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Can Sports Talk Radio Get Any Luckier?


Sports Talk executives must be laughing out loud as they sit in their corner offices listening and watching what's going on in today's media world. Not only are we only weeks away from the biggest event on the planet, the 2013 NFL Superbowl, engaging hot-button topics keep falling out of the sky like gifts from above. From Steroids in the Baseball Hall of Fame, to the disgraced  Lance Armstrong and now this weird story about Notre Dame's Manti Teo. FOX Sports Radio's Artrell Hawkins says, "Its literally been like Christmas every day this week." And these dramatic sports events have all become national news making sports talk radio even more compelling from coast to coast.

Hawkins added, "You can always lean on the NFL, but on days like yesterday, down from heaven, here comes Chip Kelly suddenly leaving Oregon, then the Manti Teo thing going on. In addition to that, Lance Armstrongs interview. When these stories come up, you always have an opinion. I go back and do as much research as I can so I present an informed position, but a listener can literally not know anything about Manti Teo and they have an opinion about it. Its not really sports, it becomes life with sports sprinkled into it."

But are the listeners as riveted as, it appears the media is, with these stories. Hawkins says, without a doubt. "Because its not only sports. For instance, TV outlets which dont usually cover college sports, led with Manti Teo. This is completely cross-over. When youre talking stats-based sports or box-scores, that wont necessarily keep a casual fan tuned in. When the subject matter is Tim Tebow, which is religion with sports sprinkled into it, or Manti Teo, which is reality television with sports as the undertoe, were transcending sports and covering what the listener wants to talk about."

Paul McCaffrey (Paulie Mac) from the KNBR's "Murph and Mac Show" says, "Topics like Lance's fall from grace and the Manti Te'o story are so far out there that is makes our job quite easy during times like this.  Everyone has an opinion, and that usually makes for interesting, engaging and hopefully humorous radio!  The 49ers success is obviously THE big story though, this week.  Personally, I am loving the fact that not only are the 49ers  back in the NFC championship, but the fans have really come forward again and made their presence known.  Phone calls, tweets, texts...they are all pouring in!"

"I think generally, the listeners attention span and interest in stories like Lance and Manti usually last for as long as the story is relevant," McCaffrey adds. "Once the peak of the story is reached - Lance on Oprah, Manti addressing the media - the interest usually comes back to a specifically local story like the 49ers, Warriors or Giants.  The Manti story is so whacky though, it may wind up having a longer shelf life than most."

FOX Sports Daybreak's Andy Furman says, "Well, Id have to say its not really the sports world that makes it easy; I think its the public. They drive what we talk about; were like the conduits for them. It seems to be that these stories are what the public demands and what they want right now, so were there for them, and we talk about what they want us to talk about. The beautiful thing about sports talk radio is that I learn something everyday; I learn the hot-buttons for the listener and sports fan. I honestly had no idea that this Manti Teo story would take off like it has. I understand its interesting, different and somewhat crazy; its out of the boundaries of normal sports talk, but this is what the public wants. And I love it because everyday I go into work, I have no idea what well end up talking about. You know the three or four top stories of the day going in, but these kind of things shift it drastically and quickly. When you talk about the final four coming up this Sunday in the NFL, who would have thought Manti Teo and Lance Armstrong would have knocked that off the front page?

Steve Hartman, Loose Cannons on FOX Sports Radio. "These couldnt come at a better time because, as you count down to the Super Bowl, it seems like its all NFL talk. We didnt mention the NFL once today except for how Manti Teos draft status might be affected by this story. As we get closer to the game, the focus will be there, but its great to have other things to talk about as well."

On whether the audience is into these stories as much as the media world, Hartman says, Absolutely. "First of all, I was just sitting here in-studio translating the Teo story to a movie. Its as though youve got this mystery movie and everyone is trying to figure out what the ending is. In this instance, you dont know yet. Where is this going right now? Is this a story where he was a victim or a perpetrator, or was it a cover up of some kind?  Its almost like, collectively, were watching this story and any kind of story like this, not necessarily a sports story, has such cross-over appeal."

(12/14/2013 7:04:17 PM)
H4wIMq Great post.Really thank you! Will read on...

- NY
(10/24/2013 11:36:04 PM)
oCb5GZ A big thank you for your article post. Cool.

- NY
(1/18/2013 7:31:48 PM)
". . . the biggest event on the planet, the 2013 NFL Superbowl. . ."


I think the rest of the world might believe otherwise.


- Steve

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