A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The BIG MO Show
WINSTON SALEM, NC.–If you are ever passing through the Triad area of North Carolina, more specifically High Point and you happen to be listening to ESPN Radio 1590, you may be treated to a new sound. A sound of a man with a deep and burly voice, laughing and having fun and discussing the world of sports with knowledgable listeners. If you hear who I am speaking of, then you are listening to Maurice “Big Mo” Stanfield and the “Big Mo Show” on ESPN 1590 in High Point.
Big Mo is not so much unique because of his “Barry White” like voice, his imposing physical stature, or his knowledge of the world of sports although you can make an argument for such a thing. What makes Mo unique is the fact that he is one of the few African Americans not only in the Triad area(GREENSBORO, HIGH POINT, WINSTON SALEM) but in the state of NC, that is a sports radio talk show host. Something he loves to do and hopes that he can serve as a role model and mentor to young and upcomiong African American men and women. Big Mo, as he is affectionately called, got his start in radio around 1993 in Richmond Virginia during a call on a show. He impressed the host so much that the host invited him to come in to the studio and co-host “Right Down The Line” sports television show with him. The response was such that a spin-off show, which dealt more with issues in sports, aired. He also hosted a radio show which was also called “Right Down The Line” on WHAP 1340 AM Radio in 1994. Mo told me his love for radio was originated by his grandmother. “ When I was a kid, my grandmother use to tell us that Television was evil so we were only allowed to listen to radio and listening to such great sports guys growing up in Chicago had a profound impact on me and God just saw fit for me to do sports”, he said. Mo hasn’t always done sports radio, he actually had an opportunity to work on the music side; a side he said he never wants to go back to. “ I love sports with a passion and I couldn’t see myself spinning a Bobby Brown record and records like that. I would go postal”, he said. “When working for a music station, you are limited because they treat you like a chimpanzee and you have to keep playing those same 4 records over and over again, there is no freedom, you can be so much more daring and I didn’t like it plus there is no money in it,” he also said. Mr. Stanfield never thought he would be in the sports radio business this long because he didn’t see or know of many African American men and women enduring such longevity as he has.
“I never thought I would be around in the sports radio business this long because I didn’t see too many people who look like me or who are African American and especially when the norm for African Americans was to be a rapper or a “comic baffoon”; no one thought that a black man can be articulate, well versed and knowledgable in the world of sports”, he said. “I think Brian Burrell (formerly of Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO) who writes for the St. Louis Dispatch, Bryant Gumble who is smooth and elegant and is a person who people may think comes across as arrogant but delivers his monologue very intelligently and is very believable, the late Ralph Wiley, Michael Wilbon and my friend Charles McNeil who taught me to be on top of my game daily”, he also said. When it comes to the lack of African Americans in the world of sports radio is a two part problem according to “BIG MO”. “I think the lack of African Americans in the world of sports radio is both institutionalized racism and the lack of interest from blacks too”, he said. “ A lot of it is still the “old boy network” and the reality of it is that some guys should not be allowed no where near a microphone let alone a studio and they usually get their job in the business because of who they know, where they went to school or who’s fanny they kissed on the way to the top”, he also said. Despite all of that, Mo believes the opportunities are there through black radio ownership.
“There are a lot of black owned stations that can do a lot of good and inform a lot of us that love sports”. “ There are a lot of us that want and crave information in the world of sports and black radio station owners just need to focus on it a little more and realize the value in sports radio and the revenue potential in it”. If we don’t take advantage of the resources and opportunities we have, we will not give an opportunity to the young people who really want to get into this business”, he also said. The one thing that Big Mo would like to see is more creativity from blacks in the industry. “ When you are on the air whether it’s TV or Radio, you have to be colorful, knowledgable and creative. Creative doesn’t mean using improper language or slang, but try and capture the audience”. You don’t have to use bad lanquage or broken English to get your point across.
So many people are critical of guys like Stuart Scott(of ESPN) but he uses street slang and slick monologues to appeal to they young while keeping the older people informed and in touch too”, he said. Mo wants people who listen to his show to not only be informed, but to have their own opinion on things. “ So many sports talk show host decide what people should feel or think on sports topics and I want people to think and decide for themselves. I want people to know the show is about them and know matter how they feel about me or my opinion, I want them to feel like they at least respect me and my opinion as I respect their opinion and that I am very entertaining even beyond the world of sports”, he said. In 1994 he moved to Columbia, South Carolina. He started on WOIC 1230 AM doing a Saturday night sports talk show. In 1995 he went to Sports Radio 1400 and started a mid-Saturday morning sports talk show called “The Saturday Sports Bash”. He was the first local talk show host to bring national sports figures like Jimmy Johnson, Shawn Kemp, and Dennis Rodman to Columbia Sports Talk Radio. In April 1996, he was promoted to Co-Host of “The Wake Up Call”, Columbia’s only morning sports talk show. They drew a huge rating in the 18-24 and 34-54 markets. He left this show in February of 1998 to become Sports Director at WCTG AM 840. In May of 1998 he became the host of his own show called “The Sports Explosion” and received rave reviews. In September 2000 Big Mo left WCTG to come to Clemson, SC to host a new morning show on WCCP 104.9. He hosted this show until January 2003, and then moved to the afternoon show on February 1st. On his show you could hear such big names as Sammy Sosa, two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, Sterling Marlin, John Wooden, Bob Fuller, and Dirk Novitzki, among other guests.
He also talked with analyst from all sports such as Atlanta News assistant Coach Steve Henson, NBA and NCAA’s Gil McGregor, former Buffalo Bill’s linebacker coach Myles Aldridge, CBS sports’ Spencer Tillman, and golf analyst Ben Wright to name a few. So if you are passing through the Triad area, punch up ESPN 1590 and enjoy! The future is bright for Maurice “Big Mo” Stanfield and African Americans in the world of sports radio talk. The future is very bright because of his wisdom, knowledge, courage, endurance, perserverance and colorful character. He is a mentor and leader that young African Americans can hope to be like and look up to and he is someone that young African Americans can learn from……something that sometimes is not “so bright” in the African American community. Mo has been married to his lovely wife Leslie for 13 years and his 5 beloved cats. They all have been solid supporters of Mo and they love each other dearly. It’s Afternoon’s in the Triad with Big Mo, along with Lisa Coleman with traffic. It’s a show which will entertain you with Sportstalk, information, guests and entertainment. The show airs Monday through Friday from 4:00pm until 6:00pm. You can call in at 336-882-1590, and you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s Big Mo taking sportstalk to another level. Monday through Friday’s from 4 until 6 pm on the Triads ESPN 1590. The Only Game In Town!