Liz Swain 9:30 a.m., Dec. 13
"If you think that this looks like fun, ask the manager about the daily special!"--Seen on a flyer outside of a Albertson's in 2003, during the "Great San Diego County Grocery Lock-Out."
When it comes to what I have on my stereo at home, you will find that four of my six AM-band presets are on "sports-talk" stations. The only exceptions are KNX-Los Angeles, which is the only station that does straight news (as opposed to "news-talk"), and covers San Diego based stories as well; plus KSPA 1450 of Anaheim, which plays jazz plus Sinatra-era classics.
The three San Diego based stations are XX-Sports Radio (1090 AM), ESPN Radio (800AM), and XTRA Sports Radio (1360 AM). I also tune in to KLAC 570 (L.A.) once in a while (mainly to catch the Dan Patrick show). When they are broadcasting a ballgame (XX carries the Padres and Aztecs, ESPN carries the Angels, KLAC is the flagship for the L.A. Lakers, and all of them carry College and Pro Football), they can be a joy to listen to, depending on how good all three teams (the two on the field-or-arena floor, plus the team in the press box) are doing that year.
However, Sports Radio has mutated into Sports-Talk radio. "This is what 'the buzz' is all about," to use a quote from "Doctor D," a shill for a 90's era hard-rock club. Basicly, you have one-to-two "hosts" who sit in the studio for two-to-four hours. Sometimes, the hosts are rather good at their work ("Hacksaw" Hamilton and "Coach" John Kentera are two examples). They keep the show moving and flowing evenly, know plenty about the topics they are talking about, and know enough to keep their tone professional-yet-open. Then you get the obvious odious twerps ("Philly Billy" Werndel, and the two "Bleacher Bums/Brown's Bozos") who never should have been issued a FCC Class D "License to Ill." In the case of Mr. Werndel, his attitude reminded me of a loudmouthed boor whose commentary would be more suited to the barfly who thinks they know everything about sports...but in reality, has no real information to speak of. However, when XX-Sports pulled "Philly Billy" out of the noon-to-four timeslot (which just has his co-host Darren Smith wining solo) and showed him the door? Little did we know that something worse this way was coming. From four-to-seven came "two random fans" calling themselves "The Bleacher Bums." This was an attempt by Program Director Hal Brown at an experiment, in which two untrained folks would be put in the "Drive-time" slot and allowed to pontificate about the sports world in San Diego. That experiment blew up worse than a Archie Andrews chemestry-lab experiment! It lasted two months...then one of them got tossed off the air for uttering one of the "Carlin's Seven Dirty Words" (in a comment about the "lack of Super Bowl Rings" the Chargers had won). The other "Bleacher Bum" only lasted one month more before being shown the door (low ratings).
And if you think that is bad news? The nationally syndicated shows are worse. Leading the pack of provocateurs is, of course, Jim Rome and his "clones." You do get some great guests on his show, and Mr. Rome is a skilled interviewer. But most of the show is filled with "smack-talk" about sports figures and celebrities that, frankly, isn't humorous at all. The worst offenders are, natch, "the Clones." A lot of their patter would, if said in a bar to the recipent's face, earn them a free trip to Fist City and overnight accomdations in the County Jail/Hospital Emergency Department afterwards.
The main auidence targeted by "sports talk" are, natch, young dudes in the 25-54 year old range. However, the "real target audience" seems to be the dumb-cluck who likes a little misogyny with their patter. Not only are there very few female "S-T" jocks, but any story involving women's sports (be it team-or-individual) usually gets brushed with a "why are we taking about a bunch of dumb girls" smear.
There is much more to talk about, but the truth is that sports-talk, like news-talk, will never go away...it's a ratings bonanza! And more's the pity, really. That's why my stereo is usually on KNX, Rock 105.3FM and KIFM 98.1 most of the day. But that is just me...you might feel different! --Robbiebear.