Sports radio show stirs the pot

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

NATCHEZ &045; Who would have ever thought catching a &uot;Hee Haw&uot; rerun would lead to mass hysteria for southern sports’ enthusiasts.

But that is exactly what occurred a little more than a year ago when Scott McKinney’s light bulb flashed off in his head after seeing a skit on the popular variety show.

McKinney’s &uot;What’s for supper?&uot; version has turned into an integral part of the regionally enjoyed Southern Sports Tonight radio show, which broadcasted live from Bowie’s Tavern Wednesday.

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McKinney poses the question to co-host Max Howell, who spews off a salivating menu of items.

&uot;Now every coaches’ office we walk into asks us what’s for supper,&uot; McKinney said. &uot;Most people who listen think we’re 400 pounds we talk about food so much.&uot;

It’s a key ingredient to why the 10-state show has created so much charm with its listeners.

First begun as Conference Call in 1995, focusing strictly on Southeastern Conference sports, McKinney and Howell parted ways with their company last year and started SST with McKinney calling the shots.

Despite the switch, SST’s loyal listeners have kept their ears glued to their speakers and the dial stuck to Howell and McKinney.

&uot;We try to limit the same callers to just once a week, but sometimes they sneak through,&uot; McKinney said. &uot;We open the lines at 4:30 (p.m.) and as soon as we turn them on they light up.&uot;

McKinney added regular listeners across the south have become well familiar with &uot;Fred from New Orleans&uot; or &uot;Tupelo Hottie Toddie.&uot;

McKinney was stag at Bowie’s Tavern Wednesday with Howell on live satellite in Atlanta where he has his own morning sports’ show.

SST has done about 109 live remotes from the road this year, with Natchez being the last stop on the map.

McKinney said by the time he gets home to Memphis, which is where the show usually broadcasts from, he figures he’ll have done close to 83,000 miles of driving.

&uot;That’s another reason why the show appeals to so many people is because it sounds and appears local,&uot; McKinney said. &uot;If we were sitting somewhere in Memphis or Birmingham and brodcasting every night from the same place, it wouldn’t have all this success.&uot;

Rest easy, both, of course, are southern natives, with McKinney hailing from Booneville, Miss. and Howell from Prattville, Ala.

&uot;You couldn’t add our towns populations up and fill any football field in America,&uot; McKinney joked. &uot;But we knew what was important. Church on Sundays. Football on Saturdays. And fried catfish on Fridays.&uot;