Coming on Friday: On today’s (generic) ‘Loose Cannons,’ (fill in the generic guest)!”


When Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton (not his real name) ironically accepted the top sports-talk host award last week at the annual Southern California Sports Broadcasters ceremonies, most of remarks weren’t so much of thanks, but of a plea for help. Minus the tin cup with pencils and a sign: “Will Talk For Food.”

“I will tell you that radio free agency is surely not like Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira,” said Hamilton, a former 570-AM employee who recently left the San Diego-based 1360-AM sports-talk station, according to the story on “It is pretty tough. . . . There’s an awful lot of good people out on in the streets. There are so many influential people in this group, sometime this week, pick up the phone and call one of these guys that’s out in the streets and tell him you’re thinking of him.”

Joe McDonnell answered his phone on the second ring earlier this week.

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“I’ve always looked at myself as the voice of L.A.,” he said when I asked him about the last 33 years of his career in the city as a sports-talk show host, focusing on the last five months where he’s been out of a job. “I’m a fan lucky enough to have access to people in all parts of the sports world.

“Whether people like me or hate me, they know I get the information and I tell them what I feel is the truth. If they don’t agree, that’s fine. That’s what’s supposed to happen. I’m asked all the time if I think I’m missed (on the air today). I think so. I’m hoping I don’t have to leave L.A. for my next job. I can’t picture that happening. I didn’t burn any bridges. It’s just tough being patient. Honestly, this is the first time in my career I’ve had to apply for jobs. I’ve always had people come to me. Not that I’m above it, it’s just weird.”

Friday, we’ll get more into with Big Joe (his website linked here) about his views of the landscape of today’s syndicated-squashed L.A. sports-talk — and more to cause some chatter, our 17th annual best and worst of L.A. sports-talk hosts, as well as a lists of local sports radio newscasters and syndicated sports-talk shows.

Thanks again for all the imput. More can be emailed to

I guess in this business, everything is cyclical. Who’s to say next year that KLAC won’t come up with a deal to carry the Dodgers if KABC decides to get rid of it, and then switch back to more local talk.

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  • SportsRadio101

    The reality is that Joe did burn bridges over at the pinnacle building! How can you explain that Steve Hartman & Vic the Brick have worked at the same companies for so long and Joe has bounced around. That’s because Joe always wears out his welcome. He was hoping that Artie Moreno would hire him over at KLAA, but that train has left the station with Dave Smith in a solid postion in drive-time. He left on bad terms at KSPN and won’t be working there anytime soon.. especially with the Lakers joining the station next year. That’s good Joe has to work at finding work for once in his life. I predict that Joe will end up leaving L.A. and finally for once in his life having to pay his dues outside this market. If you look at most broadcasters.. they work their way up to the big markets like Howard Stern and Tom Leykis for example. Joe has been very lucky to have worked in the town he grew up in for so long. Now it’s time for him to move on. Sports talk radio needs new blood and new voices and not the same old retreads like Hacksaw and Joe Mc Donnell.

  • SportsRadio101

    P.S. Tom you talk about the trojans broadcaster being so arrogant.. Talk about being arrogant: “I’ve always looked at myself as the voice of L.A.,” Now that is being arrogant!

  • radar

    Thanks for keeping up with Big Joe. Who is this sportsradio101 guy? Sounds like a jealous colleague or a caller Joe might have cut off one time. Since McDonnell has been off the air, there’s not much worth listening to except Patrick and sometimes Rome. Mason and Ireland are OK as well. And as far as KSPN, I have a friend who works in the sales dept. there, and they say Joe is a candidate for a position for afternoon drive and especially because of his long connection with the Lakers organization. It would be GREAT to see Big Joe back at 710. With Mason and Ireland, that would be the place to go for local sports talk. I hope they do go after him. And why should Joe have to leave town after building his career here? Did Jim Healy have to leave? Jim Hill has been here longer than Joe–should he move to Boston because he’s been on the air for 34 years? Yep, the guy sounds like someone Joe beat out for a job and never forgave him. Anyway, Tom, looking forward to tomorrow’s article.

  • SportsRadio101

    “Radar” sounds like Joe using an alias or a buddy of his campaigning for the guy to get re-hired at KSPN. They is ZERO and I mean ZERO chance of Joe getting hired at KSPN. Joe use to bash John Ireland all the time and he would refer to the Mason & Ireland show as the “pre-game” show. Judging by the amount of interest in this article with myself and Joe opps I mean Radar the only ones commenting…nobody cares about Big Joe.. he is yestedays news!