COMMENTS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY
Written by: Mike in DA
Date posted: 1/28/2011
KROGER SUPERMARKET MANAGER IS VERY LOYAL TO HIS FAVORITE CONFERENCE!
MANY OF THE LOCAL SPORTS TALKERS WILL BE AT THE SUPER BOWL’S “RADIO ROW” NEXT WEEK!
As Lamont Mann wrote in his 1/27 post, many of the sports talkers heard on Houston radio will be invading North Texas and the Dallas Metro area next week to do their shows there. That includes SportsRadio610, Sports Talk 790, ESPN Radio heard here on 97.5 FM, and Sporting News Radio heard here on KGOW 1560 with local 1560 making a token appearance in the form of John Granato there next Thursday.
An unwritten NFL rule is that a city can’t host a Super Bowl unless it has these three things: a stadium, a large airport, and a convention center. The reason that a convention center is needed is for the news media and number of radio stations from all over the country and even beyond that broadcast from there during Super Bowl week. A lot of time is spent in the convention center by the media. It's the single most underrated location of the week for every media member and you rarely hear a thing about it.
So why don't we ever hear about convention centers when every other Super Bowl angle gets beaten to death? That's simple because every convention center looks exactly the same as the George R. Brown Convention Center. The outside looks the same. The signs look the same. The escalators look the same. You usually have to walk a long distance to get from one place to another. There are coffee places and mini-restaurants all over the place.
What started out two decades ago as a couple of radio stations from the hometowns of the Super Bowl participants camped out in the lobby of the media hotel has become perhaps the ultimate symbol of the annual hype fest.
Radio Row has become the perfect, frivolous mix of celebrities and sports talk. I don’t know how many stations will be at Radio Row for Super Bowl XLV (45 for the Roman-numeral challenged), but I’ll take a guess of between 90-100, including some foreign ones such as the BBC and CBC (British Broadcasting Company and the Canadian Broadcasting Company for the acronym-challenged).
No matter how it’s set up, it will probably be not much different than Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center for SB 38. It's roaming athletes and celebrities, from the A- through Z-lists, headed to their pre-booked segments on national shows and the larger cities’ local shows, while frantic producers from smaller stations try to pick them off.
The little station will see who the big fish have and then they try to feed off the big fish. So when the big stations are done with the carcasses, they come and try to get what's left. It's actually a feeding frenzy. By Thursday and Friday, it's like Darwin said, “survival of the fittest."
Desperate producers will frantically roam the lobby, scanning everyone's face and credentials, questing for even a whiff of someone recognizable. They need programming content to offset the endless rantings of their hosts, and even conversation lacking content serves their purposes. Moreover, everybody has an angle, and there's a lot of profitable back-scratching going on.
For example, you may see current or former NFL stars and a few other celebrities appearing on a number of radio shows. They didn't do it just to help out their favorite radio personality, such as Matt Thomas, Josh Innes, or Sean Pendergast. Each will be a temporary, paid representative for a product. For example: Mr. A for Sharpie markers; Mr. B for a sports drink; Mr. C for an anti-perspirant; and Mr. D for a book or movie, etc., etc.
Marketing agents representing the athletes offer stations interviews with the agreement that the host would bring up the product at some point during the conversation. It doesn't cost the radio station a dime, and they can broadcast segments with high-profile stars who wouldn't normally make themselves available for live interviews. But the shows are, in effect, providing free commercials.
The athletes, meanwhile, can pocket as much as 10-25 grand for representing a product for a day or two depending on what the product is.
They have something to sell, and the various radio networks want their affiliates to get the biggest names they can possibly get during the Super Bowl. They know the guests aren’t going to talk about Sharpie or Venom Energy Drink for eight minutes. For example, the guest will talk football for six or seven minutes and the product for one or two. But the product is getting one or two minutes of air time on a load of stations across the nation heard by hundreds of thousands of listeners at a time. So it's not just about hocking pens, drinks, deodorants, movies, and the like.
Radio Row can usually be set up in a couple of ways. Either all the shows are shoved in one place in a gigantic square or circle maze, or the shows are staggered throughout a bigger area that has a few twists and turns, so the biggest names are up front. In the latter case, someone once told me the setup is similar to a porno convention, with the best booths stationed in the front, and then it starts getting seedier and seedier, and by the time you reach the back of the area, suddenly you're looking at bestiality videos and “snuff” flicks.
In the former, everyone could be crammed into a huge square or circle maze and none of the big shows will receive preferential treatment. Therefore you could see Jim Rome jabbering away right near the location of SR610 or a show from Cincy. The latter set-up is the cooler of the two, mostly because it must be fun to walk through the back part of Radio Row and check out the cities that were given “snuff" film status ("Hey look, it's Columbia, SC and Rochester, NY!").
