Saturday, July 18, 2009
It turns out that a few New Yorkers spend all of their waking hours (I am not exaggerating) listening to radio talk shows about sports. I know this because the guys who drive the shuttle from the Staten Island Ferry to Wagner College (where I work) and back again listen to these shows incessantly. Which means that I can’t help but hear them occasionally as well. And what is especially striking about what comes through the airways is that all the radio hosts know the callers intimately, not just their names, but all their relatives and most of their personal habits, too. That’s because these guys call in all the time; they seem to have nothing else to do. They don’t just inquire about why the Yankees or the Mets or the Giants or the Knicks or the Rangers aren’t winning, but they make comments about their wives and their drinking habits and their hunting trips, and actually want to know from the hosts, who don’t do anything but follow sports, what movie should win the academy award, and whether they should continue to see a girlfriend who never has a nice word to say about them. These sports guys love one thing more than sports it turns out, and that is the sound of their own voices. Given a chance to talk, they will talk, and it doesn’t matter if it’s something they know a lot about or something about which they are utterly ignorant. Like so many on the radio today these hosts and many of their callers, too, are eagerly practicing the new cogito: I spout therefore I am. It gives them an identity and a sense of community both at the same time, which, when you think about it, isn’t such a bad way to use the media. In fact, maybe this could be part of a new movement to replace all the right wing radio nuts with sports jockeys who talk all day long about their favorite sports teams instead of how to defeat the Obama agenda.Yeah! More sports radio shows now! More sports radio shows now!