KTRS's McGraw Milhaven Accuses KMOX's Charlie Brennan Of Sabotaging His Show

Categories: Media
brennan_milhaven_pissing.jpg
Brennan and Milhaven (right) used to be on-air buddies. So what prompted this pissing match?
Earlier this month, KTRS (550 AM) morning radio host McGraw Milhaven was scheduled to interview former Cardinals ballplayer Bill White, when he says he received a familiar call a few days before the broadcast.

On the other end of the line was the publisher of White's new book, Uppity, which is about his times as one of the first black players in the major leagues and, later, one of the first black executives in the sport. For Milhaven, who played college baseball and broke into the business as a sports broadcaster, White was the perfect guest.

The publisher, however, said Milhaven would have to wait. Before appearing on Milhaven's program, White would first have to appear on Charlie Brennan's radio show on rival talker KMOX (1120 AM). 

But while he waited, Milhaven watched in disbelief as White participated in numerous other local interviews. "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the St. Louis Beacon had big articles on him that week," recalls Milhaven. "He appeared on Mike Shannon's post-game show after a baseball game, and then on the morning of Brennan's show, he was on FOX 2 -- which, by the way, is about a mile from KTRS. White probably had to drive past our studios to get to the station."

Milhaven, who used to work side-by-side with Brennan at KMOX from 2002 to 2003, says that something similar has occurred on at least three other occasions, with former baseball players Darryl Strawberry, Tim McCarver and New York Times sports reporter George Vecsey.

"In all those cases they either canceled my show, or it got back to me that Brennan wasn't happy that they were on with me," says Milhaven, who thinks the KMOX host must have some kind of vendetta against him.

And it doesn't end with the radio. Milhaven believes Brennan has also blackballed him from appearing on the popular roundtable show Donnybrook on KETC (Channel 9), for which Brennan serves as moderator or -- as it's called on the show -- provocateur.

As Milhaven sees it, a better title for Brennan would be saboteur. "I don't know what I did to offend him," he says, "but he was always as gracious as he could be when we worked together."

"There's no feud here that I know of," a somewhat surprised Brennan tells Daily RFT when reached for comment.

That said, Brennan admits that his station has strongly encouraged all the guests Milhaven complains about to appear first on his show. The reason?

"They're all part of the the Fontbonne University/Charlie Brennan Book of the Month Club," says Brennan. "We spend a lot of time and money promoting the event and, yes, we ask that we get to have the author on before any other local radio."

Brennan estimates that KMOX gives the publishers $15,000 to $20,000 per month in free advertising through station plugs and often helps the author sell several hundred books at the monthly broadcasts held in front of a live audience.

What's more, Brennan says, Milhaven is free to have the authors on his show just as soon as he's finished with them. "Why doesn't he? Or is he saying he has to be first?" asks Brennan.

Milhaven tells Daily RFT he doesn't know who is -- and isn't -- part of Brennan's literary circle. "I don't see billboards around town announcing the guests of Charlie Brennan's book club, and I don't run my guests with him before booking the show," he says. "As far as I know, there's no sticker on the book recognizing it as an official pick of the Charlie Brennan book club."

Brennan admits that's true of his book club, which is now in its sixth year. "Oprah Winfrey, I am not. But the authors tend to find our agreement worth their while."

Funny, though, says Milhaven, that Brennan chose not to invite J.R. Moehringer -- Milhaven's cousin and author of the best-selling memoir Tender Bar -- to be part of the club.

"I even called Brennan and told him he could interview J.R. first," says Milhaven. "The book has a section in it that mentions KMOX. It would have been perfect. But, who knows, maybe Charlie ran out of free advertising to promote it."

"With all due respect," says Brennan. "That book just wasn't my thing."

OK, so what about the Donnybrook gig?

"Milhaven has never asked me to be on Donnybrook," says Brennan. "But the fact is, that the show is short on women and conservative voices. So when we have an absence, I try to find someone who fits that mold."

By the way, Brennan adds that he was never invited to appear on the former Chalk Talk show on Charter Cable in which McGraw regularly appeared as a guest.

"Is that a conspiracy?" asks Brennan. "I don't know. But I'll say this: For a guy trying to get on Donnybrook, he sure is taking a strange route to do it."    

Keep up on all the latest St. Louis news and gossip by following @chadgarrison on Twitter and Daily RFT on Facebook.
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17 comments
merc9702
merc9702

I wish the panel regulars on Donnybrook would listen to themselves talking over each other to the extent that it just become gibberish. Is this a way to "discuss" local issues by having a near brawl of words?

merc9702
merc9702

Milhaven is a loud mouth agitator.  That could be one of Brennan's reasons to not invite him on "Donnybrook". I also would guess that the other regulars on the show have some input.

Stunned in St. Louis
Stunned in St. Louis

I just noticed that this story was a month old... I had ran across it here at the RFT website just a day ago...

