Monday, February 1, 2010

Let The Hollering Begin!

Welcome to Florida, football nation!

The annual sports media quasi-convention commences today here in Ft. Lauderdale at the NFL’s vaunted Super Bowl “media center” and “radio row.”

No doubt, if you listen to sports talk radio, you will hear one (or more, or all!) of your favorite shows coming from an increasingly din-filled convention hall populated by hundreds of radio blowhards (me included) screaming at each other in close proximity.

You will hear the same collection of marginal guests cycle through just about every show on the planet.

“Hey, it’s Chad Ocho Cinco joining us here on radio row! Hey Chad, what are you pimping?”

We will then listen patiently to Chad’s newest product, a lemon-scented performance sweat sock, with the “Ocho Cinco” signature stitched into the side.

Once that is over with, Chad will joke it up the hosts, offer mostly bland thoughts about the upcoming game, get one more plug in for the OchoSocko…… and move one table to his right.


A significant expense is absorbed by radio stations and radio networks to come here every year, and I have increasingly wondered about whether or not it makes any sense at all.

It would be one thing if – like I hinted, this were also a sports media convention – and we as an industry held a few meetings or seminars on how to improve sales, groom future talent, merge on-air product with the web , and so on and so forth.

But no.

We just pack ourselves into a massive ball room, yell over each other, strut and preen in the lobby when we are not on the air, and generally deliver a predictable and stale radio product for the listeners back home.

I have said before, many times, that there is soooo much room for improvement in this annual set up.

For starters, you need to spread out the stations. Charge a nominal fee (currently, the NFL sets you up for free if you are a credible station) so that each radio set up is more professional looking and functional. Instead of a 6-foot folding banquet table with a skirt, jammed shoulder to shoulder with another table a few feet away, how about a round table positioned in a curtained off “square” like you might see at any other typical trade show.

And like any such trade show (I go to the golf show in Dulles every year) here’s the most novel idea of all: LET THE FANS COME IN!

This year, the NFL quietly announced that the so-called “NFL Experience” at the Super Bowl had been cancelled. As entertainment vehicles go, it was nothing to brag about, but it was at least something to do as a fan.

The NFL should make “radio row” a fan interactive experience as well. Like any other trade show, charge $10 a person, and let them wander through and listen to their favorite shows (or, whatever shows are on at that time).

At the very least, they need to give us yakkers more space. Nothing sounds quite as bad Thursday and Friday afternoon from “radio row” where the collective volume rises to a headache inducing dull roar.

If there is a redeeming element of sending a radio show to the Super Bowl, I believe it is to give the listeners back home a little feel for what is going on around town. Nothing beats a good “story” from the night before, with bonus points if it is 100% true.

In the more recent past, I have been mostly precluded from having any good stories to tell at the Super Bowl, because I was still responsible for being fresh and ready for my 6 a.m. morning show. Few good stories happen before a 10 p.m. bedtime.

Not this year! Tee hee….

I hope I can find some interesting things to bring back to you at home (and on this blog) like when I was last in Miami for the Super Bowl (1998). That was the year where me and my producer Matt, were at a swanky south beach club/pool party. My boy was talking up this pretty hot looking chick, when out of nowhere, he gets cock-blocked by none other than Chris “He… Could.. Go… All… The… Way…” Berman who swooped in and immediately commandeered the conversation.

While Matt was bummed to get “big-timed” like that, I told him it was probably for the better. I was convinced while watching him off to the side, that that was no chick, but instead a really hot trans-sexual. After some sober reflection the next day, Matt did admit: “Yeah, I couldn’t stop looking at her Adams apple. Weird.”

Let’s hope Boomer found out too, before it was too late.


  1. Czabe, is there any way for the rest of the nation to hear your radio row show?

  2. Czabe, as long as you're there, you might as well check out "Mango's" on Miami Beach... Well worth the trip....

  3. Please let there be someway that the Wizards fight and win a contract dispute with Gilbert Arenas. Please, Please, Please, Please!

  4. That is why the SuperBowl is best viewed by yourself in front of a huge TV in HD with the kids and spouses away..

    Ive contemplated the SB only to wonder what the hell Id do all week and how I could enjoy the game from 10,000 feet away..

    Great Boomer story

  5. (Shamelessly hijacking this spot to comment on the Olbermann Czabecast) - Czabe, good commentary on Olbermann, except it was WAY TOO SOFT! That dude's the only guy I've ever done a search with his name in conjunction with the words "hate site" (btw, Olbermann Watch is hilarious)...I cannot for the life of me understand why he gets a spot on SNF, or any other sports show for that matter. I can't listen to a 'holier than thou' dude talk about other 'holier than thou' dudes for more than 60 seconds before running out to get a barf bag, politically, or stand to hear his narcissistic tone while he drones about sports. To answer your question "How does Keith go to sleep at night?" I confidently answer: "With a life-size doll of - himself! Inflated with Helium, no less!"
    (Insert Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation rant here, and) "Pass the Tylenol!" Hudson out.

  6. Czabe -
    Forget Media Row - more importantly, are you making time for golf down there? I can't believe you wouldn't bring your clubs.

  7. Thank you Czabe, for this peek into the life of a radio sports broadcaster. It is events like this that I miss about working in radio.

  8. I hope Berman found out WAAYY after it was too late. That guy is a jackass.