BEST SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST Minneapolis 2003 - Chad Hartman on KFAN-AM 1130
This is not exactly a bang-up market for sports talk radio, which means listeners with a hankering for hours of inane prattle about the ins and outs of the NFL draft or rule changes in the NBA don't have a lot of options. Thankfully, however, we do have KFAN, and by and large the station's roster of hosts is more than happy to indulge the local zealot's appetite for inanity. There is also, of course, the long-running Saturday morning Reusse and Soucheray sports talk show up the dial at KSTP, but that has been strictly a good news (Reusse)/bad news (Soucheray) proposition for years. We've been passing the best-of ball around for years now in this category, and this season we're giving the nod to the Fan's Chad Hartman (2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays), the closest thing local sports talk has to a Renaissance man. We've had plenty of time to bemoan Hartman's split with his longtime partner Dan Barreiro, and though we're pretty much over it now, we still think it was a boneheaded move on Barreiro's part. Alone, Barreiro comes off as merely shrill and frequently bored, and he hasn't yet made the adjustment for the loss of the chemistry he had with Hartman. Hartman, however, has done just fine on his own--to our surprise, quite honestly. He's reasonable (almost to a fault), but he's also broader than the average sports talk jock and can comfortably steer the conversation into interesting tributaries (music, politics, film, and pop culture) that leave the sports prattle behind for a time. It's not exactly a fast-track-to-fame strategy to come off as genuinely pleasant and intelligent in the world of talk radio, but it's to Hartman's credit that he's stuck to his strengths and carved out a niche on his own terms.