January 26, 2005

Winning is bad radio

Will Philadelphia sports radio stay viable if the Eagles win the big one?

Three days since the Eagles sealed a spot in Super Bowl XXXIX and the number one topic on sports radio isn't how great this once in a lifetime event is, but a debate on how best to celebrate.

In Philly, the fun can't just happen, it must be debated and scrutinized.

Philadelphia fans, in large, have been conditioned to search for better ways for their teams to succeed, and now that the Eagles have, they don't know what to do about it. For example, here at work, people are already scheming ways for the Eagles to get a running back next season, when the winning formula is already there in front of them.

Radio is Philadelphia's No. 1 forum for sports debate, and lords over one of the most viable sports markets in the country. But if the Eagles bring home a championship - the biggest story in decades - I wouldn't be surprised if a good portion of listeners tune out.

The number one reason listeners pick up the phone and call is to bitch, and listeners actively work out solutions in their heads. It's as engaging as it gets, but when the riddle is solved and the game is won, what's left to hypothesize?

A trend I noticed this season was how little discussion there was on the Eagles, especially when they were blowing out opponents. The Phillies, missing the playoffs once again, were discussed more this winter than I ever remember. Ryan Howard, ten big league at bats and counting, was discussed about as much as Jevon Kearse.

Since Sunday, the Eagles are everywhere; on every station, in every newspaper, and not just in Philadelphia, in every market. A Super Bowl could be a major blow to a station structured on figuring it all out.

Reading Eagle TV book preview
The fruits of J. Michael Weitzel's day job includes designing the Super Bowl cover for the Sunday Reading Eagle TV book. Here's a preview:

I like to think of it as one part Peter Max, one part fire company wrestling poster.


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