TWC Interviews Mike Schopp

You guys are not going to believe this, but a few days ago Mike Schopp of WGR fame agreed to be interviewed for The Willful Caboose. I know. He must have taken a recent blow to the head or something. He’s definitely not thinking clearly. I suppose he figures he really has nothing to lose by tangling with the like of me, but you’d be surprised. My ridiculousness has a way of tainting everything it touches.

I’ll start out by telling you that Mike Schopp is an Official Friend of The Willful Caboose. A few weeks ago he was making a really interesting point on his show and it inspired me to write him an email. He and I have developed an email friendship, and although I probably wouldn’t recognize him on the street, I now consider him a BFF. (I tried to give him half a BFF locket, but Schopp claimed loyalty to Bulldog and declined. Harsh.) I’d also like to thank him for dealing so respectfully with me, a lowly blogger. (He even mentioned TWC on the air once. We’re famous, guys!) Considering his lack of experience reading blogs, he’s been very open-minded about the whole thing.

Just a word of warning: I’m, um, not a journalist….to say the least. I’ve never interviewed anyone before, and once you read this you’ll surely agree that Schopp was very generous to put up with my shenanigans. This interview was conducted over email, so please forgive the lack of conversational flow.

Without further ado, I present Part One of the Mike Schopp Interview:

Katebits: First of all, and most importantly, who is your favorite Sabre? And none of this “I don’t have a favorite”, bullhonky. Who is your man crush? If it makes it any easier, I’ll tell you that my girl crushes are on Kate from Lost, and on all the cylons from Battlestar Galactica. If you have to resort to Sabres from the past, I suppose I’ll allow it, but only because you have to deal with the Sabres in person from time to time. At this point, after all I’ve written on TWC, I think I’d rather die than have to deal with the real life Paul Gaustad, so I can respect it if you’re too bashful to admit he’s your man crush. Just blink twice if it’s Goose. I won’t tell.

Mike Schopp: One of the first things I learned from Mike Robitaille when beginning to work in Buffalo radio was, “You’ll never need a hockey player for a friend.” While I have known a few players through the years, I generally like to keep a safe distance from them. I do consider Martin Biron, Jay McKee and Rick Martin friends, and I feel safer communicating with them now that they no longer play for the team.

I admire certain traits about a few players. I admire Ryan Miller’s analytical mind, and I like when he challenges inquisitors in the locker room like he does shooters on the ice. Brian Campbell and Adam Mair have a great way with people. Gaustad is just a super guy, and I admire how well-rounded his interests in life are. And to finally get to the essence of your original question (I think), on last year’s team there is no question in my mind that Nolan Pratt was the cutest.

Katebits: Oooooh. Good call. Nolan Pratt is extremely adorable. You get a gold star for not only having exemplary tastes, but for being such a good sport about this question.

Please forgive me if this question is insulting. I really, really do not intend for it to be. Do you consider yourself to be a journalist? Radio seems like a no-man’s land between print journalism and a couple of fans shooting the breeze over some beers in a bar. Do you consider radio closer in nature to newspapers, or to fandom?

Mike Schopp: I think of radio not as a “no-man’s land” but as more of a convenience store. We’ll give you the news, we’ll offer personal opinion, we’ll make you laugh and scream. We generally won’t offer the depth of reporting on particular subjects that the newspaper does. (Theoretically, anyway. The Buffalo News’ sports media analysis, for example, is consistently as shallow as a kiddie pool.) But we offer way more volume. As evidenced by sports radio’s massive popularity here and all over the country, this works for people.

Talk-show hosts simply cannot be journalists. The job requires, at least if done well, too much personality. For people to tune in to our show regularly, they have to want to know how Bulldog and I feel about certain stories. I learned this several years ago from Bob Koshinski, a former boss. I asked him his interest in a certain other local radio personality. His response was, “I don’t think people really need to know what he thinks.” People come to your blog to find out what you, Kate, are thinking. It’s personal. This is the key to your success on the blog, and mine on the air.

Katebits: If you had to choose for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Mountains or beaches? Cats or dogs? Television or Internet? Would you choose to have the super power of invisibility, or flight? Please answer carefully. There ARE wrong answers here.

Mike Schopp: Beaches, no doubt. MUST be near water. I’ll never live far from water. I like cats, so cats. Internet will make television obsolete in four years, so Internet. Being invisible would be too cool. And there’s no simulation for it. I can fly- in planes. I don’t even love it.

