Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's Wrong With: Sports Radio

What’s Wrong With: Sports Radio

I consider myself a casual sports fan for the most part. The only sport which I consistently follow every season is Formula 1 racing. I do enjoy a bit of football however, and once every three seasons I really get interested in the league and keep a close eye on what is going on. This past weekend my desire to hear what’s happening in the world of sports led me to realize something interesting. Sports radio is terrible.

What’s Right


Live Sports- Listening to the radio is special. There is a special sort of nostalgia about listening to sports via the radio. Hearing a baseball game over the radio harkens back to a simpler time when things were right in the world and radio was relevant. Live radio announcers are also very interesting to listen to, they are lively and animated which keeps the audience interested in the game. Also the lack of visuals allows the listener to use their imagination while hearing the game. For instance you could imagine that the entire Washington Redskins have been replaced by a team comprised entirely of Mike Ditka. Maybe that’s just me however.

What’s Wrong

The Commercials- Commercials are an accepted part of life, right along with death and taxes; they are simply something that we have to deal with. Over time however clever marketers have made this grim reality of more bearable by using the revolutionary concept of making the advertisement interesting. Unfortunately the folks who make radio advertisements decided to neglect this concept (except for the Bud Light, Real American Heroes ads, those were brilliant). The lack of a visual aid or humor makes each 30 second ad feel like an eternity. Making the issue worse is the frequency of the advertisements, during the course of one sports talk radio program, every 5 minutes of the show were followed with: Station Identification, Upcoming shows and, a minimum of 3-4 ads. Music radio stations manage to make the advertisements less intrusive to the listening experience but just like the concept of interesting advertisements this is also lost on the sports radio folks. Perhaps these advertisements are the stations way of telling you that the actual programs are shit and you should not bother listening to them, which you shouldn’t.


The Shows- Let it be known that I do not like morning talk radio shows. The hosts think they are a lot funnier than they actually are and the subjects they talk about are both boring and surprisingly irrelevant. This is also the case on many sports shows. Sure you may get a few moments of sports scores and a discussion of last Sundays games but you also get a heaping portion of bullshit and jokes which are only funny to the people on the show. Even the trusted names in sports fail when it comes to sports talk radio. Take the Dan Patrick Show for instance, I trust Dan Patrick. I enjoyed his ESPN days and I find him humorous and very knowledgeable. To my delight I found out that he had his own sports radio show, to my dismay I found out that it was bad. Dan Patrick decided that what the audience wanted to hear about was Dan Patrick, Dan Patrick’s son, and what Dan Patrick’s son should do at an upcoming wedding. Sadly I don’t really give a damn about what Dan Patrick’s son is up to and would really prefer Dan Patrick to tell me whether or not the Colts are the real deal this year(which they are). If the great Dan Patrick fails at sports radio it defiantly doesn’t bode well for the lesser shows.

The Verdict-

So what is the sports fan to do? In my opinion sports radio is best used for listening to live events. The nostalgia and the vibrancy of the announcers make it a treat that more people should enjoy. As for the rest of the sports talk radio nonsense, I feel you may be better of talking to yourself, and telling yourself that your favorite sports team will win their respective championship. You will feel better about yourself and your team, plus you will have far less advertisements to contend with.


I do however have one recommendation. I am a big fan of NPR; it is not due to their more liberal stance on the news although it doesn’t hurt. My main attraction to NPR is their willingness to get to the point and simply give me what I turned on the radio for: the news. NPR has a sports show of their own and it is worth a listen. It’s called Only a Game and it is what you expect from a NPR sports show, unique stories, interesting features and a different perspective on sports. If you are searching for a rundown of last week’s games you will not be satisfied but you will be at least slightly enlightened.

Also RIP to our family dog Addy, she was a great pet and friend and she will be missed.

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