Taking a Look at CBS Sports Radio

CBS Sports Radio Logo

I’ve listened on and off to CBS Sports Radio since its Jan. 1 debut. Overall, there isn’t much about CBS Sports that separates it from any of the other sports radio networks. However much you like national sports on the radio will probably be the main decider if you like CBS or not. Folks in larger markets will likely prefer more local alternatives.

That said, based on my own listening, here are a few random opinions…

  • First and foremost, Jim Rome leaving Premiere Radio to go to CBS  Sports Radio was a big deal. Despite any snafus with the juggling of affiliates as a result of his exit from Premiere, Rome’s star power is large enough to make up for it in short time — if it hasn’t happened already. Love him or hate him, he brings new ears to each affiliate, giving the other shows potential for immediate exposure.
  • The morning show with Tiki Barber, Brandon Tierney and Dana Jacobson is somewhat of a mixed bag. As lead host, Tierney is solid but his surroundings doesn’t give him much to work with. While Barber seems to rarely speak, Jacobson tends to overcompensate by trying extra hard to be witty. More times then not, her attempt at sarcastic humor comes across as mildly annoying. It’s also worth noting that I sometimes have a hard time telling Barber and Tierney apart. Their voices sound alike.
  • I haven’t had the stomach to give either John Feinstein (late middays) or Doug Gottlieb (afternoons) any extended listening. I hear enough of them recite their awful CBS Sports Minute segments, which are heard on various CBS-owned sports stations throughout the country, including 670 The Score/WSCR-AM in Chicago.  That may be an unfair assessment on my part, especially since the few hours of Feinstein I have heard were not as bad as I expected. With a blend of co-hosts around him, which is what he appears to have, may make the show OK. I will make an effort to listen to more of his show.
  • Bringing Scott Ferrall from Sirius XM for late evenings was another positive move. The combination of Ferrall’s raspy voice and unique personality allow for a more fast paced and fun show, which is just perfect for late evenings.
  • The CBS Sports updates (branded simply as Sports Flash) run three times an hour. In 2013, that is far too much, especially when they can run over two minutes long (or three minutes on weekends). ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio have both reduced their respective updates from three times an hour to two. Why CBS opted for three, I don’t know.
  • The CBS Sports Radio jingle or the jingle’s instrumental bed is overplayed tremendously.  You’ll hear it at the beginning and conclusion of each sports update and usually at the beginning or end of a show segment. If listening to the network for any extensive period of time, the listener is likely to get tired of the jingle plenty fast.
  • The CBS Sports Radio web presence is a colossal mess, for many reasons. First and foremost, why they have been unable to secure the URL CBSSportsRadio.com by now is beyond me (the network was first announced last June!). For the first few months while on the air, their official website, radio.cbssports.com, were a few simple webpages with relatively little information about the network or their  shows. A few weeks ago, the site was re-launched to include newer headlines and podcasts. From a technical standpoint, the re-launched website is very bizarre as they chose to build each individual show page under its own sub-domain. Anyone familiar with optimizing websites for search engines will know how backwards this is when developing a website.
  • Since CBS Sports Radio doesn’t have a dedicated Chicago affiliate, I’ve been listening either on my smart phone via the Tune In app or on the computer via live stream. Ed Sherman of ShermanReport.com recently interviewed Chris Oliviero, senior vice-president at CBS Sports Radio. Oliviero said that while they are working to get the network in every major market, they have no business plan for having a channel on Sirius/XM. Even though I believe satellite radio will be a losing venture in the long run, I think it is a colossal mistake to ignore such an easy opportunity for expanding their presence.

As I wrote above, CBS Sports Radio doesn’t seem that much different than a Fox Sports or Yahoo Sports Radio. At least CBS doesn’t come across as trying to be “holier than thou,” unlike ESPN — which is a huge a positive.  At this point that’s good enough for me — I’d prefer CBS to ESPN for that reason alone.

NBC Sports Radio launched their 24/7 schedule on April 1st. I will have thoughts on NBC in the very near future.

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