The Untold Story: Kidnapping of “Inside Sports,” by The Washington Post and ESPN
By Harold Bell
My partner and mentor, the notorious radio and television talk show host Petey Greene. The movie portraying him “Lets talk” never did him or his family and friends justice. The determining factors—selfishness and greed.
When the legendary radio and television talk show host Petey Greene gave me five minutes to talk sports on WOL Radio in the late 60s, I had no idea where this opportunity would lead me and neither did he. The opportunity will lead me to co-hosting a sports talk show on Saturday at 12 noon with the No. 1 DJ in the country, WOL’s Bobby Bennett. Bobby was a “Closet” wannabe sportscaster. I parlayed that opportunity into hosting my own radio sports talk show on W-O-O-K Radio one year later. There were no black own radio or television outlets in DC in the 60s and 70s including WHUR (paid for and supported by the Federal Government). The stations were “Black Oriented,” and sounded black but white owned. I remember, I was contemplating the format for my new talk show at dinner one evening when I asked my wife Hattie “What should I call my new show” and without hesitation, she said ‘Inside Sports!’ I was blown away because the show title fit. I put my fork down and asked “How did you come up with that title?” Her response, ‘You get the behind scenes news on the athletes before the TV news and newspapers.’ She made sense to me and in 1971 Inside Sports hit the airwaves for the first time in American media history. On hand and in studio for my first show was Hattie and Attorney Derrick Humphries. From the very beginning Derrick advised me to Trademark the name Inside Sports but I was not listening, I was in another World (ego trip).
For the next decade, the one of a kind Inside Sports talk show would take DC by storm. The show made me the first black to host and produce his own radio sports talk show in the Nation’s Capitol. It was one of a kind, I was Out Side the Lines, Real Sports long before ESPN & HBO. The guests were top of the line, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Red Auerbach, Don King, Doctor J, Bert Sugar and the list goes on and on. Inside Sports was the first sports talk show to discuss racism on and off the field of play (front office), the first to play message music (Wake Up Everybody, What’s Going On, Someday We Will be Free, Black & Proud, Respect Yourself, etc.). The first to establish sports media round-tables, first to write commentaries on any and everything to enhance the growth of black people in America. The show was the first to encourage pro athletes, politicians and entertainers to participate in community outreach programs. Inside Sports and Kids In Trouble cared long before the NBA, NFL and MLB.
The Godfather of Sports Talk Radio Harold Bell with Black Men In America.com Founder Gary Johnson at the Black Men In America.com Office1