Sports Radio Demographics

Local sports radio programming leaves much to be desired for some advertisers.

I’d like to meet the Program Directors of local sports radio stations.

Like a lot of men I know, sports radio is a staple of my radio consumption when I’m in the car, but I’m pretty certain the people programming the stations I listen to have absolutely no interest in me as a listener.

Based on the age and experience of the talent on these shows, the sports and non-sports topics they choose to discuss and what passes for humor on these stations, I have to wonder just who it is they are trying to attract.  My belief is that their target audience must be single males, ages 19-24, who spend most of their free time sitting in bars, drinking dollar pitchers and telling dirty jokes to one another, while attractive young women they will never have a chance of dating walk by as quickly as possible.

I find it amazing that even in major markets the on-air talent thinks sports history reaches all the way back to about 1995.  None of them seem to have actually seen Bob Gibson pitch, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays in their primes. Bill Russell going up against Wilt.  Joe Namath taking apart the Baltimore Colts.  The Brooklyn Dodgers. George Halas. But they are experts in sports.  Ugh.

We have a young man in town who is all of 28.  He gets himself really worked up.  Rants and raves and pontificates about sports like I guess he’s supposed to.  But how much credibility can he have as an expert when he talks about major sports teams, players and events that happened nearly twenty years before he was born.

I understand the advertising community’s focus on young consumers.  For beer brands a good portion of their brand loyalty is built from about eighteen to the legal drinking age.  Maybe it’s the same for soft drinks and energy drinks.  But I’m not quite sure why the local mortgage company, the local car dealers, and most of the other advertisers find this audience attractive.  What can they afford to buy?  Are they likely to be in the market for a mortgage or a refinance?  Are they really able to purchase a new car or truck?  Especially when you compare them to men 25-49 and even older.

Nobody is saying that sports radio has to be populated by old timers, but the low end bathroom humor that seems to be integral to the format has to be a turn off to any actual adults who listen on a regular basis.  Is this really the kind of thing reputable brands want to be associated with?  Media mavens have to buy more than just the numbers for their brands.

I think the national sports shows that I’ve heard have it right.  I just can’t help wondering why the local program directors haven’t translated that format into their own stations and talent.  Who knows?  Perhaps their clients will actually get their messages to people who can really afford to buy their products and services.