Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Expect nothing and you won't be disappointed

I meant to get to this yesterday, as it would've been more timely, but the day seemed to get away from me - and took my precious computer/blogging time with it.

Anyway, I was listening to some sports talk radio while tooling around town, and caught a promo for Sean Baligian's show, "It Is What It Is," on Detroit's WDFN-AM. In the teaser, Baligian mentioned blogs and his surprise at how many there are now. Was he really going to talk about blogs on his show? Okay, cool. So I made a point to tune in (which, frankly, I usually don't) because I wanted to hear where he'd go with this.

After an hour or so of Tigers talk to begin the show, he finally got to the promised topic. Baligian admitted he wasn't much of a blog reader, and didn't see himself becoming much of one. But he acknowledged their growing popularity and said the right writer or topic (say, TSN's Bob McKenzie) might attract his interest. And then he put it to the audience. Were blogs a part of any listeners' daily reading/checking/surfing routine? Had anyone opted for reading blogs over ESPN, CBS Sportsline, or other sports sites?

Hmm, this could be interesting. Here was a guy acknowledging a popular trend, yet admitting he wasn't much into it, but wanted to learn more from his audience. To me, that sounded like the beginnings of some good sports talk radio. And who knows what direction the discussion might take? What if a blogger called in? Would any particular blogs (gee, none come immediately to mind) be mentioned?

Unfortunately, the segment took a direction right into a wall. And after hitting that wall, it kind of slid slowly down, like a semi-rancid slice of bologna. Now that's not necessarily Baligian's fault. Talk radio usually goes where the listeners take it. A host can try to steer the discussion, but if people are calling in with "humorous" suggestions for whom they'd like to see a blog from (for example, Ron Artest), rather than talking about whether or not sports blogs add something to the general discourse or provide a compelling alternative to what the mainstream media offers, then that's how the show will go.

Wah wah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

And it's not like I suddenly thought I was listening to NPR. I didn't have high hopes. But I did have some hopes.

When I joined Brian for a Michigan baseball game a couple of months ago, one of the things we talked about was how much less we checked traditional media sites for scores and analysis. By the time, say, the Detroit Free Press website has something about last night's Tigers game, we've probably already read at least two or three things about it. We checked the score at ESPN.com. We stopped by Billfer's site, or a handful of others. If we didn't catch the game, a news account might be nice. But if we did watch it, we wanted something more immediate, and more in line with what we were thinking and feeling.

That's what blogs give us. And that's what I hoped to hear on the radio Tuesday morning. But I didn't. And it was probably a mistake to expect otherwise.

After I switched from the radio to my iPod, I realized this was another reason blogs had become such a daily part of my routine - both as a reader and writer. When I'm not getting what I want from the newspaper, TV, or radio - sources I was previously accustomed to - I'm either going to find someone else who's saying what I've been thinking, possibly discover something I hadn't previously considered, or just create the damn stuff myself. And I think many, many more fans are beginning to feel that way.

Your instinct was in the right place, Sean. But the execution just wasn't there, man. Maybe you (or your listeners) will get it right next time. Or maybe I'll have learned not to have any expectations.

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  • At June 15, 2006 2:05 PM, Blogger Big Al said…

    I totally agree. The reason I began to read blogs, and finally start my own, was for the exact reason you mentioned. I wasn't getting the info I wanted from the local or national MSM.

    I heard Baligian pimp that upcoming segment, but I didn't bother to stay tuned in. Too often on WDFN, segments deteriorate just as you describe. The Fan has become nothing more than hosts, and their clueless callers, doing unfunny bits.

    Wow, someone said Ron Artest should do a blog? That caller should be writing for Jay Leno. He's not funny, either...

  • At June 15, 2006 9:33 PM, Blogger billfer said…

    I too was disappointed in the segment, because it didn't take the path I thought it would.

    However, Sean has been pretty generous with mentions of my blog in the past. So I can't be too upset.


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