Brothers Mix Sports, Hip-Hop and Radio
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
They're not your conventional sportscasters, but the brothers who host the show 2 Live Stews out of Atlanta are entertaining sports fans and radio enthusiasts alike. Doug and Ryan Stewart bring a hip-hop feel to the world of sports. In between debates over who's the best quarterback in the NFL or who will win the NBA championship this year, the brothers mix music, clever skits and guests into their stewed syndicated show.
The mixture seems to be working. In 2004, the 2 Live Stews were voted best air talent of the year at the Sports Radio Awards, hosted by ESPN Radio. The Stew chefs, Doug and Ryan Stewart, spoke to NPR's Tony Cox about their sometimes controversial program, which always begins like this.
(Soundbite of music)
Unidentified Announcer: Doug Stewart, undesirable character. He was cruel and a sadist. Ryan Stewart: all of my most sensitive areas were inflamed, I can't feel my legs, now I've heard everything.
TONY COX: Gentlemen, if I can steal the vernacular from your show to begin our interview: What you got?
Mr. DOUG STEWART (Radio Host, 2 Live Stews): What's up, Tony.
Mr. RYAN STEWART (Radio Host, 2 Live Stews): How you doing, Tony?
COX: I'm doing great. Listen, how did you guys get into this line of work?
Mr. R. STEWART: Ryan had just retired from the NFL after like five years, came back to Atlanta, had a connection with somebody at WQXI, came in and started filling in for a bunch of the hosts. And we had a big argument at his house about a sports topic. And there was a bunch of guys over and they were like, man, you guys are funny, you guys are - that was great because we argued for like 30 minutes profusely, just like we do on the show.
And one of the guys was like, man, you guys need to have your own sports talk show. So he used the connections that he had, set up a meeting with the program director. We went in, pitched the idea of an urban-based sports talk, because your really and rarely hear that type of show on radio.
COX: That's true.
Mr. R. STEWART: On talk radio. He said I like the concept. He called us back in a couple of weeks and said you guys are on tomorrow. We came in the first night from 9:00 to 11:00 getting paid nothing. Halfway through the first show, he was like, we love it. The owner of the station called up and says, you guys are on the payroll from now on. And five years later, here we are.
Mr. D. STEWART: And, Tony, let me add one thing: That first show was disgusting, and I had no idea what they were talking about when they came and said, hey, we're going to put you guys on payroll. But it worked out for us, man, and we thank God for it everyday.
COX: I'm going to be brutally honest with you guys. The first time I heard you, I was like what in the world is this?
(Soundbite of laughter)
COX: Why are these brothers on here acting crazy, sounding ignorant? And yet as I got into it, I see that you, you know, that's all part of a very entertaining thing that you have going, isn't it?
Mr. D. STEWART: Well, it's definitely something entertaining. When we got started, when we first got the opportunity, we sat down to discuss what we were going to do and how we were going to do it. And one thing we decided was we were not going to be cookie cutter radio.
You can open up your Blackberry, your laptop or get on any PC and look up stats, numbers and statistics. We want to talk about it from an athlete's point of view, because we both played the game, and a fan's point of view because we're not playing anymore and we're still fans.
So we wanted to be different, we wanted to infuse hip-hop. Because I mean when you look at the Billboard charts, hip-hop is at the top of all of them. So why not infuse what people like with some entertaining sports talk and get away from pushing those numbers and just have some fun. And that's what we tried to (unintelligible) our script up as.
COX: Absolutely you do that. In fact, I just want to talk for a moment about T.O., because we have some tape of you guys doing just what you're describing, talking about T.O. and this alleged suicide. Here it is.
(Soundbite of 2 Live Stews broadcast)
Mr. D. STEWART: Terrell Owens attempts suicide.
Mr. R. STEWART: Right. See, but you just can't put that out there. That's my whole point. This man got family in Alabama, and they're not talking to him. He's still in the hospital. But they see all over the paper...
Mr. D. STEWART: That don't matter, man.
