Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Great Sports Radio Faceoff part 4

Early Afternoon

Fox Sports Radio: The First Team Reloaded, hosted by Steve Czaban
ESPN Radio: The Dan Patrick Show, host self-explanatory.

(Note: in many markets, the Fox affiliate will air the Jim Rome show, which is why they re-run the Steve Czaban show but since Romey's not with FSR, we'll leave him out to make things fair for Mr. Patrick.)

Show Format
First Team Reloaded: Again, Morning show a la Bob and Tom with news and sports updates. In this time slot, it can be a nice change from what usually airs around this time.
Dan Patrick: Mostly interviews, emails, a poll question, and Dan Patrick trying to be funny.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

First Team Reloaded: What can be said about Czabe that hasn't already been said?
Dan Patrick: I love Dan Patrick as a SportsCenter anchor and interviewer. The problem is Rob Dibble sort of brought out his personality, and now that Dibbs is gone, so is the personality. Now he just puts you to sleep.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

First Team Reloaded: The crew doesn't screw up, but they rarely appear on air, so we won't hold that against them
Dan Patrick: Let's just say there's a reason why Phil "The Showkiller" earns his name. He seems to have the worst time getting guests to call in, and he doesn't have a voice for radio. And the height/weight bell has to go.
Edge: First Team Reloaded

Sports Update Anchor
First Team Reloaded: Incomplete grade, I've had a hard time finding a radio station that actually streams Reloaded, so I don't know if it's the same person anchoring as before or not...
Dan Patrick: But it really doesn't matter, because whomever it is, it's tough to beat the Dan "The Duke" Davis's classic radio voice.
Edge: Dan Patrick

First Team Reloaded: Like we said earlier, the calls are well-screened for the most part.
Dan Patrick: Very intelligent callers, but they all need to stop giving out their height and weight. First off, we don't care. Second, we don't want to hear that stupid bell.
Edge: Push

First Team Reloaded
Dan, Dan, Dan, you lost out to a re-run. Far be it from me to tell a sports figure when to hang it up, but maybe you need to stick to SportsCenter.

Afternoon Drive

Fox Sports Radio: The Drive, hosted by Chris Myers.
ESPN Radio: The SportsBash, hosted by Erik Kuselias
(Local programming may air in your market)

Show Format
The Drive: Interviews, callers, opinions, Chris and co-host C.J. Silas talk.
The SportsBash: Interviews, callers, opinions, Erik and the crew talk.
Edge: Push

The Drive: Chris Myers was a really good interviewer when he was on ESPN, and it shows through on this show as well. C.J. Silas sounds like she knows what she's talking about when it comes to sports, and sounds like she could hang with any one when it comes to sports knowledge. Plus, they work well together.
The SportsBash: Erik Kuselias seems to come off as a bit whiny at times, especially when he's trying to emphasize a point. OK interviewer, not great.
Edge: The Drive

The Drive: We don't hear much from the crew, but they do keep the show running.
The SportsBash: Amanda Brown seems to know her horses (having picked the 1st and 2nd horses in the show Derby Pool), but not much else. Randy Moore doesn't add much to the show.
Edge: The Drive

Sports Update Anchor
The Drive: Vince Delisi shows why he's Fox Sports Radio's News Director
The SportsBash: Jon Stashower is a solid anchor.
Edge: Push

The Drive: Not too many bad callers.
The SportsBash: Mostly keep people involved through e-mail
Edge: The Drive

The Drive
I came into this thinking ESPN Radio would have an edge in this spot, but Fox has put together a solid show.

Die Hard Hockey Fans Must Change Their Attitudes.

In a recent ESPN column, Terry Frei gave voice to what a lot of Sun Belt hockey fans have been thinking for a long time:
"The sport's most fervent proponents, whether in the seats or the front offices, in Canada, Sweden or the U.S., ditch this proprietary, "our sport" mind-set. Potential new fans -- yes, especially in the U.S. -- have been turned off when they encounter the attitude that they should have to pass a rules and a history test to be allowed to buy a ticket for an NHL game, or that they must swear allegiance to hockey above all other sports to be considered a true fan.

The NHL has remained a niche and cult sport in the U.S. in part because some fans don't want to go through what sometimes can seem to be like a fraternity initiation to be accepted."
So true. Go to any general NHL hockey message board, or the boards for any Canadian or Northern U.S. team, and this attitude is persistent. Ask about a rule or argue a rule change, and fans will just say, "You don't know hockey." Question the fighting, and they will say, "You don't know hockey." Call out a player for taking a cheap shot on someone, and they will say, "You don't know hockey." If your profile says you're from a Sun Belt state, they will say, "You don't know hockey." And if they find out you're an African-American or Hispanic fan, the "You don't know hockey" is usually followed by a racial epithet.

And don't even try to ask why Florida is a bad market because the product stinks and they never sell out as a result while Chicago is a knowledgeable market because they never sell out due to the fact that the product stinks.

This sort of attitude is absolutely ridiculous. Baseball fans never act like this, and their sport has as long a history as hockey. In fact, most baseball fans will take the time to explain the nuances of the game. Some will even teach you how to keep score. Yes, there are purists, but baseball fans are at least open to dialogue, and they will try any change that improves interest in the sport, such as divisional play, the Wild Card, and sabermetrics, even if they don't like it at first.

Football fans will explain the finer points of a "Cover 2" scheme to anyone who will listen. Basketball fans are more than willing to share about the art of the slam dunk. And both will accept changes to the sport to bring in more fans.

So why do die-hard hockey fans act so poorly towards those seeking to understand it's game?

Unlike other sports, which have been able to adapt to the entertainment marketplace, hockey continues to struggle to gain acceptance, and it's hardcore fans are largely to blame. Hockey has been unable to curb the trap, in large part because its core fans complain that checking and defense, and the two line pass are being taken out of the game. Never mind that there's a gap in between the game's billing as one of the fastest, most athletic sports and the actual slow, unathletic, boring on-ice product.

Hockey was unable to control salaries because hockey fans demanded that their team sign free agents, whatever the cost. Never mind that hockey wasn't taking in the revenues because the product stunk. But hey, it's the product the hardcore fans wanted, right? Clutching and grabbing, trapping and locking, and those who don't understand it can go watch something else?

When the costs of salary escalation came due this past offseason, many core hockey fans demanded that teams in non-traditional markets be eliminated. Never mind that many Sun Belt teams were making enough profits to invest in youth hockey leagues and that Dallas and Tampa Bay had won the Stanley Cup. Never mind that at the same time teams in traditional markets like Boston, Chicago, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh were losing money and floundering. "The people in those southern markets aren't true hockey fans anyway," the hardcore fans reasoned.

Now hockey has to change it's ways to win back the public. It's die hard fans need to change also.
Tomorrow: The Final Battle.

(See, we may have missed yesterday, but we gave you 2 posts for the price of one to make up for it)
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