Covering the Coverage: Part II- Sports Radio

soccer radioWith the Summer winding down, we thought we would take a look at the coverage of American soccer in the United States.  Last week, in Part I, we took a look at the mainstream media.  To read that article, click  here.  Today, we are going to take a look at that seemingly inpenetrable bastion of major sports; sports radio.  In almost every city in the country the airwaves are filled with stations devoted to sports 24 hours a day.  Whether entirely locally produced, or reliant on ESPN, Fox Sports or TSN for content, these stations provide non stop sports, typically in a call-in format.

What is almost universal in these stations, is the absolute lack of soccer coverage.  In many markets, even soccer scores (whether USMNT or MLS) are hard to come by.  Hosts rarely (if ever), mention soccer and those who do often limit their comments to a few snide remarks.  Callers are often discouraged from making “soccer calls” either by the lack of soccer coverage or by the producers who screen calls and don’t want to see their hosts embarassed.    Those calls that do get through are typically limited to World Cup or a remarkably big event (Beckham, etc..).

ESPN does occassionally devote segments to soccer, and some stations do have the occassional regular soccer show (like Balboa’s in Colorado).  Some stations also broadcast their local MLS game (although even for me soccer on the radio can be a bit tough to take), yet still ignore their teams.   In fairness, some hosts are willing to give soccer a go (e.g. Planet Mikey in Boston), and will at least entertain callers on the sport.  However, their soccer IQ is typically low.

Soccer fans have of course found their alternative medium.  Call-in pod casts are gaining popularity and provide an outlet for soccer fans looking to chat about their sport.  WSD was also a popular soccer call-in program.

The big question for soccer fans is whether it matters.  Should soccer fans be content to be confined to “soccer media” or should they try and break through by filling the airwaves with their calls?  Is soccer not discussed because nobody calls to discuss it, or does nobody call to discuss it because it is never discussed?  Tell us about your city; does soccer get play on the local airwaves?