Sports Radio Rumble Ahead?

November 30, 2010

I got a fascinating phone call the other day as I was getting ready for work. It was from a marketing research firm that wanted to ask me about Twin Cities sports radio.

Did they ever get the right guy! I listen to KFAN every day in my car. And since KSTP went to its new ESPN1500 format a few months ago, I’ve been sampling them more, too.

The survey was a very long series of questions, lasting about 20 minutes. They asked me to rate all the various sports hosts on a scale of 1 to 5, and to give my opinion on all the different shows. They asked me about certain sports: do I think there’s too much, too little or just enough coverage?

But there were several questions that really made me sit up and take notice. I’m paraphrasing, but they were along these lines:

  • Do the hosts talk too much about non-sports topics?
  • Do you think the humor is too juvenile?
  • Do the shows spend too much time on sports you’re not interested in?
  • Is there the right mix of local vs. national coverage?

As is often the case in these kind of surveys, they asked the same questions several times in several different ways. So they returned to these questions and got my responses not once, but about three or four times.

kstpWhat to make of this? It’s purely speculative, but I’d say the new player, ESPN1500, is surveying to find out what listeners think about the longtime sports talk leader. And if enough people respond that KFAN hosts spend too much time on non-sports topics, or overplay the locker-room humor, then I’d say we might be in for an ESPN marketing campaign along the lines of, “We give you more SPORTS.”

Just the opinion of one sports radio listener.