It will be tough to read any Mets news this week as NYC has turned its sports eye to this Sunday’s Super Bowl (with a squint at Madison Square Garden as Knicks fans await the firing of coach Mike D’Antoni and Mike Woodson taking over for the season) and the over saturation of information that will come out of Indianapolis all week. One of the more interesting aspects of this fountain of information is the two sports radio station in town going head to head on Radio Row.
David Hinckley has a column in today’s NY Daily News on how both station will be on Radio Row fighting for guests and for the ears of the New York sports fan. What makes it even more interesting is FAN is the flagship station for the NY Giants games and WEPN carries NY Jets games. Both station have players under contract for weekly spots with Anonte Rolle , a provocative weekly guest of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and Eli Manning who calls in to Michael Kay show each week.
WEPN has never made a dent in the ratings and as the Great Sports Pope, Mike Francesa likes to say, “Dey cum ta wawr wit pea shootas” .WEPN’s biggest problem is they can’t decide if they want to be national sports radio broadcasting in NYC or a hybrid National/Local station. To be honest here, I’ve kind of weaned my way off WFAN. I’ll listen to the station at work but when I’m in the car I’ll listen to Sirius/XM radio, mostly MLB Radio.
As much as I would love to listen to someone other than Francesa, when I tune into the Michael Kay Show it’s the sports talk equivalent to fingers nails on a chalk board. What make it worse is I really like Don LaGreca and I’ve always felt he was being wasted as a second banana on the Kay show.
When you look at the WEPN line up, it’s no wonder it gets miniscule ratings. Even though Mike and Mike is an ESPN infomercial, I kind of enjoy listening to them but again they are a National show which makes it more puzzling why they follow M & M with the totally unlistenable Colin Cowherd, again another National show. At 12 noon the station puts on its best effort of the day in airing Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundburg. Ruocco and Lundburg are young and come with a fresher, hipper way of doing sports talk that is quite refreshing, the problem is they only get two hours of air time as at 2pm WEPN turns into old foggey radio with the Mike Lupica Show. Lupica has not been relevant on the New York sport scene in about 10 years when he was at least watching sporting events on television (stories were all around that Lupey never attended games he wrote about it seems he’s beneath siting in a press box) what line of thinking is going through WEPN program director Dave Roberts head that he feels an hour of Lupey is better radio than an extra hour of Ruocco and Lundberg?
Sure it’s a tough task to overtake WFAN in the ratings as they are the founding fathers of sports talk radio not just in NYC but the country but it can be done if you go out a get younger hosts who are social media savvy who can talk about multiple subjects instead of beating listeners to death with Rex Ryan coaching critiques and 1960’s Yankees retrospectives. WEPN is missing a great opportunity to reach hockey fans by not giving LaGreca a weekend hockey show especially with the station airing NY Rangers games. Same for doing an NBA show. I know Stephen (Screamin’) A. Smith can polarized listeners but he is in tune with the NBA and by paring him up with the underutilized and underrated Larry Hardesty I’m sure they would move the rating needle north.
When you think about it here we live in a city that is sports crazy with multiple teams in four major sports but we don’t have a decent sports talk radio station to listen to. Sad, don’t you think?