Every aspiring broadcaster should be forced to visit Radio Row during Super Bowl Week. The place reeks of fried food and diet soda. I’m sure you'll see at least a couple of bad toupees there, at least one 300-pound guy stretching in his seat and inadvertently exposing his hairy gut, and a bunch of shirts that have a ketchup, mustard, or coffee stain on them. It's the kind of place where when you step in the men's room to take a piss, you see several pairs of legs and shoes underneath the toilet stalls, causing you to immediately hustle out of there, so you don't have to inhale the ensuing smell of shit and farts.
Monday is usually the slowest day on Radio Row, as half the shows probably haven't even gotten there yet because their budgets are lower than the national shows and the local shows from the larger cities. Many of the stations will have a "handler(s)" among them to set up interviews for their various shows. If not, they’ll have to settle for doing laps around Radio Row trying to find interviewees, almost like a girl repeatedly circling a pickup bar hoping some schmuck will buy her a drink.
Here's what happens on Radio Row when a guest makes an appearance on a show. The other shows without that guest scheduled for their shows can sniff the fresh meat, almost like coyotes in the woods. Remember, they have 3-4 hours to kill and need to land as many interviews as possible to justify their trip to the Super Bowl. When they see a fresh face slipping on a set of headphones, they start circling the same way those coyotes would if a deer was caught in a bear trap.
And just like the pre-game NFL shows or College Gameday, just because the show is coming from the site of the game, doesn’t mean the show is any better than when it's coming from the studio. Sometimes it's worse because all the emphasis is on the game and there are very few calls from listeners and the interviews are overrated and full of a lot of hot air.
So after further review, Radio Row isn't that bad. Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? It's horrible. It's a train wreck. But where else could the sports hosts fulfill one of their career goals, see Jim Rome in action, and gain two pounds just by glancing around the room? But since some of the Houston sports talkers are on the Quick Weight Loss Diet, they won’t have any problem taking the pounds off when they get home.
PITTSBURGH IS NOW LEADING THE NATION IN MEN'S GROOMING WITH THE "KEISELMALU"!
FLUB OF THE DAY
On Thursday night’s (1/27) Eyewitness News on Channel 13 (KTRK), sportscaster Bob Allen mentioned that the Houston Rockets were the fifth most-valued team in the NFL according to Forbes Magazine. He had the right team, but the wrong sport.
On his Friday morning show, Mike Meltser (SR 610) was talking about Yao Ming making the Western Conference team at the upcoming NBA All-Star Game though Yao played only a handful of games this season and is out for the remainder of it. Mike wondered how the Chinese got a hold of so many ballots. I guess he didn’t realize that with today’s modern technology besides paper balloting available inside the arenas which closed on January 9, there is also wireless balloting (text messaging) and voting on NBA.com available, which both concluded on January 16. Fans could cast only one vote per day online or via text. That’s how the Chinese were able to vote though thousands of miles away.
HEY LADY, FOOTBALL IN GREEN BAY IS STILL ALIVE!
HEY LADY, I TOLD YOU SO!
Yesterday’s Record ATS: 3-1-1
Cumulative Season Record ATS (excludes “pushes”): 285-186
Today’s Action (for reading purposes only):
LOS ANGELES LAKERS* (-13) over SACRAMENTO
The Lakers know if they want any chance to three-peat as champs, they have to push and strive to get the best record in the West. We’ve seen them get bored at this time of the season in the past, but they do have a much tougher schedule in the second half. DeMarcus Cousins is a beast down low, but he has not been handled properly by the Kings and until he figures it out what it means to be a pro, he will be inconsistent. LOS ANGELES, 120 – 97
GOLDEN STATE* (-4.5) over CHARLOTTE
It could be a long night for Charlotte if they repeat the first time these teams met this season. In that end of December match-up, the Bobcats just could not stop either Golden State guard as Monta Ellis and Steph Curry went for a combined 49 and that despite Ellis being in foul trouble. David Lee has been consistent for the Warriors and that has an effect on all the young guys on the team. GOLDEN STATE, 108 - 96
YALE (+5) over PENNSYLVANIA*
The Quakers are coming off their final trio of Big Five battles, which they seem to get up for more easily than when they perk up for the bulk of their Ivy schedule. YALE, 66-63
DETROIT (+3) over WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE*
As committed believers, we look to continue riding this tiger, taking points on the road. DETROIT, 59-57
MIKE IN DA