I discovered sports radio as a 9-year-old boy growing up in Southwest Michigan, an area colloquially known as "Michiana," or, more appropriately,"Exurban Chicagoland." My dad introduced me to 670 The Score out of the Windy City, and, having raised me to loathe all the Chicago teams seemingly everyone in our region cherished so dearly, he simultaneously imparted on me the gift of schadenfreude.

He and I never have seen eye-to-eye on the NFL. That side of the family being from Arkansas, my dad suffers from one of the most pervasive and untreatable illnesses in the sports world — Dallas Cowboys fandom. He didn't pass that genetic defect on to me, thank God.

I found the Packers right around the same time I found sports radio. How did a little kid from the Chicago media market whose earliest memories involve his Dallas-loving father throwing him in the air to celebrate Cowboys touchdowns in three different 1990s-era Super Bowls end up a Cheesehead? It was simple, really: the Packers' green and gold uniforms were nearly identical to that of my high school's, the Coloma Comets; and, more importantly, my dad hated Brett Favre and Green Bay with a kind of hatred that even a third-grader could identify as completely unreasonable.

But despite me ruining my dad's lifelong dream of raising his own little Troy Aikman, one thing has always brought us together and made us forget our tribal football differences: a common animus toward the Chicago Bears.

You can imagine, then, the wonderment that filled my 9-year-old brain back in 1997 as I listened to various personalities on 670 The Score in every daypart bitch about Erik Kramer, call for GM Mark Hatley's firing, and curse Dave Wannstedt's name. I can still remember finding out that the people behind those agonized voices projecting across Lake Michigan on that AM signal actually did that for a living.

At the time, my understanding of a job was limited to what I could interpret from my parents' exhausted grimaces every weekday around 5:30 p.m. My mom and dad busted their asses day in and day out at blue-collar work, and continue to do so today into their 60s. They made tremendous sacrifices, putting in long hours so that my sister and I could have a better life than they did.

You can understand, then, what a watershed moment it was when I realized that my version of work could be yelling about sports into a microphone. It opened my eyes to a world of possibilities, things that I didn't even know were things.

That was it, the exact millisecond my dream was born. From that day on, my professional lodestar was sports radio. And because of my parents, my dream came true. (Thanks, Mom and Dad. I love you.)

The Game 730 AM and Townsquare Media played a big part in that, too. They and the talented, passionate radio pros who constitute their leadership first took a chance on me back in 2014. They put a 25-year-old former reporter, with no radio bona fides, on air, giving him the green light to let 'er rip. They helped fulfill a lifelong ambition. It was everything I imagined and more.

How did I repay those folks, and how did I show appreciation to my parents and everyone else who helped me to get there? By leaving four years later for a complete career 180.

I departed The Game 730 AM and Townsquare Media in May 2018. It took about a week for me to realize the gravity of my decision. I can remember reuniting with an old friend from my Michigan State days not long after I had moved on from radio. We caught up on each other's personal lives, then the conversation naturally shifted to our careers. She told me what she was up to professionally, which was, of course, running down her dreams. Then she asked me what I was doing for work, so I told her.

"Is that your dream job?" she asked me.

"No," I said, equal parts regretful of and embarrassed by my choice to leave radio. "I already had my dream job, and I gave it up."

"Oh," she said, unsure of how to react to the incredible stupidity I had just confessed to. I don't blame her. Have you ever heard someone say they had realized and achieved their dream job only to voluntarily forfeit it? Me neither.

Fast-forward a thousand-plus days of abject professional grief, and something incredible happened. I learned that a friend and sports radio veteran who had helped me when I first started out was retiring from the airwaves. Like seemingly everyone else, I was shocked to learn that Dave DeMarco was hanging up his microphone. The guy was a fixture on Capital City sports radio for over a quarter-century. But once the incredulity wore off, I started wondering if this was a chance for me to right a wrong.

Long story short: That's exactly what it was.

