‘Sports Rap’ Debuts on Arlington Radio Station
Sportscasting veterans Brandy Simms and George Johnson take to WERA 96.7 to dish about big games and star athletes, with a dash of pop culture.
“I wanted to cover sports as a kid,” says Brandy Simms. A few decades ago, Simms—then a youth living in Montgomery County—sent a letter to D.C. sportscaster James Brown, asking for career advice. Brown replied with his suggestion: Get an internship.
Several internships and staff positions later, Simms is co-hosting Sports Rap, a new show airing Sundays at noon on WERA 96.7 FM, the radio arm of Arlington Independent Media. Along with co-host and fellow sports journalism veteran George Johnson (BET, Comcast SportsNet), Simms digs into the latest in local high school and college sports, as well as what’s happening in the pro leagues. AIM senior broadcasting manager Alvin Jones—a former host of The Quiet Storm on WHUR 96.3 FM and current host of AIM’s Planet Jazz, with production credits at BET—helps produce the program, which debuted Feb. 5.
We caught up with Simms to learn more about what to expect from the new show.
How did you and Johnson meet and how long has this show been in the works?
In 2012, I was covering the [Commanders] and I bumped into [Johnson]; I knew him because he’s a local TV personality. Some time went by and then I ran into him again, crossed paths in Montgomery County. We talked about maybe getting together and doing a podcast. Then last year, I got a call from Alvin Jones. He got a new job at WERA Radio in Arlington, and he wanted to put together some sports content. And they knew each other from BET, so everything worked out. Everything clicked perfectly.
Let’s talk format. Are interviews the biggest part of the show?
It’s really banter between George and I. We’ve covered a lot of famous people over the years—Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Michael Vick and Allen Iverson are some big-name athletes George has covered. I have covered Lebron James, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis, Dominique Dawes, Kevin Durant, Stefon Diggs, Tiger Woods, Marcus Allen, Barry Sanders and many others.
The sports world has plenty of controversies. Will you go there?
Yes, we plan to address controversial sports issues. George and I were just talking the other day about men who coach women’s sports such as basketball. He doesn’t think they should, but I don’t have a problem with it.
And you cover high school and college sports, too?
Whatever’s going on—we want to keep it timely. There are a lot of local [athletes] participating in the upcoming NFL Combine, and there’ll be some local kids drafted. We want to talk about local [talent], keep it a local show. But they’re [also] playing at the highest level. We want to cover the DMV.
Which upcoming tournaments and events are you most excited for?
NBA Draft—I covered [it] back in 1999—NFL Draft, Major League Baseball. In terms of the NCAA Tournament, we’ll probably have some former NCAA players on our show talking about their experiences. George and I have both covered the tournament and have experience in that area.
We’re starting the show on February 5th! https://t.co/1F2ZGj1vu0
— Brandy L. Simms (@bls1969) January 21, 2023
Can you give us a preview of any upcoming guests on the air?
Former D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine [who was a basketball star at the University of Pennsylvania]. Christy Winters-Scott. She’s a Northern Virginia basketball star. She’s in the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame but she played at South Lakes High School and was also a legendary basketball player at the University of Maryland. And Michael Jackson’s publicist, Raymone Bain [whose client list has also included Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Serena Williams]. We’re trying to get her on the show.
And your banter occasionally veers into non-sports territory, yes?
We like music. George used to rap the sports.
He did an extended rap to introduce the most recent episode. Can we anticipate that every week?
Yeah, he likes to rap. He used to rap on BET, basketball highlights. [We’ll also discuss] television, favorite movies, stuff like that.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
I want to make this a brand. And I want people to listen to the show!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Sports Rap airs Sundays at noon WERA 96.7 FM.