Katebits: I’m sorry, but “beaches” and “invisibility” are incorrect. Good call with the cats and the internet, though.

Katebits: What’s the best thing about working in radio? What’s the worst?

Mike Schopp: I’ll take the second part first. The worst part — all tied for first place — the thrill of broadcasting on big news days; the access to Sabres management and players; the occasional compliment from a loyal listener who appreciates the show’s variety and sense of humor; the guys I work with, particularly Bulldog and Greg Bauch; the satisfaction of finishing first in the ratings; and being able to do this instead of really working. The best part, obviously, is all the attention I get from women.

Katebits: It’s true. Women love sports talk radio hosts. I can relate because as a viola player, I am highly coveted myself. It’s a perk of the viola biz, for sure.

Speaking of quality dudes, I think everyone should start calling Ryan Miller, “Crunchy”, and Jason Pominville, “Pommerdoodle”. When can I expect you and Bulldog to adopt these nicknames on your radio show?

Mike Schopp: Not before the year 3 million. To say that I’m not a nickname guy is to say that Nathan Paetsch is not a goal-scoring machine. WGR callers used to use nicknames all the time; on our show it never happens. I even bristle when I hear a baseball announcer say “A-Rod”. I think this makes me a little crusty.

There are many reasons for this, but basically it’s a matter of, do I know this person well enough to call them by a nickname? If I don’t, I won’t. And with callers, to me a nickname is a warning sign that the caller is either going to attempt to be extreme, in an effort to distance his real self from the opinion he’s about to offer, or funny, which he hardly ever will turn out to be. Either result can knock the show off the tracks.

Of course, my partner is nicknamed “Bulldog”. We both wish I could call him Chris, and off the air I always do.

Katebits: First of all, henceforth I shall call you “Crusty Sir Names-A-Lot”. Second of all, this is an interesting answer. For the purposes of my blog, I like nicknames for the very reason you dislike them. Calling Ryan Miller “Ryan” seems uncomfortably familiar, and using his actual name seems like a violation of the natural boundary between fan and athlete. “Ryan Miller” is an actual human being, “Crunchy” is some imaginary version of Ryan Miller that I write about online. I never ever deal with Ryan Miller in real life, though. Using a nickname in person is a whole different ball of wax and I can certainly understand your vantage point, even if it is a little crusty.


….to be continued! Tune in tomorrow when I threaten to kill myself if Mike doesn’t start reading BfloBlog, and Mike explains why it’s his fault the Sabres didn’t win the Cup in 1985.


22 Responses to “TWC Interviews Mike Schopp”

  1. 1 Jaime June 23, 2008 at 11:06 am

    I’ve always enjoyed Mike Schopp and when I do occasionally listen to sports radio I like his way of speaking about the subjects. Intelligent but with just enough fan-based admiration thrown in. I can’t wait to see the rest of your enlightening interview!

  2. 2 Schnookie June 23, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Katebits, this is a marvelous interview! I’m so impressed! And many, many thanks to Mike for agreeing to it — this is a really fascinating look at an aspect of sports coverage that plays a big role in the way we as fans consume our sport.

    The only thing this post is missing is when you ask Mike if he knows how to swim. Is that coming in the second part of the interview? :D

  3. 3 Pookie June 23, 2008 at 11:13 am

    This is so fascinating!

    First of all, congratulations on getting a real person for a real interview! You’re famous!

    Second of all, I’ve never been a sports radio person, mostly (ok, entirely) because down here they never talk about hockey. But hearing Schopp talk about what sports radio hosts bring to the table, I get the appeal now. It’s almost like the books on tape version of a bestseller, where the radio show is the book on tape, and the bestseller is an awesome blog.

    Thirdly, I love your rationale for using nicknames. It really does seem too personal to use their real names, but it seems too dispassionate to use just their last names.

    Fourthly, I’m very, very sorry that Schopp is passing up the opportunity to say “Pommerdoodle”. I think he should just try saying that word once. Once you say it? There’s no stopping it. It’s as fun a word to say as Pommerdoodle himself is fun to watch play hockey.

  4. 4 danielleia June 23, 2008 at 11:23 am

    HAHAHHAHAHA!!!! I love it!!! He thinks Nolan Pratt is cute.

  5. 5 Kathee June 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

    BRAVO! Excellent interview. I think ALL interviews should be just like this one! :)

  6. 6 Katebits June 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Thanks, Jaime!