Thanks to Nathan Vandenberg, The Game 730 AM's program director; Eric Meier, Vice President of Content for Michigan at Townsquare Media; and Liz Walterhouse, Market President for Townsquare Media-Lansing, I got something almost no one is ever lucky enough to get — a second chance at a dream.

That's how "Offensive Minded" was born. An opportunity to do things right this time. And this go-round, thanks to that experience of immeasurable loss, an older, wiser, more-appreciative Beanie Howell was on the mic. And that's been the case since 2022.

So how am I repaying the people who afforded me this rarest of rare second chances? By leaving again.

But this time, it's different.

I'm not making a complete career reversal again. Instead, I'm leaning into my sports radio dream, pushing it even harder and further along.

I'm making the move to Detroit sports radio.

I like to think of myself as a professional. That means that I wouldn't mention another station's call letters on The Game 730 AM's property to begin with. But doing something like that when it would affect the myriad good people at WVFN and Townsquare Media who have helped and supported me through two tours of duty and 10 years? Not a chance. I’d don maize and blue and lecture everyone about the innocence of sign-stealing first. (I wouldn’t do that either, but you get the point.)

In broadcast, the ultimate goal is to get to a major market. There's no more major of a market in Michigan than Detroit. And more than that, the Motor City is one of the best sports markets in North America. Hell, it's probably No. 1.

To put it into sports terms, this is the equivalent of getting to the big leagues for me. It's my chance to chase my dream at the highest level. I have to do it, as hard as it is to leave behind this great thing I've had going in Lansing. If I didn't, I would spend the rest of my life wondering, "What if?"

This opportunity wouldn't have happened for me without the aforementioned people at The Game 730 AM and Townsquare Media. They believed in me, invested in me, put up with me, and fought for me. For that, I am eternally grateful.

There are so many people I want to thank for the parts they played in helping me run down this dream. I've never liked it when actors or musicians win accolades at awards shows and say they have too many people to thank, instead issuing a generic, impersonal thank you without calling out specific individuals. I'm sure I'll leave someone out who deserves recognition, and if you're one of those people and are reading this please know that I'm genuinely sorry. But you're aware of my generally bad memory and my affinity for beer, so is it really a surprise? Don't take it personally. Or do, that's fine. You can let me hear it. I ain’t hard to find, and I owe it to you to hear you out.

Anyway, in no particular order, I'd like to share my earnest, heartfelt gratitude to the following people who have, one way or another, contributed to my development and success in sports radio.

  • Nathan Vandenberg
  • Jonathan "JR" Ruppel
  • Eric Meier
  • Liz Walterhouse
  • Steve "The DeWitt Dream/Cousin of Jared" Goff
  • Kristen Matthews
  • Becky Kanaby
  • David "Mad Dog" DeMarco
  • Brock Palmbos
  • Tim Staudt
  • Chris Solari
  • Nick Chase
  • Chris Tyler
  • Zoe Burdine-Fly

There are a few others who deserve special recognition.

