What, you weren't expecting Super Bowl news coverage to include a heated argument between a few radio broadcasters?
Wednesday, a kerfuffle between two Houston-based sports radio hosts gained attention after it was recorded and shared by WEEI Boston. See video of the passionate interaction below.
A fight on radio row!! pic.twitter.com/x4uUNnHKdC— Kirk & Callahan (@KirkAndCallahan) January 31, 2018
In the wake of the argument, SportsTalk 790—the employer of Josh Innes, the man with the glasses and beard—has been booted from the Super Bowl's "radio row," as reported by the Houston Chronicle. Radio row is the line of broadcasters who set up their gear in the same space for coverage of the big game.
Innes reportedly was the aggressor in the incident, which is why his station was the one that was removed from its spot. The other man involved is Seth Payne, a former Texans defensive tackle who now hosts a morning show for SportsRadio 610 in Houston. Their shows compete with each other for listeners.
So, what's the backstory here? Well, Innes and Payne have apparently had tensions building for some time—which is often the case between radio stations and hosts.
As one side tells it, Innes had sent his producer to Payne's table to disrupt his show; Innes says his producer was just roaming around radio row and happened to stop by their table to listen in on their coverage. Payne was annoyed by the producer dropping in, so he reportedly challenged Innes to "stop hiding behind his microphone" and come talk to Payne face to face. Then Innes walked over and joined the conversation and things got heated.
In the midst of the argument, Payne said Innes returned to Houston radio because he was fired in Philadelphia.
"You're a fraud, you're a joke, you bounce around, the Philly people here know you're a joke, the Houston people...you have like one employer left who you can work for," Payne said. Payne went on to say Innes was "weak" and "insecure."
They both explained their point of view on Twitter.
For people outside the city who don’t understand the situation, I’m not one to look for stuff like this. Dude has been lying about us for months while failing on radio. Sent his producer to record us while we were on air and I had enough. Ask around about his reputation.— Seth Payne (@PayneNFL) February 1, 2018
Can we discuss the reality of what happened at Radio Row? https://t.co/8gg4QdTjaI— Josh Innes (@JoshInnesShow) January 31, 2018
Innes confirmed his station had been kicked off of radio row, but said the stories about the dust-up were being angled incorrectly and unfairly, and he wasn't trying to start a fight. As he shared his perspective, Innes said the other party deserved punishment, too.
It's easy to rush to judgment here—the fight looks childish when viewed as an isolated incident—but let's remember how competitive and cutthroat the media environment is right now. This was likely a lapse on these guys' parts that they regret.