The most dangerous man in sports radio returned recently to the airwaves. The usual suspects promptly blew mental gaskets.
Breitbart Sports caught up with Dino Costa, who now spouts on all things sports on KFNS-AM in St. Louis during the morning drive. Costa, as talented as he is controversial, explained his take on ESPN becoming the MSNBC of sports, Peyton Manning retiring with several unwanted parting gifts from the Fourth Estate, and the direction of professional sports in the 21st century.
BREITBART SPORTS: ESPN recently suspended Curt Schilling and demoted Mike Ditka following politically incorrect comments by both. Does freedom of speech come at great expense in your industry?
DINO COSTA: And how! ESPN continues to disgrace themselves nearly every single day. They wonder why they’re losing audience share and why so many people are now cord-cutting and refusing to entertain their network any longer? Notice how they had major problems with Curt Schilling’s comments about Hillary Clinton yet no issue with Schilling’s negative comments about Donald Trump? The Ditka demotion is another example of this shill network refusing to embrace the very inclusion and tolerance they say they stand so vigorously for. Free speech in the sports media is constantly neutered except in the instance where someone advocates for a liberal point of view.
Since they announced that their on-air personnel were no longer permitted to touch anything resembling political commentary in a public fashion, people such as Stephen A. Smith and Bomani Jones have continued to note their aversion to someone such as Donald Trump and yet they’ve not suffered anything in the way of being sanctioned. There is no question that if you’re comparing the different sectors of media in this country it is within the sports media where there are more left-leaning liberal voices being heard to the complete exclusion of anyone being able or permitted to articulate and counter with a right-side-of-the-equation argument. In the sports media, your political ideology and your societal stance is more than welcomed as long as you peddle a leftist mentality. Aside from me and my show, I challenge anyone to cite another example of a social and fiscal conservative who is permitted to broadcast a long-form, spoken-word sports radio vehicle in this country. I abhor this industry for its hypocritical and draconian methods when it comes to this stuff. They should all be ashamed of themselves.
BREITBART SPORTS: What do you make of the deluge of anti-Peyton Manning stories alleging he used PEDs five years ago or did something childish to a female trainer 20 years ago? He wrote a storybook ending to an amazing career. Do some people just hate happy endings?
DINO COSTA: I don’t think people hate happy endings, I do believe that the well-polished image that Peyton Manning has carefully crafted over the years is a huge myth. He’s only human like the rest of us, he makes mistakes, he has his own foibles, he hasn’t always said and done the right things. My take on Peyton Manning is pretty different from most in the media who I think go out of their way to protect him and to ensure that squeaky-clean image stays intact. Hypocrisy has also reared its ugly head in this instance because I’m sure if his name wasn’t Peyton Manning and was instead Drew Brees, or Matthew Stafford, or Tom Brady, that the scrutiny and the intensity of the coverage over what Manning has been accused of doing would have been drastically different.
Personally, I believe that Manning did use HGH in his recovery from multiple neck surgeries because it only makes too much sense. On the other hand, I don’t hold that against him and I believe he’s lying through his teeth to protect himself. So far as the issue all those years ago when he was at Tennessee, I cannot say for sure what happened, although there is no question that he paid some money to his accuser so that the issue would go away. Peyton Manning sycophants, just like Manning himself, will come up with all kinds of reasons to exonerate him of all charges, but I’ll rely on my own common sense to arrive at some conclusions and possible scenarios when it comes to this all-time great player.
BREITBART SPORTS: How’s your bracket doing?
DINO COSTA: I’ve never filled out a bracket in my life and I don’t ever plan on doing so.
BREITBART SPORTS: You’re on the radio in St. Louis, one of America’s great baseball cities and the most recent victim of an extraordinarily wealthy owner seeking a government handout leaving town with the community’s football team. In what ways does St. Louis’s long baseball tradition and recent football tragedy influence your show?
DINO COSTA: When you speak about great baseball towns there are few if any better than St. Louis. I get very excited whenever I think about being able to cover and detail the fortunes of the Cardinals and to talk up the sport with some of the most knowledgeable baseball fans in the country. For a long-time baseball zealot like myself, it doesn’t get any better when you consider the passion and support of Cardinals Nation, the legacy of the franchise over multiple decades, and the winning tradition that has been established with the organization as one of the signature teams in Major League Baseball.
