I imagine it has to be difficult to be a local sports radio talk show host. Unless something big happens in the market, you’re really just grasping at straws at what to talk about. These shows do a good job of filling segments with people to interview, but aside from that it’s really just the host talking to his sidekick.
At some point, Sports Radio got the hint that no one wants to listen to the uninformed lunacy from “The Callers.” Thank holy hell, because if I have to listen to fifteen straight minutes of people like me complaining about shit they don’t really understand, I’m ready to jump off a building. What was once a cushy job sitting there, pushing buttons, and listening to the masses have their say, now requires more from the hosts. The conversation has to be engaging and entertaining. That’s not always easy to do, especially in the middle of a football week, where Mondays are used to rehash what we just witnessed on Sunday and where Fridays are used to preview the game ahead; what are you supposed to talk about on your average Wednesday? Or, in the middle of a baseball season, where the Mariners have spent the last 20 days going 8-12 in yet another lost season. With college sports being so polarizing to the general public (either you love college athletics too much, or they don’t interest you whatsoever), and without professional basketball to help fill the void after the NFL season, there’s not a whole lot left over to talk about.
I imagine it would be easier if you’re a political talk radio host. It’s pretty easy to feign outrage over the latest news of the day. And, as Seattle’s resident Angry Sports Blogger, I can utilize that tactic in my writing whenever there’s a down moment. But, Sports Radio hosts generally have to be something of a voice of reason. It’s what separates them from the frothing-at-the-mouth rabble. Those people who over-react to every little thing and condone the quick ax of an underperforming head coach or star player.
All of this is just a preamble to what is becoming an annual State of Seattle Sports Radio report. As a pretty big fan of the genre, I spend more time listening to our three stations (950 KJR, 710 ESPN, & 1090 The Fan) than anyone without a vehicular commute has any right to. Mostly, I listen at home, foresaking things like SportsCenter or whatever the hell they call their highlight show on Fox Sports 1. I can’t listen while at work, which is a real shame, because I feel like some of the better shows take place during the mid-day. I really only have familiarity with the morning shows and the drive-time shows (I get to listen to the others on sick days, or “sick” days).
Morning is still a vapid wasteland. It would be unfair to rank the morning shows against one another, because they’d all come in tied for last place. I have completely given up on my erstwhile go-to show, Mitch In The Morning, because his co-host is brutal to listen to. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he’s often uninformed and his opinions have no basis in reality. His constant interruptions ruin the flow of the show. With literally ANY other co-host, KJR would be rock-solid in the morning, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be happening any time soon. Believe you me, I’ve given this show (and this particular co-host) every opportunity to win me over after Steve Sandmeyer was ousted, but it has simply gotten worse and worse. My one bit of advice: fire the current co-host and give over the job full time to Jason D. Hamilton. He’s amazingly entertaining to listen to, has informed opinions, and has actual CHEMISTRY with Mitch. If I’m going to listen to two guys banter back and forth for four hours (or just an hour, or even one segment), it helps when you can picture these two having this conversation about sports even if they weren’t getting paid to do it over the airwaves.
In my desperation to listen to something while in the shower, I’ve taken to going back to Mike & Mike, but it certainly won’t last long. I can handle those guys in VERY small doses, and only when they’re talking football. I don’t need to hear them talking about the Yankees, the Lakers, or Tiger Woods day-in and day-out, thank you very much. The 1090 morning show has Tiki Barber as one of its co-hosts, which is all you need to know.
Moving on, one of the better local shows is Brock & Danny, but again, I almost never get to listen to it. I really like Elise, but for as much as I like her, I dislike Jerry Brewer, so that cancels out that show. If I wanted to hear a whiny, nasally voice with absolutely nothing to say, I’d record myself reading my own blog posts.
Tied for first in my Seattle Sports Radio Power Rankings would be the Ian Furness show. In spite of their being Cougars, Ian and Puckett are the most consistently entertaining duo on the radio. Of course, I’m working during their show too, so that’s a bummer.
The other show tied for first would be the Steve Sandmeyer show on 1090 in the afternoons. It has quickly risen to the top of my priorities list, as they’ve gotten into a nice little groove, especially since Jason Churchill signed on. This show, from 3-6, makes up for all that comes before it on that station.
1090 The Fan HAS given us Jim Rome in the Seattle market. I’ve only known him from his television talk shows and he’s pretty ridiculous. He’s this pompous, macho, Alpha-Male type guy who has probably NEVER been able to relate to the common man. I don’t know what his deal is, or how he was brought up, but all I can imagine is Rome riding around in limos, partying with athletes in only the classiest of establishments, and lighting his cigars with $100 bills. Yet, he thinks he’s funny? Mostly by cutting off the balls of his dopey, single-digit IQ listeners. He’s like a stiff, wooden Howard Stern, who isn’t funny, isn’t relatable, and thinks he’s better than everyone else. I have no idea how he has amassed this vast media empire, and I don’t know a single person who listens to or watches his shows, and I feel that I’m better off for it. If you hang out with people who are avid Rome listeners, you most likely get a quarterly Ed Hardy catalogue in the mail and regularly beat your kids with a belt.
I’m going to cut this off here and provide a simple Power Rankings list. Let’s get to it:
1 (tied) – Steve Sandmeyer Show
1 (tied) – Ian Furness Show
3 – Brock & Danny
4 – John Clayton Show (Saturdays)
5 – Wyman, Mike & Moore
6 – Bob & Groz
7 – Softy
8 – Elise & Jerry
9 – Mike & Mike
10 – Mitch In The Morning