Whether it's because of his easy demeanor, his longevity or his lack of pretense, Mike Bush of Channel 5 is hard to knock. A Chicago native and a graduate of the University of Arizona, the 43-year-old Bush has been in town for 15 years, after smaller-market stops in Tucson, New Orleans and Kansas City. Aside from the usual newscasts with three minutes of sports with scores on a roll, his "signature show" is Sports Plus
, the hour-long extravaganza of local sports highlights every Sunday night after the 10 p.m. news. It was 13 years ago when Bush convinced the general manager to "begrudgingly delay Love Connection
to let us do it." A 10-minute show grew into a 20-minute show, then 30 minutes. It's been an hour's sports fix for the last eight years, and the other stations have followed suit, with varying degrees of length and success. Sports Plus
usually has better guests and bits, and "The Pit" portion can be funny and slightly insightful -- or tediously unfunny and self-indulgently oblivious to what most folks care about. But then, this is sports
, so when that happens, the show still provides an hour of local sports with more highlights than the average bear needs. Still, even with all Bush's "I-love-my-job-I'm-lucky-to-have-it-and-be-in- a-wonderful-sports-town-like-St.-Louis" spiel, into each media maven's life a little rain must fall. Bush is no longer doing the radio broadcasts of Rams games this year, after doing it for just one year. Was there too much on his proverbial plate? "It wasn't that it was too much for me," he says, "it was that the people I worked for, the radio station, made it pretty clear to me that they weren't really happy with me. I didn't want to put them in a position where they had to use somebody they didn't really want to use." Jeez, with all those sportscasts, and Sports Plus
, who needs to do the Rams radiocast? Although he's theoretically off Friday and Saturday, it's been a long time since Bush worked a 40-hour week. So not doing the radiocast may allow him to spend more time with his four kids, who range in age from 2-17. "Until they drag me out of here, I have no desire to go anywhere else," says Bush. "The job is the same no matter where you go. Maybe in New York you're talking to more people, and maybe in Chicago you're talking to more people. But it's the same job. St. Louis is home. We love St. Louis, and Channel 5 has been very good to me. I have four kids, and all they know is St. Louis." Bush gushes that with the roll the Rams, Blues and Redbirds are on, this may be "the best time to be a St. Louis sportscaster -- ever." So suck it up while it lasts, Mike -- you're riding the crest of this wave.