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February 02, 2011

A Look Inside Sports Talk Radio

Today I listened to one of my favorite radio shows on air, The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio from 10-1 pm. Colin is notorious for stating his opinions loud and proud whether or not people agree with him. He calls himself a social psychologist that consistently enjoys discussing the bigger picture rather than petty instances that consume typical sports media. He states he tailors his program to his audiences, which mainly consist of southern California and the northeast region. Today, while I was listening, he discussed mostly the Super Bowl and Super Bowl Media day that occurred yesterday. He first talked about James Harrison’s comments regarding NFL commission Roger Goodell, as Goodell fined Harrison over $100,000 this season for illegal hits. Many pundits on ESPN and local stations criticized Harrison for these comments; yet, Colin says he has no problem with them. Cowherd goes on to argue that it’s more important to recognize that Goodell has more important issues to take care of as he cannot have players dying on the field or having 10 concussions in one season. Cowherd then discusses how commissioners, although make mistakes, are smarter and better equipped people to run leagues than the fans and local pundits at home. What he does here is he takes an issue or event occurring in the news that day and broadens out the topic by looking at the bigger picture, which is something I find fascinating and makes him really interesting to listen to.

Now, if you compare him to the John Beilien show that I blogged about a couple weeks back, the differences between the two shows are night and day. The Beilein show is intended to connect the coach to UM fans and the host, Ira Weintraub, asks softball questions to hype up the team no matter how bad they are doing. Cowherd, on the other hand, is a nationally syndicated radio host who does not answer to anyone other than ESPN. He can talk about what he wants, in what order he wants, and essentially say what he wants. He doesn’t have much of an agenda besides getting good ratings and catering his talk to the people that listen to him (as he publicly states on his show). Yet, that becomes a distinct similarity between the two shows as each show really tries to cater to their audience (Beilein with UM fans and Cowherd to his target market). The two shows are considerably different that it becomes tough to compare the two because their purposes on the radio are so drastically different. Yet, as I have said, Cowherd really works to bring perspective on sports issues that many fans and local radio hosts fail to realize for whatever reason. Colin says in today’s show, “It’s easy to sit there in your e-mail and take shots at really successful people…fans take shots at him ‘awww hes hurting the game’, hes smarter than you, hes smarter than me, hes protecting the league.” He goes in directions such as these all the time with a variety of topics and I am a huge fan of the way he takes a small issue and makes it into a bigger picture idea. However, Cowherd’s opinions do come off as a bit abrasive and pompous as it sometimes sounds he is telling you how you should think rather than stating his opinion. However, that makes good radio, it creates listeners and gets people to disagree with him. So even if you do think he is a pompous and arrogant fool who doesn’t listen to other’s ideas, he doesn’t care, because you are listening to his show anyways. He creates that passion through his opinions, which gets the listener to call up his show and yell at him on the other line. The model of his show is something I truly enjoy regardless of whether I agree with what he is saying or not. Clearly he is doing something right, as he is one of the most popular ESPN Radio personalities today.

Posted by mruza at February 2, 2011 08:12 PM


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