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mezz1962
03-23-2011, 21:14
"Brutal …" the deep, baritone voice echoed over the air...."Just Brutal." Anyone tuning in to 660 on their AM dial could clearly pick up the Brooklyn roots embedded in his voice. Adam, “The Bull”, Gerstenhaber joined WFAN in 2007, and since that first day on air, the native New Yorker had quickly grown a loyal and passionate fan base.

Like any New Yorker, "The Bull", makes his point with as few words as possible. Other hosts on WFAN or ESPN sports talk radio will go on and on describing in detail the latest high and wide 3-2 pitch that NY Mets pitcher Oliver Perez threw, that walked in yet another run, in a seemingly endless merry-go-round. Bull makes his point with his one word description --"brutal."

There is currently a poll currently running on WWW.66WFAN.net that shows The Bull in the lead as the fansʼ favorite host and it was part of the reason that this story came to fruition. It made me think about what makes The Bull the listenersʼ choice over another favorite of mine, Evan Roberts. Judging any host can be hard because each host has their own style and typically runs their program to fit their personality.

Ever since 1987 when WFAN pioneered sports talk radio, Hundreds of stations like WQAM in Miami have adapted their format to follow WFAN's lead. From coast to coast, you now have a wide variety of differing personalities and opinions on air. Some hosts are brash; they make fun of the caller who clearly has no idea what they are talking about. Some hosts let the moronic caller ramble on and on, making the listener wonder why and how the host could be so nice, especially since many hosts appear to be "know it alls." These hosts tact as though there can be no debate, even if the caller has an intelligent argument. In their minds, the caller is always wrong; the host is always correct. There is no doubt as to why Bull has quickly gained a passionate and loyal following...he is one of us.

What make Bull unique? If you have a legitimate argument, he will say so, and while he will hold firm to his convictions, he will accept that there are other view points other than his own. If you seem to have an intelligent point on the subject, Bull will let you have a moment to refute his answer. If youʼre a moron, Bull will let you have just enough air time so the listeners will know the caller is an imbecile before he hangs up and moves on. What makes Bull great is that there is no question that heʼs just a typical New Yorker who just happens to have a radio show and who runs his show as if the typical caller would run the show.

Bull's lead in this fan poll is even more stunning due to the lack of on-air hours WFAN schedules him. While you expect hosts like Sommers, Roberts and Boomer to be high on the list because they have a regular time slot and typically are on air 20-30 hours a week, Bull does not have that advantage. To build a following in radio, you need one thing, and that is a time slot. Listeners need to know that a certain host will be on at a certain hour. Everyone knows Joe and Evan will start at 10am, followed by Francesa at 1pm. Typically listeners will tune in just to hear their 20 minute opening that sets up the next few hours, so they can decide if they want to just listen or maybe it's time to make the call and say those magic words "First time...Long time". Bull doesn't have this advantage of building a loyal following; WFAN puts him on air mostly on weekends and in any number of time slots. To build a fan base with this type of schedule, you have to be not only good, but great.

Over the years you quickly get a sense of who the man is. Typically, we love our sports heros and are quick to say, "He's a great guy," but truthfully we know very little about this player other than he throws a wicked curve ball. It's almost laughable how we defend players and movie stars based on what they do on the field or on the screen. We have no idea if they are drinking tiger blood or worshiping his wife's feet but lord knows we act like they are our best friends.

In talk radio, it's different. Through the years of listening, we actually find out a lot about the person and who he or she is. The listeners know that Bull went to Sheepshead Bay HS and he is a die hard Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Bengal fan. Luckily, we don't judge hosts on their selection of teams they root for because Bull would have to be classified as the biggest loser in sports talk radio.

Putting aside Bullʼs choice of team allegiances, In most cases we don't even need to hear what was said. The tone in their voice is enough to clue us in on who they are at the core. An example of this with Bull is autographs. You can hear the passion and actual annoyance when a caller says, "This player did not sign my son's jersey." Bull instantly is upset and the anger is evident when he responds, "I can't understand why the athletes do that. Yes, I can see them refusing an adult...but a kid?" Bull will remind us of a time when, as a young man, he had been incredibly excited to meet one of is favorite ball players, Cubs first baseman, Mark Grace at an autograph session. After securing Grace's autograph, Bull walked away completely demoralized and upset that Grace wouldn't even give him the time of day. A simple "Hello Adam" would have made Bull overjoyed that his hero spoke his name. This kind of passion, especially on radio, can't be faked. You can hear the underlying anger and also the hurt that to this day, years later. The Bull will never forget the letdown he experience that day and his audience understands the scar that this caused him.

I fail to understand why WFAN does not take advantage of the talent he clearly shows each time he is on or of the following that The Bull has built up through the years. It seems to me if given an opportunity Bull will quickly become one of the star players on the WFAN team. I also am a little taken aback by the fact that no sports team has signed Adam "The Bull" as their teams announcer?

Then again, I have no idea why Ollie Perez is still wearing a Mets jersey. I guess for us listeners, who see things so clearly, trying to understand what big corporations or Sports teams are thinking will always remain a mystery.

***Update to this story on 3/21 Ollie Perez was released from the Mets, so there is still some hope WFAN or local sports teams will come to their senses one day.


Written by
Dominick Mezzapesa
WFAN Caller - Dominick from Hicksville

The Boss
03-23-2011, 23:01
I think most agree the Bull needs a regular slot. It would be good to see it happen sometime soon. The one thing that puts me off about Bull is the Cubs and Bengals thing.. I hope he can consider switching things up.

mezz1962
03-23-2011, 23:18
I don't mind Bull being a cubs and Bengals fan because he knows and says "They Suck" well in his case he would say "They are awful" you can switch awful with Brutal depending on his mood.

Unlike Dog who rooted for the Giants and went on and on about them, Bull hardly mentions his teams...But then again there really isn't much to talk about...LOL

Junior
03-24-2011, 07:58
Nice article Mezz. Bull gives a nice balance on the show.. rational or, well not so rational if need be. I'd like to see him get regular hours too

BrooklynAncestry
03-25-2011, 10:45
hey good article. I'm a fan of Adam The Bulls and being from Brooklyn I offered to do his family history research for free to see what I could turn up. Never heard back from him though.