Is the Ball(790AM) Going Flat?

Posted by Andy Durham on August 15, 2006 at 10:21 am under Amateur | 20 Comments to Read

I have been getting calls lately asking me if I have been listening to Sports Talk Radio 790 the Ball. I do listen much of the day but it is usually in and out of the car and around lunch time when the Jim Rome show comes on and I am into some paper work and this allows me to listen non-stop for a couple of hours. The word that I keep hearing is that the Ball is going Flat.

The Bill Kimm Show seems to draw the ire of most of my callers. The people that I have been talking to know Sports and they want to hear Sports. BK is becoming like the BK Broiler. He is fast burning out and losing his audience. I do not get to catch all of Bill’s show because around 10am I am hitting the computer and following up on my previous day’s work and making plans for the new day.

I always hear small portions of BK’s show in the 9 o’clock hour and the part that I remember most from a recent show that has me thinking that maybe they should call this the Bill Kimberly Show, was the time Bill Kimberly starts talking about his wife and her friends sitting around the house last night having a scrapbook party. BK’s wife and two other hot chicks as Kimberly called them sitting around the stinking house and making a scrapbook. That’s a great topic for a Sports Talk Show.

BK is making his bed and he will be lying in it. I hope he will be in his bed with his wife and not those other two chicks as well. Kimm is not keeping his listeners in fact he is running them away. A very good example comes from Bill Kimm and 790’s so-called BALL CLUB. You call in and get registered to be in the BALL CLUB, and when they call out your name over the air on 790, if you call in within the alloted time you win a prize pacakge. I have spoken directly with BALL CLUB winners and they are ticked off. You have to drive all the way to the other side of High Point and pick up your BIG PRIZE and when you get there, you got nothing. Nothing but a Stinkin’ cup holder and BALL key chain. You’re supposed to be winning BALL GEAR which would lead you to believe that you have won a “T” Shirt or maybe a BALL Cap. No such luck. They should give you a tank of gas for driving all the way to the other side of High Point.

Is the BALL going flat? When Kimm was away on vacation, possibly on a trip to Asia to receive a new coaster for his BALL beer mug, the shows were pretty good. Dave(Borin’)Goren of TV 12 Sports filled in along with Joel Glasgow of NEWS 2 Sports, and then there was Mike Hogewood of FOX Sports and Lincoln Financial ACC Sports. Hogewood, being a real local person from Greensboro is always fun to listen to. Joel Glasgow does a good job and Joel knows his info and is prepared to carry the 3 hours. Joel seems to know a lot about all sports and especially is keen on the Carolina Panthers. The sports update guy is the man who carries that station. Drew Davis is on the Ball and does an outstanding job on all his responsibilities.

Is the Ball going flat? On their Summer Tour Remotes the Ball uses BALL GIRLS to draw in the Huge Crowds. These girls sound like they are in Middle School. They sound like little kids when they are talking and doing their promos on the air on the Ball. 850 the Buzz has Buzz Babes and these girls sound like they are at least in College. You might get arrested if you are seen talking to the BALL GIRLS out in public. To make the Summer Tour more effective, the BALL tries to draw you the listener into these events but when you get to say the Jersey Mike’s Sub Shop, this week’s official tour stop, the BALL is giving you nothing for coming out to the event. How’s about another FREE BALL KEY CHAIN? A chance to win $79.00 in cash? “Show me the Money”, said one BALL listener who obviously didn’t see anything but a Middle School BALL GIRL and her Mom sitting over in the corner by a fish bowl.

Well, Lahddy Da Da Da…….. It looks like we have answered our question. With the exception of the Jim Rome Show and Prime Time with the Pac Man, the Ball is going FLAT. I like Jim Rome’s Show and have really enjoyed it recently while JR has been on vacation and Jim Lampley, Roger Lodge, John Feinstein and others have been hosting. Pac Man’s show can get silly but they do have good guests and solid contributing guest co-hosts.

Marine SGT. Leroy Key may have said it best when on his 790 the Ball public service announcement he says “I have just started my 3rd Tour of Iraq and never have I been so glad to be out of the country”. Why do you think Key keeps going back to IRAQ? The BALL is going Flat and SGT. Key is glad to be the heck out of this stinkin’ place.


