[../../../_private/magazine_tmp.htm]Sports On The Air










By Ben Sturtevant
At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, he's definitely bigger than the Huge One (Jim Rome of XTRA 690), but fifth-year Chargers defensive end Burt Grossman is strictly a small guy in terms of radio experience.
Nevertheless, Grossman will be a regular on KFMB 760 AM this season.
Grossman's Charger report can be heard Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Hudson & Bauer morning show on KFMB and on Tuesday afternoons (5:45 p.m.) with Mark Larson.
Grossman's said he's not a morning person. Getting up early and immediately going on the air made him respect morning talk-show hosts.
"It's not easy," the barrel-chested lineman said. "They expect clever stuff, and that's tough that early in the morning. But it's a lot easier than football."
The football player, who hails from Philadelphia, was a first-round draft choice from Pittsburgh in 1989. He was one of the Chargers' top defensive performers last season. The club won the AFC West Division with an 11-5 record en route to an appearance in the playoffs. In 1992, Grossman recorded eight quarterback sacks, third highest total on the team. At 26, he's at the peak of his NFL career.
His other career, radio, seems to be blossoming as well. Although Grossman's broadcast runs only 10 to 15 minutes, he's a hot commodity.
Right after he committed to KFMB for the season, Grossman said XTRA Sports 690 and Miller offered him a similar post.
"I was surprised he was available," KFMB program director Bill Stairs said. "If I were XTRA, I would have scooped him right up. He's really articulate and Burt has no problems expressing his opinion."
That's what makes Grossman an attractive radio voice. He's not afraid to say what's on his mind. Grossman's nickname, according to the team's media guide, is "Big Mouth."
"I'm fortunate,'' Grossman said. "I can say anything to anyone on this team. And they know it's just the way I am. It always turns into a joke."
Quick with the one-liners, Grossman is a favorite to quote among those who cover the Chargers.
"He's a natural," said KFMB sports reporter Mike Trussell. "He's a funny guy, and he's got a lot of talent."
"He's got some personality," agreed XTRA's Brad Cesmat.
Grossman is proud of his newly found talent, but he's a football player first. If the team hadn't been so successful last season, he doubted he'd have accepted KFMB's offer.
"It would be hard if we were 6-10 or 4-12," Grossman said. "Sometimes when you're losing, it's hard to be witty. It's not the time or the place. People will think you don't care."
Grossman was an economics major at Pittsburgh, and he doesn't care for Bill Clinton's economic policy. That's one reason his favorite radio personality is Rush Limbaugh.
"I like Jeff & Jer too," Grossman said. "They're pretty funny."
Grossman said he'd like to stay in the media business when his playing days are over.
"I'd like to announce football games," he said. "You never run out of material.
"I like radio [better than other media]. With newspapers, you don't always get to say what you want. Things get left out. I don't mind TV, but you get caught up in how you look. You have to put some kind of physical act on."
He'd rather save that for the football field.

All Charged Up
This year marks XTRA Sports 690's seventh season as the Chargers' flagship station. Coverage of the AFC West Division champs is heavier than ever. The same crew - XTRA aanouncers Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton and Brad Cesmat, and ex-Chargers Jim Laslavic and Pat Curran - is back for season No. 7.
XTRA is again counting on Chargers fans to possess the stamina to listen to more than eight consecutive hours of Chargers coverage on game days plus daily reiteration on the weekday sports-talk shows.
"Every year someone asks us if we're going overboard [with the coverage]," XTRA's Brad Cesmat, who hosts both a pre-game and post-game show, said. "It's an eight-hour program. We do make a big deal of it. We treat it like a big event. Football's a religion in other parts of the country. It's getting close to that here."
XTRA program director Howard Freedman said the increased popularity of the Chargers and of the show has brought in loads of advertising money.
"Everyone likes a winner," Freedman said. "We've had a significant improvement [in sponsorship] over last year at this time. We're way ahead."
The Charger marathon begins three hours before kickoff with the "Tailgate Talk Show" hosted by Cesmat and Laslavic. Then comes "The Countdown to Kickoff" with Hacksaw, followed by the game.
Hacksaw, Laslavic and Curran handle the play-by-play and analysis. After the game, the "Locker Room Report," which features interviews with players and coaches, comes on. If fans don't get their fill of Charger chatter, Cesmat returns to the air with "Charger Talk," a show broadcast from Brewskie's Pub downtown.
During the week, listeners can hear Chargers head coach Bobby Ross Mondays and Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on "The Loose Cannons." Ross also joins Hacksaw on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 and takes fans' calls.
On Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. Chargers General Manager Bobby Beathard adds commentary on Hamilton's show. Midday man Jim Rome usually interviews at least one Charger or a player from an enemy team daily.
Don't Forget the Aztecs
With all the hoopla over the Chargers, where is the time for San Diego State football? XTRA found the answer.
On Saturdays Brad Cesmat oversees a two-hour pre-game show, the play-by-play of the game and of course, the post-game show, "Aztec Talk."
"I'm a college football junkie," Cesmat said.
Cesmat also hosts a syndicated show called "This Week in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference)." The program can be heard on XTRA Friday evenings (5:30 p.m.) during Hacksaw's regular talk show. "This Week in the WAC" is so popular that a station in nearly every city represented by the WAC has picked up the show.
The program includes features football news, interviews with coaches and players from around the league and advances on the weekend's action.
Cesmat came up with the idea for the show six years ago.
"It's been great for my career," he said. "It's opened up a lot of opportunities for me. It gives me a great perspective of what's happening in the conference."
If fans are still hungry for college game talk, they can tune in to Aztecs head coach Al Luginbill on XTRA Tuesday evenings (6:30 p.m.) for a half-hour during Hacksaw's show.

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