Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Sports Radio Abyss

I listen to quite a bit of sports talk radio. I'm not a huge sports fan - I rarely watch/listen to actual games, let alone GO to games - but sports talk is company of a sort, and political talk (of whatever stripe) is bad for my blood pressure.  (During the day, the sports-themed podcasts I listen to are a key part of my effort not to yell at my coworkers for typing and other outrageously noisy activities.)

This is the week before the Superbowl, which one might think of as a fine time for sports radio.  It isn't - it's the sports radio abyss.  There's only the one football game to talk about, baseball hasn't cranked up yet, and pro basketball is in its dog days.  (At least there's some college hoops to discuss.)  Most programs will spend endless hours speculating about the football game to come, with most of the speculation being total nonsense.

Worse, though, many programs will be broadcasting from Radio Row at the Superbowl site.  This programming consists mostly of brief interviews with celebrities (coaches and noted former players) who make themselves available for a series of these interviews with stations from around the company.  The problem is that those who make themselves available do so because they have an agenda - a product to promote, a book to sell, or a cause to talk about.  Plus, local stations rarely know ahead of time who they've got coming up, so they don't even have a chance to prepare.

So, you've got segment after segment that run like this:
1.  Fawning introduction of sports celebrity.
2.  General sucking up to the celebrity.
3.  Three or four predictable questions with uninspired answers.
4.  The celebrity is given an opportunity to push their product/book/cause.
5.  Further sucking up as the celebrity departs.

Horrible.  (To be fair, a lot of folks enjoy hearing a bit of banter with famous folks.  I'm just not one of them.)

I'm just trying to hang in there: pitchers and catchers report for baseball's spring training in just a few weeks.  :)

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T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.