Callers anxiously await Finebaum's return
by Kenny Farmer
Aug 10, 2013 | 15490 views |  0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rockford's Tammy Hethcox has become one of the most popular callers on Paul Finebaum's nationwide radio show.
Rockford's Tammy Hethcox has become one of the most popular callers on Paul Finebaum's nationwide radio show.
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Paul Finebaum makes his long-awaited return to radio Monday, and so does his wild cast of characters. Rockford’s Tammy Hethcox; Rusty “I-Man” Garner of Montgomery; and Darriel Youngblood, “Darriel from Columbus, Ga.” are anxiously awaiting the return of the show that allows them to voice their opinions on the ever-changing world of college football.

“When Paul went off the air, my heart got broke,” said Tammy. “He was the only man in my life.”

After leaving WJOX due to contract disputes, Finebaum was hired by ESPN. According to ESPN.com, his new show, originating from Raleigh, N.C., will be carried on WJOX as well as new Birmingham station, ESPN 100.5 FM.

Hethcox said she tried to keep herself busy to fill the void that was left by Finebaum’s departure.

“I started working another job just to have something to do,” she said.

Garner, a musician, said he dedicated more time to his music during the show’s hiatus, but is excited about the program’s return on Monday.

“I’m waiting about as patiently as I can,” he said.

Youngblood says he is looking forward to Finebaum’s return. He’s also identified his No. 1 target: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“I’m gonna rip Johnny Goofball,” said Youngblood. “He’s a screw up from the get-go. The guy has no idea how to deal with fame. It’s just one thing after another.”

Concerning possible changes to the show, Youngblood says he’d like to see more callers from around the nation.

“I think it would be good for the show,” he said.

Hethcox is also looking forward to new callers from around country, but for reasons different than Youngblood.

“We’re just going to jump on them Yankees and shut them up, because they don’t know nothing about football,” she said.

Hethcox said she doesn’t expect many changes to the format that made Finebaum’s show so popular.

“ESPN may try to mess with the show, but it won’t do them no good,” said Hethcox. “I hope the show doesn’t change, because I sure haven’t.”

Hethcox is no stranger to ESPN. Her voice was featured on the ESPN documentary, Roll Tide/War Eagle. Youngblood could be heard on the program as well.

Hethcox, Youngblood and Garner have all become friends through Finebaum’s show, frequently calling one another to talk college football. However, Garner says he knows to be careful around Hethcox because, “Tammy will get you in trouble.”

“You might have to fight your way out of a bar or a steakhouse when you hang around with Tammy,” he said.

Hethcox says she can’t wait to hear what other callers have been doing during the show’s layoff. She says she also plans to tell Finebaum “all about” her return to the dating world.

“All my life, all I got told was to ‘shut up, loudmouth,’ and that’s why I love Paul’s show, because you can be yourself,” she said.

Garner also appreciates the fact that Finebaum allows his callers to exercise their “freedom of expression.”

“This is what a football talk show should be,” said Garner. “If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it.”

Contact Kenny Farmer by email at kfarmer@dailyhome.com; on Twitter at @dailyhome_kenny; or by phone at 256-299-2111.