Is Football's Dominance of Sports Talk Sign of the Times or Permanent Fixture?
One man's opinion...not whether too little Astro/baseball coverage on local sports radio, but whether too much football in off season.— Greg Lucas(@GREGCLUCAS) May 13, 2013
Former Astros broadcaster Greg Lucas tweeted the above a few days ago, and it resonated with me and something I've been thinking lately. I do understand how the lack of winning and seemingly endless number of changes on the field and off over at Minute Maid has caused fan interest to wane. It also hasn't helped that they and the Rockets are not on TV thanks to the continuing stalemate between the owners of CSN Houston (i.e., the teams) and cable networks not named Comcast.
As a result, it isn't surprising that the fans and media have put the Astros on virtual ignore. It has even led over the last couple years 790's Matt Thomas and his daily "Obligatory Astros Call" (complete with theme music).
But, looking more closely, it goes beyond just a lack of interest in these current Astros.
In Texas, football is king, but has the margin grown so wide that pro football in Houston literally saturates the airwaves and pages of print? The Chron ran numerous stories about this past week's Texans rookie mini-camp. They went out of their way to discuss, ad nauseam, every detail, every minor injury. On radio, 610, the flagship station of the Texans, dedicates hours of programming every week to Texans coverage even in the offseason. Over on 790, Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu spend two hours every morning talking literally nothing but football.
Certainly, the interest of callers and fans drives coverage, but this is getting a little ridiculous. The Rockets were just in a playoff series they managed to extend to six games despite most of the sports world and all but only the most diehard fans not imagining they would even make the playoffs. During their first-round series, there was EASILY as much coverage of the NFL draft, an event that has created an entire universe unto itself.
It's one thing to dismiss a team like the Astros, one that is struggling to win on the field and find itself off, particularly with a new owner and a bunch of players no one has ever heard of. It's another entirely to cover the workouts of NFL draft picks over a winning pro basketball team, especially with the way the last season ended for the Texans and their general ineptitude since their inception.
I get that there are a lot of football fans in Houston, but have the Rockets' mediocrity, the Astros' horror show and the lack of television broadcasts (only this season so far) caused the gap to grow this wide? Or does the NFL's year-round coverage of every detail of its league and its players lend itself to incessant chatter?
Probably both, but it still makes for really boring sports media, no matter how big a fan of football you might be.