ESPN vs. KFAN

June 1, 2010

Illustration: The Courier-Journal

I’ll be keenly interested in the next Twin Cities radio ratings, to see whether KSTP is getting any traction with its new ESPN programming.

Here’s the view from one longtime sports radio listener. I usually listen to KFAN in my car on the way to and from work. In the morning, I catch some of Mike “Superstar” Morris’s group and Paul “P.A.” Allen. On the way home, it’s Dan Barreiro. When I heard a few months ago that ESPN was coming to town on 1500 KSTP, I thought no way would I switch over – why would I want to listen to the big-footing national crews? I’d rather hear about the local teams.

KFAN's Paul Allen

Well, perhaps you see where this is going. One morning when the Superstar’s crew was spending a little too much time on fart jokes and the latest action movie, I switched over and caught a little Mike and Mike in the Morning on KSTP, with Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. The same thing happened with P.A. – one morning when he was indulging himself a bit too much in some random personal musings, I caught some of ESPN’s Colin Cowherd.

I found that I liked the national shows more than I thought I would. They’re intelligent, fast-moving and polished. I’m someone with a great tolerance for the offbeat, but I found that I enjoyed the pace and tone of  the national shows. I haven’t gone over 100%, but I definitely spend less time on KFAN than I used to.

However, they won’t get me on the afternoon drive. I had never listened in my life – even once – to Pat Reusse or Joe Soucheray on the radio, even though both of them have been on the air locally for years. But I did try them a couple of times. My God!!!!!!!! How either of these guys can have a radio career is beyond me. You’ve got two gravel-voiced old dudes who sound like a pair of toothless great-uncles sitting on the porch in their overalls. I happen to think that Barreiro is a superb radio host and I don’t think I’ll ever give up on his show. (Though I still mourn the loss of his ex-sidekick, Joe “Mr. Phunn” Anderson — who is now KSTP talent.)

But the KFAN morning guys are starting to lose me. I like hearing about the local teams, but really – it’s June. How many more times can I sit through yet another segment devoted to Brett Favre?

It will be interesting to see whether the people meter ratings reflect this, or if I’m an outlier. What do you think?