The third annual “Talk of the Town” provided exclusive access to Dallas-Fort Worth's outstanding play-by-play sportscasters — all legends in their own right. Eric Nadel, Brad Sham, Chuck Cooperstein and Dave Strader joined forces to entertain guests with dozens of entertaining sports anecdotes, friendly joking (including things that they cannot say on the air), and a panel discussion/audience Q&A.
The genesis of this nirvana for local sports fans occurred four years ago when Texas Rangers radio play-by-play announcer Nadel organized a dinner at his house with Dallas Cowboys radio voice Sham (who called Rangers games for three years alongside Nadel in the mid-’90s), Dallas Mavericks radio voice Cooperstein (who was hired by Sham at KRLD in the days of “Sports Central”) and then-Dallas Stars play-by-play man Ralph Strangis (Strader replaced Strangis in this event when he took over the play-by-play duties with the Stars at the beginning of the 2015-2016 NHL season).
“This night is the outgrowth of a night when Chuck and Ralph Strangis and I were at Eric's house and sat around telling lies to each other and laughing a great deal,” Sham said. “Chuck's wife Karen said we should be selling tickets to this and we kind of stopped and looked at each other and said ‘could we raise money for charities if we did that?' It has now evolved to the point where we all have children's charities.”
The inaugural “Talk of the Town” was an exclusive gathering in a private room at the Kirby's Steakhouse in Southlake, with each of the four announcers bringing roughly 10 to 12 guests each. In three short years, it has morphed into an evening that raised over $100,000 benefiting five local charities.
This year's event took place at 3015 at Trinity Groves and was moderated by John Rhadigan from Fox Sports Southwest. Nadel, Sham and Cooperstein were in attendance while Strader, who has been battling cancer, chimed in on Skype. The charities included Rays of Light; Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children; Focus on Teens; New Friends New Life; and the Dallas Stars Foundation.
“This night is still the only time when we are all together in one place and it is amazingly fun for us,” Nadel said. “I learn new things about these guys every time we do this and while we are very similar, our backgrounds are very different.”
It is unique in the sports media world for an area to have its three or four major sports teams' radio voices be such good friends.
“In this ego-driven business, friendships like the ones we share is something you rarely see,” Cooperstein said. “I can't explain it. It's one of those deals where you can't explain it but you know it when you see it and you know when you feel it, that's what this is and tonight is a team effort.”
The impressive selection at the silent auction included one-a-kind items like Cooperstein's official score sheet autographed by the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki from when he hit 30,000 career points, framed with the game photograph documenting it and the unique opportunity to have Nadel record his personal voice mail message. Experiences up for auction included a Chef Tasting Dinner with Nadel at Nick & Sam's, Truluck's steak dinner with Sham and the chance to visit the set of “Shark Tank” in Los Angeles and have lunch with Mark Cuban
When asked what was the best part of the evening, Nadel said it was that Strader was able to join them via Skype.
"Seeing him so engaged and joyful put a smile on everyone's face," Nadel said. "We have all grown to love him in the relatively short two years he has been in Dallas."
For more information about Talk of the Town, visit thetalkofthetown.org.