  • Bill O'Cahallan said,

    A very insightful piece: Kimm’s broadcasts have gotten progressively staler with time. Unlike a fine wine, he has not aged well. We are now well into 8 months of this “experiment” and I feel, it may indeed be time to pull the plug on the BK show, if nothing else but for the sake of saving 790 the Ball and sports radio in the Triad. We’ve already lost one radio station, and I fear if the BK show train wreck is allowed to endure the station will continue to lose more and more listeners to Satellite radio or ESPN.com streaming. Alas, I feel it’s time that 790 ponied up some dollar$$ and hired a real sports announcer.
    Bill O’Callahan – Pennsylvania Wire Service

  • Carl J Hawks III said,

    Right on, Andy! It is sooooo true. I’m gonna get t-shirts made that read “I went to see the BALL GIRLS and all I got was this stinkin’ key chain.”

    “Off the Wall Sports Show” forever . . .

  • Steve said,

    I agree with you on the BK show–to a degree. I think BK is trying to be like Rome or Dan Patrick or other national hosts that drop hints of their personal lives…but BK might take it to a new level. It’s almost like he’s trying to be extra witty. I listen when I can, and sometimes it is hard to hear. I actually heard BK and one of his hosts rating the Duke women’s basketball team! They actually went down the roster and said she’s hot, she’s not hot…it was amazing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I would have called in, but I was busy. Can you imagine if you were a parent of one of those athletes? C’mon! Bring back Big Mo. Keep your columns coming.

  • Kevin said,

    A friend forwarded me this post as Im such a big 790 the Ball fan…didnt want to post but youre wrong on so much stuff, I felt I had to correct you. First off, Ive never heard anyone complain so much about free stuff. As a former Ball Club winner, I was quite happy with my prize, I won John Scherholtz’ book. So it was worth the drive to me. But again..its free, what is your problem? As for the Summer Tour stops…theyve given away $79 dollars 3 times a week since June. Thats a lot of money, so yeah the thanks for showing up prize might not be the best…what do you want exactly? As for the Ball Girls, the couple I have met are in college and actually great girls to talk to. Very educated and nice. Your issues with Bill, hey not everyone will like him, I do. I think hes entertaining and I enjoy his show, you dont and thats your perrogative. If you dont like him, turn him off. I will say that your name calling of Bill is really childish and shows your immaturity on the issue. Like him or dont like him, no reason to stoop to the level of a child.

  • Tim said,

    I think this article hits on some solid points in a very indirect manner. I miss Mark Amazon and I always will. Mark had a spark about him that is hard to pinpoint. Bill comes across as a guy that was thrust into a position that he wasn’t ready to handle. The guy from Channel 2 sports would make a better host and they need to get him off of TV. The News 2 guy is contraversial and he cusses a lot and that makes him kind of like the neighborhood saddle spur. The News 2 guy gets under your skin and Bill is just sort of THERE and then again maybe he’s not there. 790 should also consider going with all network shows or pick up the REAL BILL, Bill Rosinski the former Panthers radio guy. I hear him on 620 the BULL between 10am and Noon. I do like the open minded forum that we find here on this website and I wish 790 would let you speak out or give a shout out like you can here at greensborosports. I really miss Mark Amazon and has anyone heard from him?

  • Terry said,

    Just how “FREE” are the BALL GEAR GIVEAWAYS (key chains, stickers, cup holders) when gas is $2.99 a gallon, and you have to drive a distance to the Ball stops OR to the other end of High Point to get to the radio station??? GSO listeners are easily paying $6 – $9 in gas to go up and back to get a chintzy cap, key chain or cup holder! Yeah, the Ball gives away $79 and that’s great, but they announce it as such. There’s no need for them to hype what they call “BALL GEAR” (i.e. key chains, calendars, etc) or to offer club listeners what they call a “prize package” (e.g., A cap and key chain stuffed in a manilla envelope). Why don’t they just be honest and let the listeners know up front what the station is ACTUALLY giving away (minus the hype) and let the listeners decide for themselves if it’s worth $2.99/gallon to drive to pick up their prize? It’s what we call “Truth in Advertising”

  • Greg said,

    If you’re going to trash something, you might want to get people’s names right. Joel Glasgow?

