By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Hacksaw has fallen silent for a moment. Somewhere in Trophy's, somebody drops a fork.
"That's what makes me different," Hacksaw says. "That's why I'm here."
But that's not to say he doesn't aspire to more—or that his loyalty to his tried-and-true format blinds him to the possibilities of hitching it to something new. The landscape of radio ownership is consolidating, and it was recently announced that XTRA and KXTA will soon merge their programming into a simulcast. That means Jim Rome and Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton will be colleagues again. Of course, this time, Rome will be the much bigger star—not that Hacksaw seems to notice. He gets almost giggly as he fantasizes about what might be ahead.
"The theory is to have Hacksaw and Romie become the Southern California version of Mike and the Mad Dog—a couple of guys from New York who are probably the most recognizable pair of sports-talk show hosts," says Hacksaw, and it's hard not to notice he gave himself top billing. "It would probably work—heck, we would probably be even bigger because we'll have a bigger signal than them. With our signals combined, we have the potential to reach 22 million people. That's pretty doggone big."
And the way Hacksaw dreams it, that audience might get even bigger. After all these years, maybe he could finally be nationally syndicated, too.
"This might be the first step toward that," he advises in the same you-heard-it-here-first tone he uses on the radio, then lays out a scenario he has obviously been plotting for awhile. "See, Clear Channel is part owner of Fox radio, and Clear Channel also owns the Premier network, which owns Rome. I could see, in the big picture of things, one morning waking up and Fox coming down and saying to me, 'We have Tony Bruno, we're putting Rome on the Fox network, and you're going to be part of the Fox network, as are the Loose Cannons. I could see those dominos falling. The dominos could fall in that direction, where we could really make Fox cook."
But at the moment, there's a twentysomething guy standing in front of Hacksaw's table, signaling respectfully—but urgently—for his attention. He says he's late for work at the Irvine Improv, where he's a waiter, but knowing Hacksaw was doing his show at Trophy's, well, he just couldn't resist swinging through Trophy's to meet his sports-talk radio idol . . . and to get a pair of free tickets to that San Diego State game.