When I was a young kid, maybe six or seven, my dad gave me a headset with a built-in radio. It was black and bulky and looked ridiculous, I had to angle my head in certain directions in order to get reception, there was a long, annoying antenna, but I loved it.
Before getting that headset I preferred to sleep on my side but I learned to sleep either on my back or my stomach so I could fall asleep listening to that radio. I never knew much about sports before that point. Of course I had heard of all of the teams in Chicago, I knew some of the players, but I didn’t follow anything closely. One of the few channels that came in clearly on that radio headset was a Chicago sports radio station, AM 670 The Score.
I ate that channel up. My favorite show was “The Me and Z Show” hosted by Laurence Holmes and Dan Zampillo. They were on late at night and always kept me laughing with their goofy segments and sound bytes, but I was drawn to their analysis and knowledge of Chicago sports.
The players, that statistics, the opinions, the banter with the callers – I loved all of it, and it slowly became something I would love to see myself do in the future. I was devastated when they had their last show and Zampillo parted ways with The Score, but Laurence Holmes is still with the station and remains one of my favorite on-air personalities.
Boers and Bernstein were, of course, another popular choice for me. If I was home in the afternoon I would always make it a point to at least have the radio on in the background to try to listen to whoever the guest was. Their passionate and sometimes controversial takes on Chicago sports was something I loved to listen to, even when I didn’t necessarily agree with them.
I would especially love when their producers at the time, Jason Goff and Matt Abbatacola, would get involved. Everyone just sounded like a bunch of friends getting together to talk sports. It’s hard not to enjoy listening to someone who is passionate about what they do.
The Score becoming the White Sox flagship station further developed my love for baseball. Chris Rongey hosting the pre- and post-game shows was must-listen radio for me, something that my family never really understood. “Why are you going up to your room to listen to the radio if the game doesn’t start for another thirty minutes?” they would ask. “Gotta hear Rongey!” I would reply.
I’m sitting here at 22-years-old with a bachelor’s degree in communications and I attribute it all to The Score and that little headset radio. I absolutely love to write, I now host a podcast with fellow The Loop Sports writer Owen Schoenfeld, and The Loop Sports will be debuting a podcast of our own coming up later this month. I don’t know if any of that would be of any interest to me if it weren’t for this radio station.
Today marks The Score’s 25th birthday, a momentous occasion for Chicago sports radio and obviously for this station in particular. The impact this station has had on the trajectory of my life has been significant and I think I speak for all of us on the staff here when I say that The Loop Sports wishes The Score a very happy birthday.