Stunned in St. Louis
Stunned in St. Louis

Milhaven and his bosses at KTRS are indeed a joke. Last summer, when there was the whole dustup about the trouble at Lure Nightclub and it's liquor license being threatened to be taken away away over what suppossed patrons of the club suppossedly did on nearby properties after the club was closed. I called in one morning intending to comment about my disbelief that the city powers could hold a club owner responsible for what happened off his premises and after the club was closed and after cutting me off by saying something snarky, he proceeded to claim that "Whites commit more crimes in the city of StL than blacks". As soon as I started to chellenge the remark, he cut me off the air, seemingly realizing that he had said something VERY wrong. I did the homework, found out that African-Americans were indeed the much higher percentage inhabitants of the StL city and county jails and when I tried to bring this to the attention of Milhaven and his boss at KTRS, I was rebuffed and Milhaven backpedaled in an email to me claiming he had different statistics, etc. It was just too much for Milhaven to admit or acknowledge he was wrong and why should he if his bosses had no apparent care about what he said or how he conducts himself on air

It is really funny too how many times on his show he decries the provincialism and backbiting that holds our city back and gives it a bad reputation across the nation and then engages in some of the same behavior!!! For what it is worth too, ALL media outlets here in StL have very little interest in really reporting on Real issues affecting the city or the region. I have on a number of occassions brought stories to the attention of all of our local outlets and none of them saw fit to bring any of them to the attention of the public. Stories about the mayor's office secretary refusing to give Mayor messages imploring him to to hear the opinion of the only LED sign manufacturer in the entire state of Mo. based here in StL r.e the moratorium on LED signs, Stories about a rally at the aldermanic board offices the day they were to pass the LED sign moratorium and how aldermanic representatives gave us completely incorrect information about the said proceedings, Stories about what StL City officers told me were an unconstitutional arrest made to me and the subsequent refusal of the Police chief's office & StL PD Internal Affairs refusal to propoerly investigate the case, ETC.  The real shame is that stories like this ridiculousness between Milhaven and Brennan get the ink while stories that actually REALLY impact lives and the StL economy don'y get to see the light of day.

Ormond
Ormond

I stopped listening to Brennan because he constantly wants to see race in everything. Brennan also I apt to insult callers comments on subjects he knows nothing about.

Jetboy
Jetboy

who in the hell would want to be affiliated with fontbonne

Ed Golterman
Ed Golterman

I asked both of these 'children' to help bring back downtown St. Louis a dozen years ago. They didn't, so I could care less about this spat. Is anything less important?

joe
joe

How much respect was shown by the Beacon--a woman who had Mike Shannon playing third for the 1964 Cardinals, and the Post Dispatch, whose sportswriters might not have been all that thrilled, (or maybe glad) that a guy who has had three published articles in the pd handled the article, in which he thought it would be a good idea to talk about the Pujols book, in addition to Bill White's. Was White ever on 101?

Jdec
Jdec

I assumed Martin Duggan wasn't aware that many St. Louisans refer to Brennan as "the shrill shill." . (Does anyone remember when he first appeared on Donnybrook and immediately plugged one of his sponsors?) The few times I did listen to Brennan's radio show, it was pretty obvious that the average age of his listeners was at least 65, if not older.

I'm one of many, who no longer watch Donnybrook. Wendy Wiess fills the token female chair, but contributes absolutely nothing to any discussion. Ray Hartman is like a broken record that keeps repeating itself. Now there's Charlie Brennan. Yikes!

As for KMOX, the only talk show I'll listen to, but not regularly, is Mark Reardon's, who is at least intelligent and draws a mixed group of listeners (i.e. age and political views). I can't imagine anyone listening to McGraw MIllhaven. There's dumb and then there's dumber.

Even NPR has lost its luster for me., but I do continue to listen at times.

Justin
Justin

IF you thought that either of them are bad, wait till you've heard the ULTRA-righty KFTK (home to Allman, Glover [although usually apolitical], and the worst Radio Jock in all of St. Louis, the GOP shill pretending to be a Teahadist, Dana The Antichrist Loesch).

Nevertheless, Brennan and Millhaven are slightly center-right, but Rear-dumb is WAY more looney.

Richard A. Fernandez Sr.
Richard A. Fernandez Sr.

I believe Brennan is try to keep his job. He is pllaying the part of a Rush Limbaugh on Donnie Brook to convince KMOX he is a true conservative. KMOX may be the old people station but their is a couple of old people who listen to KTRS 75% of the time. I skip Frank Opinion.

Rich Fernanez

anonymous
anonymous

and for alex, donnybrook is in fact one of the most popular news programs in the city and certainly the most respected by people who didn't grow up getting their news on the internet or on cable tv. it is the highest rated locally produced show on public broadcast NATIONWIDE. it is well known to people who actually read local newspapers and listen to the radio. perhaps it will eventually drop in viewership, but as of today, it is without a doubt very well known and incredibly vital as it deals almost exclusively with metro area topics. regular guests are charles brennan, bill mcclellan, the late nan wyatt, wendy wiesse and ray hartmann; a who's who of metro st. louis news.

anonymous
anonymous

i waited on millhaven once and, i swear to god, he did one of those "put it on the gold card", flip the card out between two fingers like a gun, and actually made a little explosion noise while he did it. serious as a heart attack too, he wasn't messing around or anything. my stomach displaced itself as i was trying not to laugh in his face. i don't care for his show but i will always love him for that golden moment of bravado.

Extremely Displeased
Extremely Displeased

Brennan is an egomaniac from the word go! He is a right winged ultraconservative hell bent on maintaining kmox propaganda.... Brennan, Limpbowl and Rearend which make up the daytime schedule. Kmox has no right to call themselved "the voice of Saint Louis" with the ilk that they have on!

Jason Robinson
Jason Robinson

Dear Displeased, did you listen to Charlie Brennan? Because he's not the "right-winged ultraconservative" that you seem to believe he is.

Mountain Bird
Mountain Bird

Boo-hoo, McGraw. Radio is a business and that sort of thing is common. By the way, McGraw whining about so-called unprofessional behavior is a joke, since he is also a joke.. borrowing his own words from his now infamous, infantile, attention-seeking outburst on the Nancy Grace show some time ago. Grow up.

alex fritz
alex fritz

I noticed a typo that I feel compelled to point out, Chad.

"popular roundtable show Donnybrook on KETC" should be "something nobody has ever heard of."

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