The Failure of Sports Talk Radio, Post-Signing Day Edition


I was going to write a short post yesterday complaining about the relative lack of attention paid to Signing Day on the two Atlanta sports talk morning drive shows, but there was just enough content to hold me off. Generally speaking, my complaint about the morning drive shows here is that they are dominated by Northeasterners* and thus the conversation skews away from college football - the most popular sport in this market - and towards the NFL - the most popular sport nationally, but second-place in Atlanta (especially when one factors intensity of preference into the picture).

This morning, I can't fight this feeling anymore...

The discussion on 680 was mostly about the Super Bowl, but there was some attempt to discuss recruiting, namely the fact that the same teams are on top of the recruiting rankings every year. The discussion wasn't especially interesting, but at least the effort was there. The discussion on 790 was whether it is appropriate for high school stars to announce their college decisions in press conferences.**

This is exactly what drives me crazy about sports talk radio in general and Mayhem in the AM specifically: the devolution of sports discussion to simplistic moral judgments. This discussion yesterday was about athletes being jerks when they (or their entourages) don't tip appropriately. The discussion this morning was another foray into the world of deciding what behavior is acceptable for athletes. My commute is generally about 20 minutes; I don't need to spend it listening to three middle-ages guys doing a bad imitation of Judith Martin. Any idiot can judge someone else's behavior. Before my commute was half done, I had started listening to The Solid Verbal podcast after muttering to myself "what the hell took me so long?" Oddly enough, the discussion was about actual topics relating to recruiting.

It's quite possible that the local sports talk stations have done research and are giving people what they want. Judge Judy makes an absolute fortune, so there's clearly a market for pointing the finger and saying "that's the bad guy." I'm just not one of those people and I suspect that I'm not atypical among intense sports fans.

* - I only moved to Georgia when I was nine and went to undergrad at Michigan, so I can't exactly wrap myself in the Stars 'n' Bars. I'm a Euro soccer fan, for G-d's sakes, so I'm not from the "local sports uber alles" school. All I'm trying to say here is that if one is going to be a sports media personality in this town, then one should pay more than grudging attention to college football, and that includes recruiting.

** - A necessary caveat: I'm critiquing the content on four-hour shows, so it is possible that there was better content at other times. It's conceivable that Mayhem spent a twenty-minute segment earlier in the morning discussing the prospect of Alabama asserting total control over the SEC based on Saban's recruiting, or how Auburn's recruits fit with Scot Loeffler's offense, or why Bobby Petrino hasn't been able to parlay his success on the field into top classes. Somehow, I doubt it.

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