Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I really am like an old lady when it comes to my radio listening habits

I was sad to hear over the weekend that the local version of 1250 ESPN radio would be no more. According to the original story that I read, the station would have one more week of local programming and then switch exclusively to a national lineup until the end of the year. At that point, 1250 would change their format completely to the pre-teen Disney radio.

I didn't get to experience that one last week of local ESPN radio. Unfortunately, after the word leaked out, I guess the radio execs at 1250 thought it best to terminate the local people and switch to a 100% national format immediately.

No more Stan and Guy, no more "Jagoff of the week" voting, no more Stillers 365, etc, etc.

This has left a tremendous void in my life. But being a radio listener is a lot like being a radio personality. You have to learn to adjust over and over again because people are always getting axed, and stations are always changing formats.

And the fact that I learned about it beforehand was very unusual. Normally, a station will just change someone or something and you'll never see it coming. And forget about any kind of announcement detailing why. We're just left in the dark.

If you're used to listening to a top 40 station, one day you could turn it on and it's suddenly all-country. "Welcome to The Stetson. 96.1: The place for country music!" And just a day earlier, they were playing Eminem.

Anyway, I've been listening to the radio for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would have KDKA on all day long. Can you believe that? I even tried to call in one time when I was 12 years old.

And then in my late teens, naturally, I was attracted to the likes of Myron Cope, Stan Savran, Bruce Keiden and the sports talk radio genre.

But it wasn't until I moved out and got on my own that listening to the radio was a means to getting through the day for me.

I started listening to the morning show on B94: John, Dave, Bubba, Shelley, and I enjoyed it very much. And I still listened even after it became Dave, Bubba, Shelley and Brian on 93.7, the Buzz! I listened to 105.9 and ESPN 1250, as well, but 93.7 was my flagship station. The one I depended on. But in 2004, I took my first big hit when Infinity sold themselves out to Howard Stern. The once great B94 was now KROCK and I never listened to it from that point on.

But I transitioned quite nicely to Alan Cox and 105.9 the X. I always enjoyed listening to Cox's show in the evening hours and when he switched over to the morning, I was more than happy to join him. And I was listening to more and more sports talk radio, too. The Junker and Crow show on ESPN radio helped me get through many days at work and, then, of course, Mark Madden during drive time. Probably the most entertaining radio show I've ever heard. Great stuff.

Then one day, a few years ago, I turned on the X for my morning fix and it was just music. No Alan Cox promos, nothing. And soon after, I discovered that Cox was left go for salary reasons. That kind of sucked, but by that point, 1250 ESPN had become my flagship station, the frequency that I depended on, and I was happy with that lineup for a few years.

But in 2008, that all changed when Mark Madden made an off-color remark about Ted Kennedy and was taken off the air. Eventually, the Mark Madden show became The Drive with Scott Paulsen, Mike Logan and Eddy Crow. And Stan Savran joined Guy Junker to reform Stan and Guy in the mornings. I missed Mark Madden, but I was still loyal to 1250 and grew to enjoy the newest changes.

Earlier this year, 93.7, after many incarnations since the Stern fiasco, decided to try its hand at sports talk radio. Total sports talk, 24/7. I listened to it sporadically and thought some of it was good but most of it was bland, and offered me very little reason to switch my allegiances from 1250. And besides, when I wasn't listening to ESPN, I had on 970 with Joe Bendel, Tunch, Wolf, and the like. And, Tim Benz offers plenty of local sports flavor on his X morning show, as does Mark Madden on his X evening show.

Some were speculating that ESPN could be in trouble because The Fan was taking away advertising dollars and the station was already losing money as it was.

I was prepared for an eventual shake up in the ESPN lineup, but I wasn't anticipating losing it completely. Now, I'm left with trying to find a new radio home to help get me through my days, especially at work. And here's some irony for you: The Fan often boasts of its really strong FM signal, but I can't get the station in clearly at work. And from what I've heard out of them over the last 7 months or so, I'm not so sure I want to. But I do love sports talk radio, and I might have to settle for them if I can't find any alternatives.

You think I'm kidding. This stuff is quite distressing for me. I'd hate to think about how bad I'm going to be when I'm elderly. I'll probably be one of those people with swollen feet who can't sleep at night and calls every talk show that I can find.


  1. Pittsburgh sports radio is fascinating. I always listened to the Stan & Guy podcasts. 1250 was definitely the best sports talk in town. Now I guess it's Seibel & Starkey and Madden!

  2. It is a fascinating area because is it a good place for sports talk but there aren't enough people in the region to support all the various stations.