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My Week on Radio Row

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John Gennaro spent the week before Super Bowl 49 on Radio Row in Phoenix, Arizona, and had time to talk with three very important past and current members of the San Diego Chargers.

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Over the years, I have tried to write less and less from a first-person perspective on BFTB. My feeling was that this was coming less "my blog" and more of "a blog" or "the blog". Sure, I could tell you my opinions, but people come here for the best San Diego Chargers analysis on the internet, not because this is the place where I happen to write.

Anyway, it's the offseason, and so I'm breaking that rule today.

For those that don't know, and I really don't know how you could've missed me talking about it endlessly, I work in the business of sports radio. I have for a little over a year now. It is, in a lot of ways, a dream come true.

Each year, during the week before the Super Bowl. Sports radio stations from around the country send show(s) out to whichever city the Super Bowl is being hosted in, and those radio shows/stations sit next to each other in a big room that is called "Radio Row" while they do their show each day. Honestly, it makes the sound quality of the show pretty terrible, but the radio stations being in one spot makes it easy for guests to find their way onto many different shows in many different markets (also makes easier for the show to book big-name guests).

A year ago I had been in the business for about a month and wasn't attached to any real show production. This year, I was a necessary cog of the show that the station I work at was sending. Therefore, I got to spend my week on Radio Row in Phoenix, Arizona...

Interviewing LT. This was a pretty big moment in my life.

A photo posted by John Gennaro (@obviousman) on

You already know about my interview with LT. This was done in the early morning hours before most of the shows were on the air, including the one I was working on.

The funny thing is, this was not my first time talking to LT. The last time I did so was during training camp in 2009. He was not nearly as friendly back then, and I was just as happy to interview him this time as I was with the conversation we had for a few minutes before and after I hit the "Record" button.

Rodney Harrison almost broke my hand when we fist-bumped because of that Super Bowl ring. #Chargers

A photo posted by John Gennaro (@obviousman) on

The Rodney Harrison story almost shouldn't be told, but I'll tell it anyway.

I met Rodney on the way to the bathroom.

See, we had seen him walking around two days earlier and tried to get him on our show, but were told that he was all booked up. I saw him on Friday morning, walking behind me to the bathroom, and turned around to try my luck one last time.

First, I went to shake his hand. He turned me down and opted for a fist-bump (a lot of people switched about half-way through the week to fistbumps because of the flu that's been going around). I swear his Super Bowl ringer tore the skin off my knuckle.

Then, I quickly explained who I was and asked if we could have him on our show. He informed me, while we stood at side-by-side urinals, that he wasn't at Radio Row as a guest that day, but rather as a host (recording his NBC Sports Radio show that airs on the weekend). However, he used to work with the producer that was with me, and said he'd do it if we could get his boss to sign off on it. His boss is good friends with the host I was with, said okay, and we were the only ones who got to talk to Rodney Harrison on Friday.

This was one of the best lessons I learned from Radio Row. Make friends, because later those friends will do favors for you that will, in turn, improve your show/station. This is not an anti-social bunch, these sports radio types.

Also, after the picture above was taken, Rodney gave me one of the strongest hugs I've ever gotten. I think it was because, towards the end of the interview, the topic of Junior Seau was brought up. Rodney was obviously sad, and adamant about Junior needing to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer before saying, "I miss my buddy." It broke my heart a little bit, to imagine how much worse that must feel for those that actually called Junior "friend" in addition to knowing him as a fan.

San Diego @chargers head coach Mike McCoy. Great guy, super tall.

A photo posted by John Gennaro (@obviousman) on

The picture above wouldn't have happened if I was truly the jerk that most of the BFTB readers tend to think I am. However, in real life, I'm actually a really nice guy.

I booked Mike McCoy to be on our radio show by accident. I saw the head of the Chargers PR Department, and went up to say hello to him. Going out of my way to do so was my way of silently apologizing for some of the wars we've had over the years. We ended up talking for about 10 minutes before he asked if we'd be interested in having Mike McCoy on. That was that.

A few minutes before the show started, Mike walked over and sat down. He had a ton of personality, both on and off the air, but is an absolute master at "coach speak". We didn't go too in-depth with him, since the show is in Los Angeles and not San Diego, but it was real interesting to hear him talk about how much he learned from Year 1 of being a head coach and how much easier things were for him in Year 2 in terms of managing the organization. It almost sounded like there was someone important that he had a conflict with but eventually figured out how to communicate with.

After the interview, Coach was happy enough to pose for a picture with a Chargers fan before heading off for his next interview, and I went back to work trying to book as many guests as possible in a three hour period. The rush doesn't stop at Radio Row, and I can't wait to go back.

For those that are interested, both the Mike McCoy and Rodney Harrison interviews can be found in the podcast for Hour 1 of yesterday's show.