LA Times Profiles Sports Talk Legend Joe McDonnell

By Marcus Vanderberg 

Sports fans in Los Angeles know the name Joe McDonnell.

The sports talk radio legend, nicknamed “The Big Nasty,” was known for his brash opinions and his massive frame. At his peak, McDonnell tipped the scales at 740 pounds and was a regular on the air since the early 1980s.

After shedding over 400 pounds following gastric bypass surgery, McDonnell has been reduced to doing sports updates on KNX 1070 in Los Angeles several times a week.


Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times wrote a column in Sunday’s paper on why McDonnell is unable to land a sports talk show gig:

“McDonnell is 298 pounds, healthy, and muzzled. He looks great, but he sounds empty as he talks about a radio career that is currently as ill-fitting as his clothes.
He has not been host of a Los Angeles sports-talk show for two years. He has not been host of any sort of sports-talk show for nearly a year. He works two or three days a week as the sports update guy on KNX 1070, and still breaks stories there, but having him in that position is like having a master chef working the hostess stand.

“Suddenly, he’s been silenced, and it’s just ridiculous,” says Doug Krikorian, the respected Long Beach Press-Telegram sports columnist and Big Joe’s former partner on the McDonnell-Douglas sports-talk show. “It’s a great injustice, and I can’t figure it out.””

The sports talk radio scene in Los Angeles is not the same as it was 20 years ago.

With less options on the radio dial, on-air competition naturally increases. There are only so many microphones to go around, leaving McDonnell on the outside looking in.