April 07, 2004

ESPN Radio

I wrote this during the slow times at work today. I'll be back later, since the Mariners are just getting killed. Again!

I was listening to ESPN radio on the way to work this morning, and John McGrath was a guest on the Colin Cowherd show. Now, I will get to my thoughts on “the Herd” later, but really all you need to know is that the his first to questions for McGrath were concerning the Sonics (Who?) and the Seahawks draft position. Yes, one of baseball’s glamour franchises, the day after it’s opening, was snuck in behind the World’s Most Forgettable NBA team, and the team who’s season opener is a mere 5 months away. Now McGrath was good, even lacking insider knowledge as to the Hawks plan with the 23rd pick. He spoke mostly on the TNT baseball preview focusing in on the Mariner signing of “tough guys”, and mentioned that ½ of said tough guys are currently on the shelf.

Now, the San Diego sports radio market is a tad oversaturated, though not with any real quality. I was a devout listener of Tony Kornheiser in the morning; mostly due to the respect with which he treated his audience. Too often sports radio jocks assume their listeners are rockheads and act accordingly, but TK was different. He covered sports yes, but not to the exclusion of everything else. He understood that relatively few of us were obsessing on the Redskin’s third-down back, and many of us are concerned about politics, pop culture and the like. Best of all, he was unafraid of his ESPN bosses. He spoke about their failings and never failed to mention the silly things they tried to get him to do.

The new guy? He’s not so good. Of course, due to Kornheiser’s cult-like following, he has an unbelievably hard job, and I do give him credit for taking it. He does drive me nuts sometimes though, and not in a good way. For instance, it’s Tuesday, the day after Opening Day. I get in my car and the first thing I hear him mention is, “America’s love affair with football.” Two damn days into baseball season and this moron is talking about the NFL? I could not believe it. Look, I love football as much as next geek. I’ve been rooting for the Seahawks just as long as I have the Mariners. My entire neighborhood heard me yell when Hasselbeck threw away the GB playoff game. That isn’t the point. The point is that the day after Opening Day, which is also the day after the NCAA championship game, is not the time to be waxing about how much America loves football. The Herd seems obsessed with it, leaving a segment every show focused to football. It’s April for cryin’ out loud.

Unfortunately, for me anyway, ESPN is just about the only sports-option in the morning. San Diego used to be home of the highest rated sports radio station in the country: XTRA Sports 690. XTRA had mammoth ratings, and routinely whacked the LA sports station in its market too. The problem was, Clear Channel (Corporate Motto: We Will BURY You) owns both. The demon children of Clear Channel realized the best way out of this was to merge the channel into the Southern California Sports Leader; Use the resources of both stations to cover a massive region stretching from Bakersfield to the Mexican border. They accomplished this by firing the San Diego morning guys, early afternoon guys, late night guys, and overnight guys. Then they closed the San Diego station offices, fired the entire staff, and focused the new LA based station almost exclusively on the Lakers and the Dodgers. Hey, San Diego feels the love fellas.

There is a third option; many of the old XTRA crew started the Mighty 1090. It’s okay, but to be honest, I was never a fan of the XTRA anyway. I miss the KJR people, well, some of them. Really, the only KJR types I enjoyed were Groz and Gas. Heck, if I am not at work I still listen to them.

This was supposed to be a much angrier rant. Oh well…

Posted by Frinklin at April 7, 2004 08:07 PM
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