like he did on television. But that’s for another day.

When I was in high school, I got a job at the local radio station, KMLA. I was assigned to work most weekends, and evenings during the week. That meant I was frequently at the station when the Razorbacks, Cowboys, and other favorites played.

I got paid to listen to ball games. It felt like stealing.

If you’re a Razorbacks fan, where I live now in Texas is a lot like Siberia. Radio and TV here rarely carry a Hogs game unless you’re paying for it. And I just can’t bring myself to do that.

So as Arkansas launched their new season, I searched for the game on TV. It was available – if I paid for it.

I looked at the schedules of the local radio stations, even texted a friend who owns one of them, yet none of them were carrying the game.

The apps on my phone offered to provide me audio of the game – if I paid for it.

Then, it dawned on me that Arkansas radio stations would be carrying the game. I found 92.1 FM The Team, which is in Fayetteville. They carry the Razorbacks and stream the games free on the Internet.

I tuned it in on my computer and turned up the volume. My wife and I listened as the Hogs brought home the win.

Other things have aligned with the stars. Our minister is a Razorbacks fan. So, I have some extra-potent prayer going for my team. And my grandparents would be proud since I found a way to hear the games at no cost.

The Lord takes care of his children. Even his cheap Razorbacks children.

By John Moore

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