The Rams situation is of course very different. I never felt the city of St. Louis met the benchmarks that I consider when looking at a franchise looking to relocate. Unfortunately, the Rams are owned by a man who exhibits no loyalty to anything other than the almighty dollar and this influences every decision he makes with all of the teams he owns. St. Louis deserved better than Stan Kroenke.
From purely a fiscal point of view, the move west to Los Angeles makes complete sense. However, it doesn’t make it any easier for the people of this city to reconcile now that they’ve lost their second NFL team in the last 30 years or so. Despite what Kroenke said as he made his way out of town disparaging the region as he left, there is no way I’ll be convinced that this is not a bona fide NFL market under parameters that have a team owned by individuals who are committed to St. Louis and the surrounding area. The Cardinals are an example of that, and certainly the local ownership that runs the Blues connects with the people and the results are clear to see. St. Louis can get back in the NFL business if the league looks in this direction again with ownership who understands the market and goes about their business in a way that places a value on St. Louis as a place where people care about their teams and prove that with their support.
BREITBART SPORTS: You did satellite and subscription radio for a number of years. Why did you decide to return to terrestrial radio?
DINO COSTA: The move back to traditional radio was an easy one for me to make based upon the individuals who are leading the station I am with. With their vision and philosophy of making sports radio something that is distinguishable in so many ways from the status quo, I looked upon this a perfect opportunity to get back in the game to provide the kind of a show that is my hallmark. I have zero restrictions, no limitations on what to say or not to say, and most important, the total and complete backing of station management. The lack of a corporate culture here and the renegade spirit that is present is an exact parameter fit for me on every level.
The fact that they reached out to me, expressed a strong interest and told me that they were looking for the kind of a show I do makes this a complete and total no-brainer. They didn’t want the same old same old, and they should be commended for thinking outside the box. They recognized that if they had played it safe and went with a formatted and typical program that you can hear anywhere else, that the waters would have been much calmer, but the impact would have been substantially less. In embracing my style of no-holds-barred, highly opinionated, politically incorrect, and extemporaneous prose radio that I do, this is a signal that they want to win and deliver an original and totally unique sports radio experience to the people of St. Louis. This is a significant departure from a staid and predictable world of corporate radio that has unfortunately taken hold in far too many places—and as a result—I want to do everything in my power to succeed and to justify the enormous faith they’ve placed in me.
BRETBART SPORTS: Get out your crystal ball, if you could. What are the massive changes that we will see in sports over the next decade? Some point to leagues getting in bed with the bookies the way they have cozied up to the scalpers; others see the safety preoccupations in society making their way into professional sports in a manner that will change both the games on the field and the fan experience in the stands. What big changes do you see ahead?
I see sports becoming less fun, less enriching, less compelling, mainly because all sports continue to become more and more politicized. These leagues have all forgotten what their primary purpose is, and that is to provide for the most entertaining and thorough presentation of whatever sport they’re involved with. The more that sports allows politics and alleged approved societal edicts to subvert their organizations, the more I feel people will pull back and find sports less of a rewarding experience from a fan’s point of view. Sports leagues somehow feel—and this is probably most acute when you talk about the NFL—that their role is to take the lead on various issues that have absolutely nothing to do with the games themselves.
I get a kick out of people who claim that sports and politics don’t mix when the undeniable facts show that you cannot talk about a single issue within the sports zeitgeist that doesn’t come with political and or societal attachments as a part of the process. It’s also clear to me that at some point the bubble is going to burst so far as the ability of many people to afford to go these various games, what with the exorbitant prices that are aligned with tickets, parking, and virtually everything else associated with sports moving forward. These new ballparks, stadiums, and arenas—all of them beautiful—because of the inability of some who aren’t able to afford to sit in many places in these stadiums, we have seen a separation of class as determined by individual income. Now we see corporations and high-income individuals being seated in the best places while the rest of the great unwashed is moved to the outer limits of these facilities. Sports used to allow for the janitor and the stock broker to sit side by side at games and. if just for a little while, share a common interest within that environment. But those days are now gone, a thing of the past, and so far as I can tell this isn’t something that may be considered a positive for sports, or for sports fans.