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

Categories: Media
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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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