Top six reasons Voice of the Indianapolis Colts Bob Lamey should resign

Bob Lamey crossed a line that a responsible broadcaster cannot cross, and he doesn't remember it.

Bob Lamey crossed a line that a responsible broadcaster cannot cross, and he doesn’t remember it.

Indianapolis Colts radio voice Bob Lamey turned loose an expletive at the end of the team’s win against the San Diego Chargers that is an absolute no-no for broadcasters.

Bob dropped the big one, or more accurately an odd mutation of the big one with two suffixes that I’ve never heard before.

Yep, Bob threw an f-bomb into a live microphone that funneled through the control boards and transmitters of 45 affiliates licensed by the FCC – an organization dedicated to keeping the airwaves clear of obscene content – and into the ears of thousands of Hoosiers.

Bob’s exact words, “The game is over.  The game is finally, f***ingly over.”

The outcry over the lapse in eloquence is more than a tempest in a teapot.  While no one is irreparably damaged by hearing a profane utterance, the fines levied by the FCC can have an adverse effect on the reputation of a broadcaster as well as the careers of innocent employees of the broadcasters who might be fired as a result of the financial reversal caused by the fine.

The Colts decision to accept the Bob’s apology and forgive him is laudable.  Bob’s response after a couple of days to reflect should be to exit stage left and call it a career for the following six reasons (more would be too unpleasant to unload on a former co-worker):

6 – There comes a time for everyone to walk away before they are escorted out.  The Colts gave Bob a pass yesterday because they are a football team, not a broadcast company.  The decision was made to forgive Bob for his massive lapse in judgment because the consequences for the team are insignificant.  The next time, absolution will be more difficult for Bob to earn and the Colts to explain to easily offended fans and justify to affiliates who might be required by the FCC to pay a significant fine. Bob exiting the booth on his own is a moment he has earned.

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5 – Bob deserves a spot in the Colts Ring of Honor, not the Broadcasting Hall of Shame.  Putting his own legacy at risk by peppering his commentary with obscenities is not what Bob should be remembered for.  His name should be forever emblazoned among Colts greats at Lucas Oil Stadium to honor the manner in which he brought the excitement of Colts games to millions of Hoosiers since the time they moved from Baltimore to Indy.

4 – Dropping an F-bomb live on-air is grotesquely unprofessional.  There is one very serious line that a broadcaster cannot cross – a threshold of professionalism that must be respected.  That is to never utter the dreaded f-word into a live microphone.  It happens so rarely that Bob’s bizarre lapse is national news.  Annual seminars on obscenity are held in the conference rooms of every radio and TV station in America, and the headline of those seminars seems laughably unnecessary, “Don’t ever drop an f-bomb on-air.  There is no saving you if it happens.”

3 – Bob doesn’t remember doing it.  How can anyone expect an act not to be repeated when the person who committed it doesn’t recall doing it?  Lamey told Bob Kravitz of that he needed to be told by Colts assistant director of communications Matt Conti what he said.  That means either that Bob lied to Kravitz or that he cannot be expected to consciously control his words.  Either should disqualify him in his own mind from continuing to describe Colts football action into a live microphone.

2 – Bob’s legacy deserves better than this.  For decades, Bob’s voice has been synonymous with the Colts.  He is beloved by Colts fans for riding the same roller coaster of emotions they do.  One lapse in judgment won’t define him, but a second or third would, and if it happened once to a broadcaster who knows better – and has known better for 50 years – he shouldn’t trust that it won’t happen again.

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1 – The jobs of broadcasters may be lost if he doesn’t.  There are 45 affiliates in the Colts Radio Network, and each has agreed to broadcast under a set of rules established and administered by the FCC.  In order to enforce rules, the FCC has the ability to impose a fine of $325,000 per incident of obscenity or profanity.  The F-word is forbidden, especially from those who should be expected to know better.  The Colts Radio Network is not responsible for the maintenance of the radio station licenses – the affiliates are.  If fines are levied against affiliates, the answer from stations will be to find efficiencies that cover the loss.  That can mean the elimination of jobs.  Lamey’s exit from broadcasting shouldn’t be marked by jobs of young professionals being lost.

Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-6p, and writes about Indiana sports at

17 thoughts on “Top six reasons Voice of the Indianapolis Colts Bob Lamey should resign

  1. Joel

    I do not know all the do’s and do not’s of radio, but I do understand the etiquette of English needs to be kept clean or heavy fines will be imposed. I do understand what Bob said was wrong and should not have happened.

    But to take the time to to write a blog about a fellow colleague/peer tying him to the whipping post and give him a public flogging for being human and making a big mistake , is low brow. WOW!! There must be some dislike, hidden agenda, wanting to be vindictive ,hatred or whatever the purpose is behind it,is uncalled for. I do not agree with what happened, but to take the man to task like this is nauseating. Must be something more deeper here.

    Bob is human just like you and the rest of us. To judge us on one single incident in life is ignorant, so go ahead and toss all of us into the fires of hell for the mistakes we make in our life if you are so self righteous.
    Maybe you never dropped the big one on the air, good for you. But from what it sounds like you have had your moments at youth sporting events. You ever swear in public? It’s not like Bob was beating baby seals during the broadcast.
    You ever hear Bob and Tom? Granted they may have never dropped the big one, but they have been just risque in they’re innuendos about subjects and so has your boy Dakich(yuck!)

    I understand all the rules you mentioned, and accept that. But to come out and beat him around for this and call for his job is petty from someone who works in the same field. Like I said, must be something more.
    I like you work Kent and enjoy your blogs. May not agree all the time, but I do follow.
    This is low to take this route. No reason to go this way.

    “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone “

    1. SGM

      Totally agree with Joel.

      I listen to you on the way home and today I turned the channel because you’ve carried on about this for two days. He screwed up. Get over it. Nobody carries this much about one slip up without an agenda. Trying to extrapolate possible lost jobs is ridiculous. Looks like the election season rhetoric is clouding your judgment.

      Lamey isn’t just an announcer. He’s a fan. What he said, mistakenly, was what most of us fans were thinking. If he does it again, let him go. Guarantee it won’t happen.

      1. Kent Sterling Post author

        Bob can’t even guarantee it won’t happen again because he doesn’t recall it. When I extrapolate lost jobs, I do it as someone who was directed to eliminate positions in radio because of mistakes made by others at stations far away from my home markets. I’ve heard from multiple general managers at station on the Colts network thanking me for explaining why this is more important than a guy bleating an emotion driven obscenity.

        Everyone in radio hopes there are no complaints – and thus no jobs lost due to the FCC taking action.

        All that said, I hope you are right.

    2. Miley

      He needs to go.. There should be no pass for violating a no pass federal rule. I am not without sin, but I also did not sign up to broadcast according to national decency rules. In an age of everybody gets a break this is not a time to stand down

      1. Joel

        I understand there are rules and such, but I am wondering why everyone from the so called “media” is kicking him around. Don’t get it. Do you know Bob? It seems like there might be some sort of “kinship” among fellow people within that world where you might be understanding to a point. If Bob was a repeat offender or a total jerk, I would say bounce him in a minute. Granted the Bob and Tom Show and Howard Stern(terrestrial radio years) could get pretty graphic and still do. Pretty much close enough to dropping the big one and I don’t hear people calling for their heads.
        I am not related to Bob, do not know him at all. He is a professional announcer, play by play who is VERY PASIONATE about what he does and he let it slip ,it happens unfortunately to the best of us.
        Very little are a paragon of virtue, but it seems like the world of the people who are bashing him appear to fall into that category.

        1. Kent Sterling Post author

          This isn’t about Bob slipping and swearing. It’s about the ripple effect that occurs when radio companies incur fines. Good people who did nothing wrong are fired in order to cover the expense. Small market radio stations go dark. As someone who has been in the room when contingency plans were developed, I can tell you that names have gone on lists – just in case. Those are the people I’m concerned with.