    Schnookie, the entire second part of the interview is about Mike and his ability to swim. I don’t want to give anything away, so that’s all I’ll say. :P

    Pookie, I’m not surprised that you liked “my” rationale for the nicknames, seeing as though I got both the rationale and the nickname in question from you. And I have to agree, I think blogs and talk radio shows have a lot more in common than blogs and journalism. I had never thought of it like that before.

    daniellia, I guess Nolan Pratt is just so cute that he appeals to everyone.

    Thanks, Kathee!

  7. 7 jonhoepfinger June 23, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    So any questions on if Mike Schopp, is creating even more dumb contests like the Rosanna Arquette phony obit game? Because thats not a complete waste of radio time.

    He needs to be replaced by Dennis Williams pronto. Not fired, but he can work the 7pm to 9pm spot.

    Schopp was good on WNSA, but not on WGR.

  8. 8 Katebits June 23, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    It seems I’m a pretty low key kind of interviewer Jon, and even if I weren’t, I would never attack the phony obit game. In fact, I would totally advocate for a FULL four hours a day of the phony obit game.

  9. 9 jonhoepfinger June 23, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    The game itself I have no problem with. It would be good with a bunch of friends.

    But it has no place on a sports radio show. I just dislike his condescending attitude toward callers. I guess dumb callers one after another would get to me to.

  10. 10 Heather B. June 23, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Kate, I can only assume the “Hank interviews stat!” question is coming in part two. Wait, that wasn’t really a question. Well, whatever…

  11. 11 Mary June 23, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    See, this is proof that EVERYONE loves Goose… I mean, how can you not?!

    This is a great interview, and I can’t wait for the rest!

  12. 12 Meg June 23, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Kate, I can only assume the “Hank interviews stat!” question is coming in part two. Wait, that wasn’t really a question. Well, whatever…

    Oh, you could totally phrase that as a question. :D

    This is awesome, Kate. What a fun interview.

  13. 13 Katebits June 23, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I’m actually not sure if Mike will read these comments. He might not even know the comments exist. If you’re reading, what gives Mike? Why no Hank Tallinder interviews? Surely there are other things to discuss than just the whole group sex/possible rape, right? :P Also, can you swim? Inquiring minds want to know!

  14. 14 Heather B. June 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Wait, so you’re telling me “Why don’t you ever interview the delightful Henrik Tallinder?” was NOT one of your original questions. Worst interview ever! :P

  15. 15 Katebits June 23, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    I know, Heather! I totally blew it!

  16. 16 Kathee June 23, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I think we need to do a group study on the sex appeal of Goose. Including a hands-on focus group covering “hockey player butt” ;)

    I volunteer to take “measurements” so we can have lots of charts and graphs relating to the height/stubble/sexiness ratio

  17. 17 Becky June 23, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Great first interview! I’m envious – I can’t get past “Um…”

  18. 18 Shari June 23, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    I was shocked too. No Hank questions? Shame ana sin.
    No favorite Sabre? I seem to remember a show last year where two men
    (Shopp and the Bulldog? I’m thinking it was) were going down the list of Sabres and giving thier own opinions on who’s sexy and who wasn’t. Teppo made it as “creepy” sexy.
    Pommerdoodle is and has been the new word. Because I read this blog, I told two friends and then they told two friends and then, even my husband calls him that now for godsakes!

  19. 19 Destiny June 24, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Awesome! I listen to a little bit of Schopp and the Bulldog every day and I enjoy their program.

    Can’t wait for the rest! :)

  20. 20 søker sex July 11, 2013 at 2:10 am

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    Selvfølgelig, siden :-* Jeg tror jeg ganske seksuell kvinne & greier ikke å finne en som kan passer
    til meg – Jeg er ikke knull dame, ønsker sex svært godt :-* & ønsker knull partner :
    eg er knull norske singel kvinne, Søker knull kjæreste :-).
    Seksuelle interesser… Sex på nett, Swingers, Oralsex, Swingers sex, Bondage
    sexglad dame liker mann for sex
    Jeg har store erfaring med knull av samme kjønn. elsker å suge
    Jeg er sexy knull dame, jeg liker sex veldig godt .
    og søker knull partner :-P

  1. 1 TWC Interviews Mike Schopp, Part 2 « The Willful Caboose Trackback on June 24, 2008 at 7:55 am
  2. 2 Get Down With Your Bad Self, Canada « Sabre Kallisions Trackback on November 1, 2008 at 1:36 pm

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