Mr. R. STEWART: Ooh, your nephew tried to murk himself. Everybody in this -Terrell Owens is from a small town in Alabama...
Mr. D. STEWART: I'm sorry. I don't think an older person from Alabama would say that.
Mr. R. STEWART: Ooh, you heard about Bessie May's grand Terrell?
Mr. D. STEWART: No, what happened?
Mr. R. STEWART: Ooh, baby, he tried to murk himself. That's all the talk in Terrell Owens' hometown for nothing.
COX: Tried to murk himself. Now that's a new one for me.
Mr. D. STEWART: Yeah. Murk, we had to look that one up. One of Ryan's homeboys from Philly, that's like a term they use in the streets for basically committing suicide. But I mean the whole thing is we just tried to be different and give a different perspective. Because 99 percent of talk radio and sports talk radio is done by, you know, a different demographic. And we just bring a different edge, a different flavor and our life experience is into the whole thing.
COX: You like working together as brothers?
Mr. D. STEWART: It's pretty cool. Sometimes it's tough, though, because a lot of stuff...
COX: Yeah, tell the truth.
Mr. D. STEWART: …we don't see eye-to-eye on, but I mean it's good, obviously.
Mr. R. STEWART: You know what? It would be great if Doug would realize that I am a grown man as well. He just keeps looking at me like little brother...
COX: Like little brother.
Mr. R. STEWART: But all in all, man, there's nothing else I'd rather do and there's no one else I'd rather talk sports with every day to make a living outside of this guy right there, Doug Stewart.
COX: Well, I know something you guys do not agree one: Reggie Bush.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. D. STEWART: I've been called the Reggie Bush hater by this guy and it's not true. The only thing that I'm saying when it comes to Reggie Bush - and he's a great player. You guys are based out there in California, obviously - is I need to see him do it at this level.
There's a lot of hypes around the guy. But if you really look at the situation, when he was at SC, he was a third-down back. He returned punts...
Mr. R. STEWART: You're crazy.
Mr. D. STEWART: He returned kicks. And there's been a lot of guys at the NFL that have done that and hadn't had the hype that Reggie Bush has had.
Mr. R. STEWART: Right out of college, just like Lebron James, when he came out form high school that Doug said, oh, he's going to be a great player. I don't know why he's got this little problem with Reggie Bush. Pete Carroll is a smart coach. If you've got a back that weighs 250 pounds in LenDale White and you've got a guy that's lighter and can do things on the outside of defenses and offenses, you use them both to benefit your team when it comes to winning. Period, point blank.
COX: I told you I could get you guys to argue. Let me ask you about one other player before I let you get out of here, and that's Brett Favre. At the beginning of the season people were talking about he's done, he's over, he needs to retire. And then what does he do? He comes out and wins the NFC Player of the Week.
Mr. D. STEWART: Yeah. Had a good week last week, but that's far and few between, Tony. If you look at his career over the last like three years, he pretty much has sucked. And I like Brett Favre. He's a great player, first ballot Hall of Famer. But last year he threw 29 interceptions. And I mean even the great Joe Montana was sent packing. And Brett Favre, he still has a great strong arm, but the throws and his thinking, it has a lot to be desired.
Mr. R. STEWART: A lot of people has got it twisted when we talk about Brett Favre. We don't hate Brett Favre or dislike Brett Favre. We call him and claim him as one of the greatest. That being said, three, four years ago, he started lacking, things starting changing, the game started speeding up instead of, when you're a veteran like he is, slowing down. He's digressed, guys; he's digressed.
COX: Absolutely. Gentlemen, we are out of time. But I wanted to say thank you to both Doug and Ryan Stewart, who are the co-hosts of the nationally syndicated sports show 2 Live Stews from Atlanta. And like you say, we gone.
Mr. R. STEWART: Appreciate it, Tony.
(Soundbite of song “Georgia On My Mind”)
Mr. RAY CHARLES (Musician): (Singing) Georgia, Georgia…
CHIDEYA: Enjoy your weekend. We will be back as usual on Monday.