          Firing people sucks, and when the firing happens because of a mistake made by someone else, it’s especially galling.

    3. Kent Sterling Post author

      Joel – Thanks for the note. Here is the agenda. I have fired people because mistakes were made by others who kept their jobs. I don’t want to see people I like, hired, and respect canned because Bob indulged an emotional impulse.

      This is not about Bob. It’s about the employees who may be told to pack a box because the money to pay a fine has to come from somewhere. Firing good people sucks for everyone, and I don’t wish it on anyone. That’s my emotional tie to what happened a week ago.

  2. zach

    I have to admit, kind of thought your opinions in the past were “headline grabbers” and trying to make a name for yourself. This confirms it. Anyone who has been on the air, whether television or radio, for an extended period of time has a “screw up”. It doesn’t mean they should retire. It shows they are human. He apologized. If it continues to happen or he had a proven track record of mishaps (peyton manning comments were not on air), then this BLOG would possibly be justified. Totally lost all respect for you.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Bob screwed up, and forgiving him for that indiscretion is one thing – and it’s appropriate. If there is a significant FCC fine, people who don’t know who Bob is will be fired and small market stations may opt to turn off their transmitters.

      This is not about Bob. As a program director, I have been forced to fire employees because of financial shortfalls caused by the idiocy of others. No one should ever lose a job because someone swears but it can and does happen.

      There are moments when people swear into a live mic, but it is almost always because the talent believes a mic to be off when it is not. That was not the case here, and most troubling is that Bob has no recollection of it happening.

      Bob deserves a spot in the Colts Ring of Honor – not a legacy tarnished by radio careers ended.

  3. Jon

    First, in the spirit of dignity, why use a photo of Bob sitting in a restaurant when you could have chosen one of his multiple, professional publicity photos from over the years? I’d guess that was deliberate – quite deliberate. Nothing emphasizes a point better than an accompanying good (or bad) photo. Shame on you.

    Sports fans have very short memories. Countless athletes and professionals have made poor decisions over the years, but time heals all wounds. Kobe didn’t retire nor did Tiger. They may have lost fans in the midst of a “crisis” but their fans have returned 3-fold.

    Bob’s mistake was an accident. Period. Fans should show dignity and forgive him. Suggesting that he retire over a single mistake is absurd. Let time heal the wound and let him in to the Ring of Honor as deserved.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Of the photos at my disposal, that was a good one. I tried to avoid full body shots, and won’t use small pics.

      Kobe and Tiger didn’t author an act that could cause people on a radio station’s staff to lose their jobs or a small market station to go dark entirely. This isn’t about Bob. It’s about the collateral damage that an FCC fine can cause.

      Bob dropped an f-bomb, didn’t remember doing it, and thus can’t be taken seriously if he guarantees it will never happen again. His legacy should not be defined by a trail of jobs lost by those who had nothing to do with the broadcast.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      How do you know there have been no complaints to the FCC? Notice of complaints can take time to be sent by the FCC. Hopefully, you are right and nothing happens. It’s about time we got over being so easily offended. My agenda is that of a guy who hates being forced to fire people for the mistakes of others. You see this as anti-Bob, and it isn’t. It’s pro-staff.

  4. Jim Baldwin

    I would say to anyone in the print media to give what Mr. Lamey and many others do a try. It is easy to criticize when you are sitting in front of a monitor with a delete and backspace key. Sounds to me like sour grapes, jealousy or a combination of the two.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      I speak live on the radio for three hours every day, and have for years. My point, though, is not to criticize Bob. It’s about the people at the 45 radio stations that comprise the Colts Radio Network whose jobs are at stake because of what came out of Bob’s mouth. Hopefully, no one complains to the FCC and cost cutting measures aren’t employed that would cost jobs.


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