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5 Things You Can Learn From A Boston Sports Talk Blackout

Russ Goldman
Russ Goldman on Twitter
5 years ago at 7:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

5 Things You Can Learn From A Boston Sports Talk Blackout

Immediately after the Patriots lost to the Eagles a month ago, my first thought was that it could be a rough week of listening to the local sports talk shows on radio and on television. At that point, I made a decision that I had enough and decided to shut them all out after my daughter challenged me that I could not do it for four weeks time.

Well, I have done it and now it’s time to share what I learned from this blackout and what you might find as well if you decide to tune them out.

1) After the first few days, you might not miss them – Listening habits when it comes to being in the car are tough to break, but following the first few days, I started missing them less after replacing the local sports talk with music. My daughter and I started listening to my Spotify Playlists and it became a bonding situation with us that we could share together. On top of it, The Beatles songs are now on Spotify, so that makes it even easier to avoid sports talk. And who doesn’t love the Beatles?

2) Most of these shows push fear and negativity of the local sports teams potential failures at their audience – I am a glass half full kind of guy, but I can deal with the negative view if I am given both sides of an argument which would be a balanced look at the teams I follow. The problem is that balance is something that is lacking in many of these shows, but not all of them approach their audience this way.

For example, Felger And Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub will play to the fears of the fan by focusing heavily on the shortcomings of each team, and drilling into the listener what could go wrong moving forward. To make it worse, this show marginalize the victories of all the sports teams but really goes after the Patriots after a victory. They will make a win feel like a loss to their listeners.

On the flip side, Dale And Holley on WEEI is much more glass half full, as they will focus more on what worked for each team, but they do balance that out by mentioning what went wrong, and what needs to be fixed for our teams.  I want to see both sides of the coin, so I feel if you want sports talk Dale And Holley do it the best.

3) Do you know how much your view of the local sports teams can be affected by these shows? – Over the years I have been influenced by the fear, and would worry about ridiculous things, and in many cases the fear tactics would be proven wrong by the reality with the positive results of the team.

A great example of this is Gary Tanguay on The Early Edition on Comcast SportsNet New England who last season made many predictions regarding the demise of the Patriots during their run to a fourth Lombardi Trophy. In the end he was proven very wrong along with several other talk show hosts.


98.5 The Sports Hub’s Michael Felger mentioned on the air he loved the DeflateGate controvery because of the amount of material it gave him for the show.

4) You’ll find Many of these shows do not go deep into the team so the audience can’t actually learn anything important – The majority of the time the topics are controversial to get you to listen or watch. In the case of the radio, the controversial subjects are meant for you to call the station. I want talk that really breaks down the teams, but many of these shows do not do that.

The best example of this is Michael Felger on Felger And Mazz during DeflateGate, as he mentioned on the air he could do this all year-long because of the material it gave him for the show. He showed it is about the controversy, and not the teams themselves that he cares about for his radio show.

On the other side though you have Chris Price on WEEI, who each Sunday before a Patriots game would go deep into the upcoming game, and properly breakdown the matchups for you.  Others that can do that as well on television and radio include Tom E. Curran, Mike Reiss, Jeff Howe, Mike Giardi, and Michael Holley.

5) You can get most of the information you need on the teams through social media – My fear was that if I did not listen, I would miss out on important information about the teams such as injuries, but honestly I get that information anyway through Twitter and Facebook. The Patriots and all the Patriots beat writers have social media accounts so getting the information I needed was just as quick as listening to sports talk on the radio or television.

If you do put together your own list of reporters and writers to follow, here’s a quick list of recommendations, and who to avoid:

Top Five To Avoid Regarding Boston Sports Talk:

5. Tony Massarotti – Tony is extremely negative and his focus is on talent being the most important factor than teams playing together as a unit. He is very strong at marginalizing victories.

4. Michael Felger – Michael is wonderful at going right after the negative view on a win or a loss. When he started his show, he stated he wanted a balanced view, but that went away very early on, and the negativity took over from there.

3. Ron Borges – If  you are a Patriots fan, you know his negativity towards the Patriots, and in his columns he plays up your fears of what could happen if things go wrong.

2. Dan Shaughnessy – Dan is the ultimate contrarian, and his opinion like Borges plays into the fears of the fan. He wants you to hate him and really he does not care if you do as long as you listen, watch or read.

1. Gary Tanguay –  Gary is the ultimate sports shock jock that really will try anything controversial for you to pay attention to him.  I don’t value his opinion on any sports team in Boston.

Top Five I Recommend Regarding Boston Sports Talk:

5. Michael Holley – His knowledge is high when it comes to all of the Boston sports teams, and as a host of a radio show he really keeps it balanced for the listener.

4. Mike Giardi – Mike does not sugarcoat his opinions on the sports teams, but he comes off as honest to the fan positively or negatively.

3. Tom E. Curran – Tom is very credible as he has covered the Patriots for a long time, and will share his opinion but will drop the knowledge on you as well.

2. Mike Reiss – Mike is about giving you the information, but is not afraid to voice his opinion. He is one of the best we have talking about sports in Boston.

1.Chris Price – Chris I feel is the best talking Patriots in Boston, as he goes very deep into the team and their opponents. Every time I have listened to him, I have learned something I did not know prior.

And of course, be sure and follow us as well on both Facebook and Twitter.

Speaking of which, during this break I’ve focused more on the podcast that I produce here at PatsFans.com, which gives us the opportunity to give a more balanced view on the Patriots. The discussions we have on our podcast, Patriots Fourth And Two, are what we try to bring that’s unique from local sports talk shows. We breakdown the last game, and also preview the upcoming game for the Pats in a constructive manner. We go deeper into the team as we analyze the different units from game to game. We do debate and disagree, but it is in a much healthier way for me as the show is from a fan perspective.

In the end what I have learned is that local sports talk shows have a purpose and can be very entertaining, but obviously everyone is different. So give it a shot and ignore the noise and if you don’t, at least try and stick with the ones who do it well. That way you might actually find these next couple of weeks to be a little more enjoyable.


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary


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