F.P. Santangelo: 'My job is not to be critical'

Chris Lingebach
April 03, 2018 - 4:10 pm
FP_Santangelo_Nationals

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals television announcer F.P. Santangelo "wouldn't change a thing" about comments he made that were critical of sports-talk radio as a medium.

"Why would you want to hear a broadcaster who is negative and critical?" said Santangelo, in the latest edition of Northern Virginia Magazine. "If you do, listen to sports talk radio, that's what they do. That’s not what I do."

While clearly that didn't sit well with local D.C. sports-talk radio hosts, Santangelo -- in calling into 106.7 The Fan's 'Chad Dukes vs. The World' on Tuesday -- did feel compelled to clarify some context around his quotes.

Although the feature -- written by Buzz McClain -- was only published this month, the interview was actually conducted last fall. And Santangelo's "negative" remarks weren't directed at local hosts so much as those based in larger markets, like New York, Boston and Philadelphia, where hosts tend to be "more critical of their teams."

"Like, why are you so positive, and how can you stay positive?" Santangelo recalled the line of questioning. "And I tried to tie the whole thing in by finishing my answer with, 'If you want that, that's where you go for it.' And, you know, I really don't have a problem with anything I said and I wouldn't change a thing."

"You know I got my start in sports-talk radio. I respect you guys immensely. I respect the medium immensely," Santangelo told Dukes. "But they're two different mediums, and you go to two different places to different things like you go to different restaurants for different foods, you go to different bars for different drinks. I think when you talk about sports-talk radio, and I did it for seven years every single day, my job was to have an opinion on sports-talk radio. My job was to evoke enough emotion out of my listeners for them to either: A) call; or B) listen to my show. That's what you do in sports-talk radio."

"And to be quite honest, I'm not backing off from my statement," he said. "There's a lot of negativity in sports-talk radio. There is. It doesn't mean it's you. It doesn't mean it's 106.7 The Fan. I'm just saying in general, having worked in the industry for seven years, there's a lot of negative takes, but that's the medium. That's the job. That's what you have to do, have a strong opinion on something to get enough emotion out of your listeners that they're gonna tune in, whether they love you or whether they hate you. And if too many love you, that stinks for ratings; and if too many hate you, that stinks for ratings. You've gotta be right down the middle so you have an equal amount of people that love you and hate you, and they're all listening. That's how you get ratings."

"But in baseball, as a baseball broadcaster, it's Bryce's job and Max's job to stimulate that emotion in you to watch the game on a nightly basis, not mine," he continued. "My job's not to have an opinion any more. My job is to explain the game, break it down up there in a way that everybody can understand at home -- the baseball junkie to the first-time viewer -- and let those guys evoke that emotion out of you. And every once in a while, the sports-talk radio guy in me will come out and I'll have an opinion on something, but for the most part, that's not my job any more. My job is not to be negative. My job is not to be critical."

Santangelo noted a clear distinction between the two professions, that as a broadcaster for the team, he's around the players and everyone inside the organization every day.

"I mean, I'm with these guys, Chad, every single day for eight years," he said. "I'm on the bus, I'm on the plane, I'm in the lobby, I'm in the clubhouse. I did it. I know how hard it is. I know their moms, their dads, their aunts and uncles at this point. I know their kids' names. I know everybody. So it's like a family that we're all on the plane together.

"So just imagine in your job, if every single day, you criticized CBS Radio, you criticized CK, you criticized every show on the station, you criticized your producer. Not just like in back rooms, which'll get you fired anyway, but I'm talking about on the air. Nobody in the business would be in it too long. So they're just different mediums, and I respect them both, and I wouldn't be where I am today -- which was the ultimate goal for me, getting to broadcasting -- if I didn't start in sports-talk radio. I love coming on with you. I'm a little more loose on sports-talk radio. I can actually have an opinion on sports-talk radio that's a strong one. You know, that's just the crux of it."

You can hear F.P. Santangelo on Chad Dukes vs. The World every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. throughout the Nationals season.

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