Paul Finebaum discussing Harvey Updyke Jr.

Sports radio hosts might provide their audience with entertainment, paired with a little information and a lot of bad gambling picks, but I wouldn’t call them lifesavers. Apparently Handsome Joe from Red Bay, Alabama feels differently.

Joe is a frequent caller to Paul Finebaum’s program, only this time he called to inform the radio host that the show helped save his life.

“Paul, your show actually helped save my life. Because I was dealing with depression and actually overdosed a couple times,” the caller known as Handsome Joe said. “And I didn’t have a lot to do, but your show helped bring me through those dark days and there’s no way I could ever repay that, Paul. But I just wanted you to know how much your show has actually meant to me and it means a lot to a lot of people…you really helped save my life Paul.”

The sports radio host/caller relationship can often be a strange one. Some sports radio hosts implore their callers to stick to sports if they’re willing to welcome callers on-air at all. But others allow their show to be therapeutic, acting as a safe space for callers to speak about anything in sports or life.

Handsome Joe’s lifesaver admission came shortly after Awful Announcing columnist Michael Grant spoke with Finebaum, and asked the popular SEC radio host about the “weirdest interaction” he ever had on his show. Finebaum pointed to “Harvey Updyke, the guy who called in 2011 and admitted to poisoning trees at Toomer’s Corner,” along with calls from convicted felons and even one from a person in the hospital on their death bed. But Finebaum’s answer might need to be amended to include Handsome Joe thanking him for being a lifesaver.

“I don’t know how I could ever thank you for saying that on behalf of everyone here, Joe,” Finebaum told the caller. “That mean’s a great deal.”

An avid sports radio listener might hear Paul Finebaum speak longer and more often than he or she talks to anyone else in their life. And an avid caller might speak to Finebaum more often than they call any friend or family member. For Finebaum, and most radio hosts, it’s part of the job, but for that loyal listener and frequent caller, they have companionship.

[The Paul Finebaum Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to