Sunday, July 26, 2009

Local Sports Talk Radio in Smaller Cities

I'm sure that the vast majority of sports fans in the U.S. have at at one time or another listened to sports talk radio on some level.. Obviously, the large metropolitan cities have it and will talk about their major professional sports teams. The hosts will make analyses of each team and urge listeners to call in to voice opinions. Being listener driven, sports talk has become a major success.

But what about cities that have no major professional sports team for miles around? How does sports talk radio become successful? Sure, these smaller locales may have minor league teams in the area, but they also have local high schools and college sports to help keep conversations alive. In this segment, I am going to touch on a successful sports talk radio station based in Portland, Maine that reaches Bangor to the north, eastern Vermont west, and northern Massachusetts south.

Welcome to The Big Jab, WJAB, 96.3 FM on the radio dial and it's sister station at 1440 AM. From Monday through Friday mornings, It's two local celebrities, Dave “Shoe” Schumacher and Joe Palmieri, hosting the show from 6 to10 AM and a different local host, Chris Sedenka, afternoons from 3 to 7 PM (During baseball season, pre-empted by Boston Red Sox Baseball). These hosts talk not only about Boston sports clubs, but do a good deal of local high school sports when in season. Hosts interview local coaches for team insights. Also interviewed while in season are the head coaches of the University of Maine football and hockey teams, as well as the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates head coach. I have listened to many of these interviews and I find most are well done.

There are also locally hosted weekend shows that cover the same subjects as the weekday programs do.

Also on The Big Jab are interviews with experts that follow local sports to gain insight of the happenings around the state of Maine. A great way to get your fix of high school sports! Also covered is auto racing with a show named “In The Pits” done Friday mornings from 9 AM to 10 AM.

The Big Jab 's Website has tabs for audio clips, pictures, and blogs for audience indulgence. One particular clip is that of sportscasting legend Dick Enberg on his theatrical play of college hoops legendary coach and TV analyst Al McGuire aptly named “McGuire.

There are blogs for local sports as well. One in particular is the Central Maine Sports Blog written by Matt Boutwell … a good read.

WJAB is quite successful for a small media market. The hosts are very knowledgeable and often amusing. The call in audience is quite knowledgeable , with the notable exception of one named “Erroneous Eric”. Give it a listen some day on the stream!

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