Jason Barrett is a former radio program director who now runs a company called “Barrett Sports Media.”
He ran a Twitter poll recently asking the following question:
What do you value least when listening to a sports radio morning show?
- sports updates
The poll itself got 22,000 votes, so a good sample size, and more than 10,000 of the respondents said that callers provided the least value to the show:
This is not stunning. Literally everybody else in the world thinks that listener phone calls are incredibly boring and vapid, yet Philadelphia sports radio seems to rely heavily on “Bob in Manayunk” for content.
Barrett wrote up some blurbs for each choice in the poll and had this to say about the “callers” selection:
What this poll should make obvious is that people aren’t in love as much these days with shows being driven by the audience. The sports format’s first 20 years were built on turning the airwaves over to listeners to voice their thoughts, but often shows lacked direction and focus. With social media, texting, and podcasting a bigger part of our lives now, interaction is still important, but it’s done differently.
Another key factor is that younger people have less desire to talk on the phone. The majority of voices you hear call into sports talk shows tend to be older, and often times they call back a few times per week. Each time that same individual hits the air, it creates the impression that there isn’t a lot of interest in calling the show because the same person can get thru multiple times. Listeners under 35 are less tolerant and loyal than those of us who are older and have grown up with the format, and younger hosts tend to be less adamant about needing calls than older hosts who’ve made it part of their routine for years.
Yeah, it’s all true. Pretty spot on right there.
I’m just fascinated with the way we program sports radio in this here town. Go anywhere else in the country or up into Canada, and some stations don’t even take a single listener phone call during the entirety of a four hour show, whether it’s morning or afternoon. It’s very uniquely Philadelphia, for better or worse.