But it is not all
white-hot anger on the call-in circuit. In fact, anger is merely the most
predictable, least appealing aspect of these shows, each of which has its own
personality and, often, a kind of zany spontaneity. Even when passions are
high, a caller will utter something unforgettably obtuse and relieve the tedium
'82," Hitzges remembers, "when the NFL players were on strike, that's
all anyone wanted to talk about. Well, one morning, I got a caller who said,
'Norm, I don't claim to have all the answers about this strike, but one thing
seems obvious to me.'
that?' I said.
" 'Well, I
think they could settle their problems a lot quicker if this guy Garvey would
stick to business.'
" 'How do you
mean?' I said.
" 'Well, I
think he ought to quit playing baseball, for one thing, as long as this strike
is going on. I mean, it seems like until that's over, he ought to work on it
thought Steve Garvey and Ed Garvey, the executive director of the NFL Players
Association, were the same person."
Like all call-in
hosts, Hitzges has regular callers, people who have made the show a vital part
of their lives. Some of them call every day.
one caller, Leon, who is just wonderful. It always picks me up and picks up the
show to hear him come on the air. He has this deep, gravelly voice, and I
always know it's him."
Leon Simon is a
barber at the Nice Look barbershop in Oak Cliff, a neighborhood in south
Dallas. "I like to talk about issues," he says. "I'm not into
personalities. When people were all over [Cowboy owner] Jerry Jones for the way
he fired Tom Landry, I wanted to talk about how three months earlier, everybody
else in town had wanted to fire Landry too. He had the longest funeral in
history. The body was on view every day for three months. I tried to tell
people that maybe it was time for the Cowboys to stop standing on their