Game Time: A Radio Programming Question...Please Let Me Help You
We all have certain things that are on our sports "bucket list," and whether it's because I've loved football from the time I was in diapers or whether it's because I am now in a line of work where it seems like everyone except me has been to one, attending a Super Bowl is at or near the top of my list.
My good friend, Travis Rodgers, wrote about the Super Bowl experience from a media perspective in his blog this week. He's done it fourteen times, and does not exactly give the whole thing rave reviews. When I personally asked him about it, effusive in his disgust for the experience, he broke a new non-Jersey Shore record for number of times using the words "loser" and "poser" in describing an event.
Despite Travis' assessment of this circus, I would like to go, at least once, for the entire week and take in the entire "Super Bowl Media Experience" just to say I've done it. I want to attend a few of the over-indulgent parties, preferably ones with lingerie-clad women dancing in cages. Because people in cages always seem to up the "hip factor" of any party or venue.
I want to tweet about which pseudo-celebrities just ordered a mocha latte in front of me at Starbuck's. I want to find Tim Brown and thank him for being part of roughly half of every great memory I have of my time at Notre Dame.
More than anything else, I want to do the impossible....I want to be the first radio personality to ever have an entertaining show from "Radio Row".
For those who don't know what "Radio Row" is, it is literally a huge convention hall where radio stations from all over the country line up their booths one on top of the other, like tract homes in a Denver subdivision, and they proceed to crank out some of the least compelling, most boring radio that you will ever hear.
Some of you are reading this and thinking that what I'm saying is lunacy. How can doing your show from within a one-mile radius of the biggest sporting event in the history of mankind yield a mind-numbingly boring radio product? Well, I'll tell you how....
Two-week hiatus. Each year, there are two weeks in between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. By the time all of the radio homeless begin building their radio shanty town on the Monday before the game, we've all already stewed over the matchup for almost EIGHT DAYS. So there is nothing from an X's and O's or a storyline standpoint that can be discussed amongst the hosts or with guests that hasn't already been obliterated for over a week already.
Pimps and whores. Despite the hordes of "ladies of the night" and their respective, um, "management" that descend upon the city of choice, the biggest pimps and whores at every Super Bowl are the ones trolling "Radio Row" seemingly trying to appear on literally every station there to tell the world about their "fantastic new energy drink" or "how awesome this new satellite TV package" is.
Hey, I'm in radio, so I understand the importance of advertising and endorsements as well as anyone. I also know about certain perceived celebrities only booking interviews if they're allowed to shill their product or book. It's part of the business, I get it. But when virtually your ENTIRE SHOW is inundated with commercials disguised as interviews, it's just boring.
I do find it funny when the hosts, especially the ones who are on local stations, brag about the "national" guest list that they "booked" that day on "Radio Row." Bragging about interviews that you get on "Radio Row" is the equivalent of bragging about how you banged the shit out of a hooker. In both cases, your "guest" was only with you because you had something they wanted; the only difference is the currency. As a john, you had cash; as a radio host, you had air time. Congratulations.
And if you think I'm exaggerating, then go on Twitter and check out all of your favorite local and national hosts. Literally every radio show on "The Row" brags about the same guest list. Yeah, you "booked" Deacon Jones...wow, you're special. Congrats on the sixth best Deacon Jones interview I heard on the radio that day.
Creepy radio. Radio content from "Radio Row" typically falls into three categories -- overanalysis of the game because we've already talked about it for a week, station acting as a conduit for former and current players to sell weed whackers or ginsu knives, and the third category -- hosts talking about what they do in their spare time during Super Bowl week.
Of the three categories, this is easily the most unfortunate and creepiest. This is where we learn way too much about the hosts' sleeping arrangements, eating habits, and sexual proclivities. You also get to hear a bunch of dudes who you would probably never party with compare uninteresting stories about a party that none of the listeners went to.
Also falling into this category are the requisite radio segments with token hot chicks, like Hooters girls promoting the Hooters party and the players from the Lingerie League talking about their "sport." Typically, this degenerates into a segment of middle-aged men cracking forced double entendres and awkwardly flirting with women with whom they have less than a zero percent chance of scoring. Anyone in the business who has been a host at one time or another in segments like this, including yours truly, and they are true radio death.
So if the content coming from "Radio Row" each year is so dreadful, then why do stations and syndicated shows continue to go there every year? Because the perception is that "Radio Row" is where the big boys play, which I guess means your station is willing to pay to send you to Miami to talk to retired football players turned Waterpik salesmen, unsuccessfully flirt with girls in lingerie, and talk about a game that's beaten to death like every bad Tiger Woods joke.
Last I checked, all of those things are do-able from Houston (I know this because at one time or another, I've done all three from our studio). I'd love to go to the Super Bowl, but would never do so if it meant cranking out uncompelling radio for five days (all right, haters, radio more uncompelling than I'm already cranking out...fine).
Serious question -- do you find shows emanating from the Super Bowl to be more compelling, less compelling, or does it not make a difference? Inquiring minds want to know. I want to know. Comments are welcome below.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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