  • David said,

    I just wish they would talk all sports and not about some lame movie with Snakes that are flying airplanes. Why talk about some stupid movie that doesn’t involve Sports. The producer said he had the Carolina Panthers lined up to come on the show. Maybe the Panthers backed out when they heard it was a show talking about Snakes and Ken Stabler’s name was not being mentioned. Keep it on Sports and you will have me on board and this Website may want to take the same advice, if you want me coming back to greensborosports keep it on Sports and don’t get off on politics, movies, TV or radio unless it’s Sports Radio and I think your article did a pretty good job of breaking down the local Sports Radio.

  • Craig said,

    Yeah, I didn’t understand all the Snake on the Plane talk today. Like 2 hrs. on that??? What happened, did they run out of sports news? Interesting article.

  • Andy said,

    I’m sorry I stirred up so much trouble. I never dreamed that people would respond like this. Maybe I should wash my hands clean and just walk away.
    KNOT………………………………………………………………………………………..

  • Greg said,

    As lame as 790 the Ball can be at times, at least they don’t waste time with high school football. I would imagine about 3 people collectively listen to HS football.

  • Paul Lambeth said,

    The simple fact is this. We have not been properly served sports talk wise since the days of The Ticket.

    Now that was a sports talk station.

    Matt & TJ were one of the , if not the best, morning show this market EVER had. And far and away the best sports talk show we ever had around here. All apologies to 2 guys named Chris or to any of the other legends this area has produced. And all apologies to you and the other sports talk hosts who have graced our presence over the years. Especially to Big Mo since I used to work for him. But by the end of their run they were starting to get huge.

    The problem was from what I understand a lack of ad revenue. That is why one day they were there, and the next they were gone. And when they left that was the beginning of the end of the station formerly known as The Ticket. Of course there is a lot more to the story as 1320 was one of those stations caught in the consolidation craze of the late 90’s.The simple fact is this, when push would have come to shove The Ticket was going to get screwed no matter what. Matt is still around as he can be heard breaking in on John Boy & Billy over on the buzzard, no telling what happened to ole TJ, last I remember of him was when he was still doing weekends over at Rock92, but that’s been at least four years ago since I last remember him on air.

    But the real end was about a year before that when they went from all 1on1 programming the rest of the day (which was quite good at the time) to slamming in 2 hours of the sports blob and all three or four of Romey. Which did not go over too well as Johnny Renshaw was really picking up steam around here. The Blob was always a novelty act and Rome though at the top of his game just did not (and still does not) translate well to this market

    I went to a couple of the parties they used to hold over at Players and when Renshaw would come to town people would just go nuts and the place would be packed. Those days are long gone though, at this point The Freak is down in of all places, Tallahassee, doing a sports/guy talk show on WUTL 106.1 . Go to thetalkfm.com to learn more.

    Memo to the management of the Ball, if you want to bring in someone who can get it done in this market and who’s hiring would create a buzz, bring in the Freak. But GHB is just too blasse and content to be a bad imatator of The Buzz, right down to the imaging voice. When I was the station producer for ESPN 1590 at every remote we ever had people asked what ever happened to the freak which tells me he still could be huge here if someone would give him half a chance.

    Yet when The Broiler says in the N&R that he sees The Ball being all local one day, I would say he’s talking out of his arse. The Buzz is what they have become because they have an excellent daytime signal coupled with a sales staff and management that is top notch. Along with a stable of local hosts who have been in the market for a long time and whom know the pulse of the market. The Ball has none of those attributes.

    While were playa hating, let’s just see what The Ball has.

    Czabe & The First Team, ok now those guys are actually pretty cool, when he was with 1on1 Czabe built enough of a rep in Charlotte alone to entice 610 into making him an offer, which for both parties involved turned out to be a big mistake. But Czabe has bounced back, and to be honest this show is what ESPN’s Mutt and Jeff morning show is supposed to be. So give credit where credit is due.

    BK, ok I have to admit I don’t get to listen much. But what I have heard is pretty much boiler plate. Now if I could hear more I would say more, one thing that I can say though is dude cannot read a clock to save his life. Not that there is anything wrong with running long every once in a while, but he is chronically late to his breaks. This I think falls on his producer, a strong producer will make sure the show runs like clockwork.

