Does endless discussion about Kevin Garnett's trash talk, or Randy Moss' trashing of a team buffet equal "sports talk"?
Apparently in Boston, it does.
I'm not going to spend too much time on this, but it is just the latest example of Boston sports radio hosts relying too much on soap-opera-like drama to fill time instead of actually intelligent sports talk. I'll stop here before I'm accused of plagiarizing myself from one of the other 10,000 times I've said this.
I honestly don't know how they do it, as radio hosts. If I were forced to energetically discuss such lame topics for four hours straight, I'd be banging my head on the table after about 15 minutes.
If you're a Red Sox fan starving for offseason news, then NESN hopes to fill that need by bringing back Red Sox Hot Stove LIVE on Tuesday nights at 6:00 PM, starting November 9.
The show will be hosted by Tom Caron and feature Jerry Remy, Don Orsillo and Peter Gammons as regular in-studio analysts. The show will also answer questions submitted by NESN.com readers.
In addition to weekly live shows, Red Sox Hot Stove LIVE will travel to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the site of the 2010 MLB Winter Meetings, for 3 live shows beginning December 6. Caron, Gammons and NESN.com's Tony Lee will be on site to deliver up-to-the-minute reports and analysis with Orsillo and Remy back in the NESN studios.
NESN also announced this week that Bright House Networks will be adding NESN National in the following Michigan communities: Farmington, Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi and Redford.
Now if they could just work on coming up with a weekly show on the Patriots or Celtics ...
WEEI sent out a release this week touting their latest numbers -- website numbers, this time. Using information from OneStat.com, they claim to have topped one million unique visitors for the month of October, with 5.6 million page views.
Website numbers, sort of like ratings numbers, I guess, can be a bit tricky to accurately tabulate. I think the point of the release however, was more to highlight the growth they've made since launching their expanded online content in May of 2008. However, the release touted "Boston’s premier "Digital Sports Page" sees 400% overall traffic growth since May 2008."
I won't deny it, WEEI.com's content is good -- very good. They put out thoughtful, accurate, well-reported columns and blogs -- in essence, the complete opposite of their on-air programming much of the time. But are they the "premier digital sports page" in Boston? I'm not so sure about that. Numbers-wise, anyway.
In comparison, ESPNBoston.com gets their numbers from comScore, one of the leading providers of measurement services for web statistics. They didn't have October numbers yet, but for September, ESPNBoston.com brought in 3.3 million unique visitors.
Of course, ESPN Boston benefits from having the national branding of ESPN, along with plenty of feeder traffic from the mothership of ESPN.com, so in comparison, WEEI.com's numbers, if accurate, are pretty impressive. Still, I wonder what percentage of their web traffic comes from those who stream the audio from the radio every day while at work.
Off the top of my head, the top five Celtics writers in Boston:
1) A. Sherrod Blakley, Comcast SportsNet - In just his second year in Boston, he's risen to the top of the pack. He's consistently out in front of stories, and provides good analysis as well.
2) Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald - He brings so much experience and knowledge to his stories. I wish he was a little more visible outside of his newspaper stories. He needs a Twitter account.
3) Paul Flannery, WEEI.com - He's not around the team as much as the first two, but I always enjoy reading Professor Flannery's take on last night's game. He often brings a thoughtful, unique perspective.
4) Gary Washburn, Boston Globe - He's been a good replacement for Marc J Spears, and has useful contacts around the NBA which he taps into for perspective and insight on the Celtics.
5) Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston.com - I don't think anyone outworks Forsberg. The guy is everywhere, and while he might not be as polished as some of the above, he's a fast riser.
Links Of The Week
A good post from the National Sports Journalism Center about ways in which sports departments can make their content more compelling and accessible.
Bill Reynolds' Sunday column in the Providence Journal provides another look into the career of perhaps the nicest gentleman in all of sports media. .