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FACEOFF

With The Fan, Does Baltimore Have To Many Sports Talk Radio Shows?

November 07, 2008|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG

I've recently come to understand that sports talk radio is like a bad drug for me. I know it leaves me feeling empty and angry most of the time, but it's addictive. And try as I might, I can't shake the habit. I keep chasing that artificial high.

Unlike Mr. Flip, I do think changing the format for 105.7 FM to sports talk can work. We might be reaching the point of oversaturation, but if McDonald's, iTunes, eBay and Amazon have taught us anything, it's that the public appreciates having more choices, not fewer. Some of the local on-air personalities make me want to bang my head against the steering wheel. Some of them I find interesting and insightful. It often depends on what mood I'm in. If nothing else, I appreciate the chance to listen to national radio again, if only because it reminds me that I would be a better person if, each day, I strove to be more like Scott Van Pelt and less like Colin Cowherd.

Good sports talk radio is hard. Everyone thinks he can do it because when it's good, it seems like a natural conversation at the bar with friends. But when you actually attempt it (which I have a few times), you realize quickly that there is a lot of dead air to fill, and if you try to wing it, you'll embarrass yourself by the second commercial break.

Television sports veterans Scott Garceau and Bruce Cunningham have been added to 105.7's lineup, and my advice to both would be this:

Be insightful but brutally honest in your analysis. You won't stand out by draping yourself in purple and sucking up to the players. There is too much of that already. It's your job to make me look at the situation differently, not tell me what I already know.

Best of luck. I'll be in my car somewhere, weaving through traffic, getting my daily fix.

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