  • Weston Corbitt, my best friend and one of my biggest supporters. Thank you for being my creative inspiration, often without even trying. Howard Stern once said the secret to the success of his show was that he was broadcasting to an audience of one — Robin Quivers. That's who you are to me, man. Almost everything I do on air gets run through the Weston Filter. "Would Weston laugh at this?" "Would Weston think this take is too complex?" "Would Weston, even if he disagreed, hear me out on this and engage with the topic?" Thanks most of all, though, for being the best kind of best friend — a brother.
  • Jessica "Dr. J." Gibbons, my on-air sidekick and real-life better half. (Yes, you read that right. Beanie and Dr. J. are totally a thing. Have been for years. We even live together. And in sin! We share a bed. Yes, I've seen her naked, and yes, it's every bit as glorious as you imagine, AND THEN SOME.) Thank you for putting up with me. I know my perfectionist tendencies make me hard to deal with, both at radio and in our actual life together. But there's no one more qualified to rein me in than you. You're everything I need, whenever I need it. I don't know how you do it, but then again I stopped wondering about that a long time ago and just accepted the fact that you're God's greatest work. (Despite the whole you-not-believing-in-Him-thing. But hey, nobody's perfect.) You are legitimately the kindest, most caring, and just flat-out best person I've ever met. I don't know why you picked me, but I'm definitely not complaining. They say Shohei Ohtani struck gold, but, thanks to you, he ain't got nothin' on me. I love you.
  • Mom and Dad, for giving me such a great life that my biggest concern any given day often is what I should choose to yell loudest about into a microphone for a few hours. I could never pay back what I owe each of you. Your love and sacrifice are why I am where I am and who I am today. Thank you for everything, literally. There's nothing without you. Thanks not only for being willing and eager to give me the shirt off your back, but for showing me the meaning behind that. If I turn out to be half the parent each of you are, my kids will be fortunate beyond measure. I love you both.
  • Michigan State, first for giving me the best four years of my life, blessing me with lifelong relationships with some of the very best people on the planet (especially my State Bones and Spartan Marching Band families), and for laying the groundwork for everything that came after those four magical years. And finally, for all the content. Tim Staudt once told me one of the reasons he’s been in the game so long is because the Big Ten institution he covers keeps the media in business. He ain’t kidding. Business is booming, for better or for worse. I know a lot of people at 1855 Place are celebrating news of my departure, and I respect that. I didn’t make things easy on them, and I’m proud of that. My take-no-prisoners approach hasn’t earned me much affection among the teams, franchises, players, coaches, and administrators I cover, and that’s how it should be. Many media types around here — on sports radio especially — have no interest in upsetting the apple cart because that means they’d lose access. Not me. I’d rather say what I want to say and call things like I see them instead of voluntarily accepting a muzzle and kissing ass. I will never trade my integrity for access. I appreciate Michigan State for working with me, particularly because some people there didn’t want to but did so anyway because they’re pros.
  • The four Detroit pro sports franchises, whose collective ineptitude always gave me plenty of material. Things are finally turning around for our teams in the Motor City (not including you, Pistons), and I’m glad for it. The fans here deserve winners, and for the first time in a long time I’m actually optimistic about them getting exactly that.
  • The University of Michigan. Seriously! Everybody needs a foil, a yang to their yin. Of course that’s what U-M represents to me. The Wolverines have been an integral part of my sports radio formula, too, and so it follows that I genuinely appreciate them. I also genuinely appreciate Michigan for: Connor Stalions; Jim Harbaugh; the ‘14, ‘15, ‘17, ‘20, and ‘21 MSU-U-M games; Juwan Howard; Warde Manuel; Mel Pearson; the Surrender Cobra guy; part-time university president and full-time cheerleader for U-M’s scandal-plagued coaches Santa Ono; the entire Michigan football program for connecting its brand to perhaps the most unintentionally fitting term ever (Bet); and so much more.
  • And last but not least, the listeners. You are the reason; you are the why. Thank you for your inspiration, for pushing me to improve, for holding me to account, for demanding the best possible show out of me each and every day. There's no doubt I've gotten better at what I do as a direct result of you and your feedback. Whether you loved or hated me, or even if you were just plain indifferent, I appreciate you just the same. I told you a long time ago what my sports radio recipe was. Every single show I tried to make you think by challenging conventional paradigms and urging you to approach things differently; I tried to make you mad by indiscriminately serving up hard truths, especially when those hard truths were particularly painful; and I tried to make you laugh. Some of you saw me as a sports radio hero, more of you thought of me as a villain, and a significant portion of you perceived me as an antihero. But altogether you made me successful. You embraced me and engaged with my show, validating my brand and style. There's no bigger reason for my opportunity in the sports radio big leagues than you. Thank you for letting me into your car, your garage, your backyard, your four-seasons room, your man cave. Thank you for sharing this time with me. Thank you for making me part of your life. Thank you for being there. I'll never forget it.

Beanie Over The Years At The Game 730 AM

Beanie has signed off from The Game 730 AM, where he first started on air back in 2014. Here are a few moments from his run.

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