Frank Cusumano reprises The Slop with Tuna and Strickland, but the long-term future is unclear

After an eight-month hiatus, Frank Cusumano has been touring again on his radio show.

A raucous segment dubbed “The Slop,” in which fellow sportscasters Charlie “Tona” Edwards and Andy Strickland joined Cusumano for a chat on Friday, was abruptly dropped last spring amid acrimony. But she was back on Cusumano’s show on KFNS (590 AM) last week, and that may have been more than just her adorable appearance.

Strickland’s specialty is hockey, but he knows other sports. Edwards’ specialty is athletics-related controversy—particularly making the stand on racial issues and criticizing district teams.

Banter often goes off the rails. But Edwards’ unbridled blasting of St. Louis and Missouri University’s athletics programs into a show in March was the turning point for the usually mild-mannered Cusumano, who has been a standout in the St. Louis sports radio and television business for three. decades and has won multiple Emmy Awards in sports broadcasting at KSDK (Channel 5) – for which he has been sports director for the past six years.

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He was so pissed off in March that he canceled the segment—until last Friday, which is when Cusumano revived it on “Pressbox,” which airs from 10 a.m. to midday weekdays on KFNS.

Cusumano said when “The Slop” was canceled the reason was due to scheduling conflicts that involved moving Mike Claiborne to that Friday slot. He brought the super back when Claiborne was unavailable last week.

“Mike is out, so I thought it would be a great idea,” Cusumano said this week. “I really love Charlie. I really love Andy.”

Edwards, who has his own show on KFNS from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, said he and Cusumano met occasionally on the station in the following months.

“We’re friendly,” he said, but added that he was “shocked” when he was invited back. “I kind of forgot ‘otherwise’ when a lot of people asked me about it.”

The Friday segment took a familiar trajectory with the hosts going back and forth. Edwards took shots at Mizzou, asking if new basketball coach Dennis Gates “is a real brother” and getting angry when he spoke about NBA player Kyrie Irving being suspended indefinitely due to an anti-Semitic controversy he was involved in.

“It’s only with black athletes when they get suspended that they say, ‘This is indefinite,'” Edwards said. “With the white guy hanging out, (It’s okay), he’ll be back in four weeks.”

Edwards then turned to NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is serving a lengthy suspension after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. But Watson, who is Black, has not been charged with a crime.

“I still don’t know why it was discontinued,” Edwards said. “…he did nothing nothing!

Edwards added that the NFL’s Tom Brady, who is white, got a final length on his suspension when he was penalized for deflating footballs.

Cusumano replied: “Tom Brady – to compare what he did to football to what Deshaun Watson did to 35 women…”

Edwards was also reminded that Dodgers outfielder Trevor Bauer, who is white, was originally placed on indefinite suspension (dubbed administrative leave) in 2021 for alleged sexual misconduct before being suspended for the equivalent of two full seasons.

Strickland told Edward he should have worked more on “his (on-air) game” while he was off, and the kind of play between the hosts is typical of “The Slop” – which Edwards described as “good for everyone” after he was dropped in March . “People learned a lot from that. We had me, a black guy, and Andy, who’s white, talking about things that not a lot of people like to talk about.”

Strickland, who talks hockey on several outlets including KFNS, said he’s enjoyed reuniting with a segment Edwards has had for nearly two decades, on multiple stations, since Bernie Miklach started it on KMOX (1120 AM).

“It was always fun, and it was never personal,” Strickland said. “We didn’t get mad at each other until our last show (in March). We always had a good time. It was fun.”

KFNS owner Dave Zobrist, who gives longtime hosts like Cusumano a lot of freedom in their programming decisions, said he was unaware of “The Slop”‘s return until it was on the air.

“I thought it was good,” he said. “I know listeners loved it.”

Cusumano has indicated that he may return at some point, but it won’t be Friday — the show is on hold due to the long weekend.

Will it become a weekly feature again?

“Time will tell,” Cusumano said, adding that “it was great to see them again, and great to be back on the air with them.”

Strickland was philosophical about the situation.

“The break was probably the best thing for the show,” he said. “But I’m not pressuring Frank to take him back. If we do it on a regular basis, that’s fine. If not, then so be it.”

But the key to its long-term future appears to be tied to the bottom line, and the sector isn’t thought to have been a significant source of revenue before it came to an end.

“That’s where my head is,” Zobrist said.

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