    When I producer Big Mo & The Mac Daddy ole Bill Madden coveyed to me just how important this is to making sure a show can be the best it can be. Our signal and equipment may not have been the best, but we sure did everything we could to make our show as professional as possible. BK just seems to not give a damn. And he, much like Mark Amazon, really does not understand this very unique market just yet and he comes off as a carpetbagger.

    Romey, he can still be funny from time to time. And the top end callers are perhaps the best and most recognizable callers for any talk show in America regardless of genre. But in the end he is tired, but it is still the best option for that time of day. But as I said before, it really just does not translate well to this market.

    The Packman however does so quite nicely. Again give credit where it is due. Over at 1590 we decided to give that abomination Conference Call a try, wish we had that one to do all over again. But to be honest I went thru Atlanta a few months back and finally heard 2live Stu’s and if anyone ever decides to take on The Ball, run that opposite Packman and you odds increase exponentially.

    The one thing The Ball has coming from Atlanta, the Braves, are just worthless. Why bother to have something that involves the amount of airtime that the Braves do when 80-90% of your audience cannot hear the games because of your weak nighttime pattern??

    For that matter I don’t see the Ball making it longterm unless they start simucasting on their sister FM 98.3 . Sports talk would be a lot better than stale syndicated country. Plus I just do not see how the Ball can be even remotely attractive to advertisers with the signal they have now. Unless that is you have a really good sales staff. Obviously The Ball is missing the latter, at least over at 1590 Mo & Mac could sell ice to an eskimo. The Ball couldn’t sell water to a man dying of thirst, they would want to have a remote first so they could give away cup holders and key chains. Which is sad because I do think GHB broadcasting wants this station to work for the long term. They actually have a history of trying to make the formats in their stations work, unlike the ownership for ESPN 1590 who were just out to turn the station over to make a buck. And suffice to say they made quite a few when everything was said and done.

    The App St games are nice as a novelty. But to be honest just how much weight can a 1AA program carry for a station that is outside of it’s natural area? BTW-Mountaineer fan, don’t start thinking your going to go into Carter Finley and pull one over on the Pack, fahgetaboutit.

    The Saturday blitz is a good idea in principle. Though Brad Hines is just too Yankee to stomach. But at least they get to their breaks on time! To be honest I don’t even really think to listen very often. The main thing I would change is the time slot, move it up a couple of hours earlier in the day, instead of 10-12 go 8-11 and that way you can go right into FSR’s day coverage or to the pregame of any contest you would have that would fall in the noon slot.

    The imaging is just too much like The Buzz. Except more annoying, especially the ‘number one sports station’ in the triad promo. I know they are trying to be funny, but at least The Ticket had enough of an audience back in the day to actually make the book! The spring book posted on allaccess.com makes no mention of The Ball.

    But again I will give credit where it is due, Drew Davis or whomever is in charge of putting together promo’s does a nice job of making sure new promo’s are regularly inserted. The quality of which are quite attractive, the relevence of which sometimes is lacking. The local updates are nice, and well done, especially the work of Hines, yes as a hosts he comes off too Yankee but it translates very nicely for the short sports break segments. I just wonder how they keep that many people on staff with as few local spots that I hear. Then again they have money for billboards all over town, so I guess they have the money to spend on an airstaff.

    All things considered I would say The Ball is a slightly above average sports talk station but one which still has a long way to go in terms of understanding the audience and making themselves attractive to those who would not be listening to sports talk otherwise.

    Something which The Ticket understood well.

    The Producer Formerly Known As Paulie Walnuts

  • JIM MODLIN said,

    I DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THE BALL’S PROGRAMMING NOW. THE REASONS ARE THAT BILL KIMM IS LIKE A TEENAGER DOING SPORTS-NO SEASONING WHATSOEVER. JIM ROME’S SHOW IS LIKE BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD DO SPORTS. THE PACKER SHOW IS GEARED TOWARDS CHARLOTTE AS HARD AS THEY TRY NOT TO BE, PLUS SO MANY TYPICAL FAN BANTER-BORING. I LISTEN TO SPORTING NEWS RADIO 600 A.M. OR 1230 A.M. WHEN I’M IN THE SPORTS MOOD, WHICH IS OFTEN. 790 IS MINOR LEAGUE TO SUM IT ALL UP. JIM

  • AJ said,

    Wow, I just discovered this site and its nice to see someone actually cares about sportstalk in the Triad. I was a sportstalker in KC (810 WHB) and Nashville (104.5) and have been pulling for the The Ball to make it so its been interesting to listen to comments about the station. My family in the area have just never “gotten it” regarding how big sportstalk is in areas like KC and Nashville. It doesn’t sound good for “The Ball”, to bad.

