BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST (1998)
Okay, so his "Common Man" persona might be pure populist shtick--considering the state of modern sports, such shtick has never sounded so righteous. Cole's gift is for tapping into the amused bafflement of ordinary fans, the sort who'll never come close to seeing the inside of a luxury box, the folks who understand quite well that big-time sports is an ethical and financial cesspool, but who nevertheless can't stop giving a damn about the hometown teams. The Common Man is Their Guy--the one with no connections in high places, the cheap-seat buddy who welcomes callers into the Commonwealth by letting them choose their own on-the-air monikers (some of our personal favorites: "Brain Dead Guy," "Moniker Lewinsky Guy," and "Above It All Gal"). Crucially, Cole's low-decibel deadpan never comes at a caller's expense; in fact, the Common Man can recast even the most inane audience contributions into solid corner-bar philosophy. And despite his station's somewhat disingenuous admission that "he's not the most knowledgeable, he's not the most read," Cole offers analysis that is no less valid--and is certainly more entertaining--than the double-dribble of establishment jocks who hobnob with the big boys.