Originally created 03/07/03

Loyal caller adds flair to daily talk radio show



Every morning, Rex Davis sits alone in his bedroom with his Walkman tuned in to the oldies. He's old school. Loves all kinds of 1970s music, especially Elvis Presley and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Come late afternoon, the music gives way to his real passion.

Davis is 33, and he eats, sleeps and breathes sports.

He never misses a broadcast of A.B.'s Sportsline on WRDW-AM, and if you've ever heard Ashley Brown's weekday afternoon radio show, chances are you've heard Davis chiming in on the hot sports topics of the day.

His favorite day to call is Monday. That's "Heroes and Zeros" day, when Brown and his listeners pick the good guys and bad guys of the sports world from the previous week.

"One time I called in on Monday, and I told Ashley he was my hero," Davis said. "I love listening to his show, and I love Ashley. He's like a brother to me."

He's never seen a Greg Maddux fastball, a Musa Smith touchdown run or a Mike Vick scramble.

But he loves to hear all about his favorite teams and players, and he definitely loves to talk about them.

Davis is blind and has Down syndrome.

For two hours a day, A.B.'s Sportsline is the eyes and ears that connect him with his heroes.

"All he really has is his radio," Brown said. "When we first got on the air with the show, I'll be honest with you, I really wondered that having him on the show made it sound like small-town radio; terrible radio. But then I started to think about it. It takes about 10, 20, 30 seconds a day to talk to him, and he looks forward to it every day. He's really become a big part of the show. He's a funny guy, and he makes the show fun."

On most days, Davis is the first caller.

About 15 minutes before the show hits the air at 5 p.m., Davis is gearing up for his daily segment.

"He'll call in before I go on the air and wait on hold until I take his call so he can be the first caller of the day," Brown said. "He gets real excited when he calls in, and he's a real ham. He's become kind of a celebrity."

Brown said one of the most memorable moments of his show the past few years came last year when Davis serenaded him with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.

"He also will sing like Elvis now and then, and he did the Falcons' Dirty Bird song once," Brown said with a laugh. "He's become a very funny part of the show."

Davis said his favorite topics are the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta Falcons, but there isn't a topic he's afraid to address.

"Break the Bookie" is another favorite. That's the popular segment where callers give Brown their college football and NFL picks each week.

"I like to pick the winners and see how I did against the other callers," Davis said. "One week, I picked six out of 10. I did five out of five on Monday night picks a couple of years ago."

Davis knows his stuff and relies on Brown for his wealth of sports knowledge.

"I've always been interested in sports, and I like listening to Ashley talk about everything," he said. "I know a lot, but Ashley knows everything."

After several years on the air, Brown said he loves having Davis as a regular part of the show.

"I pick on him sometimes, and I think he really enjoys it," Brown said. "At first, I thought it was sad radio. But out in public, people would tell me how much they appreciate how I have Rex on the show. Not a week goes by without people talking about Rex. That makes me feel good in that sense."

Best of all, it makes Davis feel great.

"It's real cool," he said. "It's wonderful."

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.