    BTW, I worked closely with John (The Freak) Renshaw in at 810 WHB in KC where he did mornings in ’03-’04. John’s a great guy, but has some serious issues to deal with (substance abuse, depression) that have really limited his progress.

    I wish him well, but he’s probably not someone I would invest in longterm if I were a station–810 WHB did and got burnt.

  • AJ said,

    I forgot to ask, why did Mark Amazon leave “The Ball”???

    I thought BK and Amazon came as a team…

  • Merv said,

    Just discovered this site and I’m surprised regarding the feedback especially from Paul.

    I was the hugest Big Mo fan ever and I personally met him several times and he was about as nice as anyone could be. I loved his radio show and called regularly to chat with him. He definitely knows his sports and was a great pleasure to listen to. I was so freaking pissed when 1590 went off the air, b/c before, I never listened to 790 and hated it.

    Well, I had to get used to it, and Czabe is okay when he’s not acting like a bigot (yes he has a clear hatred for Arabs-which of course is okay b/c apparently we’re all scum). Bill Kim, he does indeed sound like a teenager and could probably do a lot better if he tries. Jim Rome is pretty cool, but I swear to God he’ll repeat the same thing over and over for like 1o minutes (when he’s making a point) and I want to physically harm the radio during these periods. Pac Man is cool, but there are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many redneck callers who are extremely annoying and I can’t stomach them. QCB is a funny mofo, and I love to listen to him go off, but even he can drive me crazy sometimes.

    Oh yeah, WTF? Sunday morning they broadcast some Preacher bullsh%t. If I wanted the sermon, I’d go to church. I don’t and I don’t.

    I talked to Big Mo a few months ago and he is currently on an internet talk radio show called “talkstar”, I believe. The problem is, I don’t have the chance to listen. 🙁

    Anyways, long post saying a bunch of nothing.

  • Dtrain said,

    I think the Ball is just fine. Im a long time sports talk radio listener in this area. I was a regular caller on the Sports Fanatics on 1230am hosted by Matt and TJ before they started doing the morning show on the Ticket. I still have a 1320 the Ticket t-shirt which i cherish. The Ticket was the good ol days. I love The Packman Show. QCB is the man.I also Bill Kimm. I really don’t care for the Jim Rome Show. The Colin cowherd show that was broadcasted on ESPN 1590 is a good show. I think the Ball is doing fine. Any sports talk is better than none.

  • Andy said,

    Thanks for the comment Dtrain and it’s good to know that this article we did back in the summer is still generating activity here at greensborosports.com. It is also good to know that although the numbers are a bit small, we do have passionate sports fans here in the area. I agree with your last statement and I should also let everyone know that they can now hear the Dan Patrick Show on 1440 AM WLXN out of Lexington when they are driving aound during the day.(1-4pm) greensborosports.com is good sports outlet too and with the addition of Paul Lambeth and Jim Modlin we are still growing and we can be a big part of the local sports scene. In remembrance of: Matt and TJ were a solid duo on 1320. Jock and Jimmy were also a tough act to follow on 1400. Jock Lobotamata should be in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Shame.

  • Charlie said,

    Bill Kimm is gone
    Marc Amazon is gone
    ESPN radio is gone
    Who has time to listen to sports radio on weekends. That is the only time that there is a local show. I agree that BK was not too hot as a host but he was a great booker and hooked Marc and himself up with some pretty good guests. It’s funny the way 790 does things. One day you’re there the next you’re gone and the website is changed so that there is no record of there ever having been a Bill Kim or a Marc Amazon. What happened? Tell us something. We want to know.

  • Andy said,

    Charlie, I am trying to line up an interview with Noel Glasgow of NEWS 2 Sports. He worked with Bill Kimm on the BK Show and Noel might be able to break down why the Ball began to fall.