Even Radio Row At The Super Bowl Is Feeling The Economic Pinch

January 27, 2009 – 10:36 am by Jimmy Shapiro

I’m here at Super Bowl Radio Row in Tampa on behalf of the Gridiron Greats and it’s shocking to see how dead it is. This is my eleventh radio row and there is no buzz here.  I realize it’s only Tuesday afternoon, but this is shocking.

Radio powerhouses such as WEEI in Boston, ESPN Radio Chicago, KNBR in San Francisco, KJR in Seattle, WKNR in Cleveland, and KILT in Houston, have no presence here whatsoever.  Other big stations from Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, and Charlotte are coming down later in the week.

Typically Monday is a slow day, but nothing like yesterday.  There were only three guys doing radio row interviews on Monday; Jack Youngblood, Warrick Dunn, and Drew Brees.  That’s it!  The stations that are here were grasping for guests grabbing radio and television personalities like John Clayton, Tony Bruno and Max Kellerman or begging Sirius NFL hosts like Randy Cross to come on their show.

Tuesday morning hasn’t been much better.  There have been a few good names like Joe Theismann, Lee Roy Selmon and Brady Quinn, but then a bunch of guys that the average football fan has never heard of in Duke Preston, Brandon Jones, Jarrod Cooper, and Chris Hovan.  I can honestly say I’ve never heard of Duke Preston.

The economy has not only affected the number of stations down here, but it has also affected the number of companies willing to pay athletes to sponsor their brand and parade them on radio row.

I do expect radio row to pick up in the next three days, but I’m sure it will considerably scaled down.

Sometimes I think sports and especially an event as large as the Super Bowl is immune to the economic problems, but now I know better.

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