BEST SPORTS-TALK RADIO HOST - 2005
Every year we struggle with this category. There's just too much inanity that goes with the territory of hosting a sports-talk show. In order to be successful, you've got to spend way too much time pandering to the kind of sub-chimpanzee listeners who believe that the main problem with the Wolves this season was that Wally didn't shoot the ball enough, and that the funniest two words ever uttered over the airwaves are Ndudi Ebi (and not because of his lack of basketball skills). We were all set to hand this award to Paul Allen, co-host of the P.A. & Dubay Show on KFAN (AM 1130). He's obviously the smartest and most talented host in this market (and we love his horse-racing calls out at Canterbury Park). But then we remembered that Allen's also the most annoying host on the dial. His crank-head delivery, banal Stuart Scott-isms, and relentless fellating of the Vikings unfortunately overshadow his other merits. Which leaves us with the anti-P.A.: Dan Barreiro. We were always lukewarm on his Star Tribune column, but now that he's abandoned print completely for the less arduous pastures of talk radio, we've developed a guarded affection for the hairless, joyless old curmudgeon. Barreiro largely avoids the sycophancy of his peers, delivering astute, unvarnished assessments of the local teams. He also doesn't pander to the cretins that generally clog the station's telephone lines, cutting off callers with a dismissive grunt. And listening to Barreiro discuss hip hop--a topic that surfaces with bewildering frequency--is among the funniest things